March 4, 2013

“Pickle Company to Distraught Mom: Yes, We’ll Change Our Name”

“Cains Pickles removes a derogatory term from its labels after a mother’s protests,” Andri Antoniades informs us by way of editorializing — that “derogatory” term being “midget”, for those of you who didn’t know that any pickles short of, say, “Uncle Willy’s ‘Sho Do Likes Me Some o’ Dem Pickles’ Pickles” could even muster the audacity to deride or denigrate.

Yet the Cain pickle company, being risk-averse as are most businesses, did a quick cost-benefit analysis and quietly folded, in so doing helping cede even more control over language to morons and faux-victims who, it is clear,  have way too much fucking time on their hands:

An average day at the grocery store for Rhode Island mom, Michelle Martinka, turned into a moment of activism when she noticed that Cains Pickles, a popular New England brand, produced a line called “Kosher Dill Midgets.”

Martinka is the mother of ten-month-old Adelaide, a little girl with a form of dwarfism known as Achondroplasia—and “midget” is a derogatory way of referencing those born with the condition.

In response, Martinka waged a peaceful protest, which included [a] YouTube video, urging the company to change the name of its product—and so it did, gracefully, without objection or fanfare.

Gedney Foods, the makers of Cains Pickles, explained to the Star Tribune, “The company is not seeking any attention related to this matter and believes that any publicity should be more appropriately placed on the children and families dealing with Achondroplasia.”

In her email to TakePart, Martinka explains, “Although many people do not know, the m-word is derogatory, not just some innocuous word meaning small, as it was 50 years ago.” She says, “I am fully aware that these pickles are just pickles—and my daughter is a human. This was my first step in educating just one company. Years ago I may not have had the drive for such an undertaking, but change happens when situations arise—new circumstances, such as having a child diagnosed with dwarfism.”

Stop right there and let’s unpack this:  Ms Martinka has just 1) told us that “many people do not know…the m-word [that would be “midget,” to those of you still unafraid of its magical powers when spelled out] is derogatory,” an admission that the supposed derogatory nature of the term has to be pushed and essentially proclaimed by this woman, who then seeks to “educate” people about something that by her own accounting doesn’t yet even exist, except perhaps in her own mind.  Meaning, it’s less “educating” that she’s interested in than it is “imposing” or “bullying”; 2) Ms Martinka claims to be “fully aware” that what she’s protesting is the name of a type of pickle, and that her daughter, though small, is not that type of pickle, or any other pickle for that matter.  And yet, someone who is “fully aware” that she’s protesting two different things would likely not demand that they be conflated in order that she may then protest them as if they were the same;  3) The conflation doesn’t stop with the signifier, though:  Ms Martinka, in addition to wishing to conflate her child with a pickle (despite her proclamation that she is “fully aware” that the two things differ), also conflates a noun, “midget,” (traditionally distinguished from “dwarf,”), with an adjective that leaves the noun implied, and is being used to describe the relative size of one of a variety of pickle types:  “Cain’s Kosher Dill Midget [Pickles]” having been shortened for marketing punch to “Kosher Dill Midgets,” the jar of pickles itself presumably cluing in the otherwise potentially offended that the “midgets” in the name refers to the small pickles in the jar to which the label is affixed — and that said jar and said label have no earthly desire to exceed their context and declare Ms Martinka’s daughter a type of brined, garlic-and-dill seasoned, aged mini-cucumber.

When asked what she hopes her daughter will someday learn from this, Martinka says, “I hope Addie takes away the knowledge that she can bring change. I hope she learns my motto to not be reactive, but [to be] proactive and educate.”

Which is all well and good, except that being “proactive” is not in and of itself noble, and ideally, what we seek in an educator (assuming we’re seeking one at all) is one who has some idea about what it is she is presuming to teach.  Were I Ms Martinka, I think I’d concern myself less with being a self-important, two-bit “civil rights” activist, and worry more that my daughter’s actual takeaway from all this is that, despite her mother’s lip-service to the contrary, she is, in fact, an outlawed pickle.

Which is a shame.  Because to the rest of us she’s just short. Or a dwarf.  Or yes, a midget.  Which only makes her less of a human in the sense she has less mass to her — not because we seek to socially diminish her or, inexplicably, confuse her with a deli sandwich side dish.




Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:14am

Comments (62)

  1. Secretary of State John Kerry was recently overheard in Germany explaining America to the Germans. It’s fairly certain this Ms Martinka is precisely an example of what he had in mind. Diplomat Kerry had the good sense not to offer himself in such a role, however, for in that event the Germans might well have disbelieved what he had to say.

