By Space Cowboy
Planet Earth is a wild place. It is beautiful, breathtaking, fascinating, terrifying, and awe-inspiring. All things on and in it, animal, mineral and vegetable, are part of the diverse milieu that makes it a huge privilege to be a part of, despite our individual insignificance in the greater cosmic scale of things. There are, however, 7 billion things on this planet that make me angry, and sometimes very, very sad.
Ok, not all 7 billion. Hell, I only have a few hundred Facebook friends, but as I’m sure some of you will agree, the world is full of nik-nak dick motherfuckers making the place a living hell for everyone else. When people exploit other people, I just get all kinds of angry, and the kind of scum that stoops to this low seem to be alarmingly ubiquitous. A few of the world’s major religions tend to use fear to ‘encourage’ their followers. Business tends to exploit the workers at grass roots level, sometimes quite literally, paying a pittance for the labour that will yield billions of shiny capitalist dollars for perfidious fatcats. Then of course we get those who intentionally prey upon the emotions of people who are lost, or hurting, or lonely, and have no option but to buy into an ideal or product that changes nothing and certainly does not heal the grief. One example is that lord of human shitlords John Edwards, who quite literally exploits the emotions and memories of people who are genuinely hurting.
As Penn Jillette says of Mr. Edwards and others of his ilk in the very first episode of his hit TV show Bullshit:
“I’m sure these lame fucks tell themselves that they’re easing the grief… [but] how low do you have to be to exploit someones true grief to sell some bullshit book [CD/game].”
How low he asks? THIS FUCKING LOW!:
Now, Linkin Park have never garnered any respect from me, and nothing but ironic enjoyment for me, and in fact I think they are one of the most comically inept rock acts that this gorgeous planet has to offer. And they’ve teamed up with EA Games and game developers Danger Close by SELLING the rights to their song Castle of Glass (note the canny use of alliteration AND assonance, these boys know their shit!) to EA for use on the trailer for EA’s new Medal of Honour: Warfighter.
At this point, I should also point out that EA publishes a lot of games that I just don’t play. For me, they are the 5FM of the gaming world, generally offering only the most inconsequential and commercially plausible drivel possible. But they have had a couple of hum-dingers in their time as well (unlike Linkin Park, who consistently produce limp, vomitous screech-pop), and the Medal of Honour series has been serving FPS geeks for over a decade, and doing pretty well at it to boot. But in both of the latest instalments from these two differing industry behemoths, EA and Linkin Park have gone too far, and in much the same way as John Edwards has been doing for years. The motherfuckers are using (only) US soldiers and the war in the East to sell. FUCK!
Now, the unholy marriage of this song and game is almost too perfect to be coincidence, so similar are they in their devious money-making scheming. Both draw on the theme of the American soldiers and the bereaved families of those who have lost loved ones and some who have returned from the war too broken to function in normal society. Now please don’t get me wrong: I feel deeply for all those families who have lost people to the war ON BOTH SIDES, and the thought of war gets me thinking about suicide all too often for me to be outside of a sanatorium. And so these respective bastards’ reliance on propaganda and some very sensitive button-pushing to sell their shit is going to result in one of the harshest lamb-bastings I think I may ever dole out on the public internet space. I shall begin by ‘critiquing’ the song and accompanying music video, and then end off with news and info about the game, and then you will all say “Oh gee Space Cowboy, you’re right, these guys ARE all motherfuckers!” Onwards then.
