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Calling All Liverpool-Area Pirates

A recent trip to England deposited me briefly in Liverpool. It was a surprisingly good place to visit, the Beatles notwithstanding, with compelling architecture old and new, good street life, and the nicely redeveloped Albert Dock. I hadn’t known just how wealthy Liverpool once was, a shipping center that profited greatly from the slave trade. Its Maritime Museum was excellent (and free, btw); it includes a floor devoted to the slave trade. Most important, the museum advertised this important event:

I can only hope the Mersey Pirate Muster is keeping up with the news, because it appears that the Northern California Pirate Festival set a new Guinness record just last week, with 2,646 “pirates” in attendance.
With so much energy sunk into fantastical pursuits, might one conclude that our economic doldrums aren’t as severe as widely held? Or, conversely, that tough times demand an outlet for cheap pleasure? Or perhaps that high unemployment is good for pirate gatherings?