Passive-Aggressive Aliens Want to Steal Your Gravel

In the latest issue of The New Yorker, an alien civilization announces its intentions to visit our planet. But they're not a benevolent race out to share their technology; they're actually quite passive aggressive and have designs on our gravel.

Television writer Paul Simms' piece "Attention, People of Earth" imagines the first extraterrestrial missive to Earth, if the extraterrestrials in question were the sorts of creatures who read The New Yorker and want to assure us that they don't intend to steal our vast reserves of gravel:

You may be wondering how we know your language. We are aware that there's a theory on your planet that we (or other alien species from the far reaches of the galaxy) have been able to learn your language from your television transmissions. This is not the case, because most of us don't really watch TV. Most of our knowledge about your Earth TV comes from reading Zeitgeisty think pieces by our resident intellectuals, who watch it not for fun but for ideas for their print articles about how Earth TV holds a mirror up to Earth society, and so on. We mean, we'll watch Earth TV sometimes-if it happens to be on already-but, generally, we prefer to read a good book or revive the lost art of conversation.

Sadly, Earth TV is like a vast wasteland, as the Earthling Newton Minow once said. But, for those of you who can understand things only in TV terms, just think of us as being very similar to Mork from Ork, in that he was a friendly, non-gravel-wanting alien who visited Earth just to find out what was there, and not to harvest gravel.

Attention, People of Earth [The New Yorker via Mental Floss]