Dwarf-tossing in Tampa

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A good Libertarian issue: can the nanny-state ban dwarf-tossing if the dwarf wants to be tossed?


-- (lars@indy.net), November 29, 2001


Oxy, do you know "Dave the dwarf"?

-- (lars@indy.net), November 29, 2001.

Lars, where is your leash ???

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), November 30, 2001.

Do you mean the one with the studded collar? I loaned it to Dave the Dwarf. It's one of his "Rent-a-Dwarf" props.

-- (lars@indy.net), November 30, 2001.

I have just read an article in my favorite publication, the Weekly World News. Apparently many households are importing Russian midgits to perform cleaning tasks which are difficult for normal-sized human beings (like going under the bed, etc.) Anyway, one mom is quoted as saying that her children just love little Nikita, "they pick him up and play catch with him."

Hoping that this nugget adds to the gravitas of the discussion.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), November 30, 2001.

It is argued that creating a business based on smallness of stature would be exploitive, yet there are many occupations (notably in the entertainment industry) where a person's physical characteristics are a key qualification. The indignation about dwarf-tossing perhaps arises from the belief that dwarves are second class citizens.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), November 30, 2001.

Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers

-- (just an@anonymous.one), December 01, 2001.

Multiple choice question. Humor evolves from cruel premise A. All of the time B. Most of the time C. Half the time D. Some of the time E. Never

The reason dwarf tossing is funny is because it exploits not only human abnormality but also vulnerability.

And even though that premise may contain cruelty, individual objects of the joke can still choose -- to capitalize positively on their condition (as in specialized acting ... Munchkins for instance) or even on exploitation of their condition, as in public tossing or other derisive activities.

Does that make it right? i.e. Is elective slavery a libertarian option??

The only dwarf in my Tampa neighborhood was a Munchkin from the Wizard of Oz who hung out at our neighborhood spot, The Old Meeting House.

Personally, I have found small minds more of an issue in this soiety than small people, but it is not considered quite the same sport to toss them around.

"Seven is a lucky number."

Regards, Snow White

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), December 01, 2001.

There's also humor in incongruity, for example, in seeing the human form put to a rather novel application. In that sense, dwarf-tossing seems equivalent to an average sized person's being tossed by a 400 pound wrestler.

Oxy, I'm not sure I understand your reference to "elective slavery." After all, the dwarves are being released. 8^)

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), December 01, 2001.

True that some disabilities can be sources of humor.

For example, how can you identify an insomniac, agnostic dyslexic? He's the one who lies awake all night wondering, "Is there a dog?"

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), December 01, 2001.

Dog, Flint's takin' your name in vain again. ;)

-- Pammy (pamela_sue57@hotmail.com), December 01, 2001.

LOLin spite of myself, Flint

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), December 01, 2001.


Dwarf-tossing is still a power issue, regardless of the appearance of consent. The humor is embedded in the dissonance between depersonalization and dignity (i.e. manhandling).

A person presented as an object whose power is sapped by perceived abnormal difference may join in the derision to gain psychological leverage.

Other groups have faced similar dilemmas, including African Americans.

I posed the question "Is elective slavery a libertarian option?" because it represents the philosophical quandary of opposing paradigms.

If a woman chooses to enter into a ritualized slave-master relationship with a man (i.e. elective slavery) and then abandons all free will for a contracted period of time, has she claimed a libertarian stance? Is it consstant with libertarian lifestyle?

And how much of a behavioral changr is based on true desire and healthy self-image (good indicators of the presence of free will) and how much on an involuntary Stockholm Syndrome response to personal inadequacy and impotence ??

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), December 02, 2001.

Oxy you are sharper than ever

-- (tryingto@keep.up), December 02, 2001.

Marion the Libertarian Librarian rejected elected-slavery because she was a heroic female individual and would only mate with a heroic male individual on a basis of mutual admiration and horniness.

-- (Ayn Rand @ Atlas.schmatlas), December 03, 2001.

Ayn Rand had one of the stranger approaches to this free-will question.

On the one hand she pushed the model of self determinism to an extreme, yet in the realm of narrative sexual experience she flip- flopped into an almost sub-dom sonata of woman conquered by man.

John Galt, master of his domain.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), December 03, 2001.

Certainly a disparity of power is central to dwarf-tossing. But there are many situations of power disparity that don't cause concern. The ones that do become an issue are those where the playing field is perceived to be unfairly slanted against the weaker party.

So it is with dwarf-tossing. Being a dwarf is regarded as distinctly undesirable in our culture. Unusually small children are sometimes given growth hormones to address this perceived malady. Dwarves are simply abnormal. Moreover, even adult dwarves are incapable of making responsible decisions.

Dwarf-tossing, inherently a benign activity though not my cup of tea, is rendered a power issue by our society's condescending attitude toward dwarves. The opposition to dwarf-tossing expressed by Little People of America reinforces this attitude and makes one wonder whether they in fact feel that way about themselves. If so, they would hardly be alone.

Many years ago, I attended a concert held in a retirement community, which featured their own residents as performers. At the end, the mistress of ceremonies (herself a resident) noted about one of the more delightful performers that he "did very well." This struck me as an odd phrase to use in describing the performance of an accomplished adult.

Shifting gears to the second three paragraphs of your post, I sense that there isn't nearly so much free will or acting on true desire as one might think. People are often too busy to spend hours pondering what they would "really" want. So they generally act according to their conditioning, which often leads them to devote a disproportionate effort toward the acquisition of material possessions.

The pursuit of possessions isn't necessarily bad, and there's something to be said for stimulating the economy. But it does seem a form of ritualized slavery, the difference from your example being that the slavery is to a principle rather than to a person.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), December 03, 2001.

Another round of layoffs at my company today, which was basically a LIFO deal, where the people with the most juniority got canned. Maybe those who got tossed weren't dwarves in stature, but they for sure were in terms of any power over the decisions that cost them their jobs.

Meanwhile the company giants were granted an *additional* $1.6 million apiece for their golden parachutes. Giant tossing does not happen.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), December 03, 2001.

Most juniority? Least seniority?

Congratulations on the additional stock options and bonuses. Maybe you could spring to fly us all somewhere for the next get together.

I always knew you were a true giant!

-- Jack Booted Thug (governmentconspiracy@NWO.com), December 04, 2001.

If dwarf-tossing is outlawed, only outlaws will toss dwarfs.

-- (nemesis@awol.com), December 04, 2001.

Don't Crush that Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers

What? No Firesign Theater fans here? If you've never heard them you must have thought my previous comment was a pretty bizarre non sequitur!

If you like Monte Python, you would probably like these guys.

-- (just an@anonymous.one), December 04, 2001.

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