Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Little Things Mean a Lot

What is it with some Australians and their weird fascination with little people? We are the country that invented dwarf tossing in the 1980's, although I have a theory about how that "sport" came about. I strongly suspect some drunken yobbos were really cruel to a dwarf at the pub one night. When they awoke the next morning, a sliver of shame ran through their brains. But unaware of what to do with that, they decided instead that it had been fun and declared it the latest sport.

I am also considering a theory that it is not in fact a coincidence that we affectionately call our country Oz. The original Oz, of course, was home to the munchkins, so perhaps being fascinated with little people is just a hardwired cultural heritage. Far-fetched? Perhaps, but consider also the fact that the most highly awarded films featuring dwarves, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was filmed in New Zealand - which wishes it were Oz.

Still don't believe it? Well how about the fact that when our Nicole Kidman falls in love, she chooses the shortest guys in the room. And when it comes to Tom Cruise, do we really think it was only a coincidence that in the 1985 movie Legend, two of his character's friends - Brown Tom and Screwball - are dwarves. Some felt this was done so Tom would not be the shortest person in the cast, but I think he had his eyes on Our Nic all along.

You may be wondering what in the world has prompted all this thinking about little people and Australia. Well, think no more. Last week Cranbourne Racecourse in Victoria created a bit of a furore when it held the Midget's Cup, in which dwarves were carried on the back of patrons who raced 50 meters.

You can read the story here, but basically the people running the track thought it was all just a bit of fun so what's the fuss about? Frankly, I think it shows the enormous strides Oz has made in the past 25 years. In the '80's full-statured people picked up dwarves and threw them as far as they could for sport. Today, they get on the backs of the taller people who carry them while they run down the track. Now the really interesting bit would be if we let the little people carry whips like real jockeys.

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