Betteridge’s Law of Wokery

The Buccaneers embody Tampa’s love of pirates. Is that a problem?

No.

But wait, there’s more:

When the National Football League expanded to 28 teams in 1973, the league awarded Tampa an expansion team, prompting a name-the-team contest in 1975. “Buccaneers” won, a reference to the pirates who frequented the coasts of Florida in the 17th and 18th centuries. But team executives wanted the logo to be a “classy” pirate — a cross between Robin Hood, Errol Flynn, the musketeer D’Artagnan and pirate Jean Lafitte. It was a logo the team maintained until 1997 when they switched to a more aggressive, menacing Jolly Roger.

The last time the Jolly Roger was aggressive and menacing rather than a mildly amusing children’s joke, the year started with “18”.

Yet, while this celebration of piracy seems like innocent fun and pride in a local culture, there is danger in romanticizing ruthless cutthroats who created a crisis in world trade when they captured and plundered thousands of ships on Atlantic trade routes between the Americas, Africa and Great Britain.

Stop right there. Just stop.

Why? Because it takes these murderous thieves who did terrible things — like locking women and children in a burning church — and makes them a symbol of freedom and adventure, erasing their wicked deeds from historical memory. These were men (and women) who willingly participated in murder, torture and the brutal enslavement of Africans and Indigenous peoples.

Ok, there we go. You’re a racist. We’re all racist.

Is there a Microsoft Word macro thingy to run to automatically churn this formulaic bollocks out?

Start Menu/Setttings/System Updates/Install Microsoft Word Wokerator Plug-in.

There then follows a potted summary of some selected elements of nautical history, utterly irrelevant to a game of American Football.

Perhaps time has dulled us to the atrocities committed by these 17th and 18th century outlaws. Or perhaps it’s the fact that if pirates of the Golden Age were bloodthirsty, so too were the nations who opposed them. They willingly and purposefully massacred millions of African and Indigenous peoples in the name of colonization. Pirates, then, are seen as romantic heroes — the underdogs fighting the establishment — whom historian Marcus Rediker refers to as proto-democratic, egalitarian and multicultural.

Should we celebrate their complicated legacy? It’s a question Tampa Bay has to contend with as we collectively contemplate other major sports mascots with dubious legacies, like their Super Bowl rivals in Kansas City.

Bill’s Opinion

Don’t invite Jamie H. Goodall to a Superbowl Party and for fucksake don’t ask for her opinion about Halloween.

2 Replies to “Betteridge’s Law of Wokery”

  1. I couldn’t find the Wokerator plug-in and I’m not going to test my skills against the highly competent Cde. Goodall who can obviously generate woke prose as effortlessly as a well cared-for, respected and nurtured green ecosystem. The sports team The Sharks comes to mind. Predatory, trampling on the rights of the lower species in a manner that is abhorrently capitalist,
    privilege, a total lack of consent on the part of other members of the food chain, the patriarchy that compels sharks who identify as female to present a larger phenotype than males in an endless struggle for the equality that has been denied them, bereft of maternity leave, reproductive rights or even a half-way decent dental plan. Why couldn’t they just have called themselves the Angel Fish?

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