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Pirates vs. Ninjas

There is a longstanding controversy on which many heated debates have been raged all around us. For many readers, my opinion on this subject is long overdue. At every step I hear the masses clamoring for my decision. (For those for whom my opinion is completely superfluous and un-asked-for, I make a humble offering of my middlemost appendage.) For the rest of you, the few, the many, the proud, the readers of this website, I offer my discourse on the age-old battle of PIRATES VS. NINJAS.

          As you will divine from my writing, I have already chosen sides, and am arguing accordingly. Even so, we must consider all sides of this argument, and the respective merits and deficiencies of pirates and ninjas in a variety of spheres, or categories, or spherical categories.

To begin, there are (number) different categories in which to rate our subjects.

The Rough and Ready Pirates and ninjas are both known for their toughness, difficulty to kill, and readiness for action. However, their rough and ready is stemmed from different roots. Ninjas are countable as rough because they are tough, and the two come hand in hand. Their toughness (defined here as resistance to being killed) is a result of many years of intensive training. They are ready simply because they have been trained for every possible outcome. Pirates, on the other hand, have rough and ready as more of a general disposition. They are rough in every sense of the word: tough, swarthy, grizzled, crude, stubbly. Because they have no specific training--they're just sort of making it up as they go along--they are in some ways more ready for anything than even ninjas. They must expect the unexpected and be ready for--whatever. They take things as they come with one objective in mind: Get Loot.

Kill Count Here the ninjas have the obvious advantage. Ninjas must be highly effective killing machines just to make it through ninja school. In their favor, pirates are ruthless and may kill on whim, where ninjas only kill those of whom they are hired to dispose. However, ninjas kill A LOT. Generally, that's their objective. Pirates just want to loot, and killing comes as an unavoidable by-product. And when ninjas want to kill someone, they DO it. The guy is dead before he knows there's anyone else in the house. Pirates would be more likely to kill someone in a fight, or accidentally swing their cutlass through some innocent bystanders whilst attempting to loot a poor village, and not care.
Winner: Ninjas

Fashion Sense This is not only a battle of pirate duds vs. basic black but individuality vs. conformity. Ninjas are all in black, all the same. Granted, this helps them do their job (try sneaking up on anyone in bright red bandana and bangle bracelets) and protects their identity, important in the assassination field. But the ninjas really have no identity. They're all perfect killing machines... all of them. One is interchangable for another. For me, it's Ants Syndrome. When you see one ant, he's kinda cool. Cute, even. But when you see a lot of them, all crawling different ways, it's gross. Same with ninjas. When you see one perfect killing machine, it's cool. But a lot of them, all the same, and it's not that cool anymore. They're a dime a dozen.
          Pirates don't run the risk of losing coolness if there's a lot of them because they're all different. They're all their own person. Even within the realm of pirates, there are many different types and styles of dress, from the Fashionable Sophisticated Dandy to the Lowly Scurvy Grog-guzzling Bestubbled Grunt, to the Crazy Old Pirate Captain With A Pegleg And A Hook And A Glass Eye And A Million Stories. You can mix, you can match, you can create your own. Be your own pirate!
Winner: Pirates

Boss-Employee Relations Like countless Americans, I'm not really clear on what a ninja is. Sometimes I get them confused with samurai. But here's how I see it: Ninjas are mercenaries, so they go from boss to boss, being paid to kill so-and-so. When under a certain boss, they give complete loyalty. They would commit suicide before divulging mission information. If their boss orders them to commit suicide, they do that too without a peep.
          Pirates are mercenaries, too. At least, they're mercenary. They work for profit and profit only. Mostly, piracy is a "look out for number one" type deal. Your captain won't look out for you particularly, except enough to keep you from mutinying, and you only look out for your captain insomuch as he causes the whole outfit to be profitable in the first place. If he gets too out of line, or doesn't make enough money, you can always mutiny (as a whole crew) or just leave (as an individual). (Though leaving may be tough if you're out on the high seas. You might find yourself dead first.) Ninjas don't have the option of backing out or changing the people in power, since their code (BUSHIDO, unless I'm mistaken) dictates crazy amounts of honor and loyalty.
Winner (Company Loyalty and Smooth Workplace Transactions): Ninjas
Winner (Possbility for Promotion and Fringe Benefits): Pirates

Focus on Objectives Pirates have a lot on their minds. Though their basic objective (Get Loot) is clear, there's a lot of thought that goes into making sure they get the most loot possibe. At all times, they must be thinking about their captain--is he the right captain for me? Is he getting us enough loot? Am I getting a big enough share of that loot? Is the captain, or any other crew member, going to kill me? Am I going to kill the captain, or any other crew member? Do others on the crew feel the way I do? Is mutiny an option? How are other crews doing? Would it be more profitable to join another crew? Not to mention their fashion qualms. Is the "one-earring" look right for me? Red or blue bandana? Tri-cornered hat--cool or tacky? Am I attracted to members of my own sex? What if I had a parrot?
          Ninjas have their clothes decided for them (it's black or nothin'), their mission set out and their pay non-negotiable. Because they have utter loyalty to their higher-ups, they don't waste any time second-guessing their superiors' decisions. They just carry out their mission.
Winner: Ninjas

Profitability Anyone who hires ninjas has to be rich, like that guy in the James Bond book. (That was kickass, by the way.) They're a pricy bunch. However, they are a bunch. You're going to end up hiring assloads of ninjas. Dividing up all the pay, they get maybe the equivalent of ten pounds an hour. If they're lucky. Pirates, on the other hand, are all about profitability. If they're not making what they'd like to, they find another crew. Why the hell not? That or kill the captain, if his strategies are unprofitable, or he's keeping too much of the loot for himself. Likewise, the captain makes sure he has the smallest crew possible to carry out his missions, so the loot doesn't have to be divided as many ways. Really profitable pirating outfits won't want to take on any new crew members, if they're doing fine the way they are. There's a lot of factors, really. Damn! I just had a great idea for the Maxis corportation! SIM PIRATE!
Winner: Pirates

Fun Factor Let's face it, being a pirate is just more fun than being a ninja. Ninjas require a lot of schooling and often have to give their own lives for the greater good. Who wants that? Pirates are just looking out for their own best interests, so they have more money, and do more of what they want, more of the time. True, there's a higher chance of you being killed by one of your co-workers, bosses, or numerous enemies. But if you survive, you've got a tidy pension to have fun on for the rest of your life. And in the meantime, looting and pillaging is just good times.
Winner: Pirates

Overall Winner: I think the numbers speak for themselves.

For more hot ninja and pirate action, check out my consideration of ninjas and pirates in a variety of everday situations.


- Laura