So how am I going to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day this year?
By talking about gangsters…
Which is not as big of a disconnect as, say, putting up a Christmas tree on Memorial Day. I’ve already noted before how the pirate culture influences the gangster culture that follows, and there’s mention I note in the book The Pirates of New York as to one direct connection between the fall of the pirates and the rise of the gangsters. There are cultural connections that were made, mindsets and traditions that hit men took from seadogs as a mercantilist economy was replaced by an industrial one and the talent pool shifted their focus elsewhere.
It makes for an interesting discussion, which will get some mention during the night of the 19th as I present another lecture at the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism. Apparently, the last talk I gave on Jewish pirates was well enough received that I was invited back, this time to present a cultural program on a different set of rough characters:
Event: Shabbat Service and Cultural Program
Start: September 19, 2014 7:30 pm
End: September 19, 2014 9:30 pm
Venue: St. John’s Lutheran Church
81 Christopher Street, New York, NY, 10014
AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Mobsters
The best known Jewish gangsters – Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Mickey Cohen – were involved in the numbers rackets, illegal drug dealing, prostitution, gambling and loan sharking. The roots of Jewish gangsterism lay in the ethnic neighborhoods of the Lower East Side; Brownsville, Brooklyn; Maxwell Street in Chicago; and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. Find out more about this unsavory crowd, from the Brownsville Boys to Julius Bernstein, the last Jewish mobster.
More details can be found here; if you’re in the Village that night and want to be celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day among their spiritual successors, I’d love to see you there!