Saturday, March 12, 2011
AN ACADEMIC INQUIRY INTO THE HOPELESS STUPIDITY OF ALIENS
We're in the middle of some kind of alien movie renaissance. Fuck knows why, it might be because District 9 was a hit and everyone wanted to go run out and knock it off, it could be that 90s retro is kicking in and everyone wants to pay homage to Independence Day, it could just be that time.
Aliens, in principle, are fucking awesome. They're from other planets, they don't share humanity's laziness; what, we got as far as the moon and then said fuck it? LET'S FUCKING GO TO SPACE, GODDAMMIT. Earth sucks. It's the New Jersey of the universe.
And yet, all these aliens want to come here and take our natural resources. I mean, I'd understand it if they were after our women. Katrina Kaif is worth crossing the universe for—
—or Monica Bellucci—
—or Jennifer Lawrence—
—or Janelle Monae—
—and it'd make sense if they came for Janelle, to repatriate her back to her own planet. But no, they're always after our less attractive natural resources. Which, when you think about it, is kind of stupid. There have to be thousands of other planets that have stuff worth taking that aren't defended by heavily-armed territorial fucknut Earthlings. So, why Earth? My theory: aliens are fucking dipshits.
Think about it. How many movies or TV shows can you think of with smart aliens? Michael Rennie in The Day The Earth Stood Still (the real one, not the Keanu one)? After that, who the hell's next? Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation? And even he mainly used his intelligence to troll Picard rather than do anything useful. Just about every other alien ever portrayed is a fucktard of cosmic proportions (hey, hey! Don't forget to tip your space waitress!)
H.G. Wells, fittingly, introduced the world to retarded aliens in The War of the Worlds. His point, whether or not it was a veiled cautionary tale to the British empire about being mindful of the universality of vulnerability even in the apparently invincible, was that even aliens badass enough to lay waste to London can be brought down not by brute force, but by chance. They catch cold (which they'd long since eliminated on Mars), and that's them laid the fuck out. But look at it from another perspective: they come all the way from Mars, millions of miles through space, and it never occurs to them to bring a motherfucking space suit so they don't breath shitty Earth air? Diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiipshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
This is the original sin of every single alien who ever hopped in his spaceship and said “Herp derp, let's go to Earth.” None of them think ahead, and end up making stunningly fuckheaded mistakes, six of which are outlined in this Cracked article. It's truly amazing that aliens would have the resources to cross the entire universe, often going faster than the speed of light to do so (without, nota bene, getting any speeding tickets from the alien traffic cops, like ever), and never having it occur to them to so much as buy a Lonely Planet: Earth guide. “Caution: the natives often look at you funny if you walk around with your tentacles out. Dreadlocks are, contrary to what Will Smith seems to think, not the same thing. Also, there's fucking ricockulous amounts of water there, so bundle up tight if moisture makes you melt.” But no, they just show up, no subtlety at all, and start killing everyone until they either get a cold or start going “shit, how come my skin is burning? Oh fuck, right, the water. SMH. FML.”
And, as per point 4 in the Cracked piece . . . why in the sweet name of fuck do they always attack America? Not only do we have a startling plurality of heavily-armed racists, we flip our shit at the slightest provocation. If you're going to land somewhere and lay waste to the indigenous population, why not Sweden? If Lisbeth Salander is off having lesbian s&m sex and her typical twenty other phantasmagorical male fantasy activities while not smiling, they won't even have anyone who can hack into the aliens' computers. France would be a mistake: they have nuclear weapons and if the aliens lay one tentacle on Paris they'd get one right in the ass. Don't believe that whole “the French surrender at the first sign of trouble” meme, those motherfuckers are crazy. Fuck only knows what terrifying response would be unleashed if the aliens ever fucked with China. You know, come to think of it, there really aren't many soft targets on Earth.
The fine tradition of the retarded alien reached its apex in Battle: Los Angeles. Seriously. They can fucking beam right into our atmosphere . . . and they don't know how to melt ice? Are you fucking shitting me? The fucking no-spacesuit-wearing-ass aliens in Signs think that's retarded. The dreadlock tentacle shitheads who hired Steve Jobs to do their IT before trying to conquer Earth in Independence Day call them a couple cans short of a six-pack. Hell, the Martians in Total Recall who built that thing that was so awesome it terraformed the goddamn planet in five minutes and then never fucking turned it on are like, “Damn, those Battle: Los Angeles motherfuckers are stupid. Even we can melt ice. Shit, bitch, we can melt imaginary ice, who the fuck ever heard of a planetary core made of ice?”
Now, I understand the logic behind the aliens needing to have a flaw. The people need to win in the end, otherwise there's no story. The problem is the flaw the aliens have is nearly always something hideously stupid. Tim Burton handled this quite well in Mars Attacks! by having the flaw be that Slim Whitman records make the Martians' heads explode. That's stupid, but in a batshit crazy and very funny way, and stupid/batshit crazy/funny is actually quite a nice cocktail when you get the measurements right.
The problem is, when you take the inherent ridiculousness out of the equation, when you're telling a story about aliens that isn't funny, you're left with a difficult proposition. Any realistic conception of alien life has to take into account the infinitessimal probability of that alien life bearing any resemblance to people. Evolution is the result of billions of years of adaptive reactions against the environment. In a different environment with different variables, you're going to have different results. Shit, on Earth things could have turned out differently if this or that random-ass thing never happened. If that comet never goes boo ya 65 million years ago, dinosaurs stay in charge. Maybe if you spot them 65 million extra years the dinosaurs evolve and achieve sapience. But an advanced dinosaur civilization isn't going to have a fucking thing to do with people. If we were around we couldn't talk to them (not just because they'd be eating us). How the fuck, I ask, are we going to be able to communicate with some dudes from another planet? The reality of first contact is a lot closer to what Terry Bisson hypothesized in his novella “The Shadow Knows,” where we find this thing, we don't even know what the fuck it is, and then suddenly humanity collectively and simultaneously experiences “The Brush,” which no one can verbalize, because our minds by virtue of the way they're built can't wrap themselves around what the experience was. Aliens are different. That's what “alien” means. This is what's called “the anthropomorphic problem,” the inability of any creature to truly know anything other than itself and its own kind.
This approach to the question—being all, like, smart about it and shit—is no fun. Let's get back on topic. Fuck aliens. YEAH! Take that, motherfuckers. Go pick your nose with your tentacles and catch a fucking cold. Here on Earth? We got balls. Your fancy spaceships can't fuck with that. Joo fock with Earth, mang, joo focking with the best. Really, though? If they're not crippled by narrative expedience, the aliens are Sosa's hit squad. Earth is Tony Montana, heavily armed, coked out of his huevos, babbling horseshit. But we all remember how that shit ended. So let's ease up, in case They're Watching.