By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The M-word revisited

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt acknowledges that the word “midget” is offensive, and writes that the Times will no longer use it to describe people with dwarfism. Here’s my earlier item.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Iranian-American journalist gets eight years


Media Nation goes to Kazakhstan


  1. Rick in Duxbury

    Cmdr. Geisen is my kind of guy. Who the hell is the Times to tell a person or organization that they are misspelling their own name?

  2. Ani

    First of all, congratulations.Having missed your earlier piece, I went back and read it and the comments it evoked. What struck me as perhaps worth building on is the desire of people who just don’t know, to learn. I remember reading in a piece about autism that parents of autistic children having difficulty in public would find a smile of encouragement helpful, and I thought, “Sure, I can do that, thanks for letting me know.” I hear you that the point about nomenclature had been made before, but getting the word out there, including on the subject of what would be helpful in terms of behavior by us in the great unwashed masses, is appreciated by many (even if it is tedious or aggravating to do).

  3. David Rogers

    those participating in Celebrity Apprentice learned this the hard way a few weeks ago!

  4. ron-newman

    the NYT public editor says:”The new style entry says that people with a genetic condition resulting in unusually short stature should be referred to as dwarfs.”Not dwarves?

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Ron: “Dwarfs” is absolutely the preferred spelling. “Dwarves” is pretty archaic.

  6. zadig

    Dan’s comment led me to check out Language Log for a discussion of dwarfs vs. dwarves. Both are correct English usage (Dan can comment on whether there are any connotations with one vs. the other), but “dwarfs” is slowly becoming more common. There are a lot of English words that have singular “f” and plural “ves” (knife/knives, sheaf/sheaves), so I don’t know that “archaic” is accurate. But the trends favor “dwarfs”.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén