Nycole Paquin
No. 101 - fall 2012

The Great and the LITTLE World: On the Scale of Excessive

Undoubtedly philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison.1
– Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Endlessly amassed, the dwarves, midgets, small things, miniatures and other diminutives have yet to reach the level of his shins, and for good reason. The GIANT is MORE than the SUM and its parts. “Almost too big for representation,”2 but obstinately present in the human psyche, we had to reduce its size and sheer power to a more manageable level. We’re told that at the dawn of time, the Titans and Olympians waged a terrible war for power. Zeus tossed the huge Titans into Tartarus and so stirred the anger of Typhon and the Giants who rose up to avenge their ostracized brethren, chasing the belligerent gods and their allies to the ends of the universe.3 Thus began an interminable conflict among the larger than life, with human beings becoming pawns in the time-space of the world above.

And, we are told — since one myth begets another — that in the course of that great celestial battle between good and evil, some giants took on the guise of enticing angels in order to seduce the most beautiful women in the world who then would give birth to monsters,4 from whence arose the subsequent fear of any kind of hybridization. Incensed by the abominable degeneration of his human creations, Yahweh sought to exterminate the colossi with the Flood,5 from which only the

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