Not-So-Great Moments in Sci-Fi Politics

Bill Clinton vs. ‘Robot’ Heckler (Video)

The protester said he wanted Clinton to apologize for a comment he made in 1992 about a rapper named Sister Souljah, and then threw colored cards into the air.

As the protester was being escorted out of the room, Clinton told him he needed to find a more environmentally-friendly way to protest. (link)

Rudy Giuliani on Preparedness for Attacks by Aliens (Video)

During a town-hall meeting in Exeter, Giuliani assured a young questioner that preparedness will be key for all crises, including those from outer space.

“If (there’s) something living on another planet and it’s bad and it comes over here, what would you do?” a boy asked.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Clinton seems incapable of taking robotic protesters seriously. And thus, should sapient machines emerge during any potential Hillary Clinton administration, we may very well have an “A.I.”-style civil rights issue on our hands. I would score this episode as a point deduction, if only this particular robot hadn’t been asking the former president about the amazingly trivial and outdated Sister Souljah episode. Who among us could take such a robot seriously?

Mr. Giuliani, on the other hand, gets major points off for his naive — and patronizing! — assurance that terrestrial attack preparedness might somehow be a match for an assault by bellicose aliens. Now I’m not suggesting we make military superiority in a “War of the Worlds”-type situation a matter of national policy. But you can’t stipulate the boy’s sci-fi premise, as Mr. Giuliani seems to do in his glib response, and honestly believe that we’d somehow come out OK merely by taking a vigilant approach to national security issues. If an intelligent, extraterrestrial species with aggressive intentions had the technological mastery to cross the vastness of space in order to squash us, there is no way that we wouldn’t get squashed. By definition, these hypothetical “bad aliens” would have a nearly infinite edge over us, no matter how much of the budget we invested in defense.

Any casual reading of the genre tells you that, in such an event, the devastation will be immense — even if some plucky human hero ultimately rises up to miraculously throw off our alien oppressors. We’re talking way worse than 9/11 here. So I guess what I’m saying, despite my avowed intention to not tackle explicitly political issues on my blog, is this: “Rudy Giuliani — Wrong on Alien-Attack Preparedness, Wrong for America.”

P.S. Quick question: In the history of the sci-fi genre, has there ever been a story in which hostile aliens come to earth, only to find themselves overmatched by human technology? I’m not talking about the “hero-saves-the-day” scenario, where humans triumph against all odds. I want to know if there’s ever been a story — even a satire — in which the bad aliens arrive to find we’ve got their number. Leave any candidates in the comments, if you please.

P.P.S. I’m not addressing Dennis Kucinich’s UFO claims. Because unlike the sci-fi genre and its devotees, people who earnestly think they’ve seen UFOs are just too lame and unaccountably self-important to be interesting. Much like the Kucinich campaign itself.

(Image from Flickr user arimoore.)

One response to “Not-So-Great Moments in Sci-Fi Politics

  1. In the history of the sci-fi genre, has there ever been a story in which hostile aliens come to earth, only to find themselves overmatched by human technology?

    Yes. I do not remember the name, but it was a short. Perhaps published in a story collection?

    POV is split between an alien (or two) aboard an invasion fleet and a human (or two) on the ground.

    Aliens debark, prepare to begin their invasion of the planet. It becomes clear as this happens that the aliens are using muskets and brass cannon and using 18th century tactics.

    This is effective at the college campus where they arrive – less so when the army moves up and slaughters the aliens.

    FTL and muskets? The author explains that the aliens lucked onto FTL while they were at that stage of their civilization. FTL gave them such an advantage they didn’t need to make any more technological progress.

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