  2. Whaddya mean WTF?

    This is exactly the same kind of garbage that permits the literati to keep seeing the old “black man better not look at our wimmin” dynamic everywhere they look. Remember Darleen’s cartoon about the Statue of Liberty?

    It’s the Princess and the Pea writ hysterical: whoever can still feel the pea is a SUPER-SENSITIVE PRINCESS, I tells ya. Keep pilin’ on them mattresses!

  3. here are some midgets on the beach which is their natural habitat

    homesick now

    I love the gulf more than pickles

  4. Whaddya mean WTF?

    Midgets scare me

  5. Secretary of State John Kerry was recently overheard in Germany explaining America to the Germans.

    Ich bin ein jelly donut.

  6. once upon a time there was a gay retarded midget hoochie who was a beautiful princess

    “I’m so beautiful I think I’ll take a nap,” she thought, and climbed into bed.

    But she couldn’t sleep.

    “Maybe I need a snack,” she said. This had worked in the past when she couldn’t sleep. So she walked down to the kitchen and looked in the royal fridge for her favorite pickles.

    She looked and looked but the pickles were nowheres to be found.


    But the pickles were never seen again, and to this day, when in a pensive mood, the gay retarded midget hoochie princess is prone to pine for her pickles. And the whole palace pines with her.

    For they are all filled with sadness for what has been lost.

  7. Secretary of State John Kerry was recently overheard in Germany explaining America to the Germans

    You can marry rich hoochie after rich hoochie, and as long as you are a Democrat, people will praise you. Speak in a haughty pompous tone, have a face the length of Mr Ed, and you can become Sec State. Throw your medals away, meet with the enemy during a war, and push a false narrative of BS atrocities, and the Left will embrace you forever.

  8. This woman is one of a special breed of assholes; like the late Christopher Reeve of Superman fame or Michael J. Fox who only become champions of their cause when it affects them personally.

    You damned well she herself has called “Little People” midgets in the past until she gave birth to one.

  9. Henceforth, “midges” will be known exclusively as “sand flies,” just to avoid any unpleasant misunderstandings in the future.

    And if you niggardly coxcombs would stop masticating your horehound for a minute, you might understand why this is so important.

  10. My neuroses and phobias make no distinction between little people, dwarfs, and midgets.

  11. I’d suggest that we all need to refer to those irritating small flies as “little peoples”, but that would be niggardly of me.

    Oh, now I’ve done it…

  12. You [know] damned well she herself has called “Little People” midgets in the past until she gave birth to one.

    Yeah, a friend of mine got really evangelical over “retard” after her nephew was born with Down’s. I explained that:
    1) she herself was one of the worst offenders up to that point,
    2) she was getting totally retarded over the whole issue, and
    3) getting worked up over the word “retarded” is totally gay.

    Even with that kind of logic and tact, I failed to sway her to my way of thinking. Go figure!

  13. That is a persuasive argument, Squid.

    Quite obviously that woman is a retard.

  14. All I can say is good luck getting USAC to change the name of their little race cars.

  15. And happyfeets fairy tale made me lol.

  16. So in that TLC show Little People, Big World, it is wrong to call their spread “The Midget Farm”?

  17. They should rename them Cain’s Kosher Dill Yelverton Pickles.

  18. They should call them “Lilly-white Irish guy penis-sized pickles”.

  19. Were I running the company I would have told the mother that we are happy to rename our pickles, henceforth to be known as “Cain’s Kosher Dill Adelaide Martinkas.” A thank you for the education, you see, issued in the form of a tribute.

    Which would have killed this “protest” in its tracks.

    Why companies don’t think of these things themselves is beyond me. Perhaps I need to start a business that consults in taking on these types of silly nuisance protests, because silly though they are, and minor though they seem, they really do, once the underlying assumptions become institutionalized, lead to tyranny.

  20. LaRoche is evil

    I saw that picture at the end of a Cialis commercial, something about if you have an erection for more than 4 hours, look at this picture.

  21. Jeff – That would just be sexist. And prolly racist.

  22. Midget is a descriptive. It differentiates between small people who are properly proportioned, versus those who have normal-sized heads and torsos but small limbs (Dwarfs).

  23. I rear-ended a car this morning…the start of a REALLY bad day!

    The driver got out of the other car, and he was a DWARF!!

    He looked up at me and said ‘I am NOT Happy!’

    So I said, ‘Well, which one ARE you then?’

    That’s how the fight started.

  24. I’m going to hell, aren’t I?

  25. I was thinking that anything they name the damned pickles is likely enough to ‘offend’ someone in these exciting days of privileged reception. As such, the safe move is to go out of their way to deliberately offend White Heterosexual Males, who are, of course, always good for a laugh.

