Monday, February 10, 2014

Some thoughts on Starz Black Sails



“I will leave this go for now, miss. Shall we continue with our reading of the life of Anne Bonny?”
“Oh yes, Captain Papa! Anne Bonny would never tattle on the crew, would she?” Mattie sat up on her knees, her nightshirt tangled in the bedclothes.
“Under the covers with you, so you don’t catch a chill, and then if Miss Burke will adjust the lantern we will read.”
Mattie hurriedly climbed beneath the quilt, folding her hands atop the covers and looking like a curly topped cherub, a cherub wanting stories of mayhem and murder.
“Now, where were we—did we talk about Anne’s special friend, Mary Read?”
Mattie shook her head, her eyes wide. “The other girl pirate, Papa?”
“Yes, and we’ll read more of her later. But for now you need to know Mary and Anne were the best of friends. Anne was loyal, and as you say, would not peach on another pirate. More than that, when they were finally captured, she and Mary fought back to back against the seaman boarding their vessel. Anne was not the captain, but was the lover of “Calico Jack” Rackam. We’ll read more of Captain Rackam another night, but suffice it to say he came to a bad end, and it was largely of his own doing. Anne said of him on the day of his execution that, ‘if he had fought like a man, he need not have been hanged like a dog.’”
--The Pirate's Secret Baby (March 2014)

I've been watching this latest Starz offering since it premiered, and I'm still not sold on it. I like the character of Long John Silver as a young (and two-legged) pirate, but the rest of it bothers me in the way much of made-for-cable TV bothers me. Lots of naked ladies, but remarkably shy about showing full-frontal males, violence against women (yes, there's violence against men too, but it's not non-consensual sex), but my biggest complaint so far is the portrayal of Anne Bonny.

What we've seen of Anne Bonny is a woman who hides behind her hair and a hat pulled down low over her face, stays in the shadows, whispers, doesn't lean forward. That's not the Anne Bonny history's given us, and I'm concerned Starz will offer us an Anne Bonny who's written to appeal to young males threatened by strong, independent women who didn't need a man by their side to make their mark as pirates.

I hope I'm wrong, but given what I've seen so far, I'm not optimistic.

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