Your RDA of Irony

For Whom the X-Box Tolls, Part II


MADRID: A new video game that invites players to rewrite the course of Spain’s devastating civil war has touched a nerve in a country that is often reluctant to revisit its past, let alone play with it.

Aside from the physical resemblance of Super Mario to Francisco Franco, you have to question the basis for a X-Box version of the Spanish Civil War. The outcome of the real war was not exactly suspenseful. One side had the Spanish Army, Mussolini, Hitler, the Catholic Church and the eager salesmen of American industries. The other side had the moral authority of democracy, untrained militia and liberal dilettantes, plus Joseph Stalin except that he deliberately did more harm than good. Guess who won?

What is the appeal of recreating those odds in a video game, unless you are the type who would enjoy massacres. (The Fox audience might, but it tends to be geriatric and might assume a joystick was anatomical slang.)I suppose that that the FascNationalist player could have a time limit: he has just two turns to wipe out everyone in Spain whose outlook is slightly more advanced than the 13th century.

Or we could improve the odds for the Spanish Republic by adding a few superheroes to its arsenal. For instance, there could be Picassoldier whose searing vision can turn anyone into discombobulated cubes. (He is invincible but can be distracted by femme fatales; if the Nationalists lack them, Leni Reifenstahl or the Mitford Sisters can always be borrowed from Adolf.) Then, there is the Hemingwarlock whose terse incantations can reduce you to a frustrated cipher longing for excitement. (The Hemingwarlock can be drown in alcohol but that could take 20 years.) The Republic also can resort to the cabalistic powers of the Group Theatre; the pugnacious acting of John Garfield, Lee J. Cobb and Howard daSilva probably wouldn’t be much of a deterrent against Franco’s tanks but the Republic definitely would have the more impressive USO shows.

Finally, the outcome of the game and the Spanish Civil War can be determined by listening to the adagio of Concierto de Aranjuez.

This music was composed in 1937; and if it doesn’t leave you melancholy, then Franco wins.

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