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As a long-time devotee of the English language, I find myself with my own pet peeves about how words are used. And one of the biggest irritants I have right now is the transformation of a truly ugly term into a popular (and positive) buzzword.

That word is "pimping."

Let me make it abundantly clear: I find that word truly offensive. A "pimp," to remind everyone, is "1. a person, esp. a man, who solicits customers for a prostitute or a brothel, usually in return for a share of the earnings; pander; procurer.
2. a despicable person."

Let's not polish this turd, folks. A pimp ("Doctor Detroit" and other similar fantasies notwithstanding) is a person (usually a man) who takes money from prostitutes in exchange for (at best) providing them with customers and protecting them, and (at worst) not beating and killing them. It's a man who exploits and uses women in the crudest, most debasing fashion. It's the walking equivalent of a bottom-feeding scavenger, a parasite on two legs.

A pimp is this scumbag -- a man who persuaded a handicapped young woman that she could make some "easy money" by selling her damaged body on the streets. Luckily in her case (reminiscent of the opening of "V For Vendetta"), her very first would-be customer was a police officer, who arrested her -- and then authorities dropped the charges against her for her testimony against her panderer.

That, people, is what "pimping" is all about.

It is, by no stretch of the imagination, something to be considered complimentary. It should be considered the crassest form of insult -- not something to be celebrated to the point of having a hit TV show named after the cultural trappings it has inspired.


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Comments (10)

I agree with you 100%. As "... (Below threshold)

I agree with you 100%. As "racist" as it sounds, its another element of urban, poor "black" culture that has become mainstream with all of America's youth through TV stations such as MTV.

People want to complain about American Culture? Look a few posts back, notice how the liberals complaining about evil "American" culture. Yet what is ironic about that is the peddlers of the worst part of that "American" culture are the worst sort of liberals themselves (the folks who run and star on MTV).

That post was so bitchen'</... (Below threshold)

That post was so bitchen'

The transformed word I most... (Below threshold)

The transformed word I most dislike is "sucks/ sucked". It's used by Americans from all backgrounds, age groups, etc. in everyday conversation, as a derogatory term. Yet, the act for which it is named, is thought of (especially by younger people)as a great thing to be performed any time, any place, with any one.

Amen and thank you for that... (Below threshold)

Amen and thank you for that post!

Ok, time to put on the ling... (Below threshold)

Ok, time to put on the linguist hat.

Semantic changes in language will happen, and will always be railed against (by traditionalists and cranks). Sometimes a word's meaning changes entirely, sometimes the definition is extended or narrowed, sometimes innocuous words become pejorative, and sometimes pejorative words become ameliorative. It happens, and it's OK; the language, and society, will weather the changes just fine.

In the case of "pimp" or "pimpin(g)," what we are seeing is semantic amelioration, though it seems we are still in the "semantic bleaching" phase, where the word has different meanings in different contexts, and the ameliorative meaning has not yet supplanted the pejorative. One wonders if Jay would have objected to the change of "terrific," once a synonym of terrible, to it's current, opposite, meaning. Or more recently, the change of the word "bad" to mean "good" in certain contexts. Or, a bit closer to home, the change of the word "wicked" from "evil" to, again, the opposite. Or the word "luxury," which originally meant "lasciviousness, sinful self-indulgence," and now simply means "fancy" (ah, but "fancy" has different meanings too--ok, I'll stop).

For a really crazy example of semantic change, consider the change over time of the word nice:

c.1290, "foolish, stupid, senseless," from O.Fr. nice "silly, foolish," from L. nescius "ignorant," lit. "not-knowing," from ne- "not" (see un-) + stem of scire "to know." "The sense development has been extraordinary, even for an adj." [Weekley] -- from "timid" (pre-1300); to "fussy, fastidious" (c.1380); to "dainty, delicate" (c.1405); to "precise, careful" (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to "agreeable, delightful" (1769); to "kind, thoughtful" (1830).

That said, I would like to commend Kevin on his ongoing and terrific pimp job of the Wizbang site. Btw, "whizbang" was originally a term for a German artillery shell in World War I. It was an onomatopoeic name.

Ha! I didn't even look up ... (Below threshold)

Ha! I didn't even look up the etymology of "pimp" before I posted above. Consider the original meaning (disputed):

1607, perhaps from M.Fr. pimper "to dress elegantly" (16c.), prp. of pimpant "alluring in dress, seductive." Weekley suggests M.Fr. pimpreneau, defined in Cotgrave (1611) as "a knave, rascall, varlet, scoundrell."

So it seems the original meaning may indeed be closer to the transformed meaning Jay is referring to. A full circle shift over centuries. Interesting. Now if we can only change "nice" back to "foolish, stupid, senseless."

Cultural decay.Every... (Below threshold)

Cultural decay.
Every generation bemoans it as a sign of our doom.
One of these times they will be right.
Although that "bitchen" line was very funny Paul, there is no real irony here. You might say the 70's were a prelude to what's happening now, just as some say those burning Elvis records in the fifties were prescient about where Rock & Roll would lead, but does it naturally follow that the mainstreaming of the derivation of a borderline cuss word would lead to the glorification of pimp icons like Poopdog, and basically, every other big rap act in existence ?

What's that ? You just wanted to post the word bitchen on this blog ? Okay.

pudge would be in the "cran... (Below threshold)

pudge would be in the "crank" category.

I couldn't agree mor... (Below threshold)

I couldn't agree more Jay, that's why the WizBlue guys need an editor. See the Lee Ward gem below.

Health will be a factor, and another reason to be suspect over Thompson's reluctance to get out into the race by declaring... he may be pacing himself.

But, Hugh, you do realize that you are pimping for the man whom Richard Nixon described as "Dumb as Hell".

Don't join that club. Walk towards the blue light... everyone else is.

8. Posted by Lee Ward | July 15, 2007 11:40 PM

Just remember... "is" does ... (Below threshold)
Linoge Author Profile Page:

Just remember... "is" does not mean what you think it does...






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