Greetings, citizen. The Galactic Society for the Preservation of Primitive Cultures would like to thank you for choosing to vacation on Earth. We hope you enjoy your stay on this charming, not to say quaint, planet. Earth is a fine representative of Late Plastics and Nuclear culture, one of the last that remain in the Galaxy, and as such it is well worth studying. Please remember, Earth society is fragile. “Humans”, as the natives call themselves, are not to be exposed to advanced technology or concepts under any circumstances.
In order to help eco-tourists blend in with the locals and enjoy their time on Earth, the Society employs the latest reversible transmogrification techniques and hypno-stim education. All travellers are taught Standard English, this being the preferred trade language on Earth, as part of the basic package. (For a nominal extra charge, you may wish to learn Spanish, Arabic, or Chinese. Any of these will greatly enhance your ability to communicate with the five billion Earthlings who do not speak a word of English.)
However, English is the only language you need for visiting most of the great historical sites and tourist attractions on Earth, amongst them Big Ben, the Golden Gate Bridge, Joe’s Bar and Grill, the Great Temple of Nyarlathotep built by the homeless people under Grand Central Station, and the famous chips shop in Ealing which gave birth to Earth’s first civilization of intelligent grease spots. (Please refrain from mentioning the latter to any humans, as they are as yet unaware of the Yorbeq society.)
Before you enter the transmogrifier, there is one final point which you must be aware of: the confusion between the American, British, and Australian tribes. Minute as these differences may seem to most Galactic citizens, to the people of Earth they are of vast importance, and they play a vital role in keeping the planet in a state of primitive tribalism. As such they must be observed and applied rigorously.
Americans are especially primitive, narrow-minded and uneducated, even by Earth’s low standards. Unwilling to learn any language other than English, they speak in monosyllables, do not know how to spell colour, armour or judgement, and are unable to brew decent beer or grok irony. Despite this, almost all Americans truly believe that the United States is the only country on Earth. Vaguely aware that there are, in fact, people living on Earth who are not yet American, they have spent the last six decades interfering in every conflict they could find and going everywhere they are not wanted, bringing Coca-Cola, Baywatch and the United States Air Force to poor, benighted backwaters everywhere. Nonetheless, Americans continue to insist that the United States is not an empire, merely the home of democracy, enlightenment and free choice, which it is their duty to force upon everyone else.
All Americans are obsessed with the games of baseball and football. The latter is not the same as the game the rest of Earth calls football. In the American version, teams of bulked-up, semi-intelligent troglodytes don suits of armour, helmets and eyeshadow, and attempt to pound each other to death and/or get a ball through or over a set of goalposts, so that they can do a silly dance.
Like most would-be empire builders, Americans place great importance on teaching the rest of the world their national sports. To this end, they have spent the last several decades exporting baseball and American football to every country they have heard of. With the exception of the Japanese, who are as a rule fascinated by the most inane aspects of American culture, the rest of the world could give a rat’s ass.
The most popular source of news in the United States is Fox News, a national cable network better known for its annoying advertising than for its news coverage. Fox tends not to use words of more than one syllable, and can be counted on to mispronounce any and all foreign words that slip into the broadcasts. One-third of the programming is celebrity gossip, designed to distract Americans from real news (which is usually depressing, and therefore not good for ratings or elected officials) by showing them the antics of an elite class of entertainers. Despite the fact that these people’s only talents are looking good, getting divorced and performing ritualized sexual overtures in their “music videos”, they are the most overpaid and envied caste in American society.
All Americans own guns, which they use for self-defense, hunting and scoring with girls. It is vitally important not to look Americans in the eye, as they are quickly offended and settle even the most inconsequential arguments with handguns or litigation.
Americans do not know how to cook. Their diet consists primarily of pizza, Big Macs, Chinese takeaways and Slim-Fast shakes. A very few Americans are able to pour themselves a bowl of Frosted Flakes or make toast when they have to, but given the choice they would rather go to the drive-through at Dunkin Donuts.
Most Americans live in suburban developments, drive enormous SUVs, vacation in Disneyland and watch 57.5 hours of television per week. The remainder of the time they spend drinking watery lager, driving their SUVs to the mall, and looking for people to shoot and/or sue.
