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When pimps fight pimps, we all win

I've never been much "up" on current slang, and I really don't mind that. But certain words that have become popular and more widely accepted still bother me a great deal.

One of those is "pimp."

I don't understand how anyone can think of that term in anything other than a derogatory sense. At its essence, it's a man who controls and practically enslaves women, usually through force or drugs or some other illicit means. The kind of man who would do that sort of thing is among the lowest of scum to me, the type I would cheerfully get run over by a freight train or trampled by shoppers the day after Thanksgiving or -- to indulge my personal favorite revenge fantasy -- "napalm enema."

So when I see a show called "Pimp My Ride" or hear someone use "pimpin'" as a form of praise, it turns my stomach (and that's a fairly significant seismic event). I want to remind them just what the term means, what those so-called men do.

And now, I'd like to make them read this story.

Pimps killing each other on the streets? I am appalled. Let's get them a nice, safe place where they can settle their differences without bothering the rest of us -- say, a meat-packing plant or something.

The survivors, we can feed to piranhas.

Comments (29)

I just blasted you on the '... (Below threshold)

I just blasted you on the 'WMD Question'. However, I'm with you on this one. In fact, if there's one thing that liberals and conservatives can agree on-- it's this: Pimps killing pimps is not so bad.
Also, I too have a problem with the hip lingo trend.

This pimp thing is just ano... (Below threshold)

This pimp thing is just another example of the infusion of 'gansta' hip-hop slang into English. It isn't funny. Words are the tools of thought.

When a pimp is considered cool,next thing you know the murderous gang bangers are acceptable. To wit: the "Save Tookie" idiocy, and the Tookie Teach-Ins planned for schools across America.

I'm with ya--let the pimps ... (Below threshold)

I'm with ya--let the pimps kill each other off.

However, I disagree with you about the glorification of the word in slang. I think it has its place.

I'm just thinking' about pimp chic fashion. Think of Jimi Hendrix's feather boas and hats and white belts. Think of George Clinton's outrageous outfits. Stevie Ray Vauhan. You know what I'm talking about, a lot of cook fashion trends were borrowed from pimps.

Same with cars. I was tempted to buy an old purple Caddy convertible recently because it looked like the perfect pimp car to cruise around for certain occasions.

So in light of the decades of undeniable pimp influence on clothing and cars, how can the word avoid morphing into something with cool connotations?

Same with gangster styles (think Al Capone, not NME). Same with "heroin chic." The connotations have definitely changed.

Oops,I said "cook ... (Below threshold)


I said "cook fashion trends" when I meant "cool."

I also said NME when I was ... (Below threshold)

I also said NME when I was thinking NWA

Typos are getting worse.

Oh, and the best pimp ever?... (Below threshold)

Oh, and the best pimp ever?

Gary Oldman in True Romance.

Because of the breastesses.

they can settle their d... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

they can settle their differences without bothering the rest of us -- say, a meat-packing plant or something...

I'm gonna date myself here, but that sounds so "The Warriors"! LOL

Better idea: Pimp out the pimps to the Sunni Triangle or the Iraq/Syria border where they might be of some use.

Better idea: Pimp out the p... (Below threshold)

Better idea: Pimp out the pimps to the Sunni Triangle or the Iraq/Syria border where they might be of some use.

Posted by: Peter F. at November 17, 2005 03:52 PM

Now, I like that. If we're going to live in a world of injustice-- a world where 48-year old men pimp out 12-year old girls, then let's go whole hog. Besides, I'd love to see some Huggy Bear lookin' pimp from Boston knocked unconscious, transported to the Iraq/Syria border, and come to with a 9mm in his hand and a look on his face that says, "What the....?"

Mark:Here's some a... (Below threshold)


Here's some advice from an old guy: when you start glorifying gangsters (or gangstas), pimps, prostitues, and other low-lifes, you inevitably start to resemble them in your attitudes. Witness your own words about wanting a cool pimp-style car and admiring pimp-sheik. Yet, you think it's ok to have them kill each other. Make up your mind; they're either evil and we should let them destroy each other while we stand back and applaud (don't get involved) or we should oppose everything about them and shove their language and images back into the alleys where they belong.

