Twitter, Shakespeare and the Aliens Among Us


I woke up one morning this week to find this quote included in my Twitter feed, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

The person who posted it identified it as a Shakespeare quote, but didn’t say from which work.

I could pretend that it didn’t matter, that I’m so well-read that I didn’t need anybody to tell me that it comes from the first act of The Tempest. But that would be disingenuous – a lie of omission.

Besides, these days we have Internet search engines to remind us of the stuff teachers once required students to commit to memory.

A quick search of Google gave me the quote’s origin in seconds. But first it turned up a British heavy metal band, which apparently used the quote as the name for an album. One would expect Shakespeare at the top of the search rankings.

I’ll leave it to others to ponder what that says about the Internet and how search engines prioritize their results. I’m still trying to figure out whether aliens have really visited us or not.

Last month, my colleagues and I were bombarded with emails strongly suggesting we cover a big event to be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Some of them were polite, others were more insistent and even a little militant.

Journalists of all stripes are used to groups seeking coverage. In the old days, we got reams of press releases via snail mail or faxes promoting this or that event. The advent of email has made contacting reporters even easier. And, this group of true believers sent a barrage about the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure, an effort to get the government to fess up to alien contact.

One told us that it’s time to step forward and cover what could be the biggest story in history. Another said the truth about extraterrestrial existence is “unfolding before our eyes” and questioned why we weren’t planning to cover the hearing or broadcast it live.

Yet another suggested that journalists assume that humans are incapable of handling the truth, never mind that that’s what we are in the business to expose. And, at least one seemed to have been forwarded from Lord Ashtar, whoever that is.

The Citizen’s Hearing on Disclosure ended a week ago and, according to its website, it issued a communique urging the United Nations to hold a conference on whether aliens are trying to engage us or not.

I should mention here that I’m famous among my friends for having a passion for all things Star Trek, Star Wars and whatnot. But even I draw the line somewhere. There may be life elsewhere in the universe but I’m not ready to spend my time uncovering it.

However, I do want to express my gratitude to everyone who contacted us about the Citizens Hearing. Your emails came between two horrifying events that exposed devils among us – the Boston Marathon Bombing and the three woman in Cleveland who escaped their captor after being held for ten years.

The distraction you gave me was a small thing and hardly matters when stacked up against all those who have been directly touched by those two tragic events.

But I thank you all the same.

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