I just wanted you, personally, to know that I'm a hustler. Baby.
August 26, 2005 4:11 AM   Subscribe

Why does everyone want to be a pimp? Somewhere in America a pimp is just getting out of his pimp bed. He drinks some pimp juice out of his pimp cup, slips into his pimp suit, and grabs his pimp hat and pimp watch on the way out of his pimp house. Crossing the street (careful to avoid any pimp-beating karate masters), he slides into his pimp ride and heads off to get his genome pimped.
posted by selfnoise (75 comments total)

 
You're rich, you get to show it off, you sell a product for which there will always be a market--who wouldn't want to be a pimp?
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:48 AM on August 26, 2005


Oh, and I be pimp'n the first post, too!
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:48 AM on August 26, 2005


You forgot to mention pimp cream.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:15 AM on August 26, 2005


Pimps are despicable creatures, they are psychopaths and monsters, monsters who prey on the weak and are violent enslavers of human beings. Pimping should merit nothing less than a death penalty upon conviction. There is no "ligher side" to pimping, no humorous aspect, and it's astonishing to me how it's gotten sugar-coated in modern times. I recall seeing Bishop Don Magic Juan on Bill Maher's show back when he was on ABC, and BDMJ not only didn't get his smug face caved in, but was even a great amusement to the audience and host tickled pink by his "outrageous" pimp style. There's no justice in this world, no justice at all.

It is inexplicable to me that any woman- that any human being- would allow themselves to be treated like human toilets day in and day out for an abusive fucktard, to give their pimp every cent she earned laying on her back while the great unwashed masses fucked her into an early pox-laden grave, and willingly go to jail for their "man". I mean, why don't these Ho's just carve swastikis in their foreheads and then kill B-list celebrities in their homes?
Implements varied from a hanger, whip or pimpstick, a gilded cane pimps like to carry. If she was very bad, the girl had to stand in a tub while Don poured alcohol on her cuts or rubbed salt into them.

"If a woman stood up under that, you knew you had a good thoroughbred that was ready for the track," Don snarls. "You got to have a woman that no matter what, she want to see you on top, whether she has to spend 150 years in jail.
Yeah, let's fucking glorify pimp culture, it's just so coooool! Not that there's apparently much moral difference between, say, a child rapist and a pimp, between a serial killer and a pimp. But oh, they have "bling" and nice cars and funny fur coats, ha ha!

It's all kind of funny, though, in its own twisted way. Pimps and pimp culture seemed to almost be an attempt to retroactively justify years of minority oppression in America, as if the punishment occurred before the act.
posted by hincandenza at 5:23 AM on August 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


Iceberg Slim's "Pimp" is a stark and fantastic read...and wholly avoids the Urban Outfitter-izing glorification of the "pimp" lifestyle.
posted by tpl1212 at 5:47 AM on August 26, 2005


What hincandenza said. Seriously, remind me why these pimps are amusing? These are people who engage in a form of modern slavery, complete with regular beatings. You wouldn't laugh at and glorify the jolly antics of a plantation overseer. Why glorify one of his modern counterparts, the pimp?
posted by unreason at 5:48 AM on August 26, 2005


I once worked in the department of the hospital where you stock supplies, move stuff around, etc. While stocking carts in the ER, I got to see what a pimp had done to one of his hookers who apparently had tried to withhold some $ from him.

Yeah, I really look up to pimps. :P
posted by alumshubby at 6:08 AM on August 26, 2005


Pimps and pimp culture seemed to almost be an attempt to retroactively justify years of minority oppression in America, as if the punishment occurred before the act.

That is a fascinating concept. Another interpretation might be that the abused has become the abuser, as people sometimes theorize happens also to the child rapists and serial killers you mention.
posted by voltairemodern at 6:17 AM on August 26, 2005


Unfortunately, hincandenza points out what "real" pimps are actually like. Contrary to the FPP, no one actually wants to be a pimp: they want to be the character of pimp as seen on TV. People want to wear the fuzzy hats and platforms; I don't really see that many guys going "man, I really want to beat and whore out women." I've seen few rap videos detailing how great it was that you found a cracked-up runaway teenager. I don't think "pimp culture" inspires actual criminal activity as much as it inspires negative understanding of women in young men as a whole, but I agree the biggest problem is that it hides the reality of the horrors of pimps the way any mafia movie hides the reality of the impact of organized crime.

