If we've learned one thing from this decade, it's that when you wield the clout and influence of the most powerful country in the world, you become the cause of, and the solution to, all of the world's problems. As a result, it became strangely fashionable to hate on the whole idea of "America." But as the anniversary of our nation approaches, we take a moment to remind ourselves of what this country is really all about, why it's worthy of our patriotism, and most importantly, why America will never go out of style.
8. We Build Rocket Cars
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Americans are not a meek bunch. We do not hold back or shy away from potential awesomeness because of things like "logic" or "pragmatism." So, in the early 1950s, when America became fascinated by jets and jet design, General Motors decided to build turbine-powered cars. Why? Simply because cars with bubble domes, huge tailfins, and rocket engines are spectacularly badass.
Never mind the fact that the exhaust gases expelled from the engine reached temperatures of over 1,200 degrees - more than enough to roast any fool who tries to tailgate you -- these cars existed simply because of American ingenuity and a desire to create something just because it would be really, really cool.
7. We Have a Friggin' Death Ray
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Over the course of American history, we have been home to an amazing collection of great minds. People like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, and Henry Ford played a huge role in shaping modern society across the globe. So it's not surprising that in 1884, when Serbian-born Nikola Tesla decided he wanted to live somewhere where his talents could be fully realized and shown to the world, he emigrated to United States to work for Thomas Edison in NYC, having nothing with him but the clothes on his back and a recommendation letter from a former employer.
Tesla would later became a naturalized citizen of the United States and would go on to develop literally dozens of groundbreaking technologies, including the Tesla Coil, the wireless radio, and alternating current (AC) power distribution, which is how all our homes and businesses utilize electricity today.
But his most notorious (and kickass) invention was developed much later, when Tesla began designing a "directed-energy" weapon that he called a "teleforce" ray, which the media later spiced up by dubbing it a "Death Ray." Though never demonstrated to the public and shrouded in controversy, Tesla insisted that the device was real and would be the "superweapon which would end all wars" and claimed it could "send concentrated beams of particles through the free air of such tremendous energy that they will bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles from a defending nation's border and will cause armies to drop dead in their tracks."
So yeah, there's a good chance that we have a friggin' Death Ray buried deep in some remote underground bunker, waiting to be busted out if things get a little too out of hand. I don't know about you, but I sleep a little better knowing that.
6. We Are All About DIY
Without a doubt, we are a nation that wholeheartedly embraces the MacGyver ethos when it comes to inventive solutions. I mean, we're the birthplace of WD-40, zip ties, and duct tape, which are possibly the most useful inventions in human history.
With those three items, we've learned time and time again that, given enough strength of will and a little bit of creativity, we can basically make anything do anything...to varying degrees of success.
And where else but America could a guy like Billy Mays have found such wild success with do-it-yourself products like Mighty Putty and the Ding King dent remover? We are a country that covets power tools. We love Home Depot. We are a nation that thrives on the mantra, "If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself."
5. We Perfected the Art of Barbecuing
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People have been cooking meat with fire since the dawn of mankind, but we took the art of grilling to a whole 'nother level. When I think about the 4th of July, two things come to mind: fireworks and barbeques.
At this point, grilling is so deeply etched into American culture that backyard BBQs and tailgate parties might as well be on our state flags. From slow-cooked short ribs to beer-boiled bratwurst, we do it all, with an endless array of BBQ sauces, 20,000 BTU grilles, and a whole lotta tastiness.
4. We Invented Nearly Every Form of Popular Music
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Let's just get straight to brass tacks here. Nearly any music you hear today has its roots in America, as we have been the birthplace of basically all forms of modern music. Jazz has its origins in the mid-19th century in New Orleans and New England, and ragtime jazz would later be popularized by artists like Scott Joplin and W.C. Handy.
Jazz would later spawn the offshoot genre known as "blues" around the beginning of the 20th century, sprouting up in areas like Memphis and New Orleans and popularized by bluesmen like Leadbelly and Robert Johnson. Decades later, the style would evolve into something else entirely, when artists like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino would unleash upon the world a new genre termed "rock 'n roll." From there, America introduced the world to artists like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and countless others.
American rock 'n roll would also spawn various sub genres like "punk rock" in the form of The Stooges and The Ramones and "art rock" from bands like The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth.
In the late 1970s, artists like Grandmaster Flash and The Sugar Hill Gang helped pioneer the genre we now call "hip-hop," while artist and inventor Robert Moog helped to bring electronic music into its own in the 1960s with the creation of the line of synthesizers that bear his name.
So with that evidence in mind, I don't think it's a stretch to say that America has given the world nearly all the forms of popular music we listen to today. Can you even imagine a world without rock 'n roll? Without hip-hop?
3. We Perfected the Art of Wasting Time
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So, you know this internet thing everyone's been talking about lately? Okay, Al Gore may not have created it, but Americans certainly did in the late 1960s, when it was known as the ARPANET.
The simple packet-switching network was a joint project between UCLA, MIT, and various other campuses to create a robust data network to keep military and university database systems intact and able to communicate with one another in the instance of a nuclear attack or other disaster. But when the simple text-based private network eventually found its way into the hands of the public in the late 1980s, it began its rapid evolution into the Twittering, Facebooking, instant messaging, pr0n-saturated behemoth you're enjoying today. You're welcome.
And how about video games, the second most awesome way to waste time? Yeah, that was us too, by way of Atari, who released the first video arcade game, Pong. Atari also popularized the home video game console with the release of the hugely popular Atari 2600 in 1977. And I think we can all agree that both video games and the Internet are totally kick ass.
2. We Like Things BIG
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Without a doubt, Americans love BIG stuff. We love monster trucks. We love huge jumps. We love big explosions. We love 60-inch plasma TVs and 18-inch subwoofers. If it's massive and spectacular, chances are, we probably dig it.
And there is absolutely no doubt that we Americans definitely love to eat and drink. Americans, on an average day, consume more than 100 acres of pizza, while enough beer is poured throughout the U.S. every Saturday to fill the Orange Bowl. Hell, we even have no problem scarfing down 20 billion pickles annually. But you know, that's not what I'd call gluttony. That's just knowing what kicks ass.
1. We Have the Widest Variety of Hot Women
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Let's get one thing out of the way. Everyone knows that the most kick-assed thing about America is freedom. That manifests in a number of things. The freedom to vote for who you believe in, the freedom to go, do, and say what you want provided it's not hurting anyone else, and most importantly, the freedom to be with any girl you want. Throughout America's history, we have championed the notion of being the world's melting pot -- a country where people from every race, religion, and creed can converge and co-exist.
This melting pot we live in provides a veritable buffet of different types of gorgeous women. We've scored basically every kind of hot girl imaginable, from Megan Fox and Scarlett Johansson to Rosario Dawson and Beyoncé, and everything in between. You can travel to Brazil and see gorgeous women, but you always know that's there are plenty of them on home soil. The same holds true in every country in the world. It's a beautiful thing.
Yeah, there's no doubt about it: the United States of America definitely kicks ass.