Damn you, Jaques Costau! (spelling error)


Sep 1, 2003
You know that 'I saw a giant squid' thing he has? All those tantalizing hints? (It's printed in 'Search for the Giant Squid' and in 'Octopus and Squid: The Soft Intelligence'.) It's giving me a friggin headache. I can't understand it... he's evil, that's what it is. Evil.
Hello Dosidicus,

Yes, that's a weird tale, isn't it? I wonder if the original French text of the book differs significantly from the English version. Is it possible he wrote about a "big" or "large" squid that, through translation, emerged as a "giant" squid? I haven't got the book with me; does he actually call it Architeuthis, or use the more general term "giant squid?"

I went looking for Cousteau quotes about squid in French and spent half the morning reading a cryptozoology message boards. :oops:

Seems giant squid translates directly. You are not the only one who would like for him to show us photos of le calamar geant!

Richard Ellis (Hi, if you are reading this!) makes a very good point in his book The Search For The Giant Squid about Cousteau's description.

Cousteau records that from his mini-sub porthole at 800 feet he saw a very large cephalopod and that it was an unearthly sight, astonishing and terrifying. It fixed its huge eyes on him, then suddenly it was gone. The impression it made was one of size and power, he stated that he could understand how formidable a giant squid must be. (Forgive the paraphrasing, the passage is too lengthy to copy out in its entirety).

Cousteau fails to give a location or date for the incident and at no point does he state that that he saw Architeuthis. The squid may be huge, but what does that mean? The term is relative; my pet cat may be huge, but that does not make it a tiger. The implication for the reader is that he saw a giant squid, but if had really seen one I'm sure he would have been more than forthcoming with the details, afterall, Jacques Cousteau was not exactly media-shy.
No more Cousteau bashing, please!!!! He did a wonderful job of introducing at least one youth (me) to the amazing world of the ocean...I loved those shows!

Yeah, yeah, I know...but hey, I even have a model "Calypso".
I'm with you, Greg...

I remember when Carl Sagan died, he was dubbed "the Jacques Cousteau of outer space"... Which is correct in that he adeptly brought the mysteries of a foreign environment into the consciousness of the everyman/woman. However, Carl never physically explored his environment as Jacques did!
But, even now, whenever someone says "billions and billions" I remember the spaceship "dandelion" on its quest through the galaxy...both of those gentlemen were the best !
Now I have to put up with Irwin and his ilk...yikes.
Seems giant squid translates directly. You are not the only one who would like for him to show us photos of le calamar geant!

You are almost right :smile:. The French translation of giant squid is not exactly "Calamar géant" but "Calmar géant" . A "Calamar" remains a squid but from a "cooking book" point of view :wink: :goofysca: :roll:

I've read many books from Cousteau and one about cephalopods which translation may approximatively be "Octopus: the end of a misunderstanding" telling about how some famous writers in the french culture such as Jules Verne and Victor Hugo have contributed to describe octopus as a monster and how in reality the monster is shy, graceful and "intelligent". An interesting book apparently from 1973 even if, as octopus specialists you will probably learn nothing more than in TV documentaries.

Apart from that, in the french language, we have two terms for describing octopus: "Poulpe" and "Pieuvre". These terms are synonyms according to a dictionnary but in common language, some people say a "Pieuvre" is a giant octopus and "Poulpe" is the common size you see in your aquarium or by scuba/diving. Scuba divers and marine biologists prefer the use of "Poulpe".

Lionel, thank you for these clarifications! I learned a lot of French from cookbooks, and now it comes back in malapropisms. :lol: But no cookbook I've ever seen featured a recipe for Archi :whalevsa: :archi: I love all the new smilies. And now I know that our heroes in the one below are not committing an autopsy but cooking my dinner!

new kid on the block

so, more than anyting i want an ultra cool tank with an octopus, starfish, and sea cucumber...but im so overwhelmed with where to start, does anyone have any suggestions on books, people to talk to, or articles? id be so appreciative!

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