I may be wrong, but as far as I know "Magic" Juan has never actually provided evidence (or has evidence been uncovered) that he was an actual pimp. If there is, I whoreheartedly support throwing his ass in jail. But I'm assuming a high-profile "celebrity" like Juan is about as much a pimp as Kid Rock is a real cowboy.

I agree with everything hincandenza said, but seriously- since when was it a suprise that we glorify abusive, violent, criminal culture? GTA is the most popular video game on the market, the Sopranos is one of the most popular shows on television, and the Godfather and Scarface are considered among the most popular movies of all time. Beatty and Dunawaye practically created an entire fashion style after Bonnie & Clyde came out. Hell, Brando and Sinatra were doing musicals about underground mob gambling rings.

It's a disgusting aspect of culture, and I support highlighting how the real criminals are thrown in jail. But save for outliers like various music stars and a few actors, most kids who put on this persona have no choice but to give up the act that pretending they mistreat women will get them laid. As best it won't, at worst it will just get their asses kicked by people who don't just pretend they're tough.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:27 AM on August 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


Power. I think the "bling" associated with it is important, but maybe a red herring. They represent unrepentant, unapologetic misogyny. That said, the pimps I've met weren't powerful, but instead were holding on to existence by depending on a few girls more desperate than themselves. Not really much to be envied there.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:31 AM on August 26, 2005


I don't know if any of you have ever seen a real pimp in person, but Jesus, they do look impressive.

Now, I'm certainly not approving of the life, the lifestyle, the job description, or that brand of reality, at all.

But there's a Zoot Suit store on Mission Street in San Francisco, and I went in there one year to buy myself a fine hat.

While I was in there, there was a 6'5" gentleman getting outfitted for a royal purple silk suit.

I had never seen such a character anywhere but television before that, and I haven't seen a pimp dressed to the nines since -- not anyone wearing the clothes comes close normally to passing for a "real" pimp -- and the look on his face was the look Snoop Dogg has on his face -- like he's taking your measure, and is permanently amused.

Again, I'm not pro-pimp. But the duds are certainly impressive, especially if you're a real, larger-than-life cartoon character.

In my universe, he was a lifestyle pimp, not a bitch-slapping pimp. (Which makes me wonder, how many people posting here or reading this use the phrase "bitch slap" casually without thinking about what it means to hit a woman so hard that when she hits the wall, she breaks something else?)

/tarin
posted by tarintowers at 6:37 AM on August 26, 2005


What XQUZYPHYR said. Somehow a lot of people have not moved past the lower middle-class suburban white teenage boy stage.
posted by c13 at 6:42 AM on August 26, 2005


On preview: royal purple silk suit, oh my! So impressive!
posted by c13 at 6:44 AM on August 26, 2005


I don't love them hos. No, really, I don't.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:44 AM on August 26, 2005


Is it just me or did XQUZYPHYR's entire comment sound like some right-wing culture war diatribe?

Ladies Love Outlaws, dude, deal with it.
posted by jonmc at 6:54 AM on August 26, 2005


hey C13, anyone who can not-just wear a royal purple silk suit but wear it well, is in fact very impressive.

I'm not even remotely kidding either.
posted by oddman at 6:54 AM on August 26, 2005


I'll take your word for it.
posted by c13 at 6:57 AM on August 26, 2005


You wouldn't laugh at and glorify the jolly antics of a plantation overseer. Why glorify one of his modern counterparts, the pimp?

Because it's still okay to hate women, I mean bitches.
posted by scratch at 6:59 AM on August 26, 2005


Hey, anything goes when it comes to ho's, cause pimpin' ain't easy.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on August 26, 2005


I dunno man, but I vote "Hustle & Flow" for feel-good movie of the Summer.....
posted by spilon at 7:06 AM on August 26, 2005


I worked for the popular website of a TV channel for kids (confidentiality agreement still in effect) whose claim to fame was letting kids post messages to each other in a safe, screened environment. By letting the kids use modern slang while trying to keep the site clean, the company was forced to serve two masters.

