Tag 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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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…

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

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.

realistically hopeful

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If you and I were to really get to know each other, you might gather that I tended toward being a closeted sad little girl with big, big song-and-dance to cover it. My dream of escaping into another person’s life through acting was culminated in watching the Academy Awards every year. I would often make a fort in my room and line up all my stuffed animals and make acceptance speeches. I was transfixed by the power of storytelling and the realization that humans could connect globally through television and film. In America at least, screen time is power. While this is admittedly a silly value, as a little girl I connected the dots. I had never really seen another little person on television before–so I believed that I was a sub-species of humankind and not as valuable. Ever since I was a little schoolgirl, I dreamed something different for the next generation. The thing I am most passionate about is acting, and specifically telling stories that might somehow help future children believe in a future for themselves.  Through my family background and through my dwarfism, spending most of my childhood feeling as if I were a sub-species is what fuels me today to act.  It is the thing that I live, breathe, and dream about on a daily basis.

“I grew up in a place…where this was not a very realistic dream”.

-Penelope Cruz

I am thankful though that our hearts know that realistic dreams never make us very happy.

My favorite acceptance speeches this year—beautiful, beautiful, beautiful:

Glorious musicale nod:

(I couldn’t find the Slumdog/Wall-E Medley on youtube but it was even more moving in person–I teared up both times I saw it live.  I also loved the “Craigslist Dancers” and “Reader” portion of Hugh Jackman’s opening number).

same situation different beat

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so today i was at the center for all people who stare, i mean the mall, picking up some alterations from nordstroms when these two gorgeous african-american children (probably 6 and 4) started shrieking when they saw me.  pretty typical, understandable behavior from a child, not really a big deal.

mommy, look at that tiny ladyyyyyy….mommyyyy…mommy look.  that lady is tiny.  what’s her name mommy, is that tiny lady a mommy?

the mom, who seemed darling and confident by the way, simply hesitated for a moment (you could almost see the wheels turning as she decided what to do) and then she came over to me and simply said,

i’d really like for my children to shake your hand and meet you.  is that ok?

it was really no problem for me at all.  i’d much rather have that than hear a really awkward, embarrassed explanation from the mother just trying to get her kids to shut up and pretending they never said anything.  kids ask questions about everything, certainly things that are out of the ordinary.  it was really not a problem. 

but it got me thinking, a similar situation happened before and the vibes i was getting were totally different.  what was it?  was it how she phrased everything so politely?  was i just a grumpy gills last time?  was it because the man before took a lot more time and did not seem to even notice that my time might be worth something?  i do not know.

the children politely shook my hand and i talked to them for a moment.  they were not a problem at all.  what was super awkward and annoying was the man who kept staring even after i walked away and turned around and we made eye contact as he continued to stare.  like he saw me notice him staring 3+ times and he never averted his gaze.  his mouth was dropped open and he just stood there watching me.  yes, i am alive.