The Pirates’ Gospel

by , under Blog Series, Books, Theology

Thought it would be good to catch people up a little on what I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks. As you’ll know if you’ve read here for any time, one of my areas of interest is around pirates and piracy. I posted a series entitled ‘A Plea for Christian Piracy’ some time ago which you can get to here (start at first post, obviously). That prompted quite a bit of discussion on various sites, which I rounded up into some links here.

Having taken the discussion about pirates a little further in the publication of Other (US version here) I felt as though I had probably done enough. However, things never quite work out that way, and a series of insights I’ve had recently a) through some psychotherapy and b) in conversations with Pete and others have led me to want to write a more comprehensive work on the place of pirates within our culture.

The basic thesis will be this: pirates emerge wherever cultures have become ‘blocked.’ This applies to the traditional idea of sea-faring pirates, who, as I’ve explored a little in Other, arose as a rebellion against the merchants and princes who enslaved them. They were victims of a blocked economic order, and their rebellion was an essential act of unblocking which eventually gave rise to a more equitable system.

Moreover, I’ll want to argue that this piratical act was part of the founding principle of America – called by some ‘the first pirate nation – and that this principle has been sadly lost. By exploring the phenomenal rise in media piracy I’ll examine how this has again occurred because of a blockage, and that tighter and tighter copyright laws and digital rights will do nothing to solve the problem. Indeed, if America is to regain something about the dream it seems to have lost, a return to piracy should be welcomed.

Finally though, my interest is in why pirates have remained so fascinating for children and parents alike. And, using some stuff from Star Wars and The Godfather, as well as some ‘dark inversions’ of parables, what the last part of the book will explore is the way that pirates gift us a way of unblocking the often difficult move from childhood to adulthood, and, by linking this to an atheistic view of the Christ event, we can see the pirate figure of Christ performing a radical act of theological unblocking too.

I currently don’t have a publisher for this as yet, but am talking to people about what I might do with it… which could end up a work of piracy in itself. But if you’re interested and would like to see it completed, then bombard me with encouragement and I’ll get off my ass to finish it. I mean, it’s only going to save the US from economic doldrums and the Western Church from certain death 😉 Can I get an ARRRRRR from you, you lubbers?!


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  1. Justa

    Please get this done! If you need any assistance with the editing and copywriting let me know for sure as well. I am a bit of a “pirate” myself now days and would love to assist you in your endeavor any way I can.

  2. Lynsay

    Sounds exciting. If you listen to music when you work, check out Alela Diane’s ‘Pirate’s Gospel’, we often listen to it in the car. (It’s on itunes.)

  3. Alistair Duncan

    Hi there Kester,

    Been lying a bit low for a bit. But your thinking on pirates and especially TAZ has always inspired me so looking forward to hearing more!!

    In fact my Greenbelt talk will definitely reference notions of TAZ and festival!

    Looking forward to a bit more contact again in the future!

    Alistair

  4. Duane

    This is much a needed work, necessitated by not only the individual and community but, even more gravely required as a counter-offensive towards all our societal institutions and structures as they now stand!

    Let the revolution begin! : )

    I will gladly lend aid and assistance in any way I can.

    Avast!

    Duane

  5. Jeff Gill

    Hi, Kester. I listened to your Wild Goose talk after Peter Rollins recommended it. It was excellent. Please write this book. I’ll buy it.

  6. chris

    Oddly enough, my school’s library just expanded the eBook section and I was trying to download Hakim Bey’s TAZ book but for some reason it wouldn’t work. I noticed from the cover sheet that the book had an anti-copyright so I just googled it and found a free version online. His anti-copyright unblocked my day.

    So with that said I think some form of un-copyright would be the appropriate way to go. I understand that these is probably less lucrative than a traditional publishing deal, perhaps you could do something like Radiohead did with “In Rainbows”?

  7. Luke

    Amazing. This book can’t come soon enough! Grateful for your work Kester! Hope the writing is fruitful.