Last week, intrepid reporter and radio raconteur Daedalus Howell was contacted by intelligent beings from globular cluster M13 – the recipients of the ill-fated Arecibo Message sent from Earth 32 years ago in an attempt to contact extraterrestrial life.They got Howell’s phone number by mistake. And he missed their call. But, they did leave a message. It went like this:
“Hey, this is Stacy from Globular Star Cluster M13. Listen, we just got your message, and well, this is awkward over the phone, but the thing is, um, I think we probably shouldn’t pursue this whole communication thing until you, the People of Earth or whatever, work some things out.
“First off, ‘humanity’ as a concept is just too inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, you guys do some really cool things – Bach’s cello suites, Sgt. Pepper, Cat’s Cradle, zinfandel (but not the white kind), Hamlet, the Bill of Rights, the movies – I mean, how brilliant, the movies! And roller coasters and Miles Davis and e.e. cummings and grilled cheese sandwiches. That Van Gogh with the white flower. All great. I can go on forever, but then – bam! You hit a major speed bump with us: Why can’t you play nice with each other?
“I mean, seriously, dudes, the Inquisition? The Holocaust? A-bombs? September 11. What the fuck? Violence? Still? At your age? How juvenile is that? Listen, I know there’s a good kid in you somewhere, People of Earth. Where’s the esprit de corps? Didn’t they tell you that you don’t have to have a common enemy to all get on the same side? How about just a common goal – I mean, you got that dude on your moon, right? And please tell me he’s not all pixel-ly like the picture you sent.
“After we got your message we were totally stoked with the idea there was another kid in the sandbox. We were saying, man, it would be so cool to a chat about big picture stuff, compare notes about the meaning of it all. Then we checked you out online. Dude, as it stands, we’re too afraid of getting nuked by you people. Sad, but true.
“What’s really trippy is that your cruelest acts are done in the name of some deity or other. First off, it’s quaint you would even think that way at all. Listen, kid, if you believe there’s a mind behind the platypus are you sure you want to kill in its name? I mean, who knows what it’s thinking, you dig? And second off, what hubris, humanity, to presume to know the intentions of a god when you can’t even recognize that you’re an endangered species. I mean, seriously dude, your planet is almost totaled. And don’t think for a minute that you’re coming to ours.
“Anyway, I don’t mean to harsh on you too bad – actually that’s not true, I do – you need to hear this stuff. Humanity needs a systemic rebuild. Start on the individual level, start simply – just try to be better people. If you can’t do that, just try to be better people to each other, until you’re all getting along – then maybe, maybe we’ll invite you to the party. As it stands, you’re the kind of guest that drinks too much, offends everyone and lights the couch on fire and then has the gall to ask if you can crash on it. I mean, duh, People of Earth. When you feel you’ve finally gotten over yourself and can play well with others, then we’ll talk. Until then, don’t call us, we’ll call you.”