Extra-terrestrials have today conceded that a decades-long programme of abduction to gather detailed knowledge of human society and biology might have produced better results had they looked beyond suggestible loners with a history of mental health problems.
‘In hindsight, I suppose there was always going to be a limit to the intelligence we could get from a depressed farmer drink-driving his tractor at 2am,’ said an alien spokesbeing today. ‘We were disappointed to find that the majority of these people from isolated rural communities were not as well-connected to the planet’s major political powers as we’d hoped, and in truth they only confused our understanding of the human race. For a time we weren’t sure the species had a definitive stance on incest, or indeed what the correct number of fingers and toes was for a human. Perhaps we should have made better use of Wikipedia.’
Alien leaders have taken the opportunity to apologise formally to the ‘lost generation’ of socially awkward stay-at-homes they had previously targeted, expressing particular remorse that their routine examinations of human reproductive organs may have been seen as a come-on by the many abductees with limited sexual experience. They also apologised unreservedly to all their former guests for any damage to their credibility or social standing on earth caused by their failure to return and crown them Grand Master of Quadrant Z as promised.
‘If we could travel back in time and do it all again,’ continued the spokesbeing, ‘we’d probably choose to convey our message of constructive engagement with humans in writing or by just popping round to introduce ourselves in person, rather than relying solely on crop circles. And we’d certainly think twice before going with recreational drug users again as our preferred messengers for warnings of global apocalypse.’
Aliens had hoped that their apology would go some way to building bridges between human and extra-terrestrial civilisations and might attract more promising candidates for cranial and rectal probing, but their latest visitor appears to be no different to previous guests. ‘He talked passionately about a vision of the world as a giant theme park in which adults and children live in a harmonious condition of mutual love and respect unhampered by legal interference. By the time he tried to convince us it was normal to walk backwards while keeping both feet on the ground at all times, we knew he was taking the piss and we sent him packing with enough drugs in his system to forget the whole sorry episode.’