Troubled times make for good drama

by Christopher Benson

There are times when the drama of current news stories aligns in such a way that no fictional adaptation could possibly hope to make it more interesting, or a greater spectacle.  Case in point: the recent case of the Maersk Alabama vs. Somali pirates.  To retell this story, the Editorial Board presents a play in four acts: "The Drama Alabama"

Act I: alone on the high seas, the crew of the Maersk Alabama manages to fend off a pirate assault, only to have their brave captain offer himself as a captive to save the rest of his crew.

Act II: a hostage crisis ensues, and the captain attempts a bold escape beneath the midnight moon, jumping overboard and swimming off into the vast Indian Ocean.  The act closes as the captain is recaptured by his kidnappers.

Act III: The pirates call for reinforcements from their renegade allies, who were allegedly approaching with a hijacked German cargo ship and a Taiwanese fishing trawler.  The captured captain’s life is at stake, and things begin to look dire.  Just in the nick of time, the Navy commander from the 5th fleet orders his sharpshooters to fire on the pirates, leaving only one to surrender.

Act IV: The pirates vow revenge against American cargo vessels, while a U.S. envoy to Africa to the region turns his attention toward the piracy problem.  His name?  Rep. Payne (aka Donald Payne, D-NJ).  Negotiations ensue while pirates load their weapons and prepare for a thrilling sequel.

While the political labor necessary to confront the pirate menace will be rather significant over the next few weeks and months, let’s just enjoy the high drama while it’s here  Unless you happen to like the wild action of deliberative multiparty committee discussions, this is the best you’re going to get until the next political scandal.