Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Little People o.k. being laundered and hung to dry

They call themselves "Little People", and they want you to call them that, too. You can't call them "midgets" anymore. That's demeaning. But you can call them "little people" because that's not demeaning at all! No, really, being called "little people" is perfectly acceptable to them. They have said so. You can call a little person a little person to his or her face - they are perfectly content with that. Just don't call one of them a midget. And now don't say it on broadcast TV, either. It's a dirty word. They want the FCC to ban it. It can join the ranks of

shit, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, and motherfucker.

The word "piss" used to be on the list, too, but nowadays even newscasters will say that this and that happened and "boy he was pissed!" I am pretty sure people say "tits" once in a while, too, on tv though that, also, was banned once. Of course, there are other words they don't like to use, though the list has adjusted a bit - certain words used to be ok, and now they are not, and others used to be forbidden, and now they are fine. When I was a kid, you almost never heard ass, bitch, son of a bitch, bastard - even "damn" was scandalous. Now this person is a dick, that one is an asshole, she is a bitch and he is a real son of a bitch bastard. But no one is a nigger, there are no faggots, and no one can invoke God. That's a dirty word, too - I have heard His name bleeped. Of course, no one should be using dammit as His last name, and I appreciate those bleeps. But even pious invocations have gotten bleeped out on regular TV in my hearing. You won't hear anyone say Jesus Christ, either, except perhaps for the occasional blasphemy that slips through.

Now you can't say midget, either. The
little people don't like it.

You, see, during an April episode of "The Celebrity Apprentice", the contestants "created a detergent ad that suggested bathing little people in the detergent and hanging them to dry," according to an article in the AP two days ago, and they had the nerve to entitle the ad "Jesse James and the Midgets."*

And you can't do that. You can call them little people and talk about treating them like dirty laundry, but for God's sake --

--- don't call them midgets!

Call them little people. Until they get tired of that, and decide they want to go back to being dwarves or munchkins, or progress to being hobbits or leprechauns. No matter what label they accept eventually it will become a dirty word, because what they really don't like is being reminded that they are shorter than others. It's the condition that they don't like. It's the reality. Changing the word will not change the condition. Euphemisms are designed to soften the blow of hard reality. They are that by which we hide from the harshness of the world.

I do find it odd, though, that the euphemism that the little people are choosing is something that, not too many years ago, would have been considered insulting and demeaning right on its face.

* Actually, the ad was "Jesse James Gets Dirty With Little People" - the AP writer was obviously too busy to do what I did - spend about eight seconds searching on youtube.