There’s something beyond ironic in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial that’s blanketing the networks and picking up an impressive 2.7 million YouTube streams. No, it’s not Kobe Bryant looking spectacularly ill-suited firing his converted AR-15 with the large mag.
The uber-irony is in the choice of “Gimme Shelter” as the background music. Forty years ago, this song was the 1960s definitive anti-war anthem. As Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone in 1995, “That’s a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It’s apocalypse; the whole record’s like that.” But that was more than a generation ago and (irony alert) fortunately America is no longer committing tens of thousands of troops to a land war halfway around the world.
Twenty years ago, the Beatles’ “Revolution” became a self-parody when EMI and Michael Jackson licensed it to Nike for the company’s TV ads. Now it looks like another defining theme of the 1960’s has gone down that path, inspiring legions of home-bound Americans to harness their inner David Hackworth and take arms against a sea of troubles.
As a once-great rock group once sang, “Sad, sad, sad.”