Reality Sinking In: Hollywood Pirates Verses the Real Thing

Pirates have long been romanticized by writers and Hollywood films. Jack Sparrow is just the most recent encapsulation of this. Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, is a swashbuckler with a decent heart. Though portrayed with a bit of a selfish center he did come around to helping the good guys when it mattered most. While the three movies have been out for a while now, the characterizations are falling under heavy scrutiny.

Children are alarmed at the recent news with Somalian Pirates taking over ships and holding Americans captive. Two boys from Michigan were interviewed by the local press stating that they were pirates last year for Halloween, but this year they don’t think it would be right.

Pirates are not at all like they are portrayed in the films, books, and television in fiction. Most often the pirates are shown as fairly decent individuals, who seek treasure. There are certain evil pirate depictions in films like Cut Throat Island where you have the evil pirates being stopped by the good pirates. It does come down to the battle of good and evil in fiction.

Unfortunately reality is not always going to yield the best. Somalian Pirates are more reminiscent of Blackbeard and Black Bart. These pirates sailed the seas in the 1700’s pillaging ships and creating bloody battles. We like to think that civilization has outstripped the need for piracy, but the truth is there are still pirates in the world. These individuals tend to live in third world countries, but that is not always the case.

For children the reality can be devastating. They are learning that their heroes may not be as great as they appear to be. The lesson that can be learned from the recent news and the deviation from reality in books and media is that children do need to understand there is a difference.

Captain Jack Sparrow certainly has some less than favourable qualities, which make the movies more comical. Fiction does make great costumes, and children should be allowed to choose who they want to be, but to know the difference between real “pirates”¬ù over those of fiction.

Pirate costumes like Jack Sparrow will hold their own in the costume world. While the industry may see a small decline in the ever popular Jack Sparrow for a little bit it will no doubt rally.

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