Pursuant To Peter Dinklage

“Well, what makes you think I was playing a dwarf?”

“You…uh…excuse me?”

“What. Makes you. Think I. Was playing a dwarf in Game Of Thrones?”

“You, uh…is this a trick question?”

“Kind of, yes.”

“But aren’t you a dwarf? Wasn’t that the whole…I mean, you play a dwarf in every role, it’s…”

Unavoidable, yes, that’s clearly what you assume. But what about Leonard Nimoy?”

“What?”

“Is he a Vulcan?”

(Plok is stumped)

“Ah; you didn’t think it through at all, did you? See, if you were really from the Little Person’s Association Of B.C., I wouldn’t even have to point this out. Munchkins.”

“Mu…munchkins?”

Munchkins. Because little people don’t even usually play little people, obviously. They don’t even usually play circus people. They play leprechauns, pixies, goblins. It’s a real step forward to have roles for us where our own reality is what the role is about, and so in the normal course of things you never draw on your personal experiences as a dwarf or whatever to play Munchkin #2. Get it? I don’t suppose you ever saw Seinfeld?”

“…Oh.”

“Yes, sort of the whole deal there. Kramer’s friend Mickey was an actor.”

“Okay, uh…I’m sorry, I guess it was a dumb…”

“Now is not the time for you to take control of this conversation, either. Just because your expectations have been exploded. Sorry isn’t oh, I understand now…how could you understand, when I haven’t told you yet? Sorry is getting in the way, here. Sorry is just making this conversation longer.”

“Uh…”

“Now would be a really ridiculous time to say ‘sorry’ again, by the way.”

(Plok just sits down and puts his hands in his lap)

“Right, so…good, just keep sitting there…the Game Of Thrones thing is actually a bit interesting, now that you mention it, because it lies somewhere in the middle of those two things, and if it’s interesting at all it’s because of the way it lies between them. The main thing with that character isn’t that he’s a dwarf: it’s what it means to his family that he’s a dwarf. See the distinction? They look at his dwarfism as a deformity, so it could’ve been any old thing, for them. He could’ve been blind. He could’ve been lame. The specific fact of his dwarfism is primarily important to him, in that it creates specific difficulties that only he has to be conscious of and deal with. The rest of them don’t have to do that, so they also don’t see that classing dwarfism as a disability isn’t something that really makes sense. Stature isn’t an ‘ability’, and to be honest even ‘stature’ is a really lazy description of what this is all about; dwarfism isn’t a thing where you’re the same as everybody else except you’re lacking this one capacity that would admit you to the club of the able-bodied. Dwarfism is a full-body sensation, okay? It’s holistic.”

“Okay…”

“I’m glad you think it’s okay, but I’m not finished. So what this all means is that the ability to perceive dwarfism as simply ‘something that’s wrong with this guy’ is itself maybe a luxury that only the rich, and powerful, and richly and powerfully self-indulgent, can have. It’s more personalized than just being viewed as some sort of homonculus, true! But at the same time it waves away what the reality is, just as effectively if not somehow even moreso. And that’s this guy’s problem. He’s not a dwarf, except that he is. Except that he is, you follow?”

“Uh…I think I…”

“That’s okay. You and I see different things in those shows where the cop has a robot partner, too. You know those shows where the cop has a robot partner?”

“Uh…sure, I’ve seen those…”

“A mechanical partner. A ‘rude mechanical’ partner, if you like. I forget what philosopher it was, who thought ‘animals’ were just that, just moving objects, with no interiority. Was it Descartes?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well then what good are you. No, sorry, just joking! What I mean is — and we don’t have a lot of time, now — but what I mean is, that if you care at all about these things then you have to try to really care about them. Did you ever read the Alexandria Quartet?”

“I only made it through Justine.”

“Criminal mistake. You have to look at the alter-narratives. Justine is just the introduction, the stage-setting. You can’t see what Durrell’s Alexandria is all about without going past the establishing shots. Just like you can’t just ask me what it’s like to play a dwarf on Game Of Thrones without giving some thought to what the real content of my life experience is. I never ‘play a dwarf’, as a matter of fact…I never have, and I never will. Because ‘playing a dwarf’ is identical with playing a homonculus, a leprechaun. Every little person transits these zones of prejudice every day…there are so many different ways not to be looked at as a person, it’s like going to different countries twelve times a minute. Game Of Thrones is just another one of those countries. It’s no different from any of the others. So: I guess I would say that ‘playing a dwarf’ on Game Of Thrones is just like playing one anywhere else, except that I wouldn’t know much about that because that isn’t what I do for a living. And you seem like a well-intentioned person, but can you see how in this instance your attempt to pay more respect to my personal reality actually resulted in you paying less respect to it?”

“I clearly didn’t think about it carefully enough.”

“You really didn’t.”

“I guess that was kind of insulting of me.”

“Dude, no offence, but your insulting is my warm-up weight. If you could try not to make this about you, that would be helpful to both of us. What I am desperately short of at the moment, though, is TIME…so I’m afraid I’m going to have to bill you for this little interview of ours. Sounds fair?”

“…Yes.”

“Good! Please see the receptionist on your way out.”

*

The dialogue above, Bloggers, not being the result of a daydream but of a sudden crushing sense that I got everything so drastically wrong in the previous Peter Dinklage escapade…how embarrassing! But thank goodness my old school chum’s excellent husband came for a drink tonight and took the time to point out to me that “oh my God, Plok, but you’ve just gotten everything so drastically wrong…!

And it’s a poor amends I make here, but…

…If the plus of privilege is the ability not to think about it, then I guess the price of privilege is that all your apologies will be inescapably shitty once you do?

Almost makes one wish to be Thatcherite scum like Niall Ferguson!

(By which I mean to say: I saw an episode of “The West And The Rest” last night. Fully astonished at Niall’s utter incompetence as a historian! Totally shocked and stunned! Bloggers, I am pretty sure it was the WORST-WRITTEN THING I have ever seen on television! And that’s a high bar, you have to admit. Very high. Yet in an entire hour, he said not one thing not one thing that was true, and I have never encountered a Fosbury Flip quite like that before.

So, if I’ve managed not to be HIM, then maybe I can say I’m doing something right, anyway…)

(Incredibly disgraceful; my mind, as they say on the Internet, equals blown. But apparently the good news is that Oxford gives away the ol’ D.Phil free with each purchase of a cup of coffee at the gift shop, so at least our time-honoured institutions are assured of some sort of continuance…

…Though I won’t say what sort of continuance it is.)

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