EricE,I'm an old g... (Below threshold)


I'm an old guy, too (45).

How far do we go down your road? Do we not recognize or appreciate Jimi Hendrix's music because he dressed like a pimp? How about Stevie Ray Vaughan who adopted Jimi's style? How about the funk masters of the 70's? Just ignore all that?

How about people like Madonna who were dressing up in pin stripes and white hats like Warren Beatty in his gangster films? We should just reject those styles because they originated with bad people?

Hell no! I see nothing wrong with dressing up like Jimi or Warren or Madonna, and allowing that to become "cool" or even mainstream. But if we do, what do we call it? If "pimp" or 'gangster" or even "gangsta" are the best fitting labels, they'll become popular vernacular and even Joan Rivers will cackle the terms as her daughter props her up near some red carpet.

So what? Pimps and gangsters are bad, no doubt about it. But merely dressing up like their old cliches and stereotypes does not put more girls on the streets, or more bullets through the speakeasy walls.

"Heroin chic" makeup tones have been in for 10 years now, and some supermodels are still wearing it. Millions of drug-free women wear it. Has it glorified junkies? --or the horrors of addiction? I seriously doubt it.

Since you call yourself old, I'll assume you grew up playing like army men or cowboys and indians at some point in your life. If you got stuck playing a Nazi or Japanese at some point, I doubt it shaped your attitudes in life. Nor do I suspect you ended up scalping anyone.

You suggest I need to make up my mind; it is. I would like to have a silly purple caddy convertible with fuzzy shit in the interior for certain moods or occasions. I will not use it to haul my bitches to the corner of my turf--because I neither have, nor want, either. Nor will I shoot anybody. My car won't be turning me evil.

Mark,So "merely dr... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


So "merely dressing up" as a pimp or gangsta is OK? I believe that's a bit too casually dismissive of what is actually going on. You're correct in saying that it is no different than other famous people dressing up like pimps or gangstas from other eras. (Though your example of Hendrix as a dressing up like a pimp is way off; Jimi pictured himself as more of a gypsy, hence the clothes; same goes Stevie Ray.) But that doesn't mean it's right to glorify the gangster lifestyle of the 30s, either. It also glorifies the gangster lifestyle, no question about it. And that's bad.

You may seriously doubt that heroin chic is glorifying drug addiction, and specifically I agree, it may not be promoting that particular lifetstyle. But it certainly comes across as being socailly acceptable to be so gaunt/rail-thin when seen on a billboard in Times Square, when in fact being so thin as some of these models is actually just as unhealthy as being grossly overweight.

And the war-game example is faulty because that's fantasy role-playing between children and the game ends. Of course, if the child fails to recognize the end of the game and continues to act out the fantasy in reality then you've got problems. Many would argue, and I agree with them, that is what is happening today. Too many teenagers and young adults are role-playing or imitating the gangsta or pimp or thug lifestyle into reality. That's unhealthy for society because it perpetuates crime, the objectification of women, the notion that crime somehow pays, and that you can live outside the law. And a lot of them, too many of them, end up in the wrong crowd, in prison or dead.

Peter F.I buy most... (Below threshold)

Peter F.

I buy most of what you said, but I do think you're overstating the tendency of imitators to become the real thing. Yeah, I'm sure it happens, but I think the root is less in the imitation than in underlying problems and character flaws.

But I've GOTTA correct ya on the Jimi/SRV thing. Gypsies? Yes. But where did the feather boas and huge plumes in the hats come from? Pimps! Stereotypical old school pimps! At least that's what they said in magazine interviews, and their biographers corroborate that (and I've read them all).

Still, getting back to part of Jay's original post: If we should stop "pimp" from morphing into something that means cool style rather than evil woman owner and renter, then we should also look at other words that have done the same. Perhaps we should stop glamorizing pirates with the annual "talk like a pirate" day.

I'm just sayin' Pimp My RIde doesn't glamorize the management of hookers in my mind. YMMV.

Mark:I've got 20+ ... (Below threshold)


I've got 20+ years on you, so I was in the military (uh-oh, here it comes) and raising a family when Hendrix was doing whatever he did. Out of my sphere of interest at the time. Most of the musicians you mentioned have, like their outrageous dress and behavior, little interest for people who understand the truly important things in life: e.g., family, duty, friendship, fidelity and truthfulness. Sorry, dude, I guess I'm from a planet different than yours. Good luck living with what you've created.

