“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”– Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776.
In the late 17th thru mid 18th centuries, piracy was the method of last resort for the downtrodden and dispossessed: men desperate for work; deserters from throughout the war-wracked Atlantic; runaway slaves seeking refuge from bondage; criminals (from debtors to cutthroats) escaping the long arm of the law. Today, pirates are most remembered through popular culture–as dashing rouges, foppish cross-dressers, menacing brigands and motley crews of mad men and degenerates. But the pirates and piracy of history were much more complex, individuals who chose the margins of society as preferable to the authoritarian rule of empires, creating a separate space where they sought to govern themselves through methods that were radical not only for their day, but our own.
“I’m sick of these m@thaf*ckin zombies on this m@thaf*ckin train!” utters Frederick Douglass, right before he begins slaying hordes of the undead with a shotgun and sword. Remember that part in history class? When Frederick Douglass slayed all those zombies? On a train? No? Good. Thank a public school teacher. The lines are actually part of a spoof trailer created by Ola Betiku, mocking the film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s minorly steampunk but majorly alternate-history monster feature Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter due out in theaters this weekend.