The Somali Pirates' Guide to Flourishing Without Getting Killed by America

Now that the Somali Pirates have been decisively...killed, their fellow pirates are vowing to "retaliate." Oh geez. Hey guys, pirates—you're going about this the wrong way. Follow this friendly advice, before you're all destroyed:

  • Do not fuck with America any more: If you do, you will be totally wiped off the map, okay? Just don't.
  • More hippie, less terroristy: The reason you pirates became folk heroes in the first place was, 1. you weren't fucking with Americans (see above), and 2. because you embodied a certain sort of free-living ideal that appealed to average Americans trapped by American suburban luxury. If you can believe it! The guns and things should be props, just for show, not something you use to actually shoot people. Be the new Merry Pranksters, not the new Al-Qaeda.
  • You must regain the affection of the media: Look, the US media is by and large a big herd of sheep, led by a few wolves. Everyone in the media is afraid to be a contrarian, except for the handful of professional contrarians, who are ignored. When some shit like the kidnapping of the Captain incident happens, it becomes a contest to see which media outlet can most strenuously condemn you. For chrissake, even the NYT and the New Yorker have lost their sense of bemusement and bleeding heartism about the pirate situation. They're agreeing with Glenn Beck, like this was 9/11.
    Well, fuck that. What you must do, pirates, is to cultivate a few loud voices who aren't afraid to steer the rest of the sheeplike media back towards a more understanding point of view. It's a classic PR strategy. Turn one reporter and watch the rest follow. Make friends with some of those ragged East African correspondents. Give some exclusives. They'll love you for it! The rote rewriters stateside will defer to those on the scene—your new friends. So play nice.
  • Think like a 21st century capitalist, not an 18th century one: Piracy, really? It's cool and everything, but the money in piracy is not in holding boats for ransom. Your time has run out on that. Nations are now officially pissed. Soon you will start getting dead from doing the hijacking thing. So think bigger: exploit the pirate fantasy for cash. Look how well Disney's done with it. And you're much cooler than Disney.
    The time has come to move into pirate merchandising, pirate experiential tourism, pirate speaking tours, and all the other lucrative spinoffs of your pirate "brand" that don't involve being shot by Navy SEAL snipers. Hello, US college campus speaking tour, complete with t-shirt sales, a hastily recorded CD of pirate songs, and a pitch for weeklong excursions on a genuine pirate boat off the Somali coast, only $3,999? And television, guys. Television! Spike TV just ordered up a reality show called Pirate Hunters about the US Navy hunting you down. A reality show starring the pirates would get five times the ratings. There are plenty of Hollywood agents willing to fly to Somalia to make this happen. You guys can corner the pirate fantasy market in a year. Get off those skiffs and get on it.
  • Smile: You're pirates. Just be nice ones, and you'll be able to rip off Westerners with no machine gun necessary.