After 4 solid hours of playing Black Ops on the Xbox and procrastinating, I found it was time to post a relevant video to our discussion on violence in the media. On November 9th, Activision's Black Ops broke the record for launch day sales, and received over $1 billion in revenue worldwide over the following five day period . During the days preceding the release, the following trailer entitled "There is a Soldier in All of Us" was televised :
The first time I saw this, I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity and shear awesomeness of the concept. Thanks to a video game, you no longer needed to endure grueling training to become an elite soldier. You could be a concierge or a pizza chef, and still dual wield Glocks. Even national basketball icons like Kobe Bryant could make a guest appearance to an important tactical fight in a derelict building. Everyone could having a blast (no pun intended).
Notice that this trailer praises the "coolness" of war and completely bypasses all of the horrors, similarly to a US Army recruitment video. You get to shoot guns at faceless targets, blow stuff up, meet new people, and blow more stuff up together. Despite all the rounds fired at these pedestrian "soldiers" who don't find much necessity in using cover, no one is hurt. This is especially obvious in the last few seconds of the trailer when everyone is running about in the open: they might as well be playing laser-tag. One man in the football jersey looks like he may have been hit when a car explodes, but the audience must assume that he will get up unharmed, laugh it off, and start shooting away--because you cannot show death in a commercial.
It's interesting how violence can be embraced when there is no concept of loss. It loses a great deal of its significance when the person the violence is directed towards can just brush it off, in which case one might ask if it can still be called "violence". Such violence sells, and thus the marketers behind Black Ops gave the intended audience exactly what they wanted.