You seem to be intelligent, since you have apparently understood Peter F. Try thinking hard about the important things, not the superficial ones you seem to be obsessed with.

Mark,Wow! I'm trag... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Wow! I'm tragically lost in the acronym soup. What does YMMV mean?

OK, yup, Hendrix did wear feather boas and hats a la pimps. I should know this, I live in his hometown after all. Duh.

There's no great harm in the word "pimp", per se; it's when people start acting out and living the lifestyle like pimps and so on that bothers me.

In the end, I think "pimp" as a word will eventually go the way of "cowabunga", "boss" and other words du jour.

Generally YMMV would be "Yo... (Below threshold)

Generally YMMV would be "Your Mileage May Vary". That would be my guess from the context of Mark's usuage. Apologies if I am wrong.

Inquiring:Thanks! ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Thanks! I already have too many acronyms to keep track of here at work.

EricE:Yep, you've ... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:


Yep, you've got me by a few years. But don't assume I'm obsessed with anything. I've gigged for years as a blues guitar player and I have a lot of respect for Jimi and SRV, but I'm also a father and a lawyer and I'm pretty damned responsible for the most part. But sometimes the suit needs to come off and its time to have fun.

Peter F.

I used to spend months every year in your town preparing the boat for the commercial fishing seasons in Alaska--I miss it. I, too, expect "pimp" will go the way of cowabunga and even oof-da (I spent a lot of time around Ballard).


Yep, that's what I meant.

By the way, I've changed my name from "Mark" (my real name) to my latest hero.

Because of the mad cow, dam... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane!:

Because of the mad cow, damn it!

Unless you watch BOSTON LEG... (Below threshold)

Unless you watch BOSTON LEGAL on ABC, you'll not understand the "because of the mad cow, damn it" line used here...

Sorry, Mark, just trying to help you commun-cate.


Most of us, past a certain ... (Below threshold)

Most of us, past a certain age, get it that we aren't on parade, that there's no television show or rocknroll stage we're on, and the very notion of pimps and trends employing terms and expressions that emphasize degeneracy are fruitless...off the page, at least.

Like I wrote a while ago, anyone says, "you know what I'm sayin'" around me, I answer, "No, I don't know what you're sayinG" and exit the whereabouts (what's the point at that).

Interesting that people who died young and tragically are used to categorize what's chic and what isn't. But, about them, Hendrix and Vaughan didn't use the "pimp" dress, they used stage flash and trash, respectively. There's a difference.

From the actual pimps I've seen, and their social networks, most people have no idea just how depraved theirs is. It's not about looking good and feeling better, it's about disease, monstrosity and depravation. Of the worst kinds. Same with the "heroin" references.

Biggest problem with these sort of trends is they're fancied by people who, if they were to be required to actually associate with the environment from whence the images originate, would have nothing of it. I'm thinking that applies to Mark, as well.

Two years ago one of my 8th... (Below threshold)

Two years ago one of my 8th grade boys used the expressions "pimp gliding" as a way of walking. In shock, I asked him to repeat it (I needed to be sure he said what I thought I heard) and to define it. He thought it was just a cool way of walking. He didn't even know what a "pimp" was (how I love living in a small, family-friendly town!). I explained EXACTLY what a pimp was, and he turned bright red. It's been added to list list of words not allowed in my class (along with "that sucks" and "crap" as vulgar and tacky and "He goes" and "He's like" instead of "He said" as plain stupid).

So when I see a sh... (Below threshold)
So when I see a show called "Pimp My Ride" or hear someone use "pimpin'" as a form of praise, it turns my stomach

I am continuously amazed at how out of touch with reality some of the folks at Wizband really are. The moral self-righteousness that must accompany this kind of sentiment scares the living crap out of me.

Mark, re your new persona: ... (Below threshold)

Mark, re your new persona: I like it.

"Now before I go, I wish to leave you with these two words: Denny Crane."

My wife frets when something prevents her from watching that show.

