Green Room

Can we please stop glorifying pimps?

posted at 10:38 am on June 19, 2013 by

At National Review’s Corner, Mona Charen vents one of my deepest frustrations with modern pop culture:

In the Food section of today’s Washington Post you can find a recipe for “Dad’s Pimped-Out Gin and Tonic.” …

Pimps aren’t funny or cute. Ask any cop who’s dealt with them. They are brutal rapists who frequently hold women in what amounts to slavery. The mainstreaming of the word, with its hip connotations, is revolting.

And has been for some time.  A few years ago, the topic of the product “Pimp Juice” (a beverage) came up on a NARN broadcast, and I spent all two hours ridiculing it and asking listeners to complain when they saw it in stores.  I’m old enough to remember when calling someone a “pimp” was a real insult to their manhood, a man who couldn’t make an honest living for himself and had to extort women for his money.  Think of the Godfather scene where Marlon Brando dismisses Tattaglia as nothing more than “a pimp” who can’t manage his own affairs.  Even in the context used by the WaPo, the term is an insult to taste — being “pimped out” in that sense is to be overly gauche, gaudy, and cheap in the moral sense.

No one in their right mind would glorify abusive husbands, but pimps are all that and much worse.  Why should anyone feed into their glorification, especially mainstream media outfits that should know better?

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my fellow conservatives always wonder why they have a reputation, especially with young people, for being old, uptight, and out of touch. hmm… looking at this thread, i can’t imagine why!!/

Sachiko on June 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

.
She has a point. The current connotation of “pimp” is very different than the denotation.
Should we rail against vile behavior when it is packaged in pop culture as hip and cool? Of course, will it make us appear to be out of touch? Also true.
But if we do not push back on this attempt to make the image of a pimp as something edgy, instead of pointing out what a pimp really is, we have lost that part of the cultural battle.
You want to stop liberals from using the word pimp, just ask them why they support violence against women.

LincolntheHun on June 19, 2013 at 2:33 PM

my fellow conservatives always wonder why they have a reputation, especially with young people, for being old, uptight, and out of touch. hmm… looking at this thread, i can’t imagine why!!/

I agree.

I also can’t stand the “street” and hip hopification of culture and language. It is glorifying trashy, low culture culture, in my opinion. We ought to aspire to and hold as an example something higher than that.

bluegill on June 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM

do you even realize how conceited you are coming across?? of course you are a brilliant and classy example of “high culture” and everyone else is below you and they represent “low culture” and you feel the need to look down on others just because they like music you don’t like, and they talk in a way you don’t like. ugh.

Sachiko on June 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Horst Wessel would agree with you.

ebrown2 on June 19, 2013 at 2:36 PM

She has a point. The current connotation of “pimp” is very different than the denotation.
Should we rail against vile behavior when it is packaged in pop culture as hip and cool? Of course, will it make us appear to be out of touch? Also true.
But if we do not push back on this attempt to make the image of a pimp as something edgy, instead of pointing out what a pimp really is, we have lost that part of the cultural battle.
You want to stop liberals from using the word pimp, just ask them why they support violence against women.

LincolntheHun on June 19, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Too true.

“In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

ebrown2 on June 19, 2013 at 2:39 PM

I don’t use the terms “pimping” or “pimped out”, but I’m not particularly offended when others do and I don’t see it as a decline of the culture any more than I do when someone refers to his car as his “ride” and says it’s all “tricked out”.

Being older now with young adult children to nudge my memory, I remember being a teenager and young adult. Part of the point of the music was that it was ours — and those fossils we called “parents” didn’t get it … or better yet were offended by it.

jix on June 19, 2013 at 2:53 PM

King B on June 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

.
Really? You listened to Run DMC and say that since James Joyce wrote a dirty story that make rap okay?
Didn’t anyone ever teach you two wrongs don’t make a right?
Since Grandmaster Flash invented rap it has been edgy and often obscene, I guess you missed 2 Live Crew’s haunting melodies, and who can forget the togetherness of NWA’s “Fuc* the police” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” there’s also the song every pregnant woman wants to hear while in labor, Salt N Pepa’s “push it.” The exception in rap is when it is funny, not misogynistic, anti-white, and anti-order.
Rap is the siren call to angry middle class white nihilists from the voices of hate recruiting others to join them in gutter.
38 and listening to Lil Debbie? For shame. Man up a bit and be a Bronie or something.

LincolntheHun on June 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM

38 and listening to Lil Debbie? For shame. Man up a bit and be a Bronie or something.

