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Slenderman

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Slenderman

Andrew Ryan

When you read this week’s column, it will be Halloween, something I haven’t been able to avoid noticing thanks to relentless radio advertising and my facebook news feed. I haven’t got any good Halloween party tales from the weekend to delight you with, because I didn’t go to any, because while I like costumes and everything, I just couldn’t be bothered with it. I don’t care that much, and I was kind of shitty that good solid warm weather still hadn’t arrived in Melbourne, and that I couldn’t afford to buy all black contact lenses, so it hardly seemed worth going to a party. Fuck parties. Halloween is supposed to be about celebrating the end of summer while recognising and appeasing the souls of the dead so they don’t come in and take you to the other side with them during winter right? Have you all forgotten your roots? Don’t you ever think about how we all started down this crazy path towards commercialism and cities and the freedom to party to excess?

It’s possibly for this reason that my focus for the next few hundred words has made himself known to me: The Slenderman. Ever heard of him? I came across it a week or two ago, while I was browsing the “paranoid and delusional” part of the internet, the place where UFO sighters and ex-CIA guys and telepaths all hang out and chat about their shared interest in conspiracies. I found a documentary called “Slender Suits- A Documentary About Slenderman”, and thought I’d give it a shot. What the hellen is Slenderman, why is there a 10 minute documentary about it with nearly 3 million views and why haven’t I seen it before? I’M MISSING OUT ON INTERNET?? So watch I did.

I watched, and I looooooved it. I got creeped out (I was home alone), and I got that awesome feeling of wanting to believe everything purely because my initial response was to reject it completely for being irrational. I was absolutely inspired by this story, the first online horror meme I’ve ever encountered.

The idea is this: Slenderman, an urban legend, a myth, whatever, is some gangly alien/inter-dimensional being with stretchable limbs who apparently eats(/sucks the souls of) children, and people who have reportedly encountered him say that he is the essence of all that is evil, has such an indescribably terrifying face that it is easier just to say that he has no face at all, and they are all left with the intrinsic knowledge that one day, this thing is going to kill them. And to top it all off, he is humanoid enough to be dressed in a sharp black suit with a tie.

I’ve never delved very far into the X-files or Buffy, so I’m hoping that a villainous creature similar to Slenderman was never explored within these series so that I can marvel at his originality. It’s not that original, I’ll give it that, but it feels so good! Not only does it work very, very well in the context of other conspiracy theories, ones about the secret world government’s dealings with inter-dimensional beings they encountered early on in the space program days, but it also meshes very nicely with the current global thinking about the end of the world being nigh, about our inevitable demise due to the lack of care we have given the planet that birthed us.

We’re all know deep down that our history, our technology and our lifestyles have directly contributed to a huge number of avoidable animal extinctions, the desecration of natural landscapes, the mistreatment and even poverty of fellow human beings on different parts of the globe, and we’ve all kind of got survivor’s guilt because of it. I know I am definitely kind-of-half expecting to have something bad happen, but because I know that I won’t actually see the earth shrivel up and die in my lifetime (chill bro, that’s for our great-great-great-great grandchildren to deal with right?), I’m not too worried… but I’m still anxious and guilty enough to feel legitimately scared/excited by the idea of some bad thing happening to take everything away right now… like the mayan apocalypse- I LOVED that theory when I first heard about it (7 weeks and 2 days and counting…), and now Slenderman, with his eerie threat to whisk us away to some unknown, probably terrifying kind of hell we can’t even begin to conceive, and he’s going to do it because we’re all so fucking decadent and wasteful that he’s got no qualms about picking us off one by one. Oooo, there’s a story in that.

And this is how it goes: think of this guy we know as Slenderman- the dude who’s been stalking a few Americans who own video cameras and occasionally popping up in photos with kids- as being just one of a big ol’ group of guys just like him, from some other dimension on the other side of our reality bubble. They discovered Earth and it’s inhabitants because of all the technological muscle flexing we’ve been doing over the last 50 years, had a look for a little while and decided that, well, fuck it, we could treat this planet way better than these meat bags. Our turn now boys. Imagine that the rest of them are off in hiding, toeing that whole “take them down from the inside” line, manipulating world governments to engineer wars and orchestrating seemingly natural disasters to cut down the population… while our internet famous mate is a vigilante who broke away from the other inter-dimensional fellas; an outcast, a little more emotional than the rest perhaps. He got sick of all the plotting and the waiting and decided to venture out alone to see how much damage he could do, pickin’ off little girls who wander home after a play date, causing fires at primary schools and shit. This style definitely has its merits as far as plans to wipe out a species goes. Kill the young off first.

But being alone has its risks- people know about him, they have something there to be scared of, they can band together to attempt to get rid of him. If he did in fact exist and was working alone, he could conceivably be gotten rid of. A bunch of guys controlling government is a wayyyyy better idea. The secret world government would be acting out of selfishness and power lust, doing things the creepy gangly guys suggest and use their technology because man, it’s true that a smaller population would be easier to control if your ultimate goal is to lord over a planet of slaves. People trust in the nature of tsunamis and floods and hurricanes, they would never suspect a thing. And no one can do much about wars beyond voting for people who say they will pull the troops out of whichever non-english speaking country they’re in, so given that wars will always happen no matter what politicians say, they can and will keep legally murdering that way.

And all of this would be totally fine for that powerful little oligarchy, if those creepy gangly guys weren’t just going to destroy them as soon as the rest of the human were easy enough to kill quickly, which is a supremely obvious outcome of this situation. And maybe they’ll keep a few of us to farm for sustenance, matrix styles, with inter-dimensional beings instead of machines. But that’s not a nice thought. I’d rather humanity be completely wiped out than have any of my human brothers and sisters be treated the way we treat chickens. The end. Happy Halloween.