Advanced Sci-Fi Civilizations Too Stupid To Really Exist
April 12, 2019 6:35 PM   Subscribe

Media Zealot talks about your faves: The Engineers from Alien? The Humans in Avatar? Idiots. The Prawns from District 9? Morons. But wait. What about The Kryptonians (with bonus dubstep)? Total Doofuses. The Borg? (Klutzes). But let's not forget the Daleks (Cretins) and The Empire (Nazis).
posted by valkane (30 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Like the hat tip to The Sicilian.
posted by aurelian at 7:18 PM on April 12


Eh. His take on the District 9 aliens was fairly weak considering that the whole point of the movie was that the ones that ended up on Earth were, with one exception, members of a fairly unintelligent underclass. We know almost nothing about their race in general, and certainly not about the people who built and used their technology.

Of course we could know, if they all show up for a sequel...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:30 PM on April 12 [9 favorites]


also, the humans from Prometheus
posted by entropicamericana at 7:32 PM on April 12 [17 favorites]


Hmm, getting message the videos are restricted.
posted by herda05 at 7:41 PM on April 12


Guys, you would not believe how many variations there are throughout the galaxy of "Pot, Kettle, Black" and the aliens passing these videos around and dunking on us are using all of them.
posted by straight at 7:54 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Were there any civilizations in The Hitchhiker 's Guide to the Galaxy that were minimally competent?
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:58 PM on April 12 [12 favorites]


also, the humans from Prometheus

also, the humans who made and paid for Prometheus

Really, if you think about it, we're all aliens, man, floating around on spaceship Earth
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:18 PM on April 12 [12 favorites]


How about the aliens from The Screwfly Solution?
posted by benzenedream at 8:44 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I remember one of my favorite books as a kid was about a girl who moved from the city to stay with relatives on a farm, around the turn of the last century. One afternoon, her great-aunt tells her stories about how everyone knew how to keep the fire going or restart it before matches were available; how they could estimate the time of day within a few minutes just by a sundial that only showed noon, before anyone in the area had a clock; how they made their own lead pencils from melted bullets, etc. She finishes by saying, "I swear a bit of our common sense flies out the window every time a newfangled piece of machinery comes in the door," or words to that effect. That seems to be a pretty common trope in sci-fi - people making more and more advanced machinery and coming to rely on it so much that successive generations grow dumber than the people who built the machines in the first place. You don't even have to look at the more dystopian stories to find it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:01 PM on April 12 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't the Dunning-Kreuger Effect preclude us from accurately identifying which aliens are truly smart?
posted by zaixfeep at 9:02 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Were there any civilizations in The Hitchhiker 's Guide to the Galaxy that were minimally competent?

Magrathea. Maybe the mice, or dolphins.

The bowl of petunias seemed to know what was up, too.
posted by loquacious at 9:11 PM on April 12 [10 favorites]


I think the problem here is that the thesis "Advanced Sci-Fi Civilizations Too Stupid To Really Exist" implies that "Advanced Sci-Fi Civilizations Must Be Really Smart To Exist." But we already know from direct experience of the present that "Advanced" doesn't imply either being wise or benevolent.

In other words, it's not suddenly going to look any better in the future because we finally get our hoverboards.

In fact, it might be worse.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:24 PM on April 12 [16 favorites]


Were there any civilizations in The Hitchhiker 's Guide to the Galaxy that were minimally competent?

The Krikkiters fought as one planet against the entire universe and almost won, extreme competence in pursuit of the worst of goals.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:06 AM on April 13 [8 favorites]


See also: Pakleds.
posted by Splunge at 12:27 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Daleks: Also nazis
posted by fFish at 2:03 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


That seems to be a pretty common trope in sci-fi - people making more and more advanced machinery and coming to rely on it so much that successive generations grow dumber than the people who built the machines in the first place.

Yeah well as soon as I've finished recharging the magic glass that holds all knowledge I'll be able to look up a crushing rebuttal to this stupid comment.
posted by um at 7:02 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


He's sort of orthogonal in his critique of Ruby Rhod. IMO, RR is an annoying person, but a wonderful character, brought to life by a sublime performance by Chris Tucker.
posted by glonous keming at 7:31 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


This whole article is either satire or is written by someone unaware that the most powerful military technology the world has ever seen us currently in the hands of a childish, unremarkable con man with the comprehension of an especially hateful slug.
posted by maxsparber at 8:20 AM on April 13 [10 favorites]


I've only looked at the one about the Borg, but it's already boring me, as the conceit is to treat them as if they were a real thing and not part of an ongoing series and subject to Villain Decay [TVTropes]. A real Borg cube would have sent back the data on the encounter with the Enterprise to the Collective, which would have sent back a couple of cubes, one to engage the Enterprise to more closely observe the strategy and tactics used by the one ship in the Alpha Quadrant capable of destroying them, the other to assimilate the Enterprise or destroy it if that weren't practical. But then the show and the franchise are over.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:00 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Their complete playlist.
posted by WCityMike at 11:33 AM on April 13


I thought the Kryptonians was spot-on. So much incomprehensible blindness unexplained.
posted by fatbird at 12:14 PM on April 13


In before anyone mentions Rorschach & co from Peter Watts’ Blindsight universe?
posted by danhon at 12:59 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Any reason why somebody should mention them, danhon ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:30 PM on April 13


I was somewhat entertained but then in the middle of the first video he started devoting a ton of time to a movie I'd never heard of and, the internet informs me, no one actually saw ("Battle: Los Angeles"). Meh.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:07 PM on April 13


I love me my curmudgeons and I even agree with a few of his ideas, but the pacing is too slow and lacks some other hook like wit. The CinemaSins guy is a lot more entertaining.
posted by porpoise at 6:21 PM on April 13


The CinemaSins guy is a lot more entertaining.

They're not even in the same ball park. But, not everyone can be an A-lister.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:45 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Ok, dubstep explaining all of Zack Snyder's work is a brilliant insight.
posted by benzenedream at 9:57 AM on April 14


Still doesn't explain how the Engineers reproduced without females.
posted by y2karl at 9:57 AM on April 14


Weren't there Engineer women in the crowd David was lovingly showering with mutant death virus?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:58 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Movies that fail to work through their amazing leaps in technology bug the absolute shit out of me. It seems to me that new or revolutionary technology leaps will just be adopted by those who can exploit them for profit. There we were, excited about the concept of driverless cars, but now it looks more and more like the biggest application of them is to put 3 million truck drivers out of work, end private car ownership, change the design of housing permanently (who needs a garage if you’re just hailing a ride?). So few movies manage to create worlds that can accurately gauge the changes their story tech would actually bring about. Strangely enough, they all seem to be made by JJ Abrams... Just for instance:

Scotty figuring out how to beam people halfway across the galaxy onto a moving ship obviated the need for spaceships. Hell, Star Trek’s replicators that create food obviate the need for pretty much all activity along that hierarchy of need.

Maybe one of the only movies that really got it, that figured out that amazing world breaking technology would probably be like was Looper. People would think, holy hell, we’re not in any way ready for it, and pretty much only criminals would end up with access. And telekinesis would largely be a stupid party trick.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:34 PM on April 14


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