It was when they decided to allow kids to use the word "pimp" as a "compliment, description" (hastily adding "but not in any context that demeans women or promotes violence", as if that was really possible) that I began scouting for new jobs. Sure enough, letting them used the word brought lots of issues with it. Eventually it became acceptable for kids to self-identify as pimps, or in some memorable cases, "pimpettes".

I reject the idea that a sensitive word can be truly distanced from its meaning or history just by pretending that's so and saying it with a smile-- and it's even worse when you work in a school and get to hear kids use words like that with no smile, no sense of irony. Now it's just what they know.
posted by hermitosis at 7:11 AM on August 26, 2005


I reject the idea that a sensitive word can be truly distanced from its meaning or history just by pretending that's so and saying it with a smile

In my experience, "Pimp,' dosen't always mean "guy who runs hookers." It's become (and to a degree always has been) slang for any successful hustler-type, especially one who flaunts it.
posted by jonmc at 7:14 AM on August 26, 2005



It's all kind of funny, though, in its own twisted way.


Of course it is; we're so often amused by irony, we're rarely humbled or alarmed by it.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:17 AM on August 26, 2005


I very much doubt the "pimp culture" has anything to do with minorities in fact or in theory. More likely, pimps are glorified by corporations because their lifestyle is a consumerist fantasy. The outrageous duds, the jewelry, the car and products and, most importantly, their power to turn sex into money and a human into a money-making machine. (And you wonder why some women will gladly self-identify as ho's?) Pimps make explicit the message you're sold thousands of times a day: sex=money and getting one is just as good as getting the other. In this light, the real benefactor and motivator for the glorification comes from corporations and advertising. Unlike XQ, it's not clear to me at all that the facisnation with pimps is in any way a natural growth of modern culture. While there's always been the popularity of outlaws, pimps are quite different from most outlaws because they are not the small dog scrapping for survival--indeed, they are, literally, The Man. I think this jives quite well with the message advertisers want.
posted by nixerman at 7:31 AM on August 26, 2005


I felt American Pimp was a disturbing eye opener.
posted by jikel_morten at 7:38 AM on August 26, 2005


While there's always been the popularity of outlaws, pimps are quite different from most outlaws because they are not the small dog scrapping for survival--indeed, they are, literally, The Man.

Well, pimps aren't outlaws, that's correct. They're gangsters, and they're popularity is analogous to the popularity of mobsters. Ever since the Godfather (and even before to people in urban areas), the mythic representation of the Gangster is as an unapologetically ruthless (and vengeful, the Outlaws MC's slogan -"God Forgives, Outlaws Don't) capitalist, without the false veneer of for-the-good-of-mankind and all that crap that the "straight world" feels the need to proffer as justification ("life ain't nothin' but bitches and money". Pimps are merely an extension of that. To a populace that feels more and more alienated from it's government and controlled by distant indifferent institutions, it's a powerful image.

Just as theory.
posted by jonmc at 7:39 AM on August 26, 2005


I'm not sure if pimp-bashers have that much of a grasp on the human condition--pimping is probably the second oldest profession. Sure, pimps are scoundrels, assholes, crooks, but they're human beings too. When I see people bashing others for their immorality, I just see the roots of the criminal's immorality, and they are very raw, and very human.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:43 AM on August 26, 2005


The Godfather was not the origin of sympathetic views of gangsters.

Remember Rod Steiger in 1954's On the Waterfront, he was the big brother Brando looked up to.

How about Bogart in, well, frankly in most of the films he made. Definitely a smooth operator, definitely "cool" and also a gangster.

This whole "sudden" fascination with the smooth criminal is not sudden at all. Kids have been longing to be a tough guy or "wise guy" for a long, long time. They had money, they had power and women, that's what most adolescent boys want.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:53 AM on August 26, 2005


Brilliant FPP, selfnoise. Thanks for that.
posted by soiled cowboy at 7:56 AM on August 26, 2005


The Godfather was not the origin of sympathetic views of gangsters.

True enough, but The Godfather took the gangster beyond cool, and painted him (in Don Vito Corleone's persona at least) as almost heroic, as more of community leader willing to take care of business than the government. In the Watergate/Vietnam/Recession era that the Godfather flicks came out in, this resonated especially loudly.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on August 26, 2005


When I see people bashing others for their immorality, I just see the roots of the criminal's immorality, and they are very raw, and very human.

