December 16, 2012

The m-word!

"You know, everybody knows what the N-word is. We don't say the N-word. We refer to that word as the N-word. I had never heard of the M-word. Through my discovery, just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the use of the midget — excuse me, the use of the M-word — is no longer socially acceptable."

ADDED: What about Midge? "Midge was the first same-size friend of Barbie ever sold, and was created to oppose... controversies aimed at Barbie. She had a fuller, gentler face mold that was less sexually intimidating, although her body proportions were the same as Barbie...."

55 comments:

tiger said...

'Midget' has been socially unacceptable for a while, now.

The proper term is 'Little People', not that I would ever use it.

Anga2010 said...

Gawd! Whut an idjit.

Moose said...

I started compiling a list of derogatory names for conservatives that are *not* politically incorrect, but then I got tired and stopped at about 100...

ricpic said...

Vertically challenged!

Michael Ryan said...

It's so sad. In these times we could never make a new "Blazing Saddles" or write "Semi-Tough".

Michael Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitchell the Bat said...

Whoever runs that website must firmly believe that Rush Limbaugh's headshot, a human face sculpted from Velvetta, is a big selling point.

Phil 3:14 said...

For me "Little people" is equally disturbing.

How about "Hobbit"?

Michael Ryan said...

Also, I've never understood "midget" and "dwarf" to be the same thing. I was under the impression that "midget" referred to a person of short stature in which the limbs and torso were proportionately smaller than average. In dwarfism the torso is generally of average size, but the limbs are shortened. Is that wrong?

After all, from 1960's culture - "girl" + "midget" = Gidget.

EDH said...

Johnson's parenthetic "excuse me" sounds about as insincere as, "well, excuuuuse me".

Through my discovery, just within the last 12 hours or so, I have found that the use of the midget — excuse me, the use of the M-word — is no longer socially acceptable.

EMD said...

Just as long as they don't break the law.

mesquito said...

I heard my dad call my mom a midget once. He was admiring how she could stretch out full length in the back seat of their minivan.

roadtested said...

If a midget aka "little person" asks me not to use the word I would probably comply but I pity the PC fool that insists I not use the word, midget.

midgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidgetmidget

rhhardin said...

Imus says he's going change Mike Lupica's homeric epithet to "abnormally small."

Nomennovum said...

This is the brainiac who was worried that Guam would tip over and capsize due to the US military presence on that island.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg

rhhardin said...

Moron is already the m word. He needs to use another letter.

KenK said...

@unkown,
I have the same thing where I work too. The last time some one called me a nigga, i just looked them square in the eyes and told them in a very "command voice" tone, that no I wasn't. That ended that practice. Nothing I can do about the serial fuck sayers. Like after all the slavery stuff we went thru I'd really wanna hear that. Esp. galling when white people use the term. I sure hope I'm dead by the time the white people become the minority here.

Gahrie said...

Can we still use the term mental midget?

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

Do I fear for my country?

Does a bank worry about collecting on a bad debt that that has been written off?

Ann Althouse said...

He was talking about "giants" and "midgets" metaphorically -- referring to big business vs. the little guy. Since we say "giants" (and we're not referring to an actual type of person with a physical condition), it would seem that parallelism would justify "midgets." Or is the question why are we allowed to say "giants"?

edutcher said...

I agree with tiger on the semantics, although its PC-ness is not that well-known (not unlike crippled and handicapped), but it is fun to see these morons finally get caught in the traps they have used for so long to destroy people, in many cases just as object lessons about the power of the Lefties.

Michael Ryan said...

Also, I've never understood "midget" and "dwarf" to be the same thing.

Dwarfism is a specific, medically-recognized condition.

Midget is an adjective going back about 200 years deriving from the smallness

Ann Althouse said...

Why is it okay to say "giant" nonmetaphorically?

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the oldest definition of "midget" in the OED, going back only to 1816:

1. A thing that is very small, or conspicuously smaller than the norm.

1816 ‘P. Pindar’ Middlesex Election v, in Wks. IV. 207 With your good leave, I'll zet bevore ye, My lord, a midget of a story Of Farmer Tab, my neighbour.
1880 M. A. Courtney Gloss. Words W. Cornwall in Gloss. Cornwall 37/2 Midget, a very small bit; a scrap.
1913 J. Muir Story my Boyhood iv. 143 The little cheery, modest chickadee midget, loved by every innocent boy and girl,..was one of the first of the birds to attract our attention.
1940 Amer. Boy Feb. 25/1 (advt.) Our Dandy packet includes all these: Giant Map Stamp (world's biggest), Fiume (dead country), Liberia (Bongo Antelope),..tiny Medellin ‘Midget’ (dwarf Stamp), antique Portugal (60 years old).
1991 Chile Pepper June 15/2 Old Minorcan and Spanish recipes..have been greatly influenced by this mighty midget, the Datil pepper.


