New York has faced numerous challenges in its time as an incorporated city. Tammany Hall and its politicos who looted the treasury like it was their own personal piggybank. Robert Moses, financial mismanagement, the 1977 blackout looting, the crack epidemic, September 11, Hurricane Sandy. The city has come through those and many more challenges, which gives us a certain sense of confidence. We’re clearly drunk on said confidence though, since the Office of Emergency Management is giving multiple interviews insisting that New York is perfectly capable of reacting to an attack by Godzilla, King of the Monsters.
It’s pointless going into whatever plans OEM says they’d be able to deploy if a 350-foot tall creature from beyond time rose out of the ocean and began breathing fire at everything in its path. Oh, you’d just evacuate the city’s population to the Bronx and points north, Commissioner Joseph Bruno? Yes well, good luck evacuating the populations of Brooklyn and Queens once Godzilla takes down two or three of the East River Bridges. Will you tell the population of Staten Island to just drive to New Jersey if a rampaging beast melts the Verrazano Bridge down the middle and makes it completely impassible? If Godzilla walks clear across 57th Street from the West Side Highway to the FDR, how will everyone south of Central Park escape the island of Manhattan?
This isn’t meant to impugn the hardworking people of the OEM or New York City’s first responders, who worked tirelessly on September 11 and during Hurricane Sandy. Those were localized and natural disasters respectively though, not rolling waves of destruction courtesy of a sentient, fire-breathing monster with skin as hard as diamonds and not a care in the world as to where he’s walking. The Office of Emergency Management might as well assure us that they have a plan for suddenly learning an atomic bomb will hit the city in 15 minutes. Maybe they do have a plan for that scenario, but it doesn’t matter in the face of the horrible, merciless reality that would be conjured up by the announcement that in 15 minutes everything we love would be obliterated.
“Humanity always managed to make it out alright in those movies,” you’re saying, shaking your head and remembering that crap Godzilla with Matthew Broderick. That’s fine, revel in your delusions. The truth of matter is that filmmakers for big budget action movies are cowards who refuse to expose the audience to what would really happen. Godzilla wins. There’s no hero’s journey, no stirring triumph of the human spirit, just destruction and the luck of the draw when it comes to survival. Have you seen Bambi Meets Godzilla? There’s your plan for an attack by Godzilla: Live secure in the belief that everything is going to be alright, before falling victim to a size 3500 claw-toed foot. If you’re lucky, you won’t ever see it coming.
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