Perhaps the popularity of Caleb Crain's September 7 New Yorker review of Peter T. Leeson's "The Invisible Hook" guarantees that this year's International Talk Like a Pirate Day will prove the very best yet. The article paints a less frightening picture of those swashbuckling seafarers from the 18th century than we've absorbed through recent current events and movies apart from Pirates of the Caribbean. The saga sung short, courtesy of the article's pithy cartoon caption: "Pirates had strict but unconventional codes of behavior, and some historians claim them as early progressives--with democracy, economic fairness, racial tolerance, and even health care." Leeson goes on to describe how merchant sailors frequently welcomed pirate takeovers and often begged their captors to take them on as new recruits -- because pirate life was lucrative, more fun than theirs, and romantic, even then.
Our take: Little boys and girls never get over pirates. We know because we've seen 4-year-olds fence, walk the plank, and curse (in Piratese) better than Johnny Depp. They grow up, become academics, and study the very things that compelled them back when they still threw tantrums at the grocery store. Or they just toss on an eye patch, gird a plastic cutlass, and shiver their timbers all over town every 19th of September.
As we all know, the stylish semi-benevolent pirates literature and pop culture have invoked liked to party. Fake 30-something pirates playing dress-up are no exception. In honor of the dubious occasion taking place on Saturday, Yelp is all over the "scurviest spots" in town, dropping names like anchors, swabbing the deck so you -- whether you're masquerading as Jack Sparrow or an anonymous illiterate rum-drunk deck-hand -- don't have to. Have an Anchor Steam at The Buccaneer! Get a crab and avocado salad at Forbes Island! Do the tiki thing at Smuggler's Cove!
If you'd like to celebrate subtly (we know that's probably a hard thing to ask), we might we suggest a good seafood place -- like Fish -- you know, over in Marin. For a high-concept pirate experience, have a glimpse of the coin's proverbial other side and go to some places that will totally rip you off. Not that we'd know any.