Dismembered martyrs sold separately

Are you stumped for what to get your little one for Christmas? How about the Roman Gladiator Arena, complete with lions and gladiators fighting to the death?

A parenting forum I visit regularly has a discussion about whether this is any different from pirate ships, but I dunno–I think the whole gladiator thing ONLY celebrates violence and death, whereas pirates can be understood to be cool and find buried treasure and say “Arr!” and go sailing. There’s also a sense of freedom in a pirate ship. Plus, pirates weren’t killing for entertainment. It was good old-fashioned greed.

Dear Santa: I love Playmobil, but please skip this one. I’d prefer the coal. Love, Jane


  1. Ivy

    There is a lot to be said on behalf of pirates. To become one, a person had to know about astronomy, geography, trigonometry, and geometry (in order to navigate). He had to know complicated rope work. A coworker told me that climbers (and pirates) use something like a chain stitch to store rope so that it can be fed out in a controlled fashion, no kinks and no knots. That’s pretty clever. These people scrambled, barefoot, up a wet, swaying masts a hundred feet in the air. Sailors of that age, regardless of the flag under which they sailed, were highly skilled and by necessity highly intelligent.