THE GIANT SCIENCE
What is Gianthropology? Professor Robideau presents this definitive discussion on the origin, theory and scope of the science, revealing Gianthropology's stupendous significance to human endeavor, tracing it back to its Paleomoderne roots and casting it forward into the domain of the declining Paleotragic.
This is followed by an account of Professor Robideau's childhood experiences and his early interest in Giant Things that would ultimately lead to the invention of Gianthropology.
Giant Cephalopods once roamed downtown Kelowna, BC, some 499,999,002 years ago.
Gianthropology In The Paleomoderne
By Professor Robideau P.H.D.
Neanderthals were the first humans to make Giant Things, though no evidence remains of their magnificent Ice Spectacles which melted away 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. Thankfully, many of their techniques are still employed today in places like the Moscow's Vodka Cooler Olympics, Quebec City's annual Bonhomme Carnival and Yellowknife's Snowking Ice Carving Convention.
Giant Things have been around practically forever, like those Giant Cephalopods (Latin for foot head) of downtown Kelowna in the photo above, or their more recent cousins the Dinosaurs (Greek for terribly big) from a quarter of a billion years ago, but it wasn't until Homo Sapiens (Latin for wise guys) and their unfortunate cousins the Hominum Fabum (Latin for human beans or methane man) came along that anyone cared about size. You could be a bacterium or a bactosauris and it didn't really matter.
With the evolutionary fork in the road about two, maybe three, million years ago, the great apes splintered into the not quite so great apes. Just 300,000 years ago Homo Habilis (Latin for handyman) devised the concept of creativity and started making stuff, although most archaeologists wait until about 50,000 years ago before calling any of this 'handy' work ART. When the last ice age hit, it was the Neanderthal humans that best made it through as they were furry. Though never really talked about amongst supposedly serious archaeologists is the hair brained theory that Neanderthals were indeed the first makers of Giant Things as proposed by Professor Robideau who posits the evidence of any Ice Giants would have all melted as recently as 10,000 years ago, leaving not a trace, not even a puddle, to support the amazing talents of the highly expressive, largely gifted but poorly understood Neanderthals.
Grandma Cutie at the Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt, c1908.
Nazca Lines, Peru.
As human culture developed after the last ice age, numerous examples of Gianthropological practice emerged. The Nazca Lines in still visible in modern day Peru were dug out of the desert floor 2200 years ago in the shapes of a monkey, ant, spider and bird, hundreds of feet in size but only discernible from the air. The Serpent Mounds of the Mississippi, likewise best seen from the air, were built over hundreds of years, coiling back and forth across the land for a quarter mile. Giant deities in Asia and the 1000 big heads of Rapa Nui are testament to humanity's universal appreciation of the bigger than life.
Perhaps the best known, and one of the oldest still extant, is the Giant Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. This limestone statue of a mythical creature has the body of a reclining feline, the head of a human pharaoh, and is estimated to date from about 4,500 years ago.
The Colossus of Rhodes displayed at Boucherie Colossus, Boulevard St-Laurent, Montreal, June 1990.
2300 years ago, the fabled Giant Sun God Helios statue known as the Colossus of Rhodes stood in the city of Rhodes, towering 105 feet above the harbor, it could be seen all the way from Egypt. Built by the sculptor Chares from the rendered weapons of Demetrius Poliorcetes who conducted an unsuccessful year long siege of Rhodes, the bronze Colossus took twelve years to build, stood for fifty-six years before being toppled by an earthquake in 224 BCE. It lie on the ground for hundreds of years and was finally broken up when the Arabs conquered Rhodes in the seventh century, braking it into pieces, and carrying it off on 900 camels to be sold for scrap.
Athena Parthenos scale model at the ROM in Toronto.
Royal Ontario Museum diorama, March 1987
The most beautiful of ancient Giants was the Athena Parthenos built about 2400 years ago by the sculptor Phidias for the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. This nearly 40 foot high statue of the goddess of wisdom, Athena, was made on a wood frame with bronze plates attached and covered in ivory and gold. In one hand she held a normal size human Nike and in the other a shield and huge snake. She stood in the Parthenon for 267 years before being burned in a massive fire in 165 BCE. She was rebuilt but later moved to Constantinople by the Romans in the fifth century and stood there until the city was razed, burned and looted by marauding Christians of the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
Gianthropology In The Paleotragic Epoch
By Professor Robideau P.H.D.
Freda Farms Giant Ice Cream Cartons, Berlin, Connecticut, October 1939,
Russell Lee photograph. Lee photographed for the Farm Security Administration and his best known photographs are the Depression era dust bowl images of Paleotragic farmers down and out in the dirt fields of Oklahoma.
