The power of the French president

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The power of the French president

Postby bakamatt » Mon May 08, 2017 11:06 am

Every now and again something happens that reminds me how weird one's own "culture" can be.

Back in my San Diego days, we in my gaming circle played an assortment of board games, but by far the most frequent was one called Cosmic Encounter. CE is a really good game; it's been in print for most of the last forty years or more, under four or five diffent publishers. Without going into too much detail, it uses a fairly simple set of rules to determine which players win each battle, the wrinkle being that every player is an alien race that has a special "power" that modifies, replaces, augments, or allows to ignore one of those rules.

One of those races is calle "Macron"; it has the power that, for defensive purposes only, each of its tokens has a value of four instead of the usual one. This is about middle powerful for the game, useful but not overwhelming; there are several ways to work around it, or the offence can sometimes just power through it. But it has a simple and brutal appeal and is a popular choice.

It happened on one occasion when I was playing Macron that I came under attack. In the sort of silly, pseudo-role-playing-game manner we often used when playing almost anything, I threatened them in the deepest voice I could muster (not very), "You dare defy the power of Macron?!"

Well, the phrase stuck, and pretty much could be expected to be heard any time anyone in our circle was using Macron.

At a guess, the last time I played CE with this group was in 1993, with only one possible exception at a con back home I attended a few years later.

Fast forward about 23 years, to this weekend. France elects a president named "Macron". Within 24 hours I've had three people from this crowd make Facebook reference to the "power of Macron". A day later a fourth person cites the quote, a person I know for a fact we never played this game with, as he was way too young at the time.

How does this stuff survive, to say nothing of, how does it get transmitted to another generation? Don't people have anything better to do than not forget silly stuff from two decades ago? But, no they don't. Because it's our happy culture; it makes us smile and feel less lonely to remember it.

I feel somewhat smug to be able to report that I not only still have that 40-year-old copy of CE, I even knew where it was. So I dug it out and turned a picture of the Macron card into my Facebook icon. To much appreciation, although it was in many cases just amusement at the fun coincidence of the French politician's name. But in some of those cases, it was other people who remember those days as fondly as I do.

And that's going to be just as true of my anime memories. I've known some of you quite some time now, and am just as capable of remembering happy silly stuff that you've done with me. For which you have my thanks.
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