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  • jkchan

    I'm a little late to the party, but here goes: I look forward to the day when "pimp" and all its associated forms aren't used to convey any shade or form of "coolness." Thanks everyone for this intriguing and (IMHO) important discussion.

  • Babog_the_cat

    It's cool, but if you're gonna go through the trouble of doing this, why not just live in your car? It has windows, a power source, heat/AC, is mobile, more roomy, potentially less expensive, etc. I don't mean to pee on the parade here, but this is more of a clever art piece than a viable living arrangement alternative.


    What are the horrible consequences of downplaying the effects of the buying and selling of women, where the typical age of entry into the life is 13?

    I don't think using the word pimp is creative or colorful, just like using fag or nigger isn't creative or colorful. There are plenty of other words that can be used effectively without glorifying and condoning men who sell women.

    We all get to decide what is morally and socially appropriate, in forums like this where we discuss it. People were simply using the fact that it exists in the dictionary as evidence of appropriate use. You will also find Jew in the dictionary as a verb meaning to cheat or haggle, and gyp as a verb meaning to steal or scam, but that doesn't mean they aren't words loaded with hate.

    • Emily Pasnak-Lapchick

      Thanks so much for sharing Rachel Lloyd's article! She is a survivor of sex trafficking and works with young girls who have been exploited by pimps/traffickers everyday. She knows exactly how powerful the use of language can be when talking about this culture.

    • Global Citizen Shado

      TL;DR Warning

      Thanks for your reply. This wouldn't be the proper venue for this debate at length so I'll TRY to keep my reply succinct (ha). "Pimping out a car" is not downplaying [insert descriptive act to induce emotional response] or any separate horrendous act. In this instance, the term is in reference to late 20th century "pimps" who paraded around “peacocking” with outlandish colorful outfits and accessories. Later it was the willingness of these so called pimps to spend seemingly unreasonable amounts of illicit money to showcase wealth especially through society’s primary mobile status symbol, their cars. At this point it was still looked as being “gaudy” by most. This idea floated and evolved further in urban and inner-city lifestyle to “pimping” out shoes, jewelry, clothes, homes etc. Further evolved and truly bifurcated to essentially mean (depending on context of course), spending a great deal of time, assets, and/or creative processes to enhance the aesthetics and functions of an object while also bringing about the meaning of “looking stylish or aesthetically pleasing through effort” yet also can mean in noun form, i.e. pimp, to be a man (or woman) that seems to attract the attention of many women, or even men (this is probably the most controversial social evolution of the word) i.e. being a “lady’s man”. This has similar evolutionary paths with “hunk”, “gentlemen”, “guy”, “Adonis”, “Casanova”, “don juan”, etc.

      Creative or colorful? Should the English language (or any language) be constantly monitored and measured by completely subjective parameters of highly ambiguous rubrics such as "colorful" and "creative".

      “Loaded with hate.” You may not have noticed it, but that right there is an interesting argument. What makes it interesting however is that it's a whole different argument. It's common to weave different arguments into one and present them as a whole but we should shy away from that. See if I call someone a jew with intended vitriol and in certain context, then it becomes loaded with hate. That hate is infused by intent and circumstance. Words themselves are independent ambiguous agents (created by us) with no intrinsic meaning of their own, hence ability to evolve and change as we see fit. You hear the word pimp and in you it brings disgust and anger not because of the word itself, but because of the association you invoke through subjective experience through the decoding process. The word itself has no meaning. I digress from going further into philosophy of language; I hopefully was clear in my direction. Yet to further illustrate--that article you linked. Thank you for that. It was disgusting (I listen to rap and own 'Get Rich or Die Tryin', the album is not called P.I.M.P.). Yet it wasn't the word or the use of it that disgusted was the actions and the meaning behind the actions of Snoop 'Lion' and others. I wouldn't associate with Snoop and I can (and knowing me, most likely will) boycott his goods and association while speaking out against it. To campaign to stop the use of the word pimp and declare war on the evolution of a word or language however, I will not and I believe, respectfully, that it is in the wrong place.

  • Kat Quach

    Ah let us get back to the subject at hand. I am more interested in how this mobile home is powered? I am assuming some sort of electrical hookup, but where in Brooklyn could he plug this up to and how would they charge him?

    • Global Citizen Shado

      :). I did come here interested in the actual garbage bin home. But hey, evolution of discussions, I never fight the tide.

