Posted by: Mark | November 20, 2008

Pirates are not awesome


It is quite bizarre that pretty much every morning there is another legitimate news story about pirates: who they are hijacking, how you can defend boats against them, etc. I have overheard from many conversations grateful sighs of “awesome” as people browse the news and hear that pirates are very much alive, and are very much a force to be reckoned with. Check out this map, which shows pirate incidents from 2008. Holy crap there’s a lot of them!

I’ll admit that at first I too thought that pirates were awesome, but that was long ago my friend. The Ninja vs. Pirate debate has been raging for years, but I think that the recent news about pirates only verifies what I’ve held true for a long time: ninjas are far superior to pirates.

Pirates are just muggers with fancy boats and eye patches and peg legs, but I am willing to bet that none of these guys out there off the coast of Africa actually have parrots that want crackers. It’s not awesome when a guy goes up and robs an old lady on the street, and so by implication it’s also not awesome when a bunch of Somalians go and take over a Saudi oil tanker, pirate style. It is awesome, however, when ninjas are stealth and sneaky about everything they do, and effectively kick serious ass. I mean come on, Batman wasn’t trained by pirates, but by ninjas.

NPR’s Morning Edition has had some great stories about the pirate issue lately. This morning Steve Inskeep interviewed Nick Davis, a guy who provides private security for boats, but does it without guns. He mentioned a sweet audio device wherein you basically plug in an MP3 player and blast this god-awful sound through your speakers while your crew has super intense headphones on, and it scares all the pirates away. Inskeep’s response was classic and he didn’t even try to mask his bewilderment: “so basically you’re fighting pirates with an ipod.”

Why don’t security forces just go and blast pirates out of the water? Nick Davis’ answer was perfect. “If you see a boat come up with a guy waving an AK-47 and you just automatically blow them out of the water, suddenly you’re the pirate.”

Now that is awesome: a dude who fights pirates with a sense of justice, just like ninjas. And he uses sound to disguise himself, much like how ninjas use smoke and darkness as a disguise. Awesome? I think so. Much more awesome than the pirates themselves.

Bring on the hate mail you piratephiles.



  1. I was getting tired of all the pirate news until a friend forwarded me a website from a student who wrote her senior paper on what she’s claiming is the “last American pirate.” Much less exciting than the Somali pirates, even a little mundane, but interesting nonetheless. Her website is

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