The second definition is a type of small fly.

The third definition is the one referring to a person, and note the author that used it first:

3. a. A person who is exceptionally small (usually one who is otherwise well-proportioned), in early use esp. a child; spec. such a person who performs roles (in the theatre, in films, etc.) that require exceptionally small stature. Sometimes used as a term of abuse.

1854 H. B. Stowe Sunny Mem. II. 150 Here six or eight midgets were jumping the rope while papa and mamma swung it for them.
1869 H. B. Stowe Oldtown Folks (1870) xvi. 159 Now you know Parson Kendall's a little midget of a man.

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

OED, cont'd:

b. A person notably deficient in the quality or ability indicated by the preceding adjective.

1917 A. Cahan Rise of David Levinsky ix. xii. 270 There were several circumstances that made it possible for a financial midget like myself to outbid the lions of the cloak-and-suit industry.
1970 J. P. Spradley You owe yourself a Drunk 22, I must be a..mental midget or just a nut.
1993 A. Dacyczyn Tightwad Gaz. ii. 21/2, I, the greatest mathematical midget of all time, have to work out how to compare.
1998 F. Renzulli & D. Crane Sopranos: Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti (TV script) 39 Tony: I was thinkin maybe..you're depressed? Christopher: Me? I'm no fuckin mental midget.

Ann Althouse said...

Sopranos! In the OED!

tim maguire said...

Giant is more acceptable than midget because being tall is more acceptable than being short. Short people universally suffer for their stature, tall people usually don't. So "midget" has a negative connotation that "giant" does not.

madAsHell said...

In 25 to 30 years, Little People will be considered a derogatory term as well.

campy said...

I started compiling a list of derogatory names for conservatives that are *not* politically incorrect, but then I got tired and stopped at about 100...

Conservatives can choose not to be conservative if they don't want to be insulted.

edutcher said...

Sorry about that.

The rest of that sentence should be "of the midge".

The pups were having a tag team match with The Blonde and only my intervention could save the day.

The whole "midget" thing reminds me of some other words that really have no real problem except that the Lefties want to jerk us around.

I'm thinking of going back to Oriental, rather than Asian (sounds more elegant), and Negro (it's Latin, Spanish, Italian, and God knows what else for black) as it is the Negroid race we're talking about (or is the American Negro College Fund racist, too?).

Unknown said...

ccc

Ann Althouse said...

"Giant is more acceptable than midget because being tall is more acceptable than being short. Short people universally suffer for their stature, tall people usually don't. So "midget" has a negative connotation that "giant" does not."

But that makes it pejorative to restrict one word but not the other.

Surfed said...

I hear the "N" word from the moment I get to work until I leave work. My students "N" word each other all day long, period by period. They also add in the casual and gratutious "F" bombs in every sentence and look askance at me if I object. I pick my battles. I tend to ignore the generic cussing if it's not directed at anyone specifically. To write a referral on it would only be to consign that official piece of paperwork to the recieving Admin's garbage bin. I take a stricter stance with the "N" word only to end up played by it. A young lady came into my classroom an hugged me and said "You be my nigga' dawg Mr. Autree" (inner city pronunciation of my name). Quite the sweetest thing she said to me all year and a nice compliment in a real world inner city classroom. The kids seem to have taken all themeaness out of the word for casual conversation though they still reserve it's usage for a modicum of meaness when needed. Ahhh but I'm a white guy sailing those treacherous shoals. Nigga' Dawg indeed.

Surfed said...

Trouble with my gmail account caused me to have the "unknown" moniker.

Chai Chai said...

Is it the word that is offensive or the thought?

Whenever I hear someone use the term "N-Word" the actual word crosses my mind - what is the difference?

Same thing goes for "F-Bomb", the C- Word", and now apparently the M-Word". Substitution is just crazy, yet that is where we are at as a society.

Balfegor said...