What the hell are you talking about Citizen Premier?
posted by three blind mice at 8:03 AM on August 26, 2005


... more of community leader willing to take care of business than the government..

Sort of like a Senator Corleone or a Governor Corleone.

posted by three blind mice at 8:07 AM on August 26, 2005


another pezzonovante...
posted by jonmc at 8:10 AM on August 26, 2005


When I see people bashing others for their immorality, I just see the roots of the criminal's immorality, and they are very raw, and very human.

Actually, isn't condemning wrong doing a pillar of higher social order? Recognizing that we only hate in others that which we see in ourselves is one thing, but to suggest that because we all share the roots of evil, or have the capacity under the 'right' circumstances, that we should refrain from decrying and punishing those who allow the roots to flourish is akin to condoning evil.
posted by jikel_morten at 8:10 AM on August 26, 2005


This whole "sudden" fascination with the smooth criminal is not sudden at all.

Don't forget the Highway Men of the 18th and 19th centuries! "Stand and Deliver" sent many a delicious thrill up the spine of good English ladies.

And pirates, don't forget swashbuckling pirates! Ravishers of the high seas portrayed in literature as romantic bad boys but in reality scummy, unwashed, illiterate thieves and rapists and murderers.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:18 AM on August 26, 2005


Well I do in a way condone what you call "evil," because without it humanity would be as dull as the Brady Bunch. But that's irrelevant.

When I see people talking about killing criminals I just think of medieval villagers enjoying public torture. What hincandenza wants, for example, isn't to solve the problem--he wants the "bad guys" to be put to death so he can feel better. This need to satiate primordial urges is the same driving force the pimps have.

I don't expect you guys to agree with me, but I want you to know I'm not just trying to troll. These are my honest opinions.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2005


Citizen Premier: Human or not, I lothe slave owners. I don't give a damn about their background, or what circumstances propelled them to become slave owners. Other people from similar backgrounds do not treat human beings like property, it is not an inevitable result of that background. I really don't care whether the slave owner is a rich white plantation owner who came into it by inheritance, or a poor black kid desperate to get up in life. They're both scum, and the fact that the modern urban pimp started out as a poor black kid doesn't mitigate that fact.

In Texas the crime of "Traffiking in Persons" is only a second degree felony unless the enslaved person is 14 or younger. It should be first degree, but I'll take a second degree felony if I've got to. Why aren't pimps in Texas charged under 20A ("Traffiking in Persons") instead of 43.03 ("Promotion of Prostitution") which is a mere Class A misdemeanor? I want to see those sorry bastards nailed to the wall with everything we've got.

Really though, from my POV the easiest way to eleminate pimps is to legalize, tax, and license prostitution. Legalization would also make large steps in solving the problem of underage prostitution.
posted by sotonohito at 8:22 AM on August 26, 2005


What hincandenza wants, for example, isn't to solve the problem--he wants the "bad guys" to be put to death so he can feel better. This need to satiate primordial urges is the same driving force the pimps have.

Bingo. As long as there are people willing to pay for sex, there are going to pimps and madams. As long as people want to gamble and get high, there's going to be gangsters. Moral proclamations don't stand a chance against human desire.
posted by jonmc at 8:23 AM on August 26, 2005


Gravy, don't forget cowboys-many seem to hold fancy notions that everyone in the Wild West was a lovable criminal.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:25 AM on August 26, 2005


They're both scum... I want to see those sorry bastards nailed to the wall with everything we've got.

Hearing things like that make even the anti-religious me want to say "let ye who has no sin among you cast the first stone."

I think a pimp is likely more honest to himself about his inhumanity than you are.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:29 AM on August 26, 2005


Ravishers of the high seas portrayed in literature as romantic bad boys but in reality scummy, unwashed, illiterate thieves and rapists and murderers.

Were they really any more scummy, unwashed and illiterate than any other sailors of their day or was that not all anti-British propaganda? I hardly think that Sir Walter Raleigh would have been admitted to the "inner chambers" of the "Virgin Queen's" palace if he'd been all that nasty, no?

