We’ve been indiscriminately beaming everything from telephone calls to commercials deep into outer space for more than a century, but it’s only recently that we’ve started to actively exploit that targeted demographic: Theoretical aliens. Well, that's all changed now that the new remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still was broadcast directly to Alpha Centauri last week in celebration of its Earthly release date. Now, while it's true that the inherent consumerism-run-amok vibe given off by this action - harnessing billions of dollars worth of NASA technology just for a simple PR stunt – speaks of such a pure, unabashed greed that it would shame even the bastard lovechild of Gordon Gekko and the Grinch (probably conceived on the night Scrooge McDuck paid them to fuck on camera for his budding amateur porn site ifuckforpennies.com) that’s not the central issue here. The real problems are far more distressing than mere Duck Tales pornography:
Namely (assuming that the remake is anything like the original) the central message of this film is that our species is such an epic fuck-up, that the only motivation strong enough to force a change in our ways is having a hostile alien force descend from the heavens and burn our children until we learn to love each other (I guess in the new one the lesson is recycling or something? I haven’t actually seen it because I just don’t hate ten dollar bills that much.) So if we’re trying to establish contact, shouldn’t we be beaming something a little more optimistic? Independence Day, Aliens, hell even Predator would be a better choice; at least we fucking win in those!
And that’s because the primary theme all these movies have in common is the idea that, yes, you may be more advanced than us, aliens, but our plucky can-do attitude actually deflects laser beams, turns the hearts of heartless robots and charms photon torpedoes so completely that they will choose not to explode on impact, but rather to pen a series of rhyming couplets about how our everlasting beauty is like the morning fog. Whereas The Day The Earth Stood Still conveys the idea that, though our kindly human nature does ultimately convince the aliens against complete annihilation, the near-total genocide really teaches us a valuable lesson. It’s like broadcasting an After School Special where the protagonist learns not to make fun of fat kids… because a chubby girl eats their entire family in retaliation. Effective? Incredibly. I’m just saying that maybe it’s not a method of teaching you want to actively advertise... when you’re the one getting eaten.
This is, however, not an unprecedented move on the studio’s part. We’ve been firing high-energy, focused bullshit at superior lifeforms for decades now. Earlier this year, Frito-Lay used the EISCAT Space Centre in Norway to blast a message advocating X-treme flavor Doritos at Ursa Major for six straight god damn hours. These arrays ain’t nothing to fuck with either: The director over at EISCAT explains that “they are amongst the brightest signals coming off our planet- almost like a lighthouse beaming out of the solar system.” So there’s no chance that this will be dismissed as background noise if it is, by some miracle, received. No, for six straight hours, a Doritos commercial, this one right here, was literally the most prominent message defining humanity to the universe.
“Hello. Cool Ranch is delicious. We like chips. Hello again! We like chips. Did we tell you about chips? Hello there! Chips are tasty food. We like to put them in our mouths! Hello friend, I’m calling on behalf of tasty chips…”
These companies are wasting truly epic amounts of money, time and resources, just for the somewhat unlikely opportunity to fuck over our first Contact worse than Jodie Foster and her bullshit alien father. So, good lord, imagine if any jackass with a telephone could do the same thing…
Well don’t worry, you won’t have to do any strenuous imagining today - they totally did!
A now defunct website named Talk To Aliens let anybody with four bucks a minute to spare route their cell phone calls through deep space transmitters. That’s a cost roughly equivalent to a phone sex line. So, for the same price as ear-fucking a Midwestern skank with shaky morals and a dead-end job, any dickhead could scream synonyms for "fart" and "balls" directly at highly advanced alien civilizations, and really let ‘em know just what we’re all about down here.
It’s becoming pretty obvious by now that there are precisely zero standards in place for extraterrestrial communication. We might as well take out a Craigslist ad offering to swap our neglected home gym equipment for an alien handjob at this point.
Oh…you can actually do that one too! Awesome. I guess we don't need that stupid imagination crap after all, do we?
You fucking liar.
Jim Buckmaster, chief executive of Craigslist.org, recently won an eBay auction to broadcast data into space. He is, obviously, choosing to broadcast some of his Craigslist ads. You know - the ones that have become notorious for demonstrating exactly how perverse, profane, trashy and sad humanity gets when you allow them to communicate anonymously? Yeah, we’ll be telling the aliens all about that shit.
Listen, Buckmaster, we all know they’re going to find out about stuff like that eventually - the aforementioned Alien Handjob Flea Market would have its own category mere hours after first contact - but do we want to beam our worst aspects to them before we even formally meet? You don’t greet new business contacts by slipping your dick into their outstretched palm when they go for the handshake, you don’t break the ice when meeting your in-laws by showing them how far you can stretch your anus and you don’t kick off a blind date by telling them your name, hobbies and which cartoons you’ve masturbated to. I’m just suggesting that same measure of restraint for this potentially Earth-changing event.
I mean, Christ, if they’re evaluating us by the most powerful, clearest messages we’ve fired at them, the aliens are going to think we’re all a bunch of easily amused, mentally deranged, low-rent perverts who just really want a handie and have no further need for a NordicTrack.
Actually...shit, that sounds about right, doesn’t it?
Well, nevermind then. I guess congratulations are in order: Way to distill humanity down to its purest essence: snack food, internet hookers and Ted Theodore Logan!
Read more from Robert at his own site, I Fight Robots, right after you've finished telling the aliens exactly what you do to naughty E.T.s, and how hard you would do it.