Natalie Haynes: Secretly, we long for an alien invasion

Notebook: The idea that we might be alone in the universe with just seven billion other people for company is clearly too horrifying

Share
Related Topics

Unwrap your foil hats: this weekend was the 65th anniversary of the Roswell landings, and it seems like a vast number of people still believe the US government is concealing information about UFO landings in New Mexico. Since there is still no evidence for any kind of alien invasion, it must be in this one field – hushing up ET and Dr Who – that government employees have been completely successful. It seems kind of a shame they didn't save that infallibility for running the economy, but never mind. In my house, we like to celebrate the Roswell aliens' sad deaths by watching Alien, or Mars Attacks! (right), and reminding ourselves that every year the aliens don't invade is another victory.

It has always baffled me that conspiracy theorists long for alien life to be confirmed, when our imaginings of aliens are so rarely the messianic suffering figure (ET) or the friendly mentor (Chocky), but are so frequently the blow-us-to-kingdom-come kind (the Tripods, the Vogons, the Body Snatchers). We'd clearly be better off if we were the only form of intelligent life, but many of us long to be in contact with the very aliens we fear. The idea that we might be alone in the universe with just seven billion other people for company is clearly too horrifying. And in the real world, we're much more hopeful about the humanity of the non-human than we are in our fiction: shooting phonograph records into space in the hopes that an alien will find them, listen to them, and think that any planet which created Beethoven and Blind Willie Johnson can't be all bad. Surely, we would be better off keeping schtum, and hoping they invade Mars instead?

Yet the numbers persist: 36 per cent of Americans surveyed by National Geographic this year said they thought aliens had visited the earth. Forty-eight per cent weren't sure. But 79 per cent of them believed the US government has kept information about UFOs secret. So even those who aren't sure whether aliens have landed still think their government is lying about it. But the good news is that a massive 65 per cent of Americans think Barack Obama would be better suited to deal with an alien invasion than Mitt Romney would be, my favourite statistic of the year so far. I like to think it's because Obama looks more like Will Smith than Mitt Romney looks like Tommy Lee Jones. Because when the aliens do come, that's who we want in charge.

The climate, so contrary

Those of you who canoed into work today will be relieved to know that the hosepipe ban has finally been lifted by the four remaining water companies who had watched a month's rain fall in 24 hours – several times – and still thought it might be a bit dry out there.

As weather forecasting remains an inexact science, I would like to reveal my sure-fire guaranteed long-range prediction system. The weather is always pretty much the same, until you challenge it. Declare a rise in flooding and you will receive the driest winters on record. Declare a drought, and it will chuck it down for three months solid. Our climate isn't temperate any more, it's petulant.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - OTE £30,000+

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Designate South

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading electro...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - London - up to £44,000

£38000 - £44000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manag...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Here’s why I’m so full of (coffee) beans

Jane Merrick
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn