What Aliens Know About Earth

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2005-11-09 23:05:03

www.strike-the-root…. What Aliens Know About Earth by Douglas Herman   Exclusive to STR   “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  ~ Shakespeare   Imagine the whole world wiretapped. Imagine all the audible murmurs of Earth recorded, conversations decoded, political speeches carefully dissected, television programs analyzed.   Any intelligent alien listening to electronic signals from Earth for the last half century might conclude our planet was hardly worth the bother. Imagine the consternation of alien listeners trying to interpret popular TV programs (Beverly Hillbillies?) or filmed senatorial speeches over the last fifty years. Imagine the fits of boredom after the initial spate of alien laughter.   For example, channel surf through a 24 hour period of electronic programming, either radio signals or television. Television fare: Good Morning America, Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Sports Center, Hannity & Colmes, Hockey, Singled Out, MTV, Survivor, Weather Channel, Leave It To Beaver, South Park, Seinfeld.  Any sign of intelligent life there?   Precisely why aliens hang around. “They could be tourists on a tour,” suggested phenomenon researcher, Bill Heaney. “We’d make a fine attraction, lots of sex, violence, and sports, enough to interest any alien.” Earthlings as a source of galactic entertainment? Possibly.   The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, not in our Hollywood stars or recording stars, but in ourselves. The grand ideas, the entire depth and breadth of human wisdom rarely if ever appears in the recorded diary of electronic Earthly chatter spewing out into space.   Imagine that. Nothing going out over the interstellar airwaves but contrived political speeches and cheesy film dialogue; soap operas and TV commercials; action movies and animated cartoons; romantic comedies and war movies; sports broadcasts and musicals. And porn. I wonder what the little green men make of porn?   Little or no Shakespearian or Confucian thought. No Jefferson or Montaigne–too boring–no Buddha or Chekhov, Cervantes or Pascal. No Jesus, just a lot of Jesus-wannabees. No Twain. No Thoreau for that matter.   Any alien eavesdropping on our electronic babble must conclude Earth is an orbital backwater peopled with mentally challenged or outright insane inhabitants. I would too.   What they overhear is a babblethon in 50 or 100 languages, cloying or sentimental drivel, thinly veiled political threats, frenzied sales pitches and laughable movie or TV dialogue that passes for dramatic, human utterances.   To the alien outposts stationed just outside the Ionosphere, I imagine Earth resembles a fascinating but backward anthill. Maybe alien research teams have flocked to Earth for centuries to conduct post-graduate work in primitive anthropology, as our scientists flock to Borneo or the Amazon to study primitive societies there. Maybe Earth is a desirable listening post for aliens. They listen and, in moments of boredom, buzz the locals for thrills.  But then again, maybe our fascinating little planet is so fascinating because it’s composed of demented tribes of warlike bipeds.   Henry David Thoreau once observed two tribes of warring ants, near his home in Concord. Insignificant beings, ants, much as we are to aliens perhaps, in their own dispassionate observations of us.   “The ground was already strewn with the dead and dying,” observed Thoreau, in Brute Neighbors, “both red and black. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed, the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging; internecine war; the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear… I never learned which party was victorious, nor the cause of the war; but I felt for the rest of that day as if I had had my feelings excited and harrowed by witnessing the struggle, the ferocity and carnage, of a human battle before my door.”   I like to think alien observers have long recorded similar details of human struggles, of our epic follies and tribulations. The battles and bombings of World War II must have been an alien researcher’s field day. US Army pilots noticed remote alien eavesdropping devices–advanced drones probably–and called them Foo Fighters as they sped past their fighter planes and bombers.   Perhaps aliens infiltrate our libraries in disguise and conduct deeper, more thorough, (Thoreau?) research. One can only hope. I’d hate to be judged by superior beings on the sounds of TV shows and movies, pop songs and talk radio shows spewing out into the Milky Way.   Among the ant soldiers that Thoreau observed, perhaps they too had lofty thoughts or deep longings before they went to battle. Like earthlings, their best thoughts never got recorded for galactic researchers. Just like our own.  One bit of speculation: Maybe our alien observers are hanging around Earth to observe the expected demise of our planet. Reportedly some scientists have observed a planet-dissolving cloud of cosmic dust, with a penchant for devouring tiny planets and all their inhabitants, nine years away and traveling fast.  Maybe, just maybe, the aliens are hanging around, reserving grandstand seats, to witness one spectacular light show.  Wouldn’t that explain all the human abductions, cattle mutilations, crop circles and increased sightings? With only nine years to go, they have a lot of experiments to finish.     November 7, 2005 discuss this column in the forum Amateur historian and STR essayist, Douglas Herman is the author of the novel The Guns of Dallas   Douglas Herman Archive

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