But the two words I want to... (Below threshold)

But the two words I want to leave Sherard with are, adult undergarments.

MTV, being the socie... (Below threshold)

MTV, being the societal barometer that it thinks it was in the 80’s, likes to do fun little shows like “HipHoptionary” where they take words and phrases in current Hip Hop slang and try to discuss their origins.

What I found most hilarious is when they brought up the subject of the word “pimp”. MTV brought up the history of word pimp in a Huggie Bear style of common usage (and for MTV, their history books don’t seem to go back any further than 1973). Then they asked current hip hop stars what the word means today. Their answer? Pimp, is now used as an acronym P.I.M.P. which stands for “Put It In My Pocket”. The late 70’s/Early 80’s connotation is only used by old white people.

So you see? It’s all one big misunderstanding between the Hip Hop Community and the rest of the world. And if we were “more with it” we’d understand that it isn’t the glorification of the subjugation of women for money or of the trafficking of narcotics. It’s all about the economic elevation of the urban youth through entrepreneurial means. Man, doesn’t that make me feel better.

So I'm all, like, ya know w... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane!:

So I'm all, like, ya know what I'm sayin'?

Sherard's second sentence sums up my reaction to portions of Jay's post and several of the comments. Some need to lighten up a little. If words or phrases or styles of clothing or makup are not your taste, don't use them. But don't decry the end of civilization because some kid uses the word "pimp" to describe the degree to which he tricked out his "ride" (motor vehicle), or because he wants to dress up like Huggy Bear once in a while. Life is too short to get your adult undergarments in a wad over this stuff.

Even -S- made my point when she said, "these. . . trends [are] fancied by people who, if they were to be required to actually associate with the environment from whence the images originate, would have nothing of it." I agree with that. So where's the harm?

It boils down to bad taste and sloppy English, both of which can be annoying. What's more frightening is the eagerness of people to be judgmental and intolerant. Don't panic folks, I'm quite confident our civilization will survive MTV quite well.

Whoa! I missed this nugget... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

Whoa! I missed this nugget from EricE:

"Most of the musicians you mentioned have, like their outrageous dress and behavior, little interest for people who understand the truly important things in life: e.g., family, duty, friendship, fidelity and truthfulness."

Are you saying that because I love the music of Jimi and SRV (and I also thought they looked awesome on stage), I therefore fail to understand family, duty, friendship, fidelity and truthfulness? Do you really see some sort of relationship there? Honestly? That's frightening.

If you were to speak with my parents, teachers, employers, clients, judges, ex-wife, fiance, two daughters, my fiance's two daughters, and friends, I think you'd find that I probably do understand the truly important things in life. My love of rock and blues music could never change that.

I'm not alone in that (duh). One of my best friends is touring the world as the guitar player for one of the old blues/rock bands featured at the original Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock (even you've probably heard of them). He's the most centered and dedicated family men I know, and he flies home each week to be with his wife and son. He's one of the most truthful and faithful people I know, despite his affinity for the music of Jimi and SRV and others.

Hell, and if you knew anything about SRV, you would know everyone around him consiidered him to understand the "truly important things in life" better than anybody. It was evident in the things he said, the music he wrote, and the way he conducted his life in the few years before his helicopter crash.

EricE: Your ignorance of popular music is no crime, but your hastiness in judging others cannot be countenanced. Your willingness to denouce the moral character of a stranger based soley on his preference for music is asinine. It seems you're still grappling for an understanding of the "truly important things in life."

I don't perceive a shred of... (Below threshold)

I don't perceive a shred of "self righteousness" meriting any sort of dressing here, other than people attempted to correspond about Jay Tea's comments; so, in fact, the ONLY indignity I read here, this thread, is from those disdaining the rest of us "here on Wizbang" (where does Sherard think he/she is, anyway?).

