Category Archives: little people

let’s do it for your 50th, rosie!

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Dear Rosie,

TWEET.  TWEET.  Okay, so it’s obvious by reading Twitter that you realize people are upset with you. And I’m REALLY trying here to give you the benefit of the doubt.  You see, I read your books.  Find Me and Celebrity Detox are two of the most raw and insightful memoirs I’ve ever read.  I liked “Nice Rosie,” “Crafty Rosie,” “Passionately Political Rosie,” “Stand Up For What You Believe In Rosie”…even “Flinstones Rosie.”  I didn’t even hate “The View Rosie.”  I liked that you were seeming to come back to American television with more balance, temperance and graciousness, as demonstrated through the OWN network.  I don’t think you’re an innately hateful person, I think you shared a fear that you feel awkward about.  It probably wasn’t the best idea to share this on television, but you did, the cat’s out of the bag. So now, let’s deal with it.  And I hear the people screaming and calling you names, which will never justify our cause.  People are justifiably angry, but they ruin their entire argument when they result to name-calling and demonizing you.  And commenting on your appearance or your family is just uncool and off-limits.

  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. -Robert Frost
  • If you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument. -Proverb

So that’s what we agree on.  But Rosie, oh Rosie, when you open a bag like the one you did, you can’t run from the ramifications.  You want “us LP’s” to just quiet down because “you’re done”?

But here’s where it all gets a little iffy.  Concerning.  Beyond frustrating.  Okay I’m going to use a feeling word here and I feel really angry.  You can’t just expect “us” to “sense your heart” in 140 characters or less. This is Twitter.  It’s not really meant for something, a discussion, this profound.  You didn’t start the conversation on Twitter, you started it with the most powerful culture-maker in America: television.  And the myth that I can just “spread your apology around” to an entire disability group, to an entire population in America, is absurd.   I can’t just get on my phone, which is not miniature, and call up “all my peeps” and say, “Hey Rosie said ‘she’s sorry’ on Twitter.”  I mean, I live in a big world, not to mention, most of my friends are average-sized and were equally offended.  But that’s not even the real issue.  The real issue is, had you heard something like what you said stated about any other minority group, you’d have handled this way differently.  But it’s okay, because Little People are the last minority group where it’s okay, perfectly acceptable actually, to be openly made fun of.

Here’s where we can get agree – your mentioning of “that little person who won the Emmy AND the Golden Globe” Peter Dinklage and the importance of learning about Martin Henderson.  That’s where the real stuff of this life comes to the forefront and all of the stupidity on Twitter can fall away.  Here’s a real human being who got thrown by a bunch of drunken idiots and will now spend the rest of his life suffering.  But here’s the kicker, until we address “dwarf-phobia,” face it head-on in all it’s ugly glory – warts and all – things like what happened to Martin Henderson will continue to happen.

Because I guarantee you, if you had said what you said about the LGBT community, the medically-obese, people with Down’s Syndrome, the hearing-impaired, black people, anyone else — American media would have had a field day.  You’d have the NAACP, the Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN, the Special Olympics and about every American media channel speaking up.  Because they know, that angry consumers means less advertisement dollars.  But since it’s “perfectly acceptable” to make fun of Little People and there’s seemingly no dollars attached, everybody’s quiet.

I don’t want you to feel ashamed that you have a phobia.  I want you to face it head-on.  On your show.  In a real way.  Because I’m only almost 30, but I’ve learned a little something with age.  You have to face what you fear.  You’re months shy of 50.  If you still find it okay within yourself to be afraid of Little People, you have got to question your stalwart devotion to inclusiveness for everybody.  Think of it as a “Happy 50th Birthday gift” to yourself.  To no longer be afraid of something.  To accept your fear, to package it up as something “awkward that you feel uncomfortable about” makes it pretty.  So let’s tear the paper off and get to the bottom of it.  You can do it!  I believe you can. I mean, girl, I was a part of the NO H8 campaign and I’ve got “nothing to do with it” or so they say on paper.  But I’ve got everything to do with it.  Because the marginalization of ANY people group directly affects me.  Because I’ve got to clean up my side of the street first.  I’ve got to see where I’m a part of the problem and not part of the solution and do something about it.  And for me, that meant standing up for another minority group and making sure I begin to truly wrap my head around injustice as a social institution.

