In the two hundred plus years of the United States, we've faced a myriad of challenges that threatened the very existence of the country. We've faced multiple wars; most overseas but some threatening the very borders of America. Economic difficulties like the Great Depression and more recently the Great Recession put the financial stability of the country and her people in question. Terrorism, both domestic and internationally spawned continues to affect our lives, years after our perceived bubble of invulnerability was pierced.
As we approach the 237th birthday of our country, Topless Robot wanted to stop and take a look back at some of the foulest enemies ever to try and ruin our way of life - and while it may seem tasteless to cheer the death of anybody, these threats were all entirely fictional, so it's totally okay. After all, this is the country of baseball, rock and roll, both Star Wars and Star Trek, both Marvel and DC comics and so much more. We're the main protagonist of every single game in the Call of Duty series. Hell, we're the main protagonist of almost every military video game. So let's sit back and remember some of the greatest and most powerful villains ever to threaten the Red, White and Blue and get their asses handed back to them. America! Fuck Yeah!
To quote Douglas Adams, "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space." That being said, Earth seems to have a knack for attracting large bits of space matter. It seems that comets in particular have a vendetta against Earth: a comet bitch slaps the planet in Deep Impact, turns people into either dust or zombies in Night of the Comet, and even punts a five-mile-wide rock right at the Earth in Meteor.
Meteors, on the other hand, have a much lower success ratio when taking on the U.S. Though a comet started the events in Meteor, all it took was Juan Sanchez Villalobos Ramirez and a shit load of nukes to stop the titular meteor. Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis and a complete lack of scientific credibility were enough to take out the rock in Armageddon, and countless SyFy original movies have also tried and failed to destroy the Earth by pelting it with rocks. Thankfully we have NASA and Michael Bay to protect us!
Sorry to spoil the plot of The Purge for everyone except the people who couldn't get tickets for Man of Steel opening weekend, but apparently in the near future, crime in the U.S. hits an all-time low thanks to The Purge, a twelve-hour period of lawlessness where essentially anything goes. The idea is that people can release all of their negative emotions and impulses during this period, which makes them be fine, upstanding citizens for the other eight thousand, seven hundred, forty five hours of the year. In reality, it's just a dystopian plot point for a home invasion film, but apparently in the film it works. I still think the best way to curb crime is to make murder punishable by death by wood chipper.
For the most part giant monsters have ignored the United States, focusing their attention more on the land of tentacle porn. That, of course, hasn't stopped at least two attempts by Kaiju to take out New York City.
1998 brought international exchange student Godzilla to the shores of the US to go lizard e mano with Ferris Bueller and Leon. Instead of Tokyo as the backdrop to
his its demolition fun (they establish Godzilla as asexual), the completely redesigned monster has decided to take a bite out of the Big Apple. To make matters worse, Godzilla has apparently been ovulating, and a good two hundred bouncing baby badasses are en route. Of course, things go south for the big guy when he gets tangled up in the support wires of a bridge, and the army (who do not seem to be acquainted with Marquess of Queensbury rules) takes the opportunity to sucker punch him into submission.
There was a much higher cost when the US military dealt with the titular monster from Cloverfield. While the monster did a good bit of damage = including its Kurgan style decapitation of Lady Liberty - the shit truly got real with the military use of its "Hammer Down Protocol." It's implied that the army went scorched earth on the tentacle clad monster, nuking the city that never sleeps like a pissed off Ellen Ripley. Regardless of the toll taken by both monsters, America once again proves she's not to be frakked with.
4. The Media of Japan and Canada
It was Whitney Houston who believed the children are our future. It was Stephen King who thought they would rise up and murder us, and the Syfy Channel who thought it would be wise to remake Children Of The Corn though it was entirely unnecessary. We hear everyday about how fragile the minds of our offspring are, and that we must take care to ensure they grow up to be responsible, beneficial members of society. My goals are slightly less lofty: I will be satisfied to see all four of them avoid the stripper pole or appearances on COPS.
We're often told how much we should limit what our children experience. TV is bad, violent video games are bad, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are bad, hot dogs are bad. The way media can corrupt is exemplified by two separate incidents in the town of South Park, Colorado.
The first is a heinous act by our supposed friend and ally: Japan. Created after World War II, Article 9 of the Japanese constitution outlaws the use of war as a means of settling disputes, and therefore Japan is constitutionally bound not to have an army. It is allowed a Self Defense Force that sees to the protection of its borders and interests, but aside from rare international peacekeeping missions it remains strictly limited. Article 9, of course, says nothing about brainwashing the minds of others to do their dirty work, and so they set out to do just that.
Addicting the children of "South Park" with the new anime/collectible toy craze Chinpoko-mon, and making all American men oblivious to the fact by telling them they have large penises, Japan meant to strike Pearl Harbor once again. They almost succeed, to the point where "South Park" children were marching down the street of the town with their new liege Emperor Hirohito, up until the point when parents busted out the age old weapon of reverse psychology. They outsmarted the children and the budding Japanese Empire, and the children swore off fads, at least until World of Warcraft came out.
The attempt from Canada was far less nefarious but had much greater consequences. When Canadian pop-culture icons Terrance and Phillip began to corrupt the sweet-hearted, gentle nature of "South Park" children with copious dick and fart jokes, the determined parents had to act. Their response was intense, going so far as to execute the comedy duo and triggering a war with our northern, hockey-loving neighbors and releasing both Satan and Saddam Hussein from the depths of Hell. Thankfully young Eric Cartman went Super Saiyan defeating Hussein and in a heartwarming act of self-sacrifice, his frenemy Kenny MCCormick requested everything return to normal when given a single wish from the Dark Lord; an act which doomed him once again. In the end, the evils of media were defeated by a group of children...our future.
With a population as large and diverse as that of the United States, there are copious amounts of illnesses that could potentially infect the populous. Viruses like coxsackie, the common cold and herpes love to propagate through our culture, but what if a new virus - a killer virus - was suddenly unleashed on the unsuspecting masses?
According to fiction it's happened multiple times here in the United States. Between viruses like the hemorrhagic fever known as Montaba and bacteria/alien life form code named Andromeda, millions of fictional Americans have dropped dead thanks to illness. Thankfully fictional America is prepared with specialized tasks forces like Wildfire and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, both equipped with the tools and the talent to take on these microscopic monsters. Interestingly enough, the USAMRIID does indeed exist, and has been taking on nasty infectious bugs since 1969, ironically the same year that The Andromeda Strain was published.