I’ve been fuming all my life at the Martian-head rule that dominates each and every full-body statue in every corner of the world. A naturally proportioned full-body statue will create an impression, viewed from below, of the figure’s head being a tad too small. The solution has been an ironclad rule that statues must have disproportionately large heads. Every sculptor in the known world has over-submitted to this rule, and — this is the odd part — to the exact same degree. I’m talking 100% uniformity.
The bizarre result is that every full-body statue in the world, from Beijing to Bangor to Timbuktu **, seems to have a genetic commonality in the same way that people afflicted with Down’s Syndrome seem to have the same kind of slanted eyes and doughy bodies. Every statued figure in the world (including John Wayne on his horse at the corner of Wilshire and La Cienega) looks like a space alien with a strangely swollen cranium.
In short, the big (swollen) heads look much, much worse than the small (natural-sized) heads.
This has been driving me insane for years. I know this rule will hold throughout eternity because the standing-statue mafia is too dug in, and that no one will ever listen, and I’ll be alone with this for the rest of my life. But I’m right.
It almost seems like a deliberate provocation on the part of the powers that be. We’re going to put Martian-head statues in every city around the world, they almost seem to be saying, and we want to see how far we can push it. Or rather, we want to see if anyone will have the spirit to say anything about this, or if people will just accept it like they accept everything else.
I know that every time I come upon a standing statue (most often in Europe), I mutter a tiny little “fuck you” under my breath. It gets me every time. — posted on 3.28.09 under the title “Worldwide Aliens.”
** Yes, I’m aware that full-body statues and especially those on horseback were all created in the 20th and 19th centuries.