      That's a good question. It would be taken to another level if it were to be powered by solar power with a back up battery or other means. As someone said earlier, it's just disappointing that this would most likely be disallowed in most municipalities. I would love to have one (may add to list of projects).

  • Gavin Cameron

    I love what he has done with this dumpster and have been equally interested in the tiny house blog posts I see from time to time where folk try to move off grid. I would have been interested in knowing some of the real barriers that prevents anyone from doing this - where does he keep his dumpster? Does he pay rent for a parking space? Does the city allow it due to planning and code restrictions? What are the barriers? If he tried to "park" in a car park would he be hassled and told to move on? Municipalities are never warm to great things like this because there is always someone there to complain about it being "unsightly", "out of character" or to quote some dogmatic regulation. Would like to know how he deals with these things

  • DorkusAmericanus

    Is this an art piece or an actual living space? Either way, he's making a very creative statement about the cost of living.

  • Emily Pasnak-Lapchick

    Interesting article, and extremely innovative man!

    I'd like to address an issue that is related to the title of this article and the language that many people use without realizing some of the negative implications. First of all, this is not by any means a problem that I have seen solely in this article or even on GOOD. This is a language issue that is pervasive throughout our culture. I'm talking about the use of the word "pimp" in a positive way. A pimp is a person who controls prostituted person and takes a portion or all of their profits. The prostituted person is often abused by the pimp if they don’t bring back enough money or if they disobey the pimp. In other words, pimps are sex traffickers. Human trafficking is a growing problem in the U.S. and around the world. It has been reported in all 50 states in the U.S., and most U.S. citizens are victims of sex trafficking.

    Think about the show “Pimp My Ride” that used to air on MTV. When MTV decided to start raising awareness about human trafficking through MTVExit and MTVU, they spoke with anti-trafficking organizations that convinced them that if they were going to take on this issue, they had to take a look at themselves and the language and attitudes they promoted. MTV cancelled the show immediately.

    But it’s not just MTV who uses this word in a glorifying way. A few weeks ago I opened a popular magazine to see “Pimp your popcorn” in the table of contents. When I speak about human trafficking, and about pimps as the abusers that they are, my words won’t carry as much weight if people are used to associating “pimped” or “pimp” with positive things and notions of improvement, rather than degradation.

    • Yasha Wallin

      Thanks Emily for bringing up this issue about using the word "pimp" within the context of pop-culture. I didn't intend in any way to glorify pimps and sex traffickers by using it in the article. To be honest, I didn't realize how offensive it might be to some, and given the sensitivity of the issue, I've changed the language within the title and body of the article. It's a really interesting discussion that has began here, however, and I welcome any more thoughts on this. And of course, I'm curious to hear what people think about this very creative use of a dumpster, as well!

      • Emily Pasnak-Lapchick

        Hi Yasha, I know you did not mean to glorify traffickers. As I said this is a larger cultural issue that we're dealing with. It's not just about language but about the fact that pimps are glorified, as others in this discussion have pointed out, particularly with the Rolling Stone article about Snoop Dogg. I don't think that "pimp" should be eliminated from our vocabulary, rather that it should become synonymous with "trafficker" rather than a cool guy. I really appreciate you taking the time to change the language in the article.

    • DorkusAmericanus

      The English language is ever evolving and changing. Something that means something bad one day means something good the next. I suggest you take a few deep breaths and realize that they are not talking about actually pimping out a dumpster.


        You're missing the point. Everyone understands what it means (though you don't seem to; using the word as a verb for an inanimate object means to make it glamorous and glittery, not to sell it for sex). It's that making the word "pimp" into a good thing has some horrible consequences.

        • BALY COOLEY

          By this argument, using "fag" in a derogatory fashion is just as valid and reasonable. It is not.

          • DorkusAmericanus

            Next you'll call someone on here "Hitler". Not the same, and you know it.

          • mbstrawn

            Hi Baly,

            Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry that you don't agree with popular mainstream and I certainly encourage you to fight for your beliefs and passions. However, I am not the person to fight against since I can't do anything to change the new definition of "fag" nor "pimped". My Oxford Dictionary of English states:

            1 a man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking a percentage of their earnings in return.
            2 Austral. informal a telltale or informer.
            1 [ no obj. ] (often as noun pimping) act as a pimp.
            • [ with obj. ] provide (someone) as a prostitute.
            • [ with obj. ] informal sell or promote (something) in an extravagant or persistent way: he pimped their debut album to all the staff writers at NME.
            2 [ with obj. ] informal make (something) more showy or impressive: he pimped up the car with spoilers and twin-spoke 18-inch alloys.
            3 [ no obj. ] (pimp on) Austral. informal inform on.

