Sunday, August 3, 2008

Looking Out For The Little Guy

The Pienman Newswire Presents:
A Look At Oddities in America

The is the first in an interminable series that will take a look at some of the more strange phenomenons that the United States has offered the world. This week’s subject is the term “Little People.”

Just how did we end up with this awful and awkward term? The picture is fuzzy, and the details are sordid, but The Pienman Newswire has, over the years, began to piece together the story of what happened.

The Midgets Association of America got together for their annual meeting sometime in the early 90's. As Midgets tend to be depressed people, so it was that the board of directors were drunk for the duration of the conference. Unfortunately, Little People drunken board meetings are no different than big people drunken board meetings. A number of ridiculous proclamations were made ("Midgets are superior because they are closer to the earth" was passed 9-4), empty promises were issued, and a lot of self-loathing short jokes were told as the weekend pressed on. At one point the president of the association swaggered forth in drunken confidence and suggested that they rename themselves Little People. The room ripped up in laughter, and a joke-vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously and all the midgets went to bed. But the one sober midget, Fergatroid, went down to the concierge and had him fax a copy of the minutes to all major media outlets, and even registered the new term with the United States trademark office.

The reaction from Mainstream America was understandable. Of course they thought the term was repugnant, but they didn’t want to question the newly dubbed Little People. They felt midgets were already marginalized enough, so they took them seriously. So by the time the president of the midgets woke up on Sunday morning the New York Times was trumpeting on their front page the new name designation.

Of course the midgets weren't happy, but they had so much pride that they couldn’t bring themselves to take it back. The perception is that they're short, not retarded, and the idea of having to admit to taking a joke-vote and actually recording it in their official minutes was too much to answer for. That is why every time you greet a dwarf or midget as a "Little Person," they get that bitter-sweet grimace on their face. They are happy that they have the ability to change the American lexicon, they just wish they wouldn't have wasted it in a haze of drunken tomfoolery.

No comments: