Pirates

Possum is 6 years 10 months

Bandicoot is 6 years 8 months

Little Possum is 2 years 2 months

I really don’t understand the pirate phenomenon.  Pirates are bad.  They are really bad.  They do really bad things.

I have no desire for my children to role play “terrorists”.  I don’t want them to play “rape and kill”.  Why would I want them to play pirates?

And yet, pirates are everywhere in children’s entertainment these days.  Regularly my kids are invited to “pirate parties”.  Almost every boat toy you see has to have a skull and cross-bones emblazoned on it.  Why is that?  Why can’t they just be sailors?

Pirates are not cute.  Pirates are not fun.  Pirates are not romantic. Pirate treasure does not belong to them… it is stolen goods.  (I don’t want my kids to be thieves or trade in stolen goods, either.)

DH and I feel very strongly about this.

Whenever pirate things arrive in our house they disappear.  We explain to our kids why pirates are not acceptable role models, even for pretending.

And then the boys caught a QANTAS flight to Adelaide.

Thank you, QANTAS for feeling Disney’s, “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” was suitable entertainment for our kids.

The boys fell in love.  They told us about it in great length.  They had really enjoyed the adventure and Captain Hook, whilst Disneyed, was the baddy.  Okay, so it is a glossed up kids’ show, but you still wouldn’t want to be on Captain Hook’s team.

They have begged and begged, and this weekend, in the supermarket, we finally relented and bought them a “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” DVD (it was on special).

I thought I knew “Peter Pan”.  Not fully, I am – looking forward to reading it again soon – but some idea of the story.  Apparently not.  At least, not this version.

The kids are pirates!  The kids are pirates?  Really?  Barrie must be turning in his grave!  I know I am having a turn.

I can’t see anything in the story line that actually requires them to be pirates.  The kids don’t seem to behave like pirates.  The story would work just as well if they were sailors or adventureurs.  But no.  That is not acceptable these days.  Everything must be pirates.

I am so bitterly disappointed in you, Disney.  I am so bitterly disappointed.

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One Response to “Pirates”

  1. Sam-O Says:

    Being the perpetrator of several of those pirate parties, I felt I should comment…

    My big picture view:
    Good and evil are concepts that represent the essential rules of behaviour in society.
    For good to exist, evil must also exist.
    For every good guy there must be a bad guy.
    It’s all about balance and communication.

    Goodie vs Baddie play is extremely important for children’s development.

    There have been studies (OK I don’t have the studies to hand but I spent a semester on this in the psychology aspects of my degree) that show that kids that are not exposed to good and evil in literature and movies are more likely to be depressed. It’s natural for mentally healthy kids to be preoccupied with stories of good vs bad. Its about them gaining a sense of control. It can mean knowing that they are not helpless because they can control at least some of the “baddies” within them self and the world is less scary.

    All of that said, the stylised bad guy pirate from the 1600-1700′s is a great example of that and I love seeing my kids play pirates (as well as star wars rebel vs empire, cops and robbers, etc) but I totally agree with you about Jake and the Neverland pirates. Terrible mixed messages. I think this represents the predominantly American watering down of good and bad in Kids entertainment. They’ve watered it down so much they have confused the issue. What Jakes pirates do well is cooperate, work as a team, be good friends, use their special skills to get the job done and they never treat Captain Hook badly. I think as a parent our job is to make sure our kids notice those things and the simple way around the “good guy” pirates is summed up by my 6 year old;

    “Captain Hook and his crew are real pirates and not nice. Jakes friends are kids pretending to be pirates.”

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