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Pirates and Emperors
October 15, 2004 5:40 AM   Subscribe

Pirates and Emperors is the story of America's funding of terrorists (freedom fighters) put to music and animation, ala Schoolhouse Rock. It's a simple civics lesson that even elementary school kids, and our nation's highest leader, can understand. (link via BoingBoing)
posted by fleener (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
[This is good.]
posted by maniactown at 6:56 AM on October 15, 2004


What a load of total shite.
posted by ed\26h at 6:58 AM on October 15, 2004


It's no "Bush Killed Superman".

But it's close.
posted by dhoyt at 7:07 AM on October 15, 2004


What a load of total shite.
Care to share what's shite?
posted by twistedonion at 7:14 AM on October 15, 2004


What the term means or what I was referring to?
posted by ed\26h at 7:20 AM on October 15, 2004


What you were referring to.
posted by ao4047 at 7:22 AM on October 15, 2004


Do you have two accounts? - The video linked in the post.
posted by ed\26h at 7:25 AM on October 15, 2004


I know, I know, the truth hurts. Better to just call it shite and forget about it.
posted by fleener at 7:27 AM on October 15, 2004


Well, I don’t accept it to be the truth. And even if it were, that doesn’t prevent it from being shite.
posted by ed\26h at 7:30 AM on October 15, 2004


sorry - what's shite about the link

ie. in what respect do you feel that the video is shite? Is it the animation or the content?

If it's the animation, why? I think it's pretty good.

If it's the content, why? Pretty spot on I would say.

and no, I don't have two accounts. ao4047 just stated the obvious.
posted by twistedonion at 7:31 AM on October 15, 2004


Well, I don’t accept it to be the truth.

What's your truth then?
posted by twistedonion at 7:33 AM on October 15, 2004


Yep. As said above, what parts of the toon do you disagree with? Where do you think events are historically inaccurate?
posted by ao4047 at 7:41 AM on October 15, 2004


Yes, what's your version of history? Everything in that video is plain as day accepted by historians. The only question is whether you define the people the CIA funded as "terrorists" or "freedom fighters." Depends on which end of the guns and blades you're speaking from, I suppose.
posted by fleener at 7:42 AM on October 15, 2004


No, I don’t think it was badly made or animated – I’m not sure I could identify exactly why I thought it was shite, which is basically an elaborate way of saying I didn’t like it. Something to do with the fact is slightly “propagandarous” and I found it quite smug.

Where do you think events are historically inaccurate?

It’s not the premises I necessarily disagree with, just whether the conclusion actually follows.

What's your truth then?

How do you mean? I don’t believe that truth is relative if that’s what you’re asking.
posted by ed\26h at 7:46 AM on October 15, 2004


OK, so if you agree with the facts presented, what is it about the conclusion do you disagree with?
posted by fleener at 8:01 AM on October 15, 2004


MeTa
posted by dhoyt at 8:07 AM on October 15, 2004


Well, the reason I don’t accept the conclusion is because it doesn’t follow from the premises. While I understand this is simply a “bit of fun” I don’t think it would be wise to accept it as a valid argument – but anyway, we seem to be digressing somewhat. I was asked why I called it shite, it’s because I really dislike things like this, even if they were to “work” in a logical sense.
posted by ed\26h at 8:22 AM on October 15, 2004


I was asked why I called it shite, it’s because I really dislike things like this, even if they were to “work” in a logical sense.

Cheers, that's the answer i was looking for.

Bias and propaganda are everywhere and in everything. Nothing is impartial - it is all shite. But, saying that, the whole pirates analogy is something I think people should look at more. History does repeat. We are creatures of habit - up to the same old tricks again. Nice if you are part of the Empire but horrible if you are a pirate, terrorist etc...
posted by twistedonion at 8:38 AM on October 15, 2004


While I understand this is simply a “bit of fun”

I hardly think the intent behind producing this was to have "a bit of fun."
posted by rushmc at 8:49 AM on October 15, 2004


Waiter, this thread is horrible. Please send it back to the kitchen.
posted by chrid at 8:58 AM on October 15, 2004


Twisted: No problem. But you should probably now ask manictown.

