Short People

During our discussion on short people and Dr. Benedict Lambert, I could not help but think of one of my favorite songs: Short People by Randy Newman. I looked up the lyrics in class and they are a bit appalling, but also very amusing. I would like to call to attention that these words are not my opinion on short people, just lyrics by Randy Newman.

Short People got no reason
Short People got no reason
Short People got no reason
To live

They got little hands
Little eyes
They walk around
Tellin’ great big lies
They got little noses
And tiny little teeth
They wear platform shoes
On their nasty little feet

Well, I don’t want no Short People
Don’t want no Short People
Don’t want no Short People
`Round here

Short People are just the same
As you and I
(A Fool Such As I)
All men are brothers
Until the day they die
(It’s A Wonderful World)

Short People got nobody
Short People got nobody
Short People got nobody
To love

They got little baby legs
That stand so low
You got to pick ’em up
Just to say hello
They got little cars
That got beep, beep, beep
They got little voices
Goin’ peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They’re gonna get you every time
Well, I don’t want no Short People
Don’t want no Short People
Don’t want no Short People
‘Round here

Sorry this blog is really long now or if you are in any way offended by these words, but I felt they were worth sharing with the class. Necesary in fact.

Songs like this as well as many other examples in mass media this day in age beg the question of what has our perception of short people come to? Since freak shows started, from Tom Thumb, to the Seven Dwarfs, to Mini Me, people have flocked and paid to muse at these people who for whatever reason did not grow as tall as everyone else.

As they are depicted in media today, dwarfs/midgets/short people are often seen as angry, defensive, and for whatever reason often kicking things or attacking people. Think Mini Me in Austin Powers. Short people just amuse us. Like a gag reflex, dwarfs/midgets/short people just seem to naturally rouse amusement. Situations such as these just emphasize short people constantly being brought up as means of entertainment:

http://www.newturfers.com/mwf/attach/38/355838/BBCNEWSWorldLionMutilates42MidgetsinCambodianRing-Fight.htm

http://twistededge.org/Funny_As_Hell/World_According/Midget_Throwing/

In case you are just glancing through this and didn’t want to copy and paste the links into your URL box, they are stories about a lion mauling 42 midgets, and midget tossing. Worth looking at. Another prime example is the many TV shows we have discussed in class that feature all midgets.

Just like in Randy Newman’s song, we acknowledge short people as humans and just the same as you and I, but it is undeniable that something about short people amuses and entertains us. It is not desireable, but I don’t think that it is something that can be changed. I believe it is a natural reflex to us as people.

Here is a clip that fairly accurately portrays the depiction of short people in media today that I am describing and will in all likelihood draw the reaction from you I am thinking of:

Something we see in all of these examples is the media industry using this human reaction to its advantage and to make money. It is in a sense an exploitation of a natural reaction to make money. At the same time, we see short people taking these roles knowing full well how it will portray them to the public, but they don’t seem to mind. Perhaps they have accepted it as something that will not change. Who knows if this is something that will ever change, but until then, something about short people will capture our minds and remain a part of the entertainment industry.

-Peter

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~ by letarteps on April 11, 2010.

One Response to “Short People”

  1. I think that maybe one of the reasons for this is because height can be such a status symbol. Women talk about men as “tall dark and handsome” for a reason! Being tall is desirable and attractive. Being tall can bring you more power and authority over situations, and can help you command a room. Height is absolutely something that we cannot control, but it is regardless a desirable trait. It can be fun to tease a short friend, but when considering actual dwarves we enter something much more serious. I’m not sure that there is a solution for this either, but it is popular belief that to be tall is to hold a certain amount of social power.

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