Going On The Account: Because It Amuses Me, No…?

I had a good friend on Facebook (where I can be reached if you so desire) share with me the following YouTube video…

 

Which, frankly, is a lot more prescient than you might initially imagine…

 

Consider this closely:  Both Edward Teach and Alphonse Capone did the same thing, in that they built an organization to maximize their enterprises and bring efficiencies to their operations, both of which were not accepted by the so-called “legitimate” economic authorities of their time.  Both Blackbeard and Scarface offered product in high demand in an economic environment where a market existed despite the desire of the authorities to prohibit the demand, if not outright outlaw it.

Which makes the two figure and their culture fairly equivalent.  Though, granted, we’re not likely to see a lot of Tony Montana imitators showing up at Gasparilla any time soon, if given a chance to meet on neutral ground, they might find a lot more commonalities than initially assumed…

But there is a serious question posed here:  How much of the pirate culture ends up influencing the gangster ethos we find later on?  Do the efforts to countermand the mercantile economics of the 17th Century play a role in the formation of the gangster alternate economic model we face in the 20th Century?  Can we claim that the Five Families owe their existence and organizational framework to the work done by those members of the Brethren of the Coast hundreds of years earlier?  Is there a solid connection we can make between the two?

And what would the impact be if we could?  Would pirate fest organizers have to start serving folks in Fedoras as equals if they started showed up at their events?  Could I get a discount at any tour of Chicago’s mob tour sites if I started to say, “Avast! I’ll have that bilge rat boarded and plundered if ye not be striking yer colors, now!”

(And trust me, if you hear me saying that, ’tis a pretty dire situation; I can be quite loud when I get pirate-y…)

In the end, does the under-culture that infuses American history bear a strong connection from pirates to gangsters?  And are we better off recognizing this?  Admittedly, when there was some direct connection between the two cultures, Scarface did whack the successor to the local New York pirates, so perhaps there’s not as much natural affinity between the two groups as one would imagine.

Then again, we could always use allies against those damned ninjas…

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2 Comments

Filed under Pirates

2 responses to “Going On The Account: Because It Amuses Me, No…?

  1. You crashing a Gangster party spouting pirate jargon does paint an interesting picture. If you ever do such a thing, make sure you have a videographer immortalizing the event. I’d love to see the footage! 🙂

  2. Yeah, I’m imagining it’d be third on the local news at 11, under the headline, “Pirate’s timbers shivered at Mob memorial, goes to hospital while others treated for injuries on site”…

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