Rush: Niggah please.
posted by ed\26h at 9:00 AM on October 15, 2004


who or what is manictown?
posted by twistedonion at 9:16 AM on October 15, 2004


[This is good.]
posted by maniactown at 6:56 AM PST on October 15

posted by ed\26h at 9:26 AM on October 15, 2004


Slightly long and preachy, but the animation is really outstanding in the amount of detail and creativity shown. Most of these Schoolhouse Rock sendups are absolutely molar-grindingly painful to watch, but this has tons of marvelous details: the dot matrix printer cranking out US Government payroll checks for Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, the red-white-and-blue television "framing" death squads as freedom fighters, and much more. A very professional piece of work. More heavy-handed and a good deal less satirically biting and effective than the original Simpsons 'Constitutional Amendment' parody, but technically and creatively damn fine.

Of course, reposting from boingboing is almost always an easy way to get a good post, it's been prefiltered as it were.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:53 AM on October 15, 2004


Good link! Thanks, fleener.
posted by homunculus at 10:46 AM on October 15, 2004


I thought this was excellent. For the animation and music if nothing else. The animation, in particular, is really excellent and creative (the media filter of the all-American TV, the bars that spell "law," the Abu Gharib sign).
posted by rafter at 11:18 AM on October 15, 2004


Meh.

I actually agree with the larger point, and thought the animation was pretty well done. But I have to agree that it doesn't really work, and I'll give some specifics as to why.

I agree the that the role played by America in Nicaragua is shameful, but I think it's an oversimplification to claim it's the *same* role suggested in the immediately preceding Pirate/Emperor bit. Namely it's *not* a direct application of force to gain physical goods or territory. Not that you can't make a connection, but to claim they're identical historical roles denies that power and force have evolved over historical time, which I see as a disservice to those who would understand and learn from history.

Similarly with our (also shameful) relations with Hussein, Noreiega, etc.

Enough of that. I'm only disappointed because the very beginning, when they just stuck with the Pirates/Emperors deal, was great. I just thought they lost their way in trying to wax didactic about American foreign policy.

The anti-duck bit was great though.
posted by freebird at 1:32 PM on October 15, 2004


I loved it--very well done, and clearly explained. (and adorable, of course)

I think it's more about us using our might than about how we did it--the end results are the same, no? Which ties into the whole pirate-emperor thing.
posted by amberglow at 2:59 PM on October 15, 2004


it's more about us using our might than about how we did it--the end results are the same, no?

I'd say no, though it's certainly a subtle issue. But I'd argue we don't use *our* might in the situations discussed, we used *other people's* might. And sure, we used our economic might to get them to use their physical might, but we're already (at least) two step removed from the Piracy it starts with: we're talking about political/economic power rather than physical, and we're talking about proxy vs. direct violence. I think these are meaningful distinctions.

Yes, there are some end results that are the same - someone get's oppressed/killed/robbed, we perhaps are "corrupted". But to claim that the means by which this occurs is - I think - dangerously simplistic. It lends emphasis to the Ends over the Means, a favorite trick of Bad Guys throughout the ages.

So, it being "about us using our might" instead of "how we did it" is essentially saying "we did some bad stuff, pirates did some bad stuff, therefore we are similar to Pirates". Arguably true, but I think less useful and interesting than looking at how power and its uses evolve.

I'm splitting hairs I know. Like I said I realize these aren't clear-cut issues, and I liked the animation itself. I actually am just trolling to get someone to attack my use of the the word "evolve" in relation to historical power.
posted by freebird at 3:35 PM on October 15, 2004


I actually am just trolling to get someone to attack my use of the the word "evolve" in relation to historical power.

well, keep it up, then. : >
posted by amberglow at 5:52 PM on October 15, 2004


Youse guys is no fun. You don't want to argue about using the concept of evolution in relation to political history, you don't want to discuss the extent to which the means and context of power define it, what the hell do you all do for fun on a friday night?
posted by freebird at 8:28 PM on October 15, 2004


watch Jon Stewart on Crossfire? ; >
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on October 15, 2004


If I wear a bowtie will you play?
Hey - I'm bad for America! I'm a dick on anyone's show!
posted by freebird at 8:52 PM on October 15, 2004


lol!
(you're right, and make good points, but it's been a long week, and very grey, blah day here, so i for one, only have brainpower left to link stuff at most, and type smileys)
posted by amberglow at 8:56 PM on October 15, 2004


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