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Friday, August 29, 2008

Imperial Spider

posted by on August 29 at 9:59 AM

art.spider.jpg And what is this all about?

The family of a British soldier serving in Afghanistan has been forced from their home after a poisonous spider hitched a ride back with him and apparently killed their pet dog.

The camel spider’s bite is not deadly to humans but can kill small animals.

Lorraine Griffiths and her three children, aged 18, 16, and 4, moved out of their house in Colchester, southeast England, and are refusing to return until the spider is apprehended, the UK Press Association reported.

Griffiths told the East Anglian Daily Times that the spider appeared after her husband, Rodney, returned from a four-month tour of duty in Helmand province, the arid southern Afghan frontline in the fight against Taliban extremists.

“My son Ricky was in my bedroom looking for his underwear, and he went into the drawer under my bed, and something crawled across his hand,” she told the paper.

She said their pet dog Cassie confronted the creature, which they identified on the Internet as a camel spider, but ran out whimpering when it hissed at her.

Ring a bell? A 19th century bell? The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins? The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle? Yes, you can see now that this story about the British soldier, the return, and the evil spider that is brought back to the home land is a classic example of colonial anxiety. The imperial adventures always have this worry, this fear, this sickening sense of exposure. The spider is nothing other than a sign of British guilt.

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BBC covered this story yesterday. The best line was the last sentence of the article which was grammatically incorrect and sounded like the camel spider was found using the internet. I pictured the spider surfing porn sites when the kids got home.

Posted by Jasen Comstock | August 29, 2008 10:19 AM

"The spider is nothing other than a sign of British guilt."

uhm....not really since it was a real spider that killed a real dog. you can make as metaphorical as you want chuckles, but you can say it was nothing more since it started as a physical manifestation. I know that probably doesn't interest you since it wasn't made out of concrete, but c'mon...

Posted by uhm... | August 29, 2008 10:22 AM

Hahaha. Awesome.!!!

Posted by leek | August 29, 2008 10:22 AM

That article is flat-out idiotic; a camel spider is not an insect. It holds the same relationship to spiders as do scorpions.

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | August 29, 2008 10:30 AM

It also neglected to mention that camel spiders have no venom, so it would be very difficult for one to kill a dog.

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | August 29, 2008 10:33 AM

What? No shoutouts to "The Adventure of the Speckled Band?" Screw you, Charles.

Posted by That's SIR Arthur Conan Doyle to you | August 29, 2008 10:33 AM

Mudede of the Baskervilles!

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | August 29, 2008 10:36 AM



Posted by Irena | August 29, 2008 10:44 AM

love you CM

Posted by hillpagan | August 29, 2008 11:03 AM

wow over thinking HURTS. lame.

Posted by billynun | August 29, 2008 11:35 AM

The dog's British guilt killed it? That is one conflicted pooch. And I thought that the bark of a French dog and that of a limey canine were the same. I thought you were through with metaphysics, Charles.

Posted by eric sic | August 29, 2008 11:51 AM

By the way, there are no zebra mussels in the Great Lakes either, it's just white guilt over anti-miscegenation laws. And there are no Asian longhorn beetles infecting trees either, rather it's the guilt of how we treated Asians during World War II.

Dutch Elm disease is the manifested guilt of the first immigrants to New York for not bringing more of their home country's easy-swinging ways. While dandelions don't actually exist in North America, but are the tummy aches of the world's children from eating too much sugar in the summer time.

This is kind of fun. I want your job, Charles.

Posted by eric sic | August 29, 2008 12:01 PM

Fantastic. "The Moonstone" is a family favorite.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | August 29, 2008 1:34 PM
"It seems too much of a coincidence that she died at the same time that we saw the spider," she said.

Not to be weird, but surely there's a way to tell? And unless the dog had a stress-induced heart attack, I don't think so. They're not poisonous.

Posted by wench | August 29, 2008 5:26 PM

... something CNN reported incorrectly, BTW. They say its bite can kill small animals - only the Indian species has any kind of venom. The Iraq one just has a really unpleasant bite.

Posted by wench | August 29, 2008 5:28 PM

Anytime I see the words "colonial anxiety" I always scroll back up to confirm that Charles Mudede is writing the post. It could be about spiders, children being run over by cars, or peanut butter sandwiches and it would still mention something akin to "colonial anxiety" and it would always be Charles.

Posted by of course | August 29, 2008 5:43 PM

That's no spider. It's a solifuge, which are sometimes called "sun spiders" or "wind scorpions". As #4 points out, it would be just as (in)accurate to refer to it as a scorpion.

Posted by Ken Callicott | August 29, 2008 11:35 PM

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