            So maybe you should take this up with the dictionary writers?

            Good luck and have a great day,
            Mary Beth

            • BALY COOLEY

              Dictionaries tell you what words mean, not what is morally or socially appropriate.

              • DorkusAmericanus

                No, we have YOU for that. Thank God!!! Stopping all creativity, fun, and progress every step of the way!

              • mbstrawn

                Hi Baly,

                I'm not sure what is morally wrong about the definition of "pimped" used in the context in this article. Again, the definition is:

                informal make (something) more showy or impressive: he pimped up the car with spoilers and twin-spoke 18-inch alloys.

                Mary Beth

              • William Shepherd

                That is true. Thankfully we have you to tell us what is morally and socially appropriate though.

    • Liz Dwyer

      Thank you so much for raising this issue, Emily. This past Monday my 9-year-old was trying on outfits to decide what he wanted to wear for the first day of school. When he found the one he wanted, he exclaimed, "Look at my outfit! I'm all pimped out!"--which made me put on my best "I know you did NOT just say that" face. But he was confused, and didn't know why I was making the face.

      He's clearly heard the phrase used in popular culture, on TV, etc, but I asked him if he knew what a pimp actually is. He did not, so I gave him a very thorough explanation that ended with me telling him that there is nothing awesome or cute about using language that has abusing and exploiting women at its core. It made me think about how confusing this is for kids because it's out there and so normalized. Heck, it's confusing for adults! And that's why ensuring that we're all educated about the real history, meaning, and effect of the words we're using is so critical. So thanks for being so willing to drop some knowledge here at GOOD.

      • Emily Pasnak-Lapchick

        Thanks, Liz. Your young boy is lucky he has YOU to drop some knowledge in his life! Of course he said it out of innocence, and thought it was cool to say due to the shows and other pop culture he's been exposed to, so it's great he has you to clarify and balance that out.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Great point and really well thought-out. It's like the use of the N-word. What some people think is "cool" and a "casual" use of the word can be offensive, degrading, and just plain wrong. In this case, "pimp" has a different definition, but as you said, should it?

    • Hillary Newman

      Hey Emily, you bring up an interesting issue. The word "pimp" has taken on a whole new meaning in colloquial english. I wonder if there is a way to eliminate the word, or at least the positive version? A couple of days ago, Liz Dywer, our Education Curator asked the GOOD community how to rid of the n-word ( Seems like a related conversation. I think we should start with education and talking to media.

      • Global Citizen Shado

        Eliminate words? To be as kind as possible, are you guys (a word that once meant traitor and being grotesque, later referencing any male, now anyone regardless o gender) seriously considering the implications of what you are saying? Searching for a form of cultural censorship and the retardation of cultural evolution? I understand the perspective, yet I would implore you to address it in clear mind. You are standing on the wrong side of history every-time something I like this is brought up and we humans seem indeed "never to learn from history". Censorship of just about any kind has never been shown to work or be in the benefit of society. If so we would have lost nearly a quarter of our vocabulary (ever used the word lame? gay? pedantic? bully? punk? gentlemen? nice?) and thousands of works of art and literature because of brief periods in the transition of communication and ideology. Truly the only ones that are hurt by the usage of Pimp is a very small minority which actually consist mostly of middle to upper class women who have the available time and means to campaign for the cause and post their message not the actual women of need themselves. But does that make it ok? Honestly, yes. If millions of people are using a word (say pimp) with no ill will and with an express meaning completely different then some of it's original form and yet a few people are upset by this, who in practical terms should look to see the reality in the situation? Yes if I say I'm pimping out my car is doesn't mean I support the trafficking of women. In that same vain, if the act of trafficking women became called "frying", would anyone start a campaign to suggest we eliminate the word frying? What we must target is the actual act it self not the semantics involved. That's fighting ghosts. A circle of elementary school kids talking about pimping their clothes is not harming or contributing to the fate of that defenseless abandoned girl a city away forced into trafficking. Kids in a circle actually saying how cool it would be to prostitute women is a completely different beast altogether and that should be your target not the continuous evolution of human language.