The Daily Mail has revealed that more than 100 planets similar in size to ours have been discovered in the past few weeks alone. This raises the tantalising prospect that we may not be alone in the Universe.
I decided to get in touch with some of these aliens. I reckoned there's clearly something we don't understand about them. I wanted to ask why they're so distant, so aloof, unwilling to communicate with us. As you can imagine, I had a tough time getting even that rather rudimentary question across initially. After all, my Krell, Martian and Klingon are a little rusty these days. But with the help of an odd little fellow named Ted who claimed to be an "Interpreter" for the United Nations, I achieved my aim. I discovered why these "Honourary Earthlings" (hereafter referred to as "HEs19") just don't want to know.
Me: Why have you never bothered getting in touch?
HEs19: Your Ted Interpreter is picking his nose. Please ask him to stop. It is the height of rudeness to nose-pick whilst interpreting.
Ted: I do beg your pardon. On some planets I've known it is the custom to pick one's nose on such occasions.
HEs19: Not ours, I regret to say. But anyway, to answer your question. We do not get in touch because there is much about your planet that we do not like.
Me: Anything in particular?
HEs19: Well you must remember, old boy, that the only source of information for us is your staggeringly awful media. We have a live feed that taps into the broadcasts that bounce around your planet and so we watch a lot of what you watch. Frankly it's pathetic. Who would want to get in touch with a bunch of morons who are fixated on Jordan and Peter Andre and Simon Cowell and your Gok Wan and your Fairy Jobmother and Gillian MacKeith and your banal property programmes and your stupid little cookery shows and your...
Me: OK. I get the message. So basically what you are saying is that you judge our people by the quality of the media output.
HEs19: Well, HELLO? What other way is there for us to judge you? If you burp, or you fart, you are making a statement about the quality of the wind in your interior. If you produce this utter crap that we intercept on planet HEs19, then surely it a statement about the quality of the wind within the interior of your civilisation.
Ted: He's got a point there.
Me: I'll thank you not to comment, Ted. You're here to interpret.
Ted: Sorry boss. I'll go back to picking my nose if it's okay by you.
Me: No it's not okay.
HEs19: You tell him.
Me: Yes, so anyway. What you are saying is that we are judged - as a civilisation - by our output? And all of this reality TV and the other garbage is so bad that... that...
HEs19: That your media is like the ambassador of your ghastly little planet. And if that is your ambassador, we just don't want to know you.
Me: I see...
HEs19: I mean, let's face it the content of your so called BBC1, which is supposedly a "public service broadcast" - Ho! Ho! Ho!... it is so bad that we are thinking: Well if the BBC1 with all its silly cookery and treasure hunt programmes equals public service, then we would certainly not wish to be exposed to your public dis-service broadcasts.
Ted: They're called BBC3.
Me: Yes, thanks for that, Ted. Please, Ted, could you not make these asides. You're interpreting... Remember?.
Ted: Sorry boss. It was hard to resist. Speaking as an interpreter.
Me: But, okay, so I understand that a lot of our media output is garbage. But there is also some good stuff... films and good drama... documentaries... music...
HEs19: Well there maybe. But they constitute the minority. And the garbage as you so rightly call it constitutes the majority. So why would we want to populate a planet that was swimming in such a cesspit medium?
Me: Populate? You said populate?
HEs19: Yes, populate. We only wish to connect with planets that we can populate. We are territorial people - rather like yourself in your own disgusting way. But we only wish to populate fertile habitats. Not cesspits.
Me: Okay, Gotcha. So, were it not for all this crap that is filtering out over the radio waves or what have you, you would have invaded us long ago.
HEs19: Got it in one. Plus we would have raped and pillaged and stolen all of your "satellite dishes" and DAB radios and World Wide Webs.
Ted: Can't steal a world wide web. That's the whole point. Duh!
HEs19: Okay then. All your iPods.
Me: They're not all they're cracked up to be.
Ted: Apparently there's going to be a recall!
Me: Yep. Can you believe it? A recall!
HEs19: Okay then, that's even less of a reason to invade if even your iPods are rubbish
Me: So basically, we on Earth should be thanking Simon Cowell and Damien Hirst and iPods and all the other "cultural icons" for saving the planet?
HEs19: Indeed Earthling. It has saved your bacon. You are too crap a planet for us to bother with.
Me: Well, I have to say... in that case... I'll raise a toast to Simon Cowell.
Ted: Yes, here's to Simon Cowell and all the others
HEs19: (Awkward, squirming) But... Just one thing...
HEs19: It seems like an odd request... But, I don't suppose however you know how to get in touch with this Mister Cowell?
Me: You want to get in touch with Simon Cowell?
HEs19: Yes. Not for my own sake of course. It is just that my great great grand-daughter wants to make a bit of a name for herself on planet HEs19 and, well...
HEs19: Well, she just wonders whether your Mister Cowell could help her career in any way?
Me: Yep... definitely.
Ted: He said, definitely.
Me: He knows what I said, Ted.
Ted: Sure, boss.