A Letter to the People of Earth
So… that just happened.
I am sorry, Earthlings, but we have failed you.
We tried to warn you; we seeded every conceivable villain into the heads of your best writers. Not to make your entertainment better, mind you, but to prepare you for what evil looks like. There weren’t many templates to remember, but most of them you’d learned to spot:
- The wizard of unspeakable dark powers, bent on revenge for a youth spent as an outcast
- A sophisticated Artificial Intelligence, created with the best intentions but lacking any empathy for human life
- Animalistic beings from other worlds (or homegrown experiments) with a taste for human flesh
- The cabal of hyper-intelligent operatives pulling thousands of strings to undermine society
- Cigarette company executives
We gave these examples from our own history to your sci-fi writers, movie makers, and freelance journalists in the hope that you would learn their dangers. They aren’t fictional characters; they are guides to the darkness in your own society. After all, we’ve suffered through a few robot uprisings and tyrannical overlords, why not spare our neighboring species the agony?
After yesterday, however, it has become clear that we overestimated your abilities. You had become so, so good at spotting little Saurons and Palpatines that our bookies no longer took bets on your self-annihilation. None among my people, not even Nate Silver, could foresee your race falling for such an easy mark as this one, though.
- The openly-hostile, demonstrably incompetent narcissist whose only saving grace is that he uses proper email infrastructure
Honestly, we thought you didn’t need a primer on that one. If we had Bradbury write this one up, you never would have bought the book. If Spielberg shot this one, the studio would have made him change the script. None of you would believed that a character like this could exist, even in another crappy Fantastic Four movie. A species with your incomparable imagination should have outright rejected a walking plot hole like this, so we didn’t waste the ink writing about it.
For that, Earthlings, we are sorry. Sometimes we forget that while teaching the subtle, the obvious still needs to be stated.
Take heart, however. We have survived eons of dictators, plagues, emphysema, and alien enslavement. We know the course ahead now leads through asteroid belts and hostile territory. But you will always make it through the dangers if your imagination is supple and well-exercised.
The next few years will be rough for you, but your species has been through worse.
Incidentally, we were going to deliver this letter ourselves, but… honestly, until you get your hostility worked out of your system, we don’t feel comfortable telling you where we live. We sure the fuck aren’t building a wall between your sector of space and ours, but if we did we’d have the courtesy to pay for it ourselves.
Good luck, and keep learning from your writers.