In the movie Wargames, Matthew Broderick has to convince NORAD’s high command that radar maps of nuclear warheads repeatedly destroying civilization on both sides of the Iron Curtain are only simulations. He’s right, the computer eventually learns to prefer chess instead of thermonuclear war, and nobody dies except for Ally Sheedy’s career and even that took time.
Still, it’s scary to watch San Francisco (along with every worldwide major city) be destroyed over and over on film. But we’re creeping closer to it happening in reality. On Saturday, April 15, to honor the country’s 105th birthday, North Korea held a stirring, martial concert complete with video footage of missiles flying across the Pacific and landing in downtown San Francisco, with graphics of a burning American flag and a field of white crosses thrown in for good measure.
Yikes. Let me go on record here as being in total opposition to nuclear brinksmanship, let alone dying in a radioactive conflagration. But let it also be noted that North Korea is famously bad at getting its missiles to function properly, and even if they did manage to get one over here, the weapons they do produce are nowhere near powerful enough to wipe out the entire Bay Area. (See for yourself with this interactive map.)
At the same time, it’s not as if America’s dark id doesn’t harbor a yearning to see San Francisco — the only American city ever to have been almost completely destroyed — suffer that fate once again. We’ve been irradiated in The Core, ravaged by demented simians in the Planet of the Apes reboot, knocked flat then submerged in San Andreas, humbled by our hubris in The Towering Inferno, practically evaporated by a beachball probe in Star Trek IV, smashed into by a renegade starship in Star Trek Into Darkness, obliterated by machines in Terminator Salvation, and caught in the crossfire in the 2014 Godzilla. We barely escaped a nerve-gas attack in The Rock, got pretty bruised up in Superman, and I’m sure Grace Jones was ready to murder everybody in A View to a Kill. Also, Hugh Grant almost ran over everyone in Nob Hill in Nine Months, and in Mrs. Doubtfire, we were the victims of a drive-by fruiting.
So maybe in addition to being up to something, Kim Jong-Un is onto something? Meanwhile, we don’t even know where our aircraft carriers are hey Donald Trump please try not to have us all killed thx.