    Ol’ Rev. Sharpton’s Ofay Redneck Mini-Honkies would be a fine, focus-group approved name. It’s all about the marketing, people.

  26. If they’ll have you, yes.

  27. Midgets scare me

    Nah, they follow the same trajectory of any projectile. Just keep them between the gutters and you’ll do fine.

  28. Here, starting about 1:45.

  29. yesterday her daughter was a midget … today she wakes up to a new world where her daughter is still a midget but nobody will confuse her with a pickle … happy days …

  30. I will spare this woman the offensive name my Arkie grandpa gave to Brazil nuts.

  31. i had arkie people what said the same thing

    mostly they’re dead now

    except for grandpa and nobody talks to him cause he so damn mean

  32. The classic surf film/book classic “Gidget” her nickname was derived from “girl-midget” because she is a petite young woman. I guess it will never be remade.

  33. yesterday her daughter was a midget … today she wakes up to a new world where her daughter is still a midget but nobody will confuse her with a pickle … happy days …


  34. Ridiculous old white lefty Rober Ebert made this error in a movie review back in 2005 so, sad to say, this woman didn’t invent the outrage.

    Goes without saying that Ebert capitulated.

  35. At least he didn’t respond with “Dear Short Stuff:”

  36. My daughter is not a Little Person or midget or dwarf, but at 4’8″ (which is as tall as she’s going to get, I think) we call her “short stuff” all of the time.

    Always affectionately. And it’s not like she doesn’t KNOW she’s never going to play center for the Magic. Come to think of it, given their current performance she maybe could.

  37. You could call her “half-pint” sort of like Pa did when referring to Laura on “Little House on the Prairie.”

  38. “Pickles the size of Chynna’s clit” $3.45 at any Hoosier Drug.

  39. These protests always leave me feeling a little bit short-changed. For Ms. Martinkas, I imagine she does this so often it’s pretty much force of hobbit.

  40. *rim-shot*

  41. In other news, PBS has agreed to change the names of its musicial tribute/reunion concerts Doo Wop Special and Doo Wop 50 in response to complaints from a Ms. Gloria Serafina Narducci of Hackensack, NJ.

  42. Hey lady – your kid ain’t a freaking pickle. Clue up.

  43. I wonder if she wants shrimp renamed, as well.

    It must be hell going through life being such a hot house plant. I had braces (metal mouth, brace-face) and glasses (four eyes) until I was a freshman in high school when I got the braces off and got contact lenses.

    It was character building.

  44. If I can’t call Robert Reich a Toxic Midget, then the terrorists have won.

  45. Also, I would never refer to someone who has a developmental disability as a “retard.” They have a developmental disability, which is not their fault, and I am sympathetic in the literal sense because I can imagine what it’s like.

    Joe Biden, on the other hand, is a retard.

  46. Krugman is a demonic midget

  47. I think Krugman is a retarded midget. Maher is a toxic dwarf.

    It can be hard to keep the categories straight.

  48. It’s the “many people do not know” part that gets me, yes that, because this is a fairly new campaign. You decided that jumping on the midget-is-derogatory bandwagon is the thing to do, you excellent sanctimonious twit with a midget chid. Deal with it.

    The only child I would ever want is Hellen Keller because she doesn’t talk.


    Yes it is.


    So? Joan Rivers on YouTube.

  49. Mother, not child, apologies. I just watched it again. OMG, she’s good.

  50. Damn, bour3, she IS good.

  51. You can bet she toes the progressive line in most ways, but she certainly gets it here.

  52. joan is mostly republican I think but she’s not a stupid lady by any means

  53. She was buddies with Bob Hope. Remember back in those days right wing entertainers didn’t have to hide in the closet.

  54. As a descendant of people who were murdered at some time or other, I find the name “Cain” offensive. Because, Abel.

    I suggest “Wuss”.

    Also, they really need to do something about the phallocentric shape, which just perpetuates heteronormative behavior.

    I suggest 25% penis-shaped (the status quo), 25% vulva/clitoris-shaped, and 50% transgendered.

  55. leigh, your grandpa wasn’t the only Arkie of a certain generation to use that term for Brazil nuts, trust me.

  56. Gherkins! Can’t you hear the dog whistle?

  57. The racism is hiding in pickles now! Charge!

  58. I got it! Pygmy pickles! Or should I have said Baka and Twa Pickles? How about we just call ’em short ‘lil fuckers? I’m 5’7″ so i think I can clear that with the collectivist policing sorts.