Perhaps the irritation, socially and academically, about the "talkin' sh*t" trends (and/or "lookin' sh*t" to invent another term here for the 'heroin chic' nonsense -- did anyone ever see ZOOLANDER with the "Dereleeek [pr.]" thing? it was a smart sarcasm commentary on the nonsense), is that people actually work and strive to improve themselves (most of us do) and up until very recently, people actually got together to TALK, and to TALK together for purposes of improving their use of the English language. People in China do, too, for the same reasons (learn the language by socializing in the language with one another, and, it becomes a mark of social esteem when it's learned well and used well, just as it was for many, many years in English society). And because of that, the whole derisive thing about the use of language, the deconstruction, so to speak, of what and how the language is used (I tend to avoid using that term -- deconstruction -- for the same reasons that I avoid language trends but, sorry, but it's appropriate here), that whole emphasis as casual use of language can be and is annoying. As example, I can write and speak in proper English today and hear from many so-called "native English language" persons that they don't understand what's being said, written, indicating to my academic level that many persons among us English speaking here in the U.S. are not accustomed to the language itself, but to a different version of it -- but that's nothing new given continental customizations (Australia, Ireland, Canada, etc.).

I learned English from the English -- a formal, literary approach both academically and culturally -- as my native language in the U.S. (British ancestry to a great degree, and, despite centuries in North America, the cultural influences remain, and remain supportable by English literature), and, it's mere non-productivity to grind down time and effort to be, look, sound, write in a manner derogatory to the language. The adaptation of slang is work that I would example to someone buying a new car and then intentionally driving it into everything possble, denting the thing up on the way home from the dealer. By adopting slang, you have to work to theatrically modify your language inorder to remain within the same language and not create an entirely new or alternate one ("Ebonics," for instance).

I knew a woman once who routinely used words inappropriately, among them the word, "eunich," which she'd say and say often in this context: "I feel (or felt) like a eunich."

I asked her, puzzled, finally, if she knew what "a eunich" was. She didn't and had been saying that (that she felt like a eunich) as a trendy statement, to indicate that she felt embarrassed. She'd heard it spoken as expression and so just started saying it, assuming the social trend involved but not aware of what it was she was ACTUALLY saying in the language itself.

After I explained to her what a eunich was, she looked pained and ran out of the room. Obviously, her need to be trendy outweighed her need to communicate, in any actual sense of the word. Or, she'd opted to communicate nonsense.

I was just thinking that very thing about Jon Stewart, after reading his ridiculous mush from his Museum of Natural History fundraiser appearance.

I hear ya, -S-, and I share... (Below threshold)
Denny Crane:

I hear ya, -S-, and I share some, but not all, of your concern.

In my professional life, I try to adhere to the prescriptions of Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition (1934), which expresses strict guidelines for English usage. I also try to follow the rigid opinions expressed in a large collection of English usage manuals on my shelf. I find great value in the discipline, and I try to instill those values in my children and colleagues.

However, I also find great communication value in popular slang. Although it tends to erode meaning from words, it also serves as useful shorthand to convey a host of ideas that often cannot be expressed for a variety of reasons.

For example, when I'm talking to a jury, judicious use of colorful slang lets me say things I would not be permitted to say outright in court, or things the jury would not want to hear from me. If used subtly and properly before a receptive audience, I can convey that I or my client are one of them, and we understand their concerns. Or I can convey that the other side is not like them, and they aren't to be trusted. Or I can use it to get a laugh or two, which is always a good thing. These are all side messages that leave the overt message undisturbed.

One good juicy slang term often paints a picture that would otherwise require 1000 words of proper English and, depending on your audience, that picture may be received more vividly. Since the only purpose of language is communication, I think judicious use of slang is an important element when it facilitates the communication.

Some will say that a truly good writer or speaker can paint that picture in fewer than 1000 proper words, and it is laziness to resort to slang instead. Sometimes that's true, sometimes not. But one should not forget their audience, whose level of education and experience may leave them more receptive to the unconventional and may even leave them alienated by proper English.

This reminds me of a case I tried with another lawyer in the Bronx. My colleague appeared very bookish and proper, and he was truly oblivious to popular slang and vernacular. When he spoke, those 6 local Bronx jurors had a difficult time following his perfectly elloquent English, and they had no interest in the things he was saying. He completely failed to connect with his audience. In contrast, I tried to speak simply, bluntly, and incorporate some of their popular language and slang at times. The eyeballs stayed open and the heads began to nod from time to time (in agreement, I think), so I think my approach worked.

So yeah, like I'm all, you know, into some righteous slang happenin' when it gets ya.






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