  • I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. -Malcolm X
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated. -MLK Jr.
  • In the beginning there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking it was very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today. -Paulo Coelho

So Rosie, what do you think?  It’s something pretty cool that you can do to celebrate your 50th birthday!  I’ll make you a really good Funfetti birthday cake – and I can’t even eat flour!

Love,

Jen

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there’s nobody quite as mean…

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“there’s nobody quite as mean as people being mean for jesus.” – rev. welton gaddy (baptist pastor, president of the interfaith alliance, and spiritual advisor to chely wright)

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sara & jen do the flea market

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another video blog, just for you, brought to you by jen montzingo and sara mann…

the point is: clean up your side of the street

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I love RyRy so much–as a friend and as a communicator — thank you Ryan for letting me appear on your show.  I am better for knowing you and so glad you are my friend.  If you are interested in seeing the video that spurred this conversation, click here.

What do you think?  Did this conversation stir up anything for you? Leave your comments below.

learning curve

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Hi.  I did this video blog a couple weeks ago and it has taken me a bit to post it.  It’s such a topic close to my heart that I wanted to make sure it was just right before I shared it with you.  If I am anything, I must be honest, both with my successes and my failures, my strengths and my growth edges.  I am human.  This is just the first reflection of several.

Yes, I did Katy Perry’s Birthday Party as “dwarf entertainment”–with Taylor Swift, Perez Hilton and Julianne Hough.  I have to be honest.  Please leave me a comment–I would love to know what you think, if you have an idea for something else you want me to talk about, etc.

Eager to journey with you…

~Jen

question sesh #2

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Ok, a few weeks back I got the ball rolling with question sesh #1 and I’m ready to tackle one of the harder questions I got this ’round.

So here we go:

 Don’t know if you can answer this question honestly without people thinking you’re talking about specific people (don’t know if you care) but I actually am interested in this debate/topic. How do you honestly feel about average size siblings and friends attending the LP conventions? How do you think most LP feel about it?

Yikes.  Let’s clarify one thing first–“without talking about specific people” here is quite tricky because I know exactly what the person who asked me this question is asking about (they included their opinion after the question in their email to me).  Okay–before we boil this down to a few points–let’s just say, I’m only one person among many and this is just my opinion.  And while I might not agree with ALL of the decisions someone else makes, I am able to separate that from the overall character of the person and let’s aim to all do that together, ok doke? :)

My gut reaction is wondering why random AP friends go to LPA conferences…

  • Sometimes I kind of worry about voyeurism–are they just going to point and gawk.  I am being totally honest here–this is my OWN insecurity–99.9% of the AP people I’ve met at the conferences are totally not there for that and are going to try and understand what it’s like to be small.
  • They kind of take over the dance floor at times.  And some of the guys pay more attention to them…again, is that just my jealousy talking?  Did I say that outloud?  But no seriously, I think there are a handful of LP guys who make a point of trying to get with tall girls at LPA conferences–it’s kind of an ego thing?  What do I know?
  • Sometimes I just want it to be about the LP buds that I rarely get to see and the AP’s that go with LP friends make the group “all about them.”  Sometimes.
  • I get how AP siblings would invite a friend to hang out with while their LP sibling is busy being social.  But I would say that most AP siblings would not need to do that because they have a huge community of other AP siblings that they have probably known their whole life–thus there being plenty of people for them to hang out with.

But!  There are a lot of reasons AP’s would go to LPA conferences and I’ve even wanted to invite some AP friends myself.

