Going on the Account: A Fish Tail to Tell…

There was an article on io9 about a casting call on Craigslist for a sequel for TITANIC.  The description for this film is given below, with an emphasis added by me:

The film begins moments after the sinking of the Titanic. All who have drowned are brought back to life by a futuristic race of mermaids, called the Mantocks, who welcome the humans to their underwater paradise. Soon after, JACK DAWSON is elected king of the underwater humans. DAWSON requests that all humans be returned above water, a request that is denied by KING MANTROCK. The humans are slowly brainwashed into worshiping their mermaid saviors. Meanwhile, the sunken TITANIC has become a haunted underwater wasteland inhabited by RAGGARO and his band of mermaid pirates. Will the humans ever free themselves from their mermaid slavery? Will the mermaid pirates wage war on Mantock?

Mermaid… pirates…

Believe it or not, I’m actually pretty good with the concept.

Let’s be honest, humans have anthropomorphized the seas from the very beginning.  The Greeks and later the Romans who stole borrowed their concepts and worldviews not only assumed that there were spirits living in the water, but classified each type of spirit depending on the body of water that contained it.  Naiads were spirits of fresh water, Nereids were spirits of the sea, and Oceanids were at home in the deep oceans, with many of them daughters of Poseidon.  The idea carries on beyond them in cultures touched by and remembering these people, inspiring among their successors the Rhinemaidens, the Undines and yes, even Mermaids.

For about as long too, the personalized waters have not been the friendliest.  Sirens would lead sailors to their doom on the rocks, and Naiads and Mermaids both would have tales told of them of their charming men to follow them under the surface, where they would soon drown.  This fear of drowning unexpectedly when the water seems so placid, or amidst the roar of the surf, could not have found a better personification that through this.

And who’s to say that the spirits living in the seas weren’t reflective of the wolves that preyed upon them?  After all, pirates had plied the waters almost as soon as the third boat in existence had its keel laid.  Perhaps some sailor who had a free moment after trimming the sails and dead reckoning from shore had a moment to let his mind wander, and made the connection between early sea rovers and personified waters that allowed water spirits to spring forth…

(That, or else he knew someone on the account, a drinking buddy, maybe even a cousin.  If asked who was responsible for the sinking of a craft in familiar waters, well, a water spirit makes for a good alibi…)

So really, having mermaid pirates is a lot like getting a chocolate ice cream with a chocolate dip from Mister Softee, in that you got more of something good that really does work well in concert with itself.  With both Nereids and Ne’er-Do-Wells preying on seafarers, as long as you’re going to get it, you may as well get it all at once…

Besides, think of the concepts you could end up with if you start mashing elements of both.  Think Namor taking on Henry Morgan’s mantle!  Blackbeard with a fish tail!  And maybe even a certain red-haired Disney character as captain of a brigantine…

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I kid because I care.  Actually, I kid to keep away depressing thoughts, like those prompted by this assessment from Canadian Press that Interpol has its hands tied as far as handling piracy pursuit.  In addition to getting member states to share and receive the data they’ve collected, there’s the problem of working with authorities ashore to coordinate enforcement, which in a land without a state is nigh on impossible.

As we’ve noted here since November of 2008, until there’s stability on land, there cannot be peace on the waves.  It’s nice to see some movement around the edges, but until Somalia itself stabilizes, it’s going to be a long, drawn out campaign on the Indian Ocean…

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Filed under Fiction, Pirates

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