Black Sails

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
I recently started binge watching the historical fiction series Black Sails. There are obviously many reviews of such, which I have not read. The Wikipedia discussion is interesting in that it mentions the mixed reviews, of which I understand the negative ones.

However, what I found compelling and not mentioned at all, at least on the Wikipedia page, is the social dynamics that forms the basis for why these pirates and others first became such and why they fought on.

The captains and their crews were bound together because of the manner in which their parent culture had marginalized them compared to the nobility and royalty that sponsored and granted their imprimatur to such as the colonies. The "law and order" of the latter also granted them leverage in more than one way, including the underhanded. Sometimes prevailing from outright greed, at other times their sense of superior entitlement driving harsh policy measures sure to create the backlashes that it did.

Thus we see amongst an ever shifting web of alliances and human foibles the generally egalitarian nature of pirate crews, the contrastingly harsh nature of 'lawful' merchant marine life (press-ganging and the like). It shouldn't then make one ponder too much to reflect one just who the real pirates were (and still are today for that matter).

The tension between the king's "law and order" and the quasi-anarchy of the pirates is still extant in the cultural schizophrenia of the American narrative. Today millions of Americans cooing over royal weddings and such. Just who are the real 'pirates', do they yet hide behind "law and order", even sometimes flashing the Jolly Rodger? Will we always be convinced to "pave paradise and put up a parking lot"?

Be prepared for some T&A, language, and some amazingly realistic CGI of pirate ships and the like.