Cassie and I have been to a few movies recently, and we’ve been horrified to be forced to sit through this song and advert for the National Guard, sung by the UK number one artiste Kid Rock. It’s a full-length song, with an accompanying video showing what heroes the US National Guard are. The song is one of these Team America-style crowdpleasers, with the gravel-voiced Mr Rock crooning about how great it is to be a hero, with just a hint of sadness about why we need heroes at all, then kicking into a shouted chorus:
and they call me Warrior! They call me Loyalty!
That’s cheesy enough, but not insulting. The insults come when Mr Rock looks into the camera, mouth right up to the mic, stage lights shining through his whiskers, and sings
I’m giving all of myself, how about you?
Now I’m sure real National Guards are great chaps, but this seems to say, “What are you doing for your country? Elementary school teacher? Pah! You worthless lazy pinko“. This is all the more insulting coming from Mr Rock, with his hat pulled down to his eyebrows.
The video has the usualÂ Army advert images, reminding me of the newspaper advert for the Army inÂ The YoungÂ Ones – “Join theÂ professionals its graet you can have a gun if you want”. Attack helicopters overhead, heavliy armed soldiers covered in cool electronics walking alongside bristling Humvees. The advert shows them doing their thing in the streets of what appears to be a Middle-eastern country. I thought this was strange – aren’t the National Guard only used at home, to suppress student demonstrations and the like? I was told the other day that the NG have been shipped out to the warzone, which must suck for them.
At one point in the ad, while the gang are cruising through the dusty downtown, a football (a round one, which proves we’re inÂ some backward foreign country) bounces out in front of a Humvee. The nearest guard raises his hand, the entire convoy stops on a dime, he picks up the ball,Â stopping short of holding it up to his ear and shaking it. A kid steps up, wearing a a robe and kufi, and the NG gives him his ball back. No shots are fired.
The song and video also feature Dale Earnhardt, who is a Nascar racing driver. Don’t know much about him. The video shows him in a clearly computer-generated race, narrowly avoiding a spectacular crash with superhuman skill. He endorses this message.
But what is the message? Join the National Guard. OK fine. But making it look like being in the National Guard is a combination of rock star fame and race car driver excitement is a little bit patronising. And being forced to sit through the whole damn thing every time I see a movie is excruciating.