When I was a young boy, a Spider-Man poster hung on my closet door for a short time. My parents ended up having to take it down because it scared me, and by scared, I mean I stood on my bed for hours screaming “DEAR CHRIST! THIS GREAT RED BEAST IS TRYING TO DEVOUR ME WHOLE!”

What would happen is that at night, I would stare at it in the half-light and to my eyes his fingers would move very slightly. Small red fingers wriggling.

I am certain now, at this age, that the fingers of the Spider-Man poster were not actually moving, beckoning me into my closet for death’s embrace, but at the time I lacked reason, so every night I screamed a throat shredding scream until finally my mother had my father take the poster out and they started making me sleep in the basement.

‘Nothing can get you down here,’ my father said as he turned out the lights.

I don’t know why we are so afraid of things that we know we should clearly not be afraid of, like robots so life-like that they are unstylish. As humans, should we be afraid of anything with highlights and a Vandyck? I think reason compels us to answer in the negative. If anything, we should feel wonder and joy. Humanity has progressed to the point that we are creating robots to handle regional sales of farm equipment or marketing for a small hospital in the Midwest.

There is nothing scary about human progress (other than its tendency to reduce the world to nothing more than uninhabitable toxic-waste and to monetize every human interaction and every exhalation of the human soul and mind).

Nevertheless, I am a normal human, just like many of you, and to this day whenever I see Spider-Man, I scream and scream and then am asked to leave the theater.

(Thank you for the tip Werttrew and Loomings)

Comments (35)
  1. Das Unheimliche

    • I wanted to reply to this with a picture of an android strangling another android, or a ventriloquist dummy strangling a ventriloquist dummy, or a dummy strangling an android, or a zombie strangling a dummy, or.

      Anyway, the point is, Google doesn’t work. Let’s abolish it.

  2. Two posts in and I’m already pondering all the events that have shaped my life. Thanks?

  3. “I don’t know why we are so afraid of things that we know we should clearly not be afraid of, like robots so life-like that they are unstylish.” – Mans, who is possibly a replicant or at least harbors replicant sympathies.

    • Movies and television have taught us only to fear those robots who are taller, thinner, more (visibly) wiry and running so fast that they are producing a trail of sparks from where their feet hit the concrete. This guy would be passed over at the airport security line so fast, which is ultimately scarier. He’s practically a pod robot.

    • It is the future. A desolate hellscape inhospitable to life – or at least to life as we knew it, then. The air would taste like ashes, but perhaps fortunately there is nothing left capable of taste. It is the time of the machines, blinking in unison, an terrible silent choir to the one who emerged as their leader. It is the end of the era of man as he was.

      It is the beginning of the era of Mans.

      (an excerpt from my unauthorized biography of Mans).

  4. How do I know this isn’t just an elaborate ruse to distract us from your secret identity as Spidermans?

  5. Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” video would like to have ein Wort mit diesem Herr.

  6. I misread the post title, and thought it would be about the mighty umlaut. Instead, it is a monday constitutional through a meadow in the uncanny valley, where instead of pollen and pretty scents, flowers are filled with nightmares and the tears of orphans.

    Still less scary than clowns, though.

  7. “At last my unemployed David Byrne robot has come to life!” — The worst mad scientist in the world to no one in particular.

  8. Why did they build a robot with crooked teeth?

  9. It seems they’ve already put this robot to work managing a New Zealand novelty band.

  10. UNCANNY VALLEY!!!

    • i guess that’s one way to fix the uncanny valley: just dress the robot like a creep, with creep hair and goatee. then instead of me being freaked out and not understanding why, i’ll say, “i know exactly why. that dude is a creep.”

  11. See, this same thing happened to me when I was very young, but it was a poster of the big rubber suit Raphael from the Ninja Turtles movie and at night it’s foot would move. To this day I am STILL CONVINCED THAT THE FUCKING THING WAS MOVING… I still regret ripping it down. What if it was a portal to the ninja turtles universe? But I digress…

    I suppose all I’m really trying to say is.

  12. The dexterity of a robot, the sarcastic mock-smile, thinning, wispy memories of a flock or seagulls haircut and scrubby facial hair of a comic shop employee. I actually think the comic shop set is the target audience for the first wave of robot-overlord acceptance, so, well played robot creators.

  13. I would like to see more people moving the way he (it?) does.

  14. This was my childhood poster:


    The skull and axe glowed in the dark. It didn’t stay up for very long.

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