Mark LeVine, professor of history at UC Irvine, writes in Al Jazeera:
If there’s anyone who doesn’t think the world — and particularly the United States — desperately needs WikiLeaks, I offer you “Exhibit A” of why this is the case: the star-studded official trailer for the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” first person shooter video game. Regular readers of this column might recall my November 16 article, “Nowhere Left to Run,” where I discussed the cultural implications of “Black Ops” after spotting a poster for the game in a Berlin subway around the time of its release.
Since then I have seen the trailer, whose slogan is “There’s a soldier in all of us” and features both ordinary people — a secretary, fry cook, hotel concierge, and the like — along with celebrities like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, and late night American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
After watching the trailer I was so exasperated I emailed a colleague at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies here at Lund and asked him, “Where is Ice Cube when you need him?” His reply stunned me: “LoL you don’t know where Ice Cube is? He’s doing the voice of Bowman in ‘Black Ops’…”
In case you’re not a hiphop fan, once upon a time Ice Cube was the terror of law abiding white citizens across America as a member of the highly political gangsta rap group NWA. In fact, their song “F*** Da Police” almost got them into as much trouble with the US government as is Julian Assange today.
But those days are long forgotten. Today Mr. Cube spends his time, when not playing secret service agents in movies, providing the voice for one of the lead characters in “Black Ops.”
But it’s not just hiphop that’s prostituted itself to violence and big corporations. The rock n’ roll establishment has equally shamed itself, as none other than the Rolling Stones allowed their song “Gimme Shelter,” one of the most important anti-war songs of the Vietnam era, to be used as the soundtrack for the trailer, which shows Kobe Bryant smiling widely as he and innumerable other “ordinary” people blast away an unseen enemy in a clearly Middle Eastern landscape (not surprisingly, digital sales of the song and other Stones hits spiked in the wake of the trailer’s release).