  • Sometimes I just want my AP friends to go with me so they can understand more what it’s like to be me and understand the dynamics of an LPA convention.  I sometimes feel like I have to try so hard to fit in and make people not think I’m different that I am less vulnerable about the struggle.  So considering inviting them to a conference is one way I am letting them into my world.  But then I think about my reasons not to invite them and I am often torn.
  • I have an average sized brother who went with our family to the conventions growing up.  There are a lot of average sized siblings that go and a lot of activities for them to do together.  It is like a support group for them as well.  My brother was the only AP person in our family and I imagine felt like an outsider sometimes.  So when he was a kid he had a lot of other AP sibling friends and they would have mixers and all sorts of fun things.  Now that he is almost 19, he doesn’t really go anymore.  Most of it probably has to do with the cost–why would he use his limited money for that?  I guess the need for support isn’t really predominant for him anymore–when we were kids my parents paid for him to go.  I think he’s kind of outgrown that now.   I do know he keeps in touch with other AP siblings.  There are always tons of AP family members and doctors that go to the conventions–so if my friends ever did go they would not feel out of place probably.  Did you know that 90% of LP’s are born to average sized parents? 

I guess this issue is kind of complex and really depends on the person and their own blend of LP/AP family members. 

For the most part, I think if AP friends go the main thing is to be respectful of the fact that this is the one time a lot of people who are there feel “normal”.  Realizing that is really important, in my opinion.  In some ways, my AP friends that I see day in and day out get me in ways my LP friends do not, who mostly only see me once a year.  But my LP friends and I share a bond of really understanding what the other person is going through that even my best AP friends have no idea about.  I only have a couple of best LP friends that I really know well and talk to on an almost daily basis–Zach and on a monthly basis–Josh (and his AP boyfriend David) :).  My other LP friend that I’ve gone shopping with a few times is Margaret who lives in my region so I get to see her 2-3 times a year.  But I have a lot of friends that I hang out with at the conventions and we pick up right where we left off at the convention before. 

social responsibility: celeb apprentice style

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Feel free to watch the entire episode here and tell me what you think in the comments section below.  You can also check out LPA’s official press release on the matter.

First of all–seriously?!  Both celebrity teams just “happened” to want to use little people as the punch line…hmm…

I’m not a regular viewer of Celebrity Apprentice but my friend Clint (who happens to be an LP) told me about it…

So here are my thoughts:

Part 1:

“Jesse James bathed by midgets…”
“That would be funny”.
“Jesse James being bathed by little people.”

It’s not even about the word – midget vs. little people.  Seriously.  What is so inherently funny about me, or a group of people like me?  Just stick a midget in a commercial and people will laugh?  That hurts. 

What if I changed midget to black person, homosexual, or mentally retarded?  Is that so laughable?  So then why is it okay–or why is it so darn funny–“midgets” make it viral?

Just put a bunch of little people in the video and people will gawk and laugh?  Wow.  I’m not angry because they used the less PC-term, midget, instead of little people.  I’m angry that they think I’m a sub-species just inherently funny because I exist.  I’m all for comedy–even things that push the envelope–but what about social responsibility?

Tell me, will someone please tell me, why I am such a joke?

Part 2:

Okay, so obviously the LP’s aren’t offended and need a buck or two or are perfectly fine with “selling out.”  But at the end of the day, I would urge them to consider the bigger picture.  Bigger than a freakin’ dollar or two–did they consider the social implications of what they were participating in?  That they were hired to be laughed at.  What would LP children think who saw this?  That they exist to be laughed at?

Jesse James was pretty nice overall, “I treat ’em like anyone else, they’re exactly the same as us, they’re just ‘that big'”.  But what I didn’t get was this statement by James:

“They know that people point and laugh at them and they’re totally comfortable within themselves to laugh back.”

I get it.  So I’m just not “comfortable with myself” so I won’t put myself in their position?  How about the fact that I am just one generation ahead of the little people whose parents gave them up to institutions and circuses because society told them to be ashamed?  Why would I support taking things back a decade or two, rather than moving things forward.  My biological parents gave me up for adoption because they didn’t want me to be institutionalized in Israel.  They gave me a chance.  It hurts, it makes me really sad, that we’ve come so far and yet still have so far to go.

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY people, SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.  Get into it.

Feel free to watch the entire episode here and tell me what you think in the comments section below.