The British are a nation of thugs with delusions of elegance. Unable to properly speak any language other than English, they cannot even pronounce simple English words like “butter” or “schedule”, and do not know how to cook, dance or make love. Despite these obvious weaknesses, most British people believe wholeheartedly that the United Kingdom is the only civilized country on Earth. For almost four hundred years, they spent most of their time trying to civilize other countries by colonizing them and teaching them to drive on the wrong side of the road. At one point in time, it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Then the sun set. Today Britain is a minor country with no significant military, political, cultural or economic importance, but a highly developed sense of outrage.
The British are obsessed with football and cricket. The latter is a convoluted and mind-numbingly tedious game that is played only in countries that were once British colonies. The British take great pride in their national teams, and pretend not to notice that their former colonies have been trouncing their cricket teams for the better part of the last century, while almost every nation on the planet consistently beats them to a pulp at football. In fact, most British people are blissfully unaware of the fact that nothing remains of their once-great empire but the rules of cricket and the first three seasons of Monty Python.
The most popular source of news in the United Kingdom is the Sun, a tabloid newspaper more famous for its depictions of semi-naked women and execrable headline puns than for its actual news. The Sun tends not to use words of more than four letters, and has been known to misspell these as well. One-third of the newspaper is the Sport section, in which the British can find play-by-play descriptions of their latest cricket defeats.
A significant portion of all British people’s lives is devoted to gossiping about, making fun of and attempting to emulate the aristocracy. This helps to distract them from the fact that the average British citizen lives in a tiny and rundown council home with inefficient plumbing and hideous wallpaper, has no job and no prospects, supports a football team that hasn’t won a match since 1967, drinks 26 pints of beer per week and is developing an expensive Ecstasy habit, and - despite the fact that the British are prone to bragging about the quality of their television programming - spends far too much time watching utterly pointless soap operas and increasingly preposterous “reality” shows.
The British do not, as a rule, own guns. However, thrill-seeking tourists can still find plenty of excitement in Britain. In fact, the UK is one of the few places on Earth where one can easily get into a fight by merely supporting the wrong football club, appearing to be homosexual, speaking in any foreign language, being ugly and having a pretty girlfriend, or simply standing in the wrong spot in a pub.
The Australians may be treated as Americans, driving on the other side of the road and with fewer handguns but more rifles, an almost incomprehensible dialect of English, a liking for rugby and an annoying fixation with rabbits. Australian culture is virtually nonexistent, with the significant exception of Kylie Minogue, a gifted and wise artist whose digiclones have graced stages in pubs and simeasies across the Galaxy. Unfortunately, K-M Prime rarely performs in public, but locally-made copies of her recorded works are surprisingly inexpensive on Earth.
Dialect Modules are included in the basic English stim-course. Keeping the appropriate module engaged at all times will allow helpful prompts to flash on your retscreens. These prompts include tips on mannerisms, appropriate racial slurs and access to Encyclopedia Galactica entries, as well as basic language assistance. Remember to switch modules if you visit another country.
When using Earth’s World Wide Web (a quaint LP&N version of the Omnilink on a merely planetary scale, accessible through home computers and various handheld devices), the inexperienced tourist may find it harder than usual to tell what country other users are from. This is especially difficult in user-created databases like “Wikipedia” and “Everything2", where writers come from almost every nation on Earth and the text provides scarce clues to origin. Curiously, the otherwise relatively intelligent users of these sites are just as devoted to their tribal identities as the rest of humanity (if not more so). For this reason, we recommend activating Deep Context Sensing, and deactivating any unnecessary applications, whenever using these sites.
When accessing the rest of the WWW, it is normally safe to deactivate DCS as the majority of the network is a virtual context and logic free zone. In these areas, you may wish to try the free Leetspeak module included in your stim-course, and give your tired language processors a well-deserved rest.
Remember, fellow travellers, that the various English-speaking people of Earth actually believe that their insignificant local quirks qualify as important cultural differences. However ridiculous it may seem to you personally, we must allow the British to continue to believe that they are more civilized than the Americans, let the Americans continue to believe that everybody wants to be American, and let the Australians believe that Australia actually counts as a country.
This is not merely a matter of getting along with the natives. It is the key to the preservation of Earth’s vibrant LP&N culture. Should the Americans, British and Australians ever realise that their cultures are virtually identical, they might actually start to get along and treat each other like fellow human beings. This would, in turn, bring Earth one step closer to a truly global society, jeopardizing the wonderfully primitive tribal culture that is Earth’s most appealing feature. As such, failure to observe these guidelines will be grounds for prosecution under the Non-Intervention Act of SY 10348, and punishable by fines, discorporation or, in the very worst circumstances, permanent exile to either Akron or Blackpool, depending on where the offense was perpetrated.