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Scott Charles Adams' Blog

Why all the Space Aliens Speak English

by on Sep.09, 2017, under Uncategorized

It’s hard for me to watch movies. As a writer, I’m hypercritical of everything. The jokes aren’t funny enough. The plot is contrived. He is not falling in love with her, because she is completely unlovable. Why is he not bleeding out? Et cetera, et cetera. A movie has to be truly exceptional for me to involve myself with the story instead of quietly fixing the plot. With books it’s even worse.

Some things, I’ve trained myself to ignore. A head injury severe enough to cause unconsciousness, for example, is super bad in real life – but someone is knocked unconscious in every movie. Accept it. It’s a movie. A human is assumed to be critically injured after any fall of more than ten feet, but action heroes fall way more than that in every movie. Accept it. It’s a movie.

Space aliens speak English.

This is a tough one.

I get that subtitles suck, as does inventing a new language for each of the four aliens on the screen. It can also get tedious to have two aliens who don’t understand each other learning each other’s language (unless you montage that shit). It’s a great way to stretch a two-hour movie into five hours of, “I don’t understand what you’re saying … thrakka doesn’t mean a hand job? I’ll just put this back in my space-pants, then.”

Okay, that’s a bad example, because that scene would be completely enjoyable and I could watch that for five hours. But most movies aren’t about space-handies.

This puts me in a tough spot. I know why all the aliens speak English – because if they don’t, it’s a logistical nightmare. But it’s glaring. It’s in your face. Star Trek cheats it by pretending the badges can translate anything into anything. Star Wars cheats it by having characters that can only be understood by other characters. Guardians of the Galaxy cheats it by saying, “Fuck it, everyone just speaks English.”

So it’s left to me. I’m forced to solve this on my own.

In the ten thousand year history of galactic trade, language has been an issue. The Tangerites of HIP 50465 are able to trade their orange fruit to the Tomatoinians of LFT 445 because they took the time to learn each other’s language – but the Tomatoinians would turn around and sell that fruit to the Appleturgs at a huge profit because none of the Tangerites who spoke Tomatoinian could also speak Appleturgese. And on and on, times a million. The lack of a universal language cost a lot of space-aliens a lot of space-money, and space-Esperanto never caught on despite many repeated attempts by the Esperantites.

But in the 1950s, Earth began to broadcast television signals to other Earthlings, and some of these signals bled into space. (We actually started radio signals much earlier, but without a visual context these signals were just wa-wa-wa sounds.) These signals were first received and interpreted by a cephalopod race who thought Earthlings were hysterical – not because they were watching The Honeymooners (which they were), but because we were so bland looking. Every other bipedal race looked at least a little like us. Add some gills to an Earthling, and you have a Haquer fish-person. Make the earlobes long and dangly, and you have a Zingity. Our lack of a distinguishing feature gave us the appearance of the crash-test dummies of every other race.

So the cephalopod race recorded our signals and began to distribute them to other races. They were disguised as entertainment, but they were actually a sophisticated insult. “This is what all you bipeds look like to us. See how stupid you look? Hah-hah-hah.”

The bipedal races of the Milky Way missed the insult – but they loved Jackie Gleason. And then they loved Gone with the Wind. And then they loved The Wizard of Oz and Leave it to Beaver and Days of Our Lives. English began to catch on as the galactic dilettantes lauded Earth entertainment as the best in the galaxy – primarily because the cephalopods owned the space-rights and bribed the space-dilettantes.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that the signals from Earth reached the more civilized parts of space, and hardcore fans of Dennis the Menace could find the source of this wonderful entertainment. The cephalopods did what they could to hide the true location of Earth, but to no avail. Their Earthling goose was now shooting its golden eggs into space, where they could be gathered by any Umbrellian with a receiver.

With no more bribes from the cephalopods, the space-dilettantes shifted their attention to other things. But English had already caught on. It was convenient, elegant, and pronounceable by most of the galaxy. Its use didn’t bruise any egos. And as a result, English because the unofficial trade-language of the Milky Way – much to the dismay of the Esperantites, who’ve spent the last 50 years unsuccessfully trying to push their own version of The Honeymooners called The Menacing Monkey People from Dirtworld who are Celebrating their Recent Lifebonding.

So most of the aliens alive today haven’t seen Gilligan’s Island or Footloose. They’ve heard of Earth, but they’re not sure why and they couldn’t pinpoint it on a map of the Milky Way – much like Latvia to a modern American. Or Nigeria. Or Portugal. Heh. I could go on. Modern Americans can point out very few things on a globe. But I digress.

And that, boys and girls, is why aliens speak English.

On a side note, the race of cephalopods are now known as the Squidwardians due to the popularity of Spongebob Squarepants. They don’t care for the name change at all, but fuck those Squidwardians.

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