Going On The Account: A New Take on the Sweet Trade

The folks at Ubisoft have recently announced the newest addition to their Assassin’s Creed franchise:  Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and did so with a very stunning (and a little graphic) trailer:

Apparently, this is what we can expect when the Pirates-versus-Ninjas War comes to an end and the two sides combine…

 

EDIT:  And after I posted, I did a little digging around and found a historical background page put up by Ubisoft to support their game.  As far as factual resources published by a game company go, this ain’t so bad, really…

Going On The Account: Ah, So THAT’S How It Works…

To take a little break, I recently started reading some fantasy.

Yes, we’re talking mainstream fantasy, the I-last-saw-this-when-I-played-D&D kind of fantasy; the other kind I wouldn’t bring up here lest we fall heavily into the NSFW category…

Anyways, there again among the offerings was the whole “clean the land of the monster” trope across multiple works to look at.  It’s been a part of the genre since Beowulf was first composed, and will be of some interest at the multiplex for the next two years, and is as inevitable in fantasy work as a pirate chasing treasure in pirate fiction.

Which has always made me curious, how such a creature could wander onto the land and set itself up so readily.  Sure, you could try and cite Edmund Burke and leave it at that, but even if you did and could come up with irrefutable proof that yes, Burke did actually say that, you still wouldn’t explain how something so foul could get such a toehold into a land that needed saving.

So it was a revelation this Saint Paddy’s Day weekend, when I read an account of how the end of Ireland being the Celtic Tiger brought the snakes back to Eire.  Suddenly, it all made a lot more sense: Monsters as blowback from a bust in an economic cycle!

If we think of such creatures as the inevitable result of the bad side effects from our efforts to create wealth, either a large risk we’d thought manageable that wasn’t or scores of small inconveniences combining into an eval gestalt that overwhelms us, then the set up makes a whole lot more sense.

And it does indeed become fantastic, that one person or a small group could come in and kick the ass of something thousands of folks (if not more) allowed in while they were making money and were unable to overcome.  Which helps explain why we can call Beowulf a fantasy, because he can see this man take on Grendel and win, while this isn’t, because these folks can’t even begin to try and reverse the effects of climate change.

Now, the whole fantasy-as-economic-parable schtick may not be entirely new; the political-economics of Oz have been well considered ever since Henry Littlefield’s observations in 1964.  And back when I was more heavily gaming, I would have loved to have been in any D&D campaign run by Tom Morelleo of Rage Against the Machine; those sounded epic!

I’m sorry I myself never got into that element of fantasy earlier.  I am going to have a bit of free time later in the year after I wrap up Red Jenny, though, so…

Going On The Account: Both Real And Imagined…

Interesting how it all works out sometimes: Near the same waters where the USS John C. Stennis rescued the crew of the Al Mulhai, there’s word of the Iranian navy rescuing the crew of the Xianghuamen from pirates.

No, the Chinese are no closer to throwing their weight around the Gulf of Oman than they were back in October of 2009, yet it is interesting how much more committed IRIN is to showing the flag after the embarassment of having the “Great Satan” keep their waters open for them.  (While in the process of demonstating that at any time thay they could close those waters as well, but that’s details…)  Which just goes to show, that when you go pirate and sail against all flags, some of those you’re up against that you’d never expect to band together just might…

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Mind you, you say “pirates” to anyone outside of the shipping industry, or to people who think Jane’s Defense Weekly is part of a series that has “Dick and…” in the title of all volumes, they tend to think of characters from the Golden Age of Piracy, the rough folk from the early 18th Century we remember better from J. M. Barrie’s work.

Folk such as the ones featured in the advertising campaign for Island Federal Credit Union based in Hauppauge,NY.  Which when you look closely says something interesting here…

The obvious element they go for is the whole pirate attitude, the bucking the system mystique that define pirates and keep them popular today.  See, the point of their campaign is to offer themselves as a viable alternative to the “big banks,” the commercial institutions that frankly could easily make the Dutch East India Company of that day seem like a forlorn subsidiary in an asset-to-asset comparison.  And considering the  rise of piracy in that period was in large part in defiance of the Mercantilist System, where capital was restricted to limited avenues where the house would always win by taking a cut at every turn…

Yeah, that’s kind of a mixed metaphor, roll with me here a sec…

…because piracy was in part about taking money out of the preferred avenues of circulation and keeping some of it aside, what better spokesfolks can you use for a credit union than pirates?  And how many other businesses can you think of where pirates are just so right for your ad campaign?

My only real question is, why they went with actors when the folks of Long Island’s own Ye Pyrate Brotherhood could probably have crewed the spot.  Then again, bankers being who they are, they probably wanted someone who wasn’t going to misread their letter of marque, ifyouknowwhatImean…

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Anyways, if you think even these folks are too serious for you, there’s always the crew you can play in the game Pirates of the Stupid Seas.   For a flash game consisting of ballistic puzzles with a pirate theme, it’s not half bad, and the special features you can unlock when you get full sets of treasure are interesting.  No, Sid Meiyer has nothing to worry about from them, but it makes for a pretty decent time waster.

I should know; I am so  far behind in moving the novel along…