Thanks to a couple of obscure fellows named Mark and John who decided using pirate lingo made playing racquetball more fun — and even more thanks to humor columnist Dave Barry who made their antics national news, Sept. 19 (that’s today!) has been “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” since 2002.
No doubt Dave Barry himself would be pleased Barry Obama decided to play along and announce a spectacular tax plan on Sept. 19, of all dates. But so far, the only person who seems to have caught the irony is Republican Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida who today suggested maybe the president doesn’t quite understand the holiday, even though it looks as though he’s captured the spirit of it.
“Perhaps the Pres misunderstood,” Ross tweeted. “It is TALK like a pirate day…not ACT like one. Watch ye purses & bury yr loot, the taxman cometh.” Then, just to be sure followers knew he meant it good-naturedly, he added the hashtag
Ross’ comment comes across as light-hearted and funny to me, but, just to be clear, neither Ross nor I are accusing the president of actual piracy. That would be in very poor form because, as the founders of this national holiday put it, “Pirates were and are bad people. Really reprehensible. Even the most casual exploration of the history of pirates … leaves you hip deep in blood and barbarity. We recognize this, all right? We aren’t for one minute suggesting that real, honest-to-God pirates were in any way, shape or form worth emulating.” Similarly, I’m not for one minute suggesting that the president has kept pace with piratical plundering. His proposals might be reprehensible, but they’re neither violent nor illegal. Just redistributive on a grand scale.
Mostly, I’m just wishing the president would have thrown a few pirate phrases into his deficit reduction speech. It sure would have been more enjoyable to listen to.
Instead, viewers had to watch Obama say brazenly, “This is not class warfare,” and try not to snort with scorn and derision nor to cry from sheer frustration. This is not class warfare? Note that, in all his talk of the rich needing to “pay their fair share,” the president never once mentioned the 46 percent of Americans who pay no income tax at all. If this is not class warfare, then Sept. 19 is not Talk Like a Pirate Day, after all — and then won’t Mark and John be devastated?