Monday February 13, 2006
To the Martians
This week's episode of the public radio show Studio 360 included a hilarious piece by Jack Handey (the guy who did "Deep Thoughts" on Saturday Night Live for years) called "My Speech to the Martians". You can listen to it here.
I came here in peace, seeking gold and slaves, but you have treated me like an intruder. But maybe it is not me who is the intruder, but you. No, not me—you, stupid.
The whole speech reminds me ['ware spoilers!] of a passage in Robert Heinlein's Have Space Suit—Will Travel that also considers, from a different point of view, our human capacity for violence. Late in the book, the young hero Kip is trying (unsuccessfully) to pursuade the "Security Council" of the Three Galaxies not to kill everyone on Earth by moving it into another dimension...without the Sun.
"Have you anything more to say?" old no-face went on relentlessly.
I looked around the hall. —the cloud-capped towers...the great globe itself— "Just this!" I said savagely. "It's not a defense, you don't want a defense. All right, take away our star— You will if you can and I guess you can. Go ahead! We'll make a star! Then, someday, we'll come back and hunt you down—all of you!"
That bit about "the cloud-capped towers" is from a passage in The Tempest that continues:
...the great globe itself,
Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.
("Rack" here apparently means 'a wisp of cloud'.)
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"We'll go build our own sun! With blackjack! And hookers! In fact, forget the sun!"