pimp pimpity pimp pimp

by lestro

Yeah, I said it. And why not, it’s just a word.

But it’s a revealing word, especially when judging someone’s reaction to it.

By now we all know that the Clinton Mafia went apeshit last week when an MSNBC reporter described the Clinton Family Campaign machine like this:

“Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in a weird sort of way?”

The reporter, David Shuster, was immediately forced to apologize and suspended after Hillary Clinton adviser Howard Wolfsen responded like this:

Asked about Shuster’s “pimp” comment, Wolfson denounced the comment as “disgusting” and “beneath contempt,” adding: “It’s the kind of thing that should never be said on a national news network.”

Then Wolsfon added: “You have to question whether or not there is a pattern here on the part of the network.” He added: “Is this part of a pattern? I don’t know, but [it’s] beneath contempt.”

So I looked up the verb “to pimp” and found this at Merriam-Webster’s Web site:

“to make use of often dishonorably for one’s own gain or benefit”

That sounds about right to me, especially when you add the “in a weird way” part of Shuster’s question. Chelsea has been pulled away from her job and fiance in order to help circle their race-baiting wagons around her mother’s flagging campaign.

But beyond that and the fact that they are sinking and they know it and grasping at straws (MSNBC is apparently part of yet another vast conspiracy to bring down the Clintons. Easier than blaming the candidate or the lack of a coherent, consistent message, I suppose, though it is worth noting that the Campaign Manager and assistant have both been canned this week…).

But what it really shows is the generational divide developing both in the country and especially the campaign. It reminds us that the Clintons, and many of the Baby Boomers, whose time, as we know, is coming to an end, have turned into the Old Guard who are completely out-of-touch with both culture and the changing uses of words.

While “pimp” may still carry a negative connotation to those who grew up in the 60s, the rest of us, especially those of us in the Red Dawn Generation, don’t see it that way. Thanks to rap music, the word “pimp” no longer just means turning out a ho. It can even be used as a compliment and has gained acceptance in popular culture through various mediums, including the popular MTV show “Pimp My Ride,” in which a crappy car is turned into a slick, hopped-up hot shit ride and Jay-Z’s 2000 single “Big Pimpin,” which went to No. 3 on the Billboard charts or 50 Cent’s 2003 single “P.I.M.P.,” which also went to No. 3 on the Hot 100.

So maybe Shuster meant the campaign has helped doll-up Chelsea, who, despite what John McCain might say, is no longer the gawky pre-teen we remember from the campaign 16 years ago, but appears to be a lovely young woman.

But beyond that, there is nothing wrong with Shuster’s use of the word. For the record, the reporter is 40 years old. He is NOT a Baby Boomer and therefore is most likely using the word in its modern context.

And context is important. Let’s explore:

“Did you see how phat Hillary looked in that outfit tonight?”

vs.

“Did you see how fat Hillary looked in that outfit tonight?”

Pretty big difference, right? Without knowing or understanding the context and the changes to the English language and slang that have taken place recently, it is easy to see how some old fart might be offended by the former, thinking it is the latter.

And when you no longer understand the new slang, you are officially out-of-touch and it is probably time to retire and let someone who understands the world as it is today – not 40 years ago – take over…

One Response to pimp pimpity pimp pimp

  1. squishmael says:

    Great point about the actual definition of pimp. But, as I’ve learned living here in the south, with regards to proper pronunciation, the dictionary isn’t always viewed as the golden standard that it should be. Kind of like the way that the religious right lives in relation to the way Jesus lived.

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