I just started reading this book, Passage of Darkness: the Ethnobiography of the Haitian Zombie by Wade Davis and besides it being all kinds of awesome, I'm learning quite a bit from it ... about video games.
The first chapter details a brief history of Haiti and how it came to be established, culturally, as the way it is (though, keep in mind the book was published in the 80's). One of the notable historical facts about Haiti is that the only successful slave revolution in history happened there in 1791, destroying France's most coveted colony of the age. In 1801, Napolean (at the height of his power) "dispatched the largest expedition ever to have sailed from France .... to take control of the Mississippi River" (Davis, 19). On the way, they were supposed to stop by and quell the revolution. They never made it to Louisiana because the former slaves destroyed them, leaving 2,000 soldiers out of 34,000.
One of the battle songs of the Haitians was (and this is the translation) "Grenadiers to the assault/ What is death?/ We have no mother/ No child/ What is death?" (Davis 20-21).
Now, I read that and thought two things: 1) "In victory lay freedom, in capture awaited torture, in defeat stalked death" (Davis 21). Sun Tzu counsels NEVER to fight against desperate men, men with their backs against the wall, men who have no other option but to fight. Those men will ALWAYS win, so the defeat of the French was inevitable.
2) Now this is why this is awesome. I mentioned before, I play this game called Gears of War. The only way I can describe it is this: it has guns with chainsaws on them. Yeah, it's like that. It's you and your buddies against these aliens called Locusts. One of the types of locusts is called a Grenadier.
I read "grenadier" in the above quote and went "Gear? Locust? What?" So I looked it up. According to Wikipedia, a grednadier (French, derived from the word grenade) was originally a specialty soldier, often bigger and bulkier than his fellows, who's job was to lob grenades and sometimes lead assault operations.
The link above will tell you that link will also tell you that "while the Grenadiers can be counted among the Drones (basic type of Locust), they are generally stronger and bulkier. In battle, they often leave their upper torsos completely unarmored, possibly due to their lower life expectancy ... Grenadiers are not the most intelligent beings and have a habit of rushing blindly toward their opponents, completely forgoing cover. They can throw grenades quite well, however."
Oh. My. God.
I, of course, geeked out. SO AWESOME!!!!!
- Current Mood: excited