If Kobe Bryant playing pretend soldier offended some, then this - said to be Call of Duty: Black Ops' next TV spot - should rile them further. Especially as the voiceover closely mimics phrases from President Obama's inauguration speech.
We've contacted Activision representatives to ask about the authenticity of this video, which is on YouTube under an unofficial account right now. If it's a mashup, someone went to a great deal of trouble.
But let's focus on that voiceover. Here it is, transcribed:
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. Our nation is badly weakened, a consequence of our collective failure to prepare the nation for a new age. Our nation is at war. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility. Let it be said that we refused to let this journey end. And with eyes fixed on the horizon and with God's grace upon us, we carried the great gift of freedom to future generations."
Sound familiar? Here are excerpts from President Obama's inaugural address, Jan. 21, 2009:
[Sixth paragraph]Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.
[Fifth paragraph, third sentence]Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.
[Fifth paragraph, second sentence]Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.
[30th paragraph, second sentence]What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility.
[concluding paragraph]Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Not verbatim, of course, but an extremely close match.
Whatever you feel about Call of Duty: Black Ops, this might be pushing it a bit too far. A flaming minivan is certainly the most provocative image here, especially as our homeland is not under siege. For me, though, the biggest shame is in the fact the United States committed to - and is still prosecuting - two wars under leaders who never asked Americans to make any sacrifice in return. And here, in borderline satire, is a speech that dresses the fictitious conflicts of a war video game in the urgent language of national priority. That's why some might have a problem with this ad.
[Thanks Michael G. for the tip]