Incidentally committing selfish and destructive acts is not human. Humans have the capacity to work in a complex society, to move above their self serving nature. You might describe a pimp's need to satiate primordial urges as natural, but I hardly see how you could call it human.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:32 AM on August 26, 2005


Humans have the capacity to work in a complex society, to move above their self serving nature.

Keep telling yourself that, despite all the mounting evidence to the contrary.
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on August 26, 2005


Well I do in a way condone what you call "evil," because without it humanity would be as dull as the Brady Bunch. But that's irrelevant.

I'm sure a beat to death hooker would concur, dude.

They're both scum... I want to see those sorry bastards nailed to the wall with everything we've got.

Hearing things like that make even the anti-religious me want to say "let ye who has no sin among you cast the first stone."

I think a pimp is likely more honest to himself about his inhumanity than you are.


The pimp also has blatant disregard for that whole golden rule thing...but yeah, we're all the same.
posted by jikel_morten at 8:37 AM on August 26, 2005


Yeah, my typing on an electronic box connected to millions of other electronic boxes around the world is either a figment of my imagination or the product of completely self serving a-social animals.

Keep telling yourself that you don't live in a complex society.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:39 AM on August 26, 2005


jonmc: Nonesense. As long as people are willing to pay for sex there will be prostitutes. Pimps are not an inevitable result of prostitution, they are mere parasites. The Confederate slave owner was not an inevitable result of a demand for cotton, they were mere parasites on a profitable industry. Today we grow cotton, yet somehow we don't have slave owning degenerates.

Similarly it's perfectly possible to have gambling without gangsters, and dope without dealers. Legalizing, licensing, and taxing produces that result. Look at alcohol in the US as a prime example. When it was illegal gangsters and thugs made a mint, murdered one another, and hurt innocent people. When was the last time you saw a news story about alcohol dealers gunning someone down? Compare to Saudi Arabia where people are gunning (or bombing) one another down over the illegal alcohol trade (about halfway down the page).

You are perfectly correct in saying that moral proclamations don't stand up to human desires, but that doesn't mean we have to deal with a thug class to satisfy those desires. If an action doesn't harm a non-consenting third party why outlaw it? All that does is waste resources that could be spent tracking down people who do harm non-consenting others, and create and enrich a class or especially nasty thugs.

On preview: Pollomacho: Why does the creation of a stable, worthwhile society have to be based on surpressing our self serving urges? You don't create a workable society by trying to change people to match some ideal. You work with people as they are and produce a system that works even though people aren't perfect. Every attempt to change people to make them fit some ideal has resulted in extremely nasty inquisitions, purges, etc. I see nothing inherently wrong with a society in which gambling is legal, provided that it is regulated to prevent abuse. Similarly I see nothing wrong with a society where X is legal (where X is anything that doesn't harm a non-consenting other), provided that X is regulated to prevent abuse.
posted by sotonohito at 8:40 AM on August 26, 2005 [1 favorite]


Humans have the capacity to work in a complex society, to move above their self serving nature.

Keep telling yourself that, despite all the mounting evidence to the contrary.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM EST on August 26 [!]


I agree that we have the capacity. The evidence is in our favour by far, frequent pathetic human behavior notwithstanding.
posted by jikel_morten at 8:41 AM on August 26, 2005


"Pimp My Ride" is the most shameful of my many addictions
posted by matteo at 8:41 AM on August 26, 2005


jonmc: Nonesense. As long as people are willing to pay for sex there will be prostitutes. Pimps are not an inevitable result of prostitution, they are mere parasites.

Somebody's going to be managing those hookers. And if it's regulated, someone's going to be willing to circumvent regulations to feed someone's desires. In every society there is some kind of gangster class, and there always will be.
posted by jonmc at 8:43 AM on August 26, 2005


I'm sure a beat to death hooker would concur, dude.

Well she wouldn't disagree, either!


But as a human being, you can exercise your right to NOT be morally superior to the pimp. It just won't help to make the world a better place.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:46 AM on August 26, 2005


Pimp : the Backhanding a fun and family roleplaying game.
posted by mfoight at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2005



posted by jonmc at 8:50 AM on August 26, 2005


Why aren't pimps in Texas charged under 20A ("Traffiking in Persons") instead of 43.03 ("Promotion of Prostitution") which is a mere Class A misdemeanor?
Did you notice 43.05? Compelling Prostitution is a class-2 felony as well.
posted by kickingtheground at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2005


Why does the creation of a stable, worthwhile society have to be based on suppressing our self serving urges?...

Huh? When did I say any of the things you think I said? All I said was that humans are capable of suppressing their self-serving nature, making social behavior more human. I also said that acting selfish was natural and made no judgement call on any of that behavior, but hey, whatever you want to think I wrote is fine.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2005


Did you notice 43.05? Compelling Prostitution is a class-2 felony as well.
oops.... No, I didn't notice that one, and running a google news search shows that some people are being tried under 43.05. Not as many as I'd like, but then nothing but charging every pimp in Texas with 43.05 would really satisfy me, so the "not as many as I'd like" doesn't really count for much.

Still, why not charge them under both 43.05 *and* 20A?
posted by sotonohito at 9:12 AM on August 26, 2005


Pollomacho wrote: Humans have the capacity to work in a complex society, to move above their self serving nature.

I took that to mean that you thought the only way society could work is if the self serving urges are surpressed. The way you wrote it that's what it looks like you mean. Sorry if I misunderstood you.
posted by sotonohito at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2005


Pollomacho, a rose is a rose is a rose. In that same sense, human behavior is always human.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:15 AM on August 26, 2005


It's surprisingly unpopular to condone legalizing prostitution, but cities with legal red light districts have a lot less hand-to-hand crime than cities with streetwalkers do.

Bingo. As long as there are people willing to pay for sex, there are going to pimps and madams. As long as people want to gamble and get high, there's going to be gangsters. Moral proclamations don't stand a chance against human desire.

There will always be a demand for paid sex, but that doesn't require exploitation.

The high-class whookers in Amsterdam don't have pimps. They have security and office managers. And healthcare. And far less rape. And they get to insist on condoms, and they don't have to give up their safety for extra cash or brass knuckles.
posted by tarintowers at 10:26 AM on August 26, 2005


Pollomacho, a rose is a rose is a rose. In that same sense, human behavior is always human.

So is cancer Citizen Premier. Always human, but never good.
posted by three blind mice at 11:07 AM on August 26, 2005


...kids use words like that with no smile, no sense of irony. Now it's just what they know.

Theories on the decadence of language.
posted by cenoxo at 11:19 AM on August 26, 2005


sotonohito: I loathe not only slave owners, but slavery itself and everyone who is part of it. Which means I loathe slaves, too. Perhaps I have spent too much time driving behind NH licence plates, but the life's work of the enslaved should bet to get free or die trying.

I see a lot of justifying above, of several types of vice, by the "as long as people are willing to pay for it..." - what about the people who are willing to sell it to them? Why do we despise and feel disgust at 'johns' and 'pimps' who are exploiting these people (it's not always just women)but not towards someone who lives their life as the 'human toilet' referred to above? Why do we blame the customer and the middleman but not the provider?

Do you still get to claim victimhood if you're offering yourself up for hire? And do you get to complain of exploitation if your 'management' keeps too much when you hand over ALL your money to them? Perhaps I'm not forgiving enough of how weak and helpless people are - they are just trying to "survive" ?

But there are things in my life that are not for sale; and things I would actually rather DIE than do (as in if my only choice is to be 'X' or not to be at all, I choose not to be). Perhaps I am some sort of mutant.
posted by bartleby at 11:36 AM on August 26, 2005


oh, and tarintowers, your "whookers" brought an image of Wookie hookers that made me stop grinding my teeth about this and laugh instead after I posted. So thanx!
posted by bartleby at 11:40 AM on August 26, 2005


"Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?"

Somebody had to do it
posted by Justin Case at 12:14 PM on August 26, 2005


bartleby, I had struggled with the same thought in my initial reply: what on earth makes people willingly- in some part- becomes ho's? But, as cartoony as they may be, the pimp apparently is good at one thing in particular (besides zero inhibition to using violence on women), and that is psychological manipulation of weak or vulnerable people.

