By William Markiewicz
Are we playful without knowing it? Why are the USA and its cohorts fighting bloody wars in Central Asia? They have lasted so long that the question 'why' is no longer our first preoccupation, instead, it's only 'how to win'. It's no longer a fight for survival but winning for the sake of pride. Perhaps humanity is attracted mostly by showbusiness; the ancient Romans lived mostly for circuses.
This truth about the nature of American politics was highlighted a long time ago in an American Science Fiction tale – as usual I don't remember the title or the author. It didn't occur to me that I'd one day write about this topic. The story is written in the first person. What I remember most is that a Delegate from another planet came for an official visit. The alien apparently circled our planet invisibly for months in advance in order to learn more about our civilization. It chose the USA as the dominant planetary power.
Its first public introduction to Earth's public was on America's most popular TV talk show. The well known host, greatly moved, presented the first intergalactic communicator to honour his program. The guest, humanoid if I remember well, greeted his 'brother Earthlings' in the name of his planet. He gave a long oration about the values of brotherhood, prosperity, wisdom and peace. It went on and on and it started to be boring. The host, gifted with a rough sense of humor more than tact, judged that the monologue had gone on long enough and told the distinguished guest: "I understand that your important mission will take a lot of time so, maybe I'll now thank you for giving us the honour of your visit." The guest, visibly surprised, said something in his own language: "I thought it was supposed to be (his language). I didn't expect it would be instead (his own language!)" The host started to make fun of him with not very respectful comments. The guest suddenly stood, made some gestures with a changed voice, saying, "Take my wife – please!" and went into a Vaudeville routine. The audience laughed uproariously and the guards stopped the host who, red-faced and angry screamed: "Get rid of the bastard. He's competing with me!"
The rest is history. The extraterrestrial guest became the leading comedian in the States and probably the rest of the world. Maybe one year later he had a meeting with the host who tried to smile as they shook hands and the alien said to the public: "Look at this man. I have to thank him for making my success possible!" The narrator ends, "But my money stays on the alien." The message is clear: If you want the earthling's money, first of all be funny.Back to the index of the Vagabond