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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wacky Neighbor Asks - Short People: Answer!

You might remember that two weeks ago WN asked whether the song "Short People" by Randy Newman had been banned in Maryland, as alleged by a recent VH1 show. After a little bit of work, WN can safely say the answer is ...

No.

In 1978, Isaiah Dixon, a 5'5" member of the Maryland House of Delegates did indeed propose a bill that would have banned the song in Maryland on the grounds that it was offensive to short people (and apparently blissfully unaware of the ironic nature of the song). Apparently the bill was poorly received by the rest of the legislature. The attorney general Francis Burch also issued a letter to Delegate Dixon stating in quite snarky terms that his office also thought the bill was a bad idea. (An example of the snarkiness: "The long and the short of it is that we feel that the 'Short People' bill cannot measure up to constitutional scrutiny. Consequently, while we sympathize with the vantage point of the bill's proponents, in our view, such a Napoleonic legislative effort would most surely meet its constitutional Waterloo.")

A special thanks to my delegate and his staff for helping to answer this question for me and in the meantime renewing my faith in the democratic process.

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