You'll notice I asked in my first comment what the difference was between ho's, and the people in Manson's cult. I think human beings are scarily able to turn off their decision making or independence in subservience to another- like you, I can't imagine submitting to something so core to my sense of self, and would fight, kill, or be killed before I let it happen. I guess, like the roots of fascism and fundamentalism, the "subservience switch" in the brain stems from a time literally thousands of years ago where a tribe of evolved apes could only survive if they didn't spend half their time proudly declaring their fervent independence of mind and body. Still...

I'm equally aghast at hardcore dominance submission people, who actually become live-in slaves with no job or outside life, totally dependent on their "master" and willing to literally do anything they say, no matter what. I guess that makes me intolerant, but I think such people are psychologically decayed and terribly broken, and "consensual" isn't meaningful for them anymore. I guess the classic ho is someone similarly yearning desperately for the control and structure in their life that they'll accept what a master- or pimp- brings, and if it's someone who seems superficially at first to be strong, powerful, rich, and in control, so much the better.

Hell, apparently 51% of the voting public are of the Ho mentality, or so it would seem. :)


It remains bizarre to me that anyone would so clearly give up themselves to another person, much less do so with the thought in their mind's that it was a good thing. But perhaps most bizarre is the lack of Burning Bed response down the road: eventually the ho grows too old or unwilling, and the pimp leaves her (no pensions in the pimp world, I guess) to fend for herself, run down, with several years of their life effectively missing, possible jail time on their record, and no money saved whatsoever.

Is there a case where these ho's wised up, realized how they had been used, and come back for revenge? I just can't understand that, and like you a part of me loses sympathy for the fact that there were slave uprisings, but no ho uprisings.
posted by hincandenza at 12:25 PM on August 26, 2005


hincandenza, there aren't any extensive ho communities that are really capable of rising up. And they aren't exactly slaves, they're just abused workers. The harder they work, the more they get, just like any other job.

My general statement for this thread: You'll be happier if you stop hating.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:43 PM on August 26, 2005


I see a lot of justifying above, of several types of vice, by the "as long as people are willing to pay for it..." - what about the people who are willing to sell it to them? Why do we despise and feel disgust at 'johns' and 'pimps' who are exploiting these people (it's not always just women)but not towards someone who lives their life as the 'human toilet' referred to above? Why do we blame the customer and the middleman but not the provider?

Because when we aren't feeling disgust towards the act we try to feel sympathetic towards the providers who are victims of society.

Do you still get to claim victimhood if you're offering yourself up for hire? And do you get to complain of exploitation if your 'management' keeps too much when you hand over ALL your money to them? Perhaps I'm not forgiving enough of how weak and helpless people are - they are just trying to "survive" ?
posted by bartleby at 2:36 PM EST on August 26 [!]


Perhaps that's the case.
posted by jikel_morten at 12:57 PM on August 26, 2005


You'll notice I asked in my first comment what the difference was between ho's, and the people in Manson's cult.

And interestingly enough, according to Manson: In His Own Words, he was a pimp for awhile.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:22 PM on August 26, 2005


Cit. Prem. - it's rare for me to find a post that I disagree with sentence by sentence.
1) There don't need to be communities - every group is made of individuals, and every individual is responsible for what they do. Anyone is capable of rising up. Anyone can be a hero, even if it is only to become the hero of their own life. (What, too Tony Robbins?)
2) um, no. Some (many) are slaves. Some literally, some figuratively. People are bought and sold as property every day. Mostly for sex purposes. Do you dispute this, or is a 14 year old Thai boy or girl sold by their parents to a tourist brothel just someone who made a bad career choice? How about a woman in LA who's a slave to the pipe?
3) There really are a tiny number of fields in which working harder gets you more. Working SMARTER always gets you more. Or are you trying to say that if prostitutes just spent more time on their knees, they'd make a decent living? So they're lazy? Also, the predominant US pimp 'business model' seems to be to take ALL the money and decide later what to give the ho' if any. Many sex workers end up basically doing it for not much more than room and board and the love of a good beating.
4) Last line - do you really mean this? OK if you mean that hate damages you inside- that's true; but not OK if you just mean to stop 'playa-hatin' and join in the 'fun'.

