This isn’t a lesson you have to be a writer to learn, but just in case you haven’t, let me lay it out for you:
One person’s poetry is another’s profanity. Context is everything. It’s stupid to argue why black people can call one another nigga and white people can’t. The language you use at the bar, at the frat house, at your grandmother’s dinner table, at church, at the office is likely going to vary widely.
So get over whether or not David Shuster got a raw deal from his employer over using the phrase “pimped out” to describe what Chelsea Clinton’s parents may or may not be doing in re: their daughter. He perhaps thought he was being hip and young and with-in and down with the kids, and Hillary Clinton objected. This cannot possibly come as a surprise to anyone with half a brain. You say tomato, I hear to-mah-to. Let’s chalk the whole thing up to experience.
To be sure, popular discourse has become much more, er, popular in the last 20 years. Again, you don’t need me to tell you this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are situations where, “boy, is that guy a brainless schmuck” is far more eloquent and to-the-point than “Mr. Shuster displays a shocking lack of couth,” but while “schmuck” is a wonderful word, it means “penis” in Yiddish, and if you start throwing it around like confetti, sooner or later you’re going to meet someone who’s offended by it.
As a woman of five decades, I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the casual use of the word “pimp,” if only because it’s the first syllable in “pimple,” and the fewer of those in the world, the better. But really, what a repulsive image to aspire to, that of a badly dressed man who sexually exploits women for profit. I’ll accept the word as a synonym for cheap flashiness, as well as a crude synonym for “to aggressively market for money,” but otherwise, it’s just sort of gross. And again: Context is everything. “The Daily Show” can do a story on FLIFs and no one bats an eye, but if you’re supposedly a legitimate cable-news talent, you’d better not go there. Or maybe you can go there in 2009, but not 2008. Or on Tuesday, but not on Monday. I imagine I’ll live to see the day Anderson Cooper can call the president a douchebag on the air, but it hasn’t arrived yet. (Not that Anderson would say such a thing; he’s too well-bred.)
So let’s retire the discussion before it gets tiresome. Oops: Too late.
Final note: Guess who said, in 1998, “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.” Answer: You’re soaking in it!
OK. I’m writing this on Sunday. At this very moment, I’m supposed to be on Belle Isle, shooting the final scene for our video class project, but we cancelled. The temperature is 7 degrees and the wind is blowing at, no kidding, 45 miles per hour. It seemed cruel to make two nice actors, not to mention everyone else in the class/crew, torture themselves in such conditions, particularly given the compensation everyone’s getting, which is: Nothing, plus a sandwich. So we’re shooting the indoor scenes later in the afternoon and will pick up Belle Isle when nature stops being such a cruel mistress. That’s showbiz.
But this leaves me more than the usual bit of time to scrape up some bloggage for you pimps, and here you are:
Great idea to spice up your social life: Detroit’s Guerilla Queer Bar, a movable feast that, once a month, descends unannounced on a different nightspot. In January, they chose Carl’s Chop House, one of those ol’-skool downtown steakhouses that’s been dying since forever. Earlier in the month, the owner went before city council and asked to take the place topless. From this week’s Metro Times:
The bar area is packed, with the customers laughing and bartenders hopping, filling drink orders and collecting tips. The piano player is in full swing, making the trip from Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” to Matchbox Twenty and back again, with a brief stop at Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen.” Carl’s ambience is so varnished-wood-and-carpet, it’s kitsch. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a trip. Except for the addition of a dance floor in the main dining room, the place hasn’t changed much since the days when Jimmy Hoffa would cut deals in the conference room upstairs.
What a great idea. What will those creative queens think of next? Quick, buy modern furniture.
You know how your mom told you to always wear clean underwear, so the people in the emergency room wouldn’t think you were trashy? She didn’t know the half of it. Bonus giggle: The name of the club.
Groan: Work. And so the week commences.