was the term vertically challenged really used for short people, or is it some parody of PC terms?
A parody, surely.
I hear they prefer “undertall.”
I dunno, but I suspect this and many other terms supposedly espoused by PC types came from or were riffs upon ‘The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook’ by H. Beard and C. Cerf. Beard is (partly) responsible for such things as Bored of the Rings and Miss Piggy.
It was meant as a parody, although I’m sure some dipshit or other has used it in all seriousness. The only time I’ve ever personally heard it used was either in anti-PC rants ("Well, let’s not stop there! Short people are vertically challenged. Fat people are horizontally challenged. Bitches with PMS are hormonally challenged…) or in jokes.
I’m short and I have been known to refer to myself as being vertically challenged in converstaions.
I have always used it as a joke, along with my threat to sue the city for building the sidewalks too close to my ass.
It’s a joke. I’m short. I’ve always been short, and never ‘vertically challenged.’ Even for people shorter than me (only two inches shorter, alas,) the preferred alternative to ‘dwarf’ is ‘little person,’ not ‘vertically challenged.’
I love it when people think jokes are true.
Except when they then try to act on that belief.
Then it’s just annoying.
When the problem of “political correctness” was an especially popular subject for public hand-wringing (that is, when it was politically correct to be against being politically correct), the series Murphy Browndid an episode on the subject.
Towards the end the members of the FYI staff attended a public forum where various people aired their grievances about how one group or another was, they felt, treated unfairly in the media. For instance, a Native American complained about the Atlanta Braves. Towards the end the moderator recognized “the tall woman in the back” or words to that effect. The woman then went on a long, humorless diatribes about various words which she felt should be stricken from the language, and concluded by saying “and I’m not tall, I’m vertically challenged”.
While I certainly can’t claim this was the first use of the phrase, I suspect that this incident, and maybe a few others like it, gave the saying its widespread currency.
I would not be surprised to hear that somewhere it’s been used seriously, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a joke. And I am extremely vertically challenged.
The term “vertically challenged” was invented in the book The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook by Henry Beard, a parody of political correctness. It was never seriously used as a description of short people. I should know. I was one of the originators of the short rights movement more than thirty years ago. (It’s a long story, and I don’t feel like telling it now.)
There was actually a short rights “movement”?
You don’t say. (If I was the sort of person to use smileys, there’s be one right here.)
> There was actually a short rights “movement”?
Yes, though it didn’t last long and didn’t get that much noticed.
It was temporally challenged?
And probably overlooked.
Yes there was a Short Rights Movement. It encouraged those of lesser height to walk tall, to look the world square in the chest, and to stand up for what they believe in.