Sure, there are funny pimp and hooker jokes. (I for one loved the Wayne Brady bit.) But sometimes I forget to be shallow, and the joke isn't so funny anymore. Maybe the word has now changed, and 'pimp' now means hyper-fashionable ostentation, as is in Pimp My Ride.

But I can't forget that it also means Sergei from Brighton Beach keeping 80% of what his teenage cousins make on the street for him so that he won't get them sent back to the Ukraine. And neither do the kids: high schoolers are now pimping each other out for fun and profit.

Sometimes the cartoon/caricature/ironic social reference ends up not being so funny when it becomes part of everyday life, and it becomes harder for me to "lighten up", OK?
/rant. I type too much.
posted by bartleby at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2005


OK if you mean that hate damages you inside- that's true; but not OK if you just mean to stop 'playa-hatin' and join in the 'fun'.
The former, of course. And I really don't agree with what you're saying--you seem to suggest that because the hookers can't escape from their life they are to blame. What they really need is a sort of ex-hookers-anonomous group where they can get help finding a job and a new life, and get protection from their pimps.

But the pimps need help too, damnit.

Over and out.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2005


Classic King Of The Hill quote from season 5:

"I am the mack daddy of Heimlich County. I play it straight up, yo. You get the hell out of my hood. She's my ho now!"

;)
posted by starscream at 3:21 PM on August 26, 2005


Thank you, bartleby.
posted by hermitosis at 6:32 PM on August 26, 2005


I think a pimp is likely more honest to himself about his inhumanity than you are.

I doubt most pimps are being exceptionally honest with themselves. To suggest they are while continuing to abuse others so badly is to suggest they're all psychopaths.

Far more likely your average pimp is an otherwise regular issue human being who has built up layers of psychological and chemical protection over the years, providing ways of justifying, denying, and forgetting what they're really doing for a living. I think most of 'em in every society and time have lived miserable, drug/alchohol-addled, fear-ridden, and ultimately self-destructive existences.
posted by scheptech at 12:09 AM on August 27, 2005


Not to be oaf-obvious here, but this thread impresses me as actually fairly nuanced and complex for something that started out as a gallery of pimpitude -- not a criticism, selfnoise, because you also posed the initial question....

1. In a society that doesn't recognize any success except economic, there's little incentive to shoot for any stars except the kind that go *bling*.

2. Whether we like it or not, there's still a daunting correlation between being black and being a member of the downtrodden lower classes. This is a correlation, and hopefully the causation will continue to derease. And Yes, this is an oversimplification, but the truth is that class is such a taboo issue in most middle-class households that intelligent discourse about this issue is rare. If it's mentioned, the usual responses are along the lines of, "being born poor is not an excuse for criminal behavior," or "what do you know about it, whitey?"

3. It continues to amaze me how many people -- not in this thread but in America -- equate "poor" with "deservedly poor," as though being born to a hooker mom and a pimp dad didn't add any obstacles to one's life. "Just work hard and you'll succeed" is a crock of shit if you're 8 years old and in charge of feeding your family. And yes, it happens.

Which leads to
4. The lack of real, viable role models in the mainstream presented to, or chosen by, inner-city youth. Studies and anecdotes both present a story where young males routinely dream of only three career paths: "rap star," "basketball star," or "gangsta." When the only viable choice of the three is that of the black marketeer, well, where's the choice?

These may be old questions, but my thirst for answers has yet to be slaked.

/tarin
posted by tarintowers at 1:41 AM on August 27, 2005


...who else noticed the fact that the description text for the pimp cups clearly states that you shouldn't drink out of them? If there's one thing I hate, it's form without function.
posted by deusdiabolus at 1:47 AM on August 27, 2005



If there's one thing I hate, it's form without function.



?
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:02 AM on August 27, 2005


I doubt most pimps are being exceptionally honest with themselves. To suggest they are while continuing to abuse others so badly is to suggest they're all psychopaths.

In my experience, "gangsters" tend to stress the fact that they don't give a shit, and stress it a lot. Which I would find as a sign that on some level they do, in fact, give a shit. I'm sure they do find ways to justify it to themselves, but it's probably more along the lines of "I need to do this to survive" and "I don't know how to live any other life."

And don't forget about the capacity of the human mind to hold two or more conflicting ideas.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:07 AM on August 27, 2005


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