I was driving to the Philadelphia airport yesterday and I was thinking about all the news alerts and headlines that were coming across the news feed on my phone. I couldn’t read them (because I was driving), or more accurately because I was using Waze and had to keep the map / directions up on my screen while I was driving, and I became increasingly aware of the volume of pings, dings, buzzes, and vibrations. It reminded me of a documentary I saw recently that followed former inmates as they were taking their first steps back into society after having been incarcerated for 30+ years.
One thing I vividly remember from the documentary was a former inmate saying how everybody was walking around talking to themselves. When he went to jail in 1980, people didn’t do that. Now, everyone had their heads down and these white things in their ears and they were all walking around and talking to themselves. What an amazing observation! What an incredible way to articulate what he was seeing for the first time. No one could have thought to inform him about the invention of smartphones and Bluetooth and earbuds. I started thinking about all the news – all the content I consume every day. I wondered what that would communicate to an alien landing on planet Earth, as a way to gather information about the indigenous culture.
I offer you below, a space alien’s view of U.S culture based on yesterday’s headlines. Let’s see how accurate it is…
Images from early in the day:
There’s THAT guy in the red tie who’s in a lot of the photos. He looks angry and tense. The guy next to him looks like he’s pleading for something or appealing in a somewhat defensive posture. The guy in the middle is clearly determined to communicate something specific. What is this “white house” that keeps coming up? The guy in the red tie again…that looks like a sneer. I think that’s the word, sneer. “A contemptuous or mocking smile, remark, or tone.” Yep. TOTALLY a sneer. The last guy looks really familiar. Where have I seen him before? I’m an alien from another planet, there’s no way I could know who…hey…wait a minute…
Images from a little later in the day:
Red tie guy again. He must be important. But who is that other guy and are those dolls? Is that what they’re called? OK Google (Aliens know Google BTW) Those are matryoshka dolls, also known as a Russian nesting doll, or Russian doll. It’s a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. I don’t understand, but I’m sure it’s something of great cultural significance to these people and their way of life. (Makes a note to ask next human encountered)
Wait! Red tie guy has a blue tie on now and he looks like HE’s pleading a case like the guy in the second picture from earlier. He looks like he’s trying to convince somebody of something. At least he doesn’t look angry for a change. Maybe there is something to color theory after all.
Hm. What’s this? It looks like a temple of some sort. Do these people worship this symbol? There are now younger males of the species in the pictures with other symbols. A ghost and an “f”. Yep, definitely symbols in their religion. (Makes note: Must find symbol decoder amulet.)
Almost forgot the rodent with the sign. Apparently February 2nd is a day when rodents in the Northeast quadrant of the country forecast the weather or some other meteorological anomaly. Unclear.
Conflict? What’s going on? Fire and signs. More worship? Is this another temple? Hm. No symbols. (Goes to URL on sign in photo)
Conflict. Definitely conflict. Always go with your first instinct, Beldar. But what is Trump/Pence? Is that like comeuppance? Must look into idioms.
Ahhhh. Their Queen. Queen Bey. These people clearly worship her and consider her a modern day Nefertiti. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshiped one god only, Aten. Together they were responsible for the creation of a whole new monotheistic religion which changed the ways of religion within Egypt. With her husband, she reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history. Yep, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, modern Egyptian royalty. Got it. I need to remember to include the cover sheet when I file my TPS report of life on Earth.
Conclusion: Headline news provides accurate account of daily life in America.