Apparently This Matters: America invades virtual Denmark

Vandals invaded virtual Denmark in the game "Minecraft," trashing it with American pride. This is why we can't have nice things.

Story highlights

  • A virtual version of Denmark was created in the "Minecraft" game
  • "Cyber vandals" snuck into virtual Denmark, set off virtual dynamite and raised U.S. flags
  • Virtual Denmark has since been repaired

I once stayed at a youth hostel in Copenhagen called Sleep in Heaven. Which sounds quite pleasant until you realize that, apparently, heaven is cold and damp and completely infested with bedbugs.

I guess that's the part they don't tell you in Sunday school.

"No, no. It's great. Nothing to worry about. Beautiful white robes. Big puffy clouds. Probably a salad bar."

But there were none of those. Just bed bugs.

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

Something was rotten in the state of Denmark.

The next day, bitten and disgusted, I literally ran to catch a train to Berlin and haven't had pleasant thoughts about that country since.

This was back in 2003. The tortured memories persist and still haunt my dreams.

    Which is why, the other day, almost eleven years later, I was delighted to learn that the United States finally invaded Denmark, set it on fire, and raised the American flag.

    Sort of.

    Here's what happened.

    There's a wildly popular computer game called "Minecraft" where, as best I understand it, players build highly imaginative environments and constructions using 3D cubes. It's sort of like a modern, digital-version of Lego, but without the risk of waking up the neighbors when you step barefoot on a wayward block.

    "Harold, I think Paul next door is constipated again."

    "Mark it on the chart, Diane."

    Now, I've never actually played this game because I'm a grown man with far more important things to do like tweeting and running my pretend fantasy football sports dynasty.

    So, to the millions of fine people who play "Minecraft," I sincerely apologize for oversimplifying your beloved game. It's all just too complicated, for I have six functioning brain cells, and five of them are dedicated to breathing and blinking.

    But, from what I can tell, part of the fun in "Minecraft" is creating these new virtual worlds and exploring those of others. And it's also a way to re-imagine worlds that already exist.

    So, the Danish government sanctioned the creation of a replica version of their country within "Minecraft" to use as a progressive teaching tool for schoolchildren, educating them about Denmark's geography.

    Really, it was a wonderfully creative and virtuous idea.

    Denmark: Where the walls are made from American flags.

    Thus, cyber vandals promptly decided to blow it up.

    Somehow, these vandals were able to infiltrate virtual Denmark while sneaking in virtual dynamite, at which point they virtually demolished parts of virtual Copenhagen.

    What's interesting is that the use of this virtual dynamite was actually banned on the Danish server. But the ever-cunning vandals discovered they could sneak it in inside a virtual mining cart.

    Which is both amazing and ridiculous .. that it should come to this.

    But through their virtual sneak attack invasion, the vandals proudly constructed virtual American flags all over town, and built virtual signs reading: AMERICA.

    (Forgive me for a moment as I cue some Lee Greenwood and dab these red, white, and blue tears of pride rolling down my cheeks.)

    Initially, it was believed that the virtual damage was virtually catostraphic and virtually widespread. However, Chris Hammeken, an actual spokesperson from the Danish Geodata Agency, explained to the BBC, "Only a minor area was destroyed."

    There was no official word on whether or not a virtual Sleep In Heaven youth hostel was annihilated in the process.

    I guess a man can dream.

    Though the Danish Geodata Agency was quickly able to fully "repair" the "destruction," there was no fixing the psychological damage. Soon after the attack, images appeared on a "Minecraft" forum, and Denmark's defeat had officially gone public. And viral.

    Now, understand that I'm not an outwardly patriotic individual. But, despite the fact that -- all kidding aside -- Denmark really is a beautiful country with incredibly happy, intelligent, and peaceful citizens, I have to admit that, upon reading about this I felt a rather large twinge of U.S.A. pride.

    The whole thing was just so absurd and wonderfully American.

    Oh, that it should come to this.

    Follow @JarrettBellini on Twitter.

        Apparently This Matters...

      • I vaguely recall Pizza Hut's Book It elementary school reading incentive program. Though, to be fair, I vaguely remember what I had for breakfast.
      • It took a lot of effort for Leo Bonten to turn his amputated leg into a fully functional lamp. For starters, he had to break the damn thing in a freak kiddie pool accident.
      • If you asked me -- and God knows nobody has -- I would have to guess that never in the history of humankind has anyone ever actually slipped on a banana peel.
      • Since the beginning of time, man has looked up into the cosmos at those shiny, twinkling stars and thought, "I wonder if lizards would do each other up there?"
      • A hybrid of zebra and a donkey stands at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol on August 5, 2014. A Crimean zoo has welcomed into its collection a "zebroid" or "zonkey" after a zebra gave birth following befriending a donkey. Named Telegraph by the keepers at the Taigan zoo park, his head and body resemble that of a donkey and are a solid beige colour, with his legs marked by black zebra stripes. Born last week, "Telegraph is very popular with visitors" who can watch him romping around with his mother, said director Oleg Zubkov. Crosses between zebras and other members of the equine family are not unheard of, although it is more unusual that the zebra is the mother. However allowing such breeding to occur is frowned upon in the zoo community. YURI LASHOV/AFP/Getty Images

        Despite all the political tension in Crimea, it's nice to know things are still safe enough at the zoo for a zebra to get it on with a donkey.
      • There's a famous scene in the movie "Titanic" where Rose turns to Jack and says, "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls."
      • For several months in 2003, I did the whole European backpacker thing. Which is to say I've seen nearly every cathedral within 1,000 square miles of the Danube.
      • The other day I saw a death metal band hanging out by their tour van in the parking lot behind a club. They were all dressed in black, and may or may not have been working on lyrics to a new song about fire and lamb meat.
      • There are two good reasons to own a giant trampoline.
      • I never actually caught a glimpse of the Tooth Fairy when I was young, but she was definitely real and in cahoots with my mom. This, due to the fact that I never woke up to find a Nintendo.