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Subject: Is using the term "pimping" offensive? rss

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Bum Kim
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It would be fair to say that I enjoy "pimping" out my games and figuring out storage solutions about as much as I like actually playing games. In fact, I spend more time painting my miniatures than in actual game-play. I've made numerous 3-D boards and I posted this video where I used "Pimping" in the title:



Someone (a non-gamer) recently asked whether or not I should be using that term since it originates from such horrible social circumstances where usually men are sexually exploiting women for personal gain. I never really thought about the term before but when they said it this way, it does make me wonder. So I decided to ask you guys what you thought and why? Also, is there another alternative word that I might use?

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Trevor Taylor
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I don't see it as offensive, but you could say 'Blinging-out' instead.

The usage of pimping used in games doesn't really derive from Pimps in prostitution anyway. It comes from the bastardisation of the term that derived from MTV for Pimp my Ride. The original message was to try and 'push' or talk people into 'buying your merchandise'. However MTV had it as improving your merchandise and so the term is used everywhere.

Note the second definition from OED.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pimp
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Rich Shipley
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"Customizing" provides the same meaning without the unfortunate word origin.
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chris schott
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It is derived from prostitution and can be offensive. I don't make a big deal about it, but I don't use the term.
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Phillip Harpring
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I applaud you for using this opportunity to reflect on the language you've been casually using rather than getting immediately defensive about it.

If you don't really care about using a different term and have only been saying pimping because it's what you were used to, it probably would be advisable to change it. It does strike me as a bit tacky.
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maf man
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The positive meaning of pimping has been around long enough to be more common then the negative and I see using it in a positive way more often just gets rid of the negative but then again I'm in a fairly sheltered bubble.

other possible terms:
decked out
sprused up
upgraded
updated

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Joel L
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I don't use the term and it makes me uncomfortable when I see others using it.
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Jack
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negatrev wrote:
I don't see it as offensive, but you could say 'Blinging-out' instead.

The usage of pimping used in games doesn't really derive from Pimps in prostitution anyway. It comes from the bastardisation of the term that derived from MTV for Pimp my Ride. The original message was to try and 'push' or talk people into 'buying your merchandise'. However MTV had it as improving your merchandise and so the term is used everywhere.

Note the second definition from OED.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pimp


Didn't that come from pimps trying to push prostitutes, to get people to buy the services of their "merchandise"?

Wasn't lots of garish clothing and car customizations popular with pimps, leading to the term "pimped out"?

I don't personally find the term offensive, but many people do; but then I think people who are offended aren't worth taking into account. If an insult is invalid, ignore it; if it's valid and it bothers you, then change yourself so that it stops being valid.
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Matthew Ludlam
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spacerx wrote:
It is derived from prostitution and can be offensive. I don't make a big deal about it, but I don't use the term.


Not so sure about this, with language words can mean so many different things. A quick browse on Dictionary.com gives this:

pimp. c.1600, of unknown origin, perhaps from Middle French pimpant "alluring in dress, seductive," present participle of pimper "to dress elegantly" (16c.), from Old French pimpelorer, pipelorer "decorate, color, beautify."

Which fits the usage for upgrading game components. It's possible that the word was taken on later to relate to prostitution.

It also can refer to things that are small or insignificant.
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Kirk
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Haven't you heard? EVERYTHING is now offensive.

Seek it out, and you shall find it. And if for some crazy reason it isn't offensive at the moment, just wait until tomorrow...

Empowerment via censorship!! Woohoo!
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chris schott
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It's not censorship to give an extra thought to the words you are using. Of course I know I can only control what I say and not what others say.
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CARL SKUTSCH
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saturnkk wrote:
Haven't you heard? EVERYTHING is now offensive.

Seek it out, and you shall find it. And if for some crazy reason it isn't offensive at the moment, just wait until tomorrow...

Empowerment via censorship!! Woohoo!

Ah, sarcasm. Always fun to use, less useful for actual communication.

Do you think ANYTHING is offensive? Would you approve of the use of racial slurs directed towards young children? I'm going to hope your answer is no. So then the question becomes not is ANYTHING offensive--because we'll mostly agree SOME things are--and not that EVERYTHING is offensive--because that's just a straw man--but WHAT exactly is offensive. A good part of life is about making judgements, parsing differences, investigating nuance. It's not usually either/or, black/white.

Pimping. Sigh. I use the expression, I like the expression, and I'm feeling that maybe I should stop. It does have a nasty origin story. I dunno. I'm listening to further thoughts. Y'all convince me one way or t'other.
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Matthew Ludlam
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And so the thread derails...
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Dale Donovan
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saturnkk wrote:
Empowerment via censorship!! Woohoo!


Clearly, you don't know the definition of "censorship."
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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saturnkk wrote:
censorship!!


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CARL SKUTSCH
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Kaliban27 wrote:
And so the thread derails...

When someone posts this it usually means the thread will go on for 7 more pages.

C'mon, don't complain about it going off track, keep it ON track, say something about pimping a game!

My game of Agricola is my primary pimped out / customized / blinged game. Before the new versions I got all the animeeples, veggie meeples, even stone and wood pieces. It's not as sexy as some sets I've seen (your basic wooden animal outlines, not the full 3d animals with cute little faces), but it really adds to the game experience. I find the word "pimped" really expresses the idea of over the top, of excess. You think of some guy in a fancy purple fur coat and a green felt hat, plenty of gold jewelry. Customized doesn't have that same ring.
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Carl Marl