Russell Lee Photograph / Library Of Congress 8a27284a
Wreckage in Richmond, Virginia, the onetime capitol of the Confederacy when Hurricane Diane blew the fiberglass Fisk Tire Boy off a gas station roof, landing up at the foot of the Robert E Lee statue on Monument Avenue, sending the Gianthropological message that it is finally "Time To Retire" from the crime of slavery.
Pasmona High Giant Slide Rule Club 1963. Top row L to R: Denny, Henri Robideau, Corky, Dinky, Broady, Davey, Cregy, Guy Saint Pierre Beauchemin.
Bottom row L to R: Sue, Cy, Sol, Sonny, Sal, Kelvo Van Kurstendorffer Junior III.
THE ROBIDEAUSIAN ERA
The epoch begins almost coincidentally in 1946, the vary year of Robideau's birth. However, Gianthropology itself didn't see its first musings until circa 1973 and it wasn't until circa 1980 that its existence was finally confirmed. By this time in human evolution, the species Homo Avarae (Latin for greedy men) and its sub species the Hominum Fabum (Latin for human beans or methane man) were beginning their process of self extinction. This period is marked by the conceptual division of winners and losers into a class system, resulting in an existential conflict between the Hominum Fabum and the survivors of the earliest genus of the Paleotragic, the Homo Minime (Latin for buddy can you spare a dime?).
Robideau grew up Homo Minime on the unceeded ancestral territory of the Tunxis People on the banks of the Pequabuck River. On Sundays his father would go on automobile explorations looking for the lost tribes of Connecticut and afterward, he would stop for peach ice creams at the Giant Ice Cream Cartons in Berlin. Amazingly enough, the photograph of the Freda Farms Cartons is one of the most famous in American roadside history, taken by none other than Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration photographer whose fellow photographers included Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Carl Mydans and Walker Evans.
Robideau's childhood included his father's Paleotragic winter trips to Pompano Beach, Florida, for athlete's foot fungus cures in the sultry waters off the balmy Atlantic coast and the annual observation of the Pink Flamingo mating season in Hialeah Park. There was always a side trip to watch Seminole alligator wrestlers in the Okefenokee Swamp and a visit to the Custer precursor ‘Dade's Last Stand’ on the Withlacoochee River where the US Army was slaughtered in 1835 while attempting to slaughter the Seminoles.
Those trips along the Atlantic seaboard were a festival of Giant Things and Burma Shave signs for the young Robideau, and in a time before highway rest stops, gas station wash rooms were the place to find relief. Especially popular were the gas stations with fiberglass Giant Fisk Tire Boys on the roof. The Giant Tire Boy was dressed in his P-J’s and held an enormous truck tire over one shoulder and in his other hand a lit candle, while deeply yawning, suggesting the company's pun slogan "Time To Retire." In 1955, following Hurricane Diane plowing through Richmond, Virginia, one of the Fisk Boys was blown across town and ended up at the foot of the Robert E Lee statue on Monument Avenue, sending a Gianthropological message to the looser of the Civil Slavery War statue that, nearly one hundred years after his defeat it was truly "Time To Retire" the slave trade and the racism it engendered.
In 1956 Robideau's family moved to California, the land of Giants, especially around Los Angeles where Hollywood influenced such enormities as the Giant Brown Derby, the Giant Hot Dog and the drive-through Giant Donut. Even though he was only ten years old he was able to convince the New York Giants to move their baseball club to San Francisco, penning this now famous letter, preserved forever and ever in the Gianthropology Ancillary Studies Department Baseball Mall of Fame:
Dear Willie Mays
It would be really a Big Thing if you could move the Giants to California. You can stay at my house til you settle in.
During his teenage years Robideau began developing his early theories based on pure B. S., or as he liked to think of it, Big Science, or maybe Big Stuff, but in any case B.S. Many of his nascent fundamentals were formulated at Pasmona High School when he was elected Paramount Ruler of the Giant Slide Rule club and began taking his own B.S. seriously which was way more difficult in those days before pocket calculators as all math was done manually on the slide rule, or if needs be, an abacus.
After graduating Lingus In Maxillum at the top of his class with a double P. H. D. (Pasmona High Diploma Piled Higher & Deeper) he set out in the world looking for a Big Thing capture methodology. He settled on photography, studying for a year at Laney College in Oakland, California, but then dropped out and fled the horrific violence engulfing America, heading north to Canada, the land of his ancestors.
© 2021 Henri Robideau