LincolntheHun on June 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM

OH NO HE DI INT

MadisonConservative on June 19, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I suggest we replace the term with Senator or Congressman

roflmmfao

donabernathy on June 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM

I am drawn to “classical” music and always have been, since I watched Tom and Jerry fight their way through Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody,” I think it was. (And Woody Woodpecker and Bugs Bunny had similar bits, with them at grand pianos.)

In the ’80s, I just didn’t get rap, and I ignored it because it lacked the melody, harmony, and clever bits that would keep my ear interested. Plus, it sounded monotonous and just too loud for all the lacks I mentioned earlier. (If it has to be loud, it ought to be good, no?)

Then recently, my small business retained a client whose TV show showcased hip-hop music. I expected to loathe it. To my surprise, the music DJ Fink is putting forward tends to be– with some exceptions, but for the most part– really positive in message; honoring to women and marriage; about taking on responsibility, rather than avoiding it; dealing with deep emotional and spiritual issues; and not racially divisive, but rather honoring Martin Luther King’s style of thinking rather than some of the race hustlers who followed him.

Further, I was surprised by the musicality of the performers. One group had two female performers, a rap-poet and a singer with serious coloratura-type vocal gymnastics skill. Their pieces were fairly close to brilliant, combining spoken word and sung, using different texts in clever, thoughtful counterpoint, making interesting textures with serious command of their craft. Their song reminded me of baroque contrapuntal works far more than ’80s rap.

So the current hip-hop scene is not really the same as rap. This is NOT what I had expected to find. There are serious producers and entrepreneurs who want to recapture the traditions of excellence found in musicians of an earlier era– Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Cab Callaway, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Mahalia Jackson, and on and on– and suggest kids put down their GameBoys or whatever and pick up their instruments and *practice*.

As to the word, “pimp,” I think with the inevitable drift of words in English from one meaning to another, it’s just another usage that’s morphing from something serious to something anodyne. And nowadays, people talk about “trafficking” rather than “pimping” anyway when they want to talk about abusive prostitution, rape, and abduction.

slknoerr on June 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Remember a song called “Cool Jerk” (1966)?
It was written to celebrate a dance called the “Pimp Jerk”, so called because pimps used to do it in a certain way, so as not to raise a sweat.
Of course, back then, that title was controversial, and the song’s name was changed to “Cool Jerk”, because, well, doing things like a pimp wasn’t considered to be a good thing, back then.

Frank_D on June 19, 2013 at 7:45 PM

AND FURTHERMORE, what’s up with the problem with “street culture”? If you mean that all black street culture is thuggery and prostitutes and gangs, NO. Every culture has “street culture.” It’s just what normal people do who are not part of the high-end, elite power structure. Different cultures’ folk music and street food are some of the best stuff going. Not to say it’s all fantastic, but good stuff can come from any strata of society, and not just the fluffy stuff at the very top.

In fact, in the modern U.S., the music, visual arts, and literature being produced by the most educated, most vaunted of our elite culture is often among the least interesting, least creative, least thoughtful stuff. That’s why people are more likely to listen to the country station (part of White America’s “street culture”) than to the posturing nobodies who make the avant garde stuff today that apes ideas that were old 20 years ago.

slknoerr on June 19, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Glorify sociopathic Urban Black Culture and you’re glorifying the Pimp

TexasJew on June 19, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Pimps aren’t brutal rapists who hold women is slavery. The women are free to come and go as they please, and they do exactly that. I read articles about FBI operations against pimps, and the only thing they could point to is that the guys were messaging girls on facebook who looked slutty and asking them if they wanted to make some money. OH NOES, RAPE AND SLAVERY!!! Yeah right.

So the pimps are always looking for new girls since the existing ones have a high turnover rate. This wouldn’t be the case if it was “slavery” since the pimps would accumulate girls who could never leave, and youd end up with a huge glut of prostitutes.

Since almost all pimps are black, and the laws are written by whites, the penalties for pimping are very harsh. Pimping in California, I believe, will get you just as much time, if not more, than a violent rape will.

I guess since Nevada has legalized prostitution, that means the Nevada government is full of rapists and slaveholders, right? /rolleyes.

kaltes on June 19, 2013 at 9:41 PM

my fellow conservatives always wonder why they have a reputation, especially with young people, for being old, uptight, and out of touch. hmm… looking at this thread, i can’t imagine why!!/

Sachiko on June 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Thanks for educating us about what the cool kids want.

We sure wouldn’t want to “have a reputation” for honoring women and not glorifying pimps. /s

keats5 on June 20, 2013 at 12:19 AM

What, and leave the Democrat-voting minorities without one of their five biggest role models?

