Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Morality of dwarf tossing

A recent commentor invited me to discuss the morality of dwarf tossing.

Let's start by discussing pole vaulting. The pole vaulter builds up kinetic energy, plants the pole and his forward momentum deflects the pole which is little more than a spring.

Leaping upward, the potential energy that is stored in the pole is converted into kinetic energy (the upward speed of the vaulter) and a different kind of potential energy (the height of the vaulter's center of gravity above the floor).

After releasing the pole and, hopefully, clearing the bar, the vaulter falls to the padding below.

The short video shown above captures Mondo Duplantis from team Geaux Tigers clearing a 19' bar and then falling to the padding below.

Is that morally suspect?

Most people will answer "no" because the vaulter is an adult and he is consenting to the activity. Also, due precautions are observed regarding safe management of his energy before, during and after the event. So pole vaulting is morally "OK" even though the energies involved are five times the energies involved in dwarf tossing.

As long as those conditions are met for dwarf tossing, why would there be any objection?

Would you discriminate against jockeys (people who ride horses professionally) because they are small? Would you deny them a chance to put money in their pockets for a time-honored activity that is mutually consensual, does not spread communicable diseases?

I venture that riding horses is significantly more dangerous than getting tossed by a college coed.


  1. When questioned about the morality of dwarf tossing, the dwarves invariably answer that it is how they make serious money. They say they are safe, that it is done within a specific set of rules, and they are happy.

    So some moralist thinks a safe, fun and money-making sport that provides employment for many is wrong? Why?

    Some people.

  2. The dwarves consent? Seems less of challenge then.

    Just joking.

  3. To me your examples are apples and oranges. In pole vaulting is dangerous to a point but no one is demeaned in any way. In horse racing the jokey is not demeaned, debased or ridiculed for riding the horse. ( Whether horses are demeaned or injured is an argument for PETA and I wont go there). However this event " Dwarf tossing" is different than the others. It ridicules and demeans people with dwarfism, and causes others to think of them as objects of public amusement. Even when participants are willing, it exposes them to the possibility of lifetime spinal injury. ( Yes I know , other sports include the risk of injury but again they don't generally reduce the participant to being objects.) In the event Dwarves aren't athletes, they are the object athletes are using . So again they to use your analogy they aren't the pole vaulter ( athlete) they are in effect the pole. The Jockey doesn't just set there. He skillfully participates.

    A final thought. ( In response to one of your other readers) I agree with 98% of your posts. ( Better than I can say for most people I know>) Further, I get it, you don't post to my expectations or moral code nor do I expect that you would. Partly I am surprised because esp recently I have noted a fair number of posts with religious overtones and again I agree and enjoy those posts. However, THIS event and your family enjoying it seems to run counter to what you normally seem to do-preach. In any case...this is still America and Thank-God we still get to disagree . Doesn't mean you are a horrible person. Hopefully your readers will agree it doesn't mean Im a horrible person. I look forward to ever more of your Skinny Cows and all your stories.

  4. I'm awaiting a video of the said event before passing judgment on my position regarding its morality. First of all, I want to be certain it actually exists, and second, I want to see if it makes me choke on my nachos and spurt beer from my nostrils.