June 28, 2011

Midgets in music videos

I won't pad this one out by detailing how it fits into the framework of violence levels affecting the culture. Briefly, rising violence rates cause people to be more curious about the dark parts of human life that they were unaware of during safer times, so that culture-makers will focus more on the grotesque in periods of rising crime. One of the most visible examples for them to notice and incorporate into their works are dwarves.

Near the end of the early 20th C. wave of violence, the 1932 movie Freaks popularized the sideshow midget to those audiences who'd never been to a freak show in real life before. During the last wave of violence, there were a good number of movies featuring dwarves as an example of a not-quite-human species -- Fellini movies, Time Bandits, Willow, Labyrinth, the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and many others. Once crime began falling after 1992, these portrayals of dwarves gave way to the view that they were just like everyone else, just much shorter -- the Mickey character on Seinfeld, Mini Me in the Austin Powers movies, and Wee-Man from the Jackass TV show and movies.

But in the medium of the music video, it looks like they're hardly there anymore. I couldn't find a "list of music videos with midgets" anywhere, so I figured I might as well start one here. If you're aware of any others, especially ones from after 1992 that would be counter-examples to the "part of the normal world" portrayal of the past 20 years, leave a comment. But only for groups who were at all popular, or else it doesn't tell us that it catered to a somewhat mainstream audience.

"Little Girls" by Oingo Boingo (1981)

"Sex Dwarf" by Soft Cell (1981)

"Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats (1982)

"(Oh) Pretty Woman" by Van Halen (1982)

"When the Lights Go Out" by Naked Eyes (1983)

"Stonehenge" by Spinal Tap (1984)

"All I Want is You" by U2 (1988)

"Preacher Man" by Bananarama (1990)

"I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)

"The Bad Touch" by Bloodhound Gang (1999)

"Man Overboard" by Blink-182 (2000)

"From tha Chuuuch to da Palace" by Snoop Dogg (2002)


  1. I think perhaps the reason the little people are not making it into music vids and such anymore is because some of the shock factor of seeing a little person has worn off, due to shows like "Big World, Little People" and "The Little Couple."

  2. Probably because all the directors saw this scene and were forever put off from the dwarf cliche:


  3. Another, albeit older, is Peter Gabriel's Shock the Monkey from 1982 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo9riZYUpTw

  4. Oingo Boingo - Stay (1987)


  5. Sting - Fortress Around Your Heart

  6. "Hall Of The Mountain King" by Savatage (1987)


    "Vanilla Radio" by The Wildhearts (2001)



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