MelonCollie on June 20, 2013 at 12:24 AM

Can we please stop glorifying pimps?

Hey this is no way to talk about journalists

Gaurav on June 20, 2013 at 1:02 AM

Pimps aren’t brutal rapists who hold women is slavery. The women are free to come and go as they please, and they do exactly that. I read articles about FBI operations against pimps, and the only thing they could point to is that the guys were messaging girls on facebook who looked slutty and asking them if they wanted to make some money. OH NOES, RAPE AND SLAVERY!!! Yeah right.

So the pimps are always looking for new girls since the existing ones have a high turnover rate. This wouldn’t be the case if it was “slavery” since the pimps would accumulate girls who could never leave, and youd end up with a huge glut of prostitutes.

Since almost all pimps are black, and the laws are written by whites, the penalties for pimping are very harsh. Pimping in California, I believe, will get you just as much time, if not more, than a violent rape will.

I guess since Nevada has legalized prostitution, that means the Nevada government is full of rapists and slaveholders, right? /rolleyes.

kaltes on June 19, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Camille Paglia, in an essay a while ago, said (paraphrasing) women should lighten up when it comes to harsh penalties for rape because “men get beat up all the time” and (she thinks) there’s nothing uniquely awful about having one’s vagina entered since it’s less painful than a beating.

What she didn’t realize is what most of us viscerally know, and if we think about it can better articulate, just why having one’s sexual organs violated or used for someone else’s pleasure, is a much deeper violation of our persons as persons than taking a (admittedly painful) punch to the face. “Vacuumed out like a rental car and used again” is how one pro-lifer put how many women feel about being pressured into having an abortion they many times really don’t want. It applies even when abortion’s not involved.

Just by the way, since you brought it up, there are many reasons there is such high turnover among prostitutes, most of them having nothing to do with what the prostitute wants, and your implication that they have the freedom to up and leave cause they got a better job offer or some such thing is a pretty blithe dismissal of some of the horrifying things these women go through (if they live, that is). If they had those sorts of options, most of them wouldn’t be prostituting themselves in the first place. (Yes, I know about the $3K an hour escorts. Most prostitutes aren’t in that situation, but even the treatment of the “high end” prostitutes is degrading to them.)

Yes, prostitution is akin to slavery — exploiting women mostly very vulnerable for reasons perhaps their doing, perhaps not — and a pimp is one of the lowest forms of life on the planet.

Eviva on June 20, 2013 at 7:14 AM

when truth is most country artists are singing about beaches and Corona these days.

Most? lol, no.

cptacek on June 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM

I’m not particularly a fan of rap or hip-hop, but at bottom it is a musical vehicle, like any other. Initially in the main it glorified street violence and misogynistic attitudes toward women, but there have always been exceptions. My son turned me on to Wyclef Jean (who crosses over just about every musical boundary you can think of), and I know there are Christian artists who do their work in rap.

As for “pimping”, it is not a benevolent life form. It is exploitative and relies on force and the threat of force for survival. To “pimp” a woman is to turn her out for your financial benefit. To “pimp” a ride is to make your car ultra-flashy, as true pimps were known to do. Kids may think its cool, but it is not and if we are to do our job as adults we at least have to point to the truth.

It is one thing to give our children the room they need to explore and learn from their own experience (good judgment comes from experience, most of which comes from bad judgment), but that does not mean that we abdicate our roles as teachers and guides. We as parents have to be the North Star that remains steady for our youthful voyagers in the ever-shifting winds and tides of this life.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on June 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Should we rail against vile behavior when it is packaged in pop culture as hip and cool? Of course, will it make us appear to be out of touch? Also true.

LincolntheHun on June 19, 2013 at 2:33 PM

In the public high school where I teach Latin, I have a reputation for (verbally!) smacking some of my male students down when they get out of line. Since I do this in a way that’s as friendly as it is firm, and always with humor, it’s well taken. Not long ago, when I came up with something particularly witty, one of the other students said approvingly, “Magister, you’re a pimp!” I answered back with a severe look, “No I’m not. Pimps abuse women and keep them in slavery, while I love women and respect them.”

They expected a smile, but there was none, and they quickly and humbly saw and took note of what I thought of the profession. All this is to say that even in today’s rather callous society (o tempora! o mores!), you can get through to young people if you do it right, and can still appeal to their sense of fairness and respect.

Tzetzes on June 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM

We should definitely not glorify pimps. But what was John Stossel doing last night on Fox News interviewing three prostitutes from a “legal” brothel and their male employer (a pimp), supposedly in the name of libertarian politics?

Steve Z on June 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

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