Lyrically, Castle of Glass is actually quite, well… fucking terrible. The two opening lines sum up the quality of the rhyme and cunning wordplay of this ‘angsty teen cry for attention’ style writing: ‘Take me down to the river bend, Take me down to the fighting end’ (whatever the fuck that means). And with more winning rhyming couplets like ‘Warm me up in a nova’s glow, and drop me down to the dream below’, the song forges on, really flexing its poetic muscles when the last nine lines are essentially the same two lines repeated ad nauseum until the music drones out of earshot. And speaking of the music…
… my sentiments follow on from my assessment of the lyrics. This shit honestly couldn’t be more asinine if it tried, and I am willing to put money on the fact that most of even the most hardened LP fans (at least those who aren’t fooled by the insidious and bile-inducing video, which I shall rip to shit in a few lines’ time) will find this song gut-wrenchingly disappointing. The ‘charming’ and quite upbeat melody – which has no correlation to the genuinely sad and disturbing theme of war – could quite plausibly be used in the next horrible Disney film as the title track. In fact, at some points, I’m fairly certain I heard a child playing along with the band on a xylophone, or Glockenspiel, though that could have been the new ‘synth’ sound the band was experimenting with on a play-date. The term ‘rock music’ cannot apply here. It is easy, safe pop bullshit of the very worst kind, thinly veiled in a serious theme that these fuckers are clearly not taking seriously at all. Fuck them. I fucking hate these bastards.
The video brings some relief in the form of comic relief. Their ploy couldn’t have been made any more obvious in this quite planned tear-jerking bullshit nationalist montage: a series of scenes of ordinary (and only white) American citizens being given bad news about their deceased family members, said news being received by weeping children ON TWO SEPARATE ACCOUNTS! Could these fucks get any more cheap?! These scenes are interspersed with a few shots of various band-members (though not Good-at-Mathsy or Not-Belongy… they were obviously too ugly for a decent closeup) doing all sorts of vacant, idiotic things. I should also point out the caption that kicks the video off, saying “Inspired by many true stories”… MANY TRUE STORIES?! YOU LAZY FUCKS! HOW DO WE GET YOU SENT YOU TO THE FRONTLINES?!
Anyway, we see a young boy walking to the front door, and then an army officer seemingly burps in his face causing him to cry (though more seasoned critical thinkers may just be able to glean that the child’s father has been killed in war). Then his mother comes running from out of nowhere in the street, crying, followed by two large bears (large, muscular, hairy homosexual men in this case), one of whom later smiles the most hilariously unsympathetic smile I’ve ever seen on a consoling parties face. Next, a scene of Bad-at-Rappy staring at nothing in particular while spurting forth vocals that are suspiciously identical to Ear-and-Buttpluggy’s (perhaps he’s realised how bad-at-rappy he really is?) while the house of the child crumbles symbolically around him – I say symbolically because the image got me to thinking of their music career – and then a few more scenes of condolences, some cheeky ‘Medal of Honour’ in-game footage thrown in, and finally another child, this time a (white) girl crying as another (white) officer brings her bad news, tears streaming down her precious face.
If this video were a taste in my mouth, it would be the taste of fat, callous CEO’s saliva-drenched smiles pouring over a literal pile of guano about to make them stinking rich. And that tastes a whole lot like shit.
As for the new MOH, we’ll have to wait to see how it plays, but it is getting a lot of attention from the gaming world, and from the few who’ve had the chance to get their hands on an early copy. But for a game that is supposedly trying to “get inside the mind of the soldier” (so says Danger Close Head, Greg Goodrich) and reveal the pain of war, the most anticipated feature of the game is its most damning: that is to say, the multiplayer option, in which you quite literally take up the flag of your country and play against others players from around the world, blasting each other to absolute shit in what is a very realistic war simulator… it just seems a breeding ground for antagonism that this world already has too much of.
Ethical considerations aside, I’m looking forward to the single player mode to see just how deep the “mind of the soldier” thing goes. It’s not going to make up for the blatant emotional marketing ploy it’s using, but I do just hope it’s going to be a little deeper than the Asshole of Gass video.
And now for the verdict, focussing only on the new single from Linkin Park (the game will get a rating in due course, hang in their geeks): Castle of Glass scores 1% Turgidity (had to give it a point for being so hilariously awful).
As this fiercely obvious anime reference would imply, Space Cowboy is a fiercely enthusiastic geek, and as such, brings something fresh to geek-journalism. That is to say, freshly squeezed wads of man-berry juice, frantically issued all over anything tech, gaming, and/or Japan related. He does hope you enjoy said bukkake-esque levels of enthusiasm.