I think if aliens really did show up, most countries would freak the fuck out, but then the one country who was all “Come on down” and the aliens are like “Thanks, here’s the technology for optical circuitry that’s ten orders of magnitude faster than anything else on your world,” all the xenophobic countries would be all “Oh… shit.”

Ah, alien idioms. To watch just about every show and read every book ever, one might get the impression that English is the only language with idiomatic expressions, because aliens are always stumbling over them, no matter how intelligent they’re supposed to be, and no matter how obvious the meaning is from context. Well, except for those “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” aliens who are the cartoonish counter example. Seriously, how did that race invent integrated circuitry or crack warp travel talking like that?

“Jablus and Forbgyte… used silicon to channel electrons into this XOR gate? Guys, can we lay off the metaphors for like, one hour so we can get some work done?”
“Dornius, at noon, knows only hunger.”
“Yes, Phil, I ate your sandwich, because you never label anything.”

God, imagine just trying to order a ham on rye on that world. “No, no, I don’t want yellow mustard, I want the dijon… gah, I mean, Fligbus, his senses filled with spice! No! Not the red pepper flakes! Who puts red pepper flakes on a ham sandwich!?”

It always bugged me when Spock or Data’s IQ would suddenly drop to 70 when someone said something like “Hit the sack” “Beat around the bush” and they’re all, “Why would you attack the area around foliage?” Based on context, those things should be pretty easy to figure out. If you’re dealing with a language that replaces every third word with “smurf” or “squanch” then it can get a little more challenging, but those aren’t really idioms.

Aren’t all news excerpts in movies/TV/comics/etc really just exposition vehicles? I think they’re better than two informed characters saying to each other “As you know…” then going on to explain something they both know for the audience’s benefit, and both options beat the hell out of a boring preamble. At least Star Wars had John William’s music blaring overtop of it.

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