Monday, September 27, 2010

Beaming Up the United Nations

I wish I could say I made this up, but I can't.

It's one of those stories where the mockery almost writes itself.

The United Nations, having finally solved their last remaining problem now that we've elected an Apologizer-in-Chief in the United States, has created the "Office for Outer Space Affairs" or "Unoosa." (Yes, yes, I know... sounds a bit like "unusable," doesn't it?)

Scarier still, they've actually appointed an ambassador to fill this office; a woman by the name of Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist. I'm not implying that Ms. Othman is scary, mind you, but rather that it scares me that the UN would 1.) create such an office, and 2.) staff it.

Being an inveterate consumer of pulp science fiction movies like "E.T.," or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," this announcement brings up all sorts of wonderful possibilities.

First, there's the rather obvious problem of communication. In "Close Encounters," the aliens left extremely helpful hints about how best to communicate with them when the inferior earthlings had finally gotten a clue. This enabled the eggheads (we were never certain whether they were UN eggheads or just US military eggheads in the film) to build a super-computer capable of carrying on an intense conversation that no one, including the eggheads that designed the thing, were able to understand.

I think Ms. Othman's best bet in the absence of such a super-computer would be the online Klingon dictionary:
[Othman, while making the Vulcan sign that Kirk could never master]: "nuqneH!" ("What do you want?")

[Aliens, with puzzled expressions on their faces]:

[Othman, undeterred]: "Hutlh may'ron!" ("Have an accordion!")

[Alien 1 speaking to Alien 2 with a British accent]: I say, Sheldon, you were right. They don't quite seem to have mastered the art of communication yet.
Of course, there's always the hope thought that the aliens would simply take out whatever highly advanced weaponry they've brought along with them and blast the entire delegation into another dimension.

Then, of course, Ms. Othman would need to familiarize the visitors with the rules and regulations of the United Nations:
[Othman]: So the Security Council can vote to censure any member nation, but only one dissenting vote is sufficient to veto any such action. This has been particularly useful in denying the United States anything but an occasional attack on peace-loving nations run entirely by psychotic ego-maniacs. China continues to do pretty much whatever it likes, and the rest of us sit around and think up ways to blame mankind for every natural disaster that the planet experiences. Also we get diplomatic immunity in the United States so we can all keep our illegal drugs flowing through their country without fear of reprisal.

[Alien 2, slapping Alien 1 on the back of the head]: "We don't need the Universal Positioning System on this trip," you said! "If there's intelligent life in this galaxy, I'll find it," you said! This is absolutely the last time I let you get away with that sort of nonsense, Griswold.
So I'm certain that Ms. Othman has her work cut out for her. We desperately need, after all, to make a good first impression. She'll be kept plenty busy developing the precise protocols needed in establishing that all-important first contact. It's unclear at this point, of course, whether bowing would be part of that ceremony, but I'm sure Obama could give her some tips.

Still, as I once read on a coffee mug: The surest sign of intelligent life in the universe is that none of it has ever tried to contact us.

'Iq Ha'DIbaH

No comments: