In the 1950’s, the world was in a Cold War.
Yet, there was hot atomic testing with Pacific atolls being blown into non-existence and school children crawling under their desks at a school bell. Russia and the United States were headbutting and angry rhetoric took the place of missiles. Scientists, and what they were working on, became a preoccupation for the public.
In the 1950’s, there was also a flurry of B movies about giant insects, crabs and birds turned into threats by nuclear radiation and/or chemical injections in secret government research stations, taking revenge on humans that created them, casting fear into hearts at local theaters and spawning fantastic comic books.
One such movie production was a 1955 epic, titled ” Tarantula . ”
The plot stars a giant angry spider escaping from an isolated desert laboratory and threatening the fictional town of Desert Rock, its hard luck population, the U.S., and, by extrapolation, the world.
This real tarantula, outside my guest house in Haiti, is not to be feared.
After discussion with the kids who watch the tarantula with me, he is allowed to live, to move back into the brush. His bite would hurt but his venom wouldn’t be fatal to any watching him this morning while tree trimmers work, stirring up undergrowth.
We have more to fear from the things this big boy eats.
Scarier than tarantula’s is what science is doing, outside our purview, while promising everything is just fine.