Re: Althouse, Giant vs. Midget:

If I understand, right, the preferred euphemism for midgets is now "little person" (which sounds terribly, insultingly patronising to me, but so do almost all modern euphemisms). But think about the reverse -- if you called a giant a "big person," you might be talking about his being a giant. But that's already a euphemism for the Fat. I can't think of anything else that would be unambiguously a genteel bowdlerisation of "giant" -- "Tall person?" "Person of Size?"

Anyhow, that said, I suspect tim maguire is basically right. Giants just make less of a fuss if you call them "giants," while midgets object to being called "midgets." There's no real rhyme or reason to it. If you let different groups define for themselves which words they're going to take as mortal insults, it's not like you can expect any consistency whatsoever.

And of course, you'll end up with people like me who, when referred to by the euphemism (in my case, "mixed race," "double," or "person of color"), feel terribly insulted. Although I generally refrain from telling people in person, when they are just trying to be nice, in their awful, awful, disgustingly patronising way.

deborah said...

My cousin reports that when she was born her older sister was asked what they thought they should name her. She thought Kristy after the Barbie doll, and Kristy she became.

deborah said...

Althouse, we could have a daily game for a few weeks. Go through the alphabet. First off, what would the A word be?

campy said...

A for Albino!

William said...

If a giant becomes annoyed by the g-word, he can always stomp on you. If a midget becomes annoyed, he can only stamp his feet. If you find some other word to describe midgets, that new word will eventuall become the derogatory word......The only real solution is for society to become less critical of short people. To further this aim, I would recommend that the NBA adapt a program of recruiting short people. When we see midgets dunking in the NBA, these prejudices against the short will disappear.

KenK said...

What's even more galling is when people ask "what are you?". I am Ken, I am an American, or whatever personal characteristics I care to disclose. I am not a cypher for the PC taxonomists to define. I won't answer any other way cuz I'm tired of navigating the PC bullshit verbal maze. I am a lot of things (mixed race, for one) but it doesn't define me except in the eyes of the PC bureaucrats or the race obsessed.

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Methadras said...

I just want to send out my personal apologies to Senator Patrick Lahey for calling him the dumbest man in Congress. I was wrong, Rep. Hank Johnson is now officially the dumbest man, if not the dumbest human alive at this point. Not because he said the word midget either.

deborah said...

@ campy: not quite there.

kentuckyliz said...

Gawd...even a retard knows not to say midget.

Broomhandle said...

My brother the airline pilot informs me that Southwest refers to abnormally obese passengers as "COS's"-Customers of Size. Passengers of Size not being used for obvious reasons.

Chai Chai said...

What is the point of creating new synonym's for words people find offensive?

Synonym - one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses.

If the N-Word is short or a replacement for the actual word and holds the same meaning doesn't that make the word "N-Word" equally offensive and therefore in need of replacement itself?

MadisonMan said...

Paging Randy Newman.

Balfegor said...

Re: Chai Chai:

If the N-Word is short or a replacement for the actual word and holds the same meaning doesn't that make the word "N-Word" equally offensive and therefore in need of replacement itself?

N-word is slightly different from "midget" -- at this point non-Black Americans using the term are always using the term with knowing intent, as it were, since it's been considered rude in the US for an hundred years. For the vast majority of English speakers, I would guess, "midget" has no negative connotation whatsoever. It's more like Asian vs. Oriental, where the vast majority of people (including, frankly, lots of Asians) don't consider "oriental" at all offensive or pejorative, but there are Asian-Americans who find it terribly offensive. "Midget" is like "Oriental" -- a term that some people dislike and are evidently trying very hard to define in other peoples' minds as pejorative.

The fact that the underlying meaning is the same doesn't really matter. "Fuck" is vulgar, and "sexual intercourse" is not, not because they mean different things (though people sometimes attribute to "fuck" a different, specially violent meaning), but because we've assigned "fuck" to the vulgar register. What's considered pejorative and what isn't is separate from the underlying meaning.

Chai Chai said...

"at this point non-Black Americans using the term..."

So it is OK for one racial group to use the "prohibited" word and not OK for others?

My original point was that when anyone says "the N-Word" the actual word that is causing offense crosses through peoples mind anyhow - not a synonym.

Almost Ali said...

Well, we stood by when they came for the N-word, and then dragged away "Negro" - and then locked away "retard"...

jgm said...

The great Paul Rhymer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vic_and_Sade) had the solution--homes for all the abnormal. Missouri State Home for the Tall. Arkansas State Home for the Jovial, etc.

Rhymer's papers, btw, including many Vic and Sade scripts, are at the Wisconsin Historical Society.