David Thomsen

Future Pirates Speculation

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18 minutes ago, Maxim I said:

So what you are saying: I enjoyed those sets as kid and I grew up perfectly fine, but the kids nowadays they should not be allowed to do so, because I as an adult find it offensive? Adults tend to forget that the kids mind is innocent and not as troubled of an adults one. And that kids see those islanders as something complete different then how we see them in real (based on our historical knowledge). 

What we also tend to forget as adults, most of those elements were a real aspect of some of those native societies.

It's not just about "growing up fine". I was not offended by them, but I was also a white American kid playing with figures that (poorly) represented cultures that were entirely foreign to me. My brother even dressed up as King Kahuka for Halloween (I was an Imperial Guard)—the costumes were well-made and all, but looking back, a nerdy white kid dressing up as a minifigure with a grass skirt, tribal mask, and tooth necklace is a pretty bad look as far as cultural sensitivity is concerned.

Then you get into what markets or demographics ARE likely to view something like that as offensive, and realize that even if Lego were to release the sets in spite of them having legitimate complaints about the content (which again, is not something that they ought to do given their company values), they would effectively be ruling those groups out as likely purchasers. As a global company, that isn't exactly the smartest move.
 

9 minutes ago, x105Black said:

Islanders weren't referencing any particular community in the real world, as far as I know.  They were just the Islanders of the Pirates world.

The islanders weren't specifically referencing any one culture, that much is true. However, that doesn't really make them any less of a stereotype—in fact, that inaccurate sort of mishmash is pretty typical of the sort of broad-strokes stereotypes of island cultures that tended to pop up as natives, "savages," or even "headhunters" in many traditional pirate stories. These sorts of gross inaccuracies to any real-world culture are not a savvy move to avoid misrepresenting real-world cultures, but rather a broader misreprentation of multiple, distinct cultures from the perspective of historical colonial powers.

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@Lyichir is exactly right. Lego is a global brand, and that level of stereotyping across various cultures from whom current Lego buyers are descended would be counter-productive. The CMF representation that has been done makes better sense. Now Lego could do themes based on the real cultures without harming anyone's sensibilities, but that would have to wait for the jungle explorer City sub-theme to have ended its run.

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So, no one likes the idea I'd previously suggested, having the Islanders be the protagonists of the theme? :shrug_confused:

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1 hour ago, Digger of Bricks said:

So, no one likes the idea I'd previously suggested, having the Islanders be the protagonists of the theme? :shrug_confused:

Didn't Bionicle already do that? :tongue:

In all seriousness, I wouldn't mind something like that, though I'm not sure LEGO would make a "Pirates" theme (even under another name) where the pirates aren't the main characters. Pirates are the iconic "hook" (no pun intended) for many kids around the world to even develop an interest in the whole genre of swashbuckling seafarers. You look at how few pirate-focused movies there are today than in the past — now, as much as I loved Moana, just think about how many fewer islander-focused movies there are.

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6 minutes ago, Aanchir said:

You look at how few pirate-focused movies there are today than in the past — now, as much as I loved Moana, just think about how many fewer islander-focused movies there are.

Moana is exactly what I had in mind, but also, James Cameron's Avatar. I guess this wouldn't be a Pirates theme exactly, but I proposed on this topic's previous page an idea for more of an action/adventure theme, one which focuses on native islanders defending their land from Imperial Colonists. If perhaps that scenario hits too close to home, perhaps it instead could be set up more as a fantasy theme, with a lot more fantastical elements thrown into there to throw off the realism of the premise just a little.

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Islanders don't "need" to be done again, and I would really prefer other things within the Pirates theme. I'd be happy with a Pirates-specific take on Medieval Market Village, preferably with common people and not actual pirate minifigs. Wishful thinking... I'll have to build my own. :classic:

Edited by Captain Dee

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The problem is that real cultures that people still identify themselves as belonging to were denigrated by many of those stereotypes, as an excuse for persecution, slavery, and murder. It makes more business sense to avoid the argument altogether.

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The real issue is perpetuating antiquated and racist stereotypes.

Indigenous Pacific Tribes mostly still exist, some have lost everything to invaders except their traditions, and are extraordinarily different in aesthetics and cultures. Not to mention some of these cultures are dying because of dwindling populations, lack of land and resources, and assimilation into main stream cultures such as in Hawaii. 

A homogenized mish mash of various pacific cultures in a generic 1940's esque depiction of a native pacific islander is woefully uncouth today. Its disrespectful.

I do think however it is the wrong move to entirely dismiss the idea of sets based around native peoples, it just should be done with a certain level of respect. 

Lego could still have sets around or with representatives of a Native group but they need to pick one cultural region and be faithful to their culture.

One of the Hawaiian Islands would be a good pick, given the history of the British in that region. 

Include a page or two of educational facts in the instruction booklet. 

Make it a teaching moment. 

Address the impact of Imperialism and Colonization.

In fact if Lego wants to make a statement, make the good guys the islanders and the bad guys an invading European Army, with maybe some pirates as the "allies" of the islanders. 

~

Imagine Maori Warriors with the tattoo extended to even arm printing fighting really well printed British Redcoats?

We could get some incredible minifigures with a more history minded theme. 

Edited by Forresto

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7 hours ago, Forresto said:

I do think however it is the wrong move to entirely dismiss the idea of sets based around native peoples

Agreed.

Look to the CMFs for some examples:

Image result for lego cmf tikiImage result for lego cmf aztec

I would love to see sets concerning "Islanders" with minifigures like these.  I think the CMF series has done a good job of representing these people.

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I own the fig on the right, and could see an Aztec Empires theme, but focused on the pre-colonial era. The native peoples of North, Central, and South America have enough rich history, and internal conflict, that Europeans don't even need to be a part of it.

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14 minutes ago, gedren_y said:

I own the fig on the right, and could see an Aztec Empires theme, but focused on the pre-colonial era. The native peoples of North, Central, and South America have enough rich history, and internal conflict, that Europeans don't even need to be a part of it.

It could be a stand-alone theme, but would work well enough as a reboot of the Islanders sub theme of Pirates.

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But we still forget we live in a fantasyworld. We connect the red coats to the British, but that is us doing that. I don’t see why anyone should be stepped on his toes for seeing those natives being depicted wrong, as those natives have no real world identity. 

I have checked again, in none of those islander sets, an imperial power is visible. It is just about pirates and islanders. Not about colonisation, oppression, ... .

Once again, it is us as adults who connect those elements with eachother, with no reason at all...

Edited by Maxim I

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On 17/03/2018 at 2:09 AM, Forresto said:

In fact if Lego wants to make a statement, make the good guys the islanders and the bad guys an invading European Army, with maybe some pirates as the "allies" of the islanders.

So you're arguing for better representation for island natives, while at the same time suggesting the pirates be depicted as the good guys/allies? 

I actually agree with @Maxim I. I don't understand why we always need to be stepping on eggshells whenever discussing these topics.

 

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56 minutes ago, Maxim I said:

But we still forget we live in a fantasyworld. We connect the red coats to the British, but that is us doing that. I don’t see why anyone should be stepped on his toes for seeing those natives being depicted wrong, as those natives have no real world identity. 

I have checked again, in none of those islander sets, an imperial power is visible. It is just about pirates and islanders. Not about colonisation, oppression, ... .

Once again, it is us as adults who connect those elements with eachother, with no reason at all...

Its more a matter of representation.

The European military uniform, while sometimes radically different in detail, was relatively homogenized by the standards of that day.

No army is dressed in 18th century fashion, no one to misrepresent really. They came, they're gone. I'm a history buff so I care but most don't. 

Its a matter of repeating the same ignorant homogenization/generalization of tribal cultures that led to this being thought okay.

kong.jpg

When instead you could have sets based in reality that's really awesome and respects tribal people. 

Like the Aztec Warrior we got from the Minifigures Lineup!

On March 16, 2018 at 9:43 PM, x105Black said:

Image result for lego cmf aztec

8 minutes ago, Lord Buckethead said:

So you're arguing for better representation for island natives, while at the same time suggesting the pirates be depicted as the good guys/allies? 

I actually agree with @Maxim I. I don't understand why we always need to be stepping on eggshells whenever discussing these topics.

Eh, it has some historical precedent. More like a neutral third party.

I don't think we need to step on eggshells at all. 

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2 hours ago, Forresto said:

Its more a matter of representation.

The European military uniform, while sometimes radically different in detail, was relatively homogenized by the standards of that day.

No army is dressed in 18th century fashion, no one to misrepresent really. They came, they're gone. I'm a history buff so I care but most don't. 

Its a matter of repeating the same ignorant homogenization/generalization of tribal cultures that led to this being thought okay.

kong.jpg

When instead you could have sets based in reality that's really awesome and respects tribal people. 

Like the Aztec Warrior we got from the Minifigures Lineup!

Eh, it has some historical precedent. More like a neutral third party.

I don't think we need to step on eggshells at all. 

Please just type:

”traditional island tribe” in Google. I don’t see any difference between those pictures (Indonesian tribes for example) and the minifig islanders... 

The islanders in the Lego world are not specific related to any existent or extinct tribe. 

I do agree that it would be wonderfull to have those islanders culture to be worked out by Lego, but it still is a toys play, with innocent made-up factions and tribes etc...

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I suppose from an ethical viewpoint, Pirates vs Islanders wouldn't really be any different to kids playing Cowboys and Indians. Nobody ever bats an eyelid about that so maybe bringing back Pirates with an Islanders faction wouldn't really be so bad.

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I think it would be better to be specific and faithful to real cultures than to perpetuate a stereotype. The argument about the Lego Pirates world being a fictional place only holds water if the children are made to understand this up front. That is unlikely without a major media campaign.

4 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

I suppose from an ethical viewpoint, Pirates vs Islanders wouldn't really be any different to kids playing Cowboys and Indians. Nobody ever bats an eyelid about that so maybe bringing back Pirates with an Islanders faction wouldn't really be so bad.

Representatives from the Native American nations care.

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What was the story behind the Islanders? I always understood it as Pirates trying to steal the natives treasures. But the islanders really were bad stereotypes in hindsight. Not because they mixed cultures, but because they mixed them in a bad and cheap way (In a film I would claim that somebody just took from the props department what he could find).

I mean, Mayincatecs are still somehow accepted by most people and putting them in a fantasy unvierse on some islands that are visited by pirates shouldn't be much of a problem (Of course some people will complain, but  some people will also complain about priates being to violent).

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10 hours ago, gedren_y said:

The argument about the Lego Pirates world being a fictional place only holds water if the children are made to understand this up front. That is unlikely without a major media campaign.

Great idea!

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If Pirates were to come back in 2019 with some sort of wacky twist (i.e. Castle and Nexo Knights), I think that they could get away with an "Islander" type faction. Granted, most of you probably wouldn't like it, but that's the best way I can think of to bring them back with today's modern standards. I mean, we all remember the Jabba's Palace debacle, right? :laugh:

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I think if Pirates do return it will most likely just be another short lived homage to the original sets like we saw in 2015. They will probably just recycle the usual ideas again and have Pirates vs either Red or Blue Coats. There would most likely be a ship with red striped sails, a fort and various small ship wreck defense style sets.

As much as I would like to see a more in depth Pirate theme with Islanders and other factions, I think Lego will most likely stick to the stereotype kids idea of Pirates with peg legs, parrots, buried treasure etc. They could re-invent it completely and give it the Nexo Knights treatment but I think personally I'd prefer them to stick with the usual style rather than any kind of futuristic makeover.

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I'd really like to see the islanders return, but unfortunately I just don't think it's going to happen. I mean there are people who think it's offensive when a little Caucasian girl dresses up as Moana, so an islanders theme, no matter how well done or how accurate just won't sit well with a lot of people. It's a shame but I understand that it's in Lego's best interests to avoid any controversy whatsoever, no matter how stupid the claims are.

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2 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

They could re-invent it completely and give it the Nexo Knights treatment but I think personally I'd prefer them to stick with the usual style rather than any kind of futuristic makeover.

Of course, I'd be up for a "big bang" Pirates theme myself, but only if it took a high fantasy route instead of a sci-fi one, more like 2007's Castle theme and less like Nexo Knights. If you are going to incorporate technology into a historical genre, make it characteristic of the projections of that time period, and less like currently relatable smartphone-esque technology. 

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1 hour ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Of course, I'd be up for a "big bang" Pirates theme myself, but only if it took a high fantasy route instead of a sci-fi one, more like 2007's Castle theme and less like Nexo Knights. If you are going to incorporate technology into a historical genre, make it characteristic of the projections of that time period, and less like currently relatable smartphone-esque technology. 

As said already a few times, the futuristic pirate stuff was simply called: Ninjago (remember the pirate subtheme they did 2 years ago).

The whole Aztec culture thing has be done as well: Legends of Chima

The undead pirates: Pirates of the Carribean (Silent Mary recently).

I really hope for a classic Pirates line.

What I find remarkable is that Playmobil has a non-stop Pirate line (with multiple vessels being sold at the same time), but somehow, Lego doesn't find it interesting enough (even they got a whole Pirate section at Legoland).

 

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6 minutes ago, Maxim I said:

As said already a few times, the futuristic pirate stuff was simply called: Ninjago (remember the pirate subtheme they did 2 years ago).

If Lego though did go the way of the "big bang" theme for Pirates, I was only stating how I wish they'd handle it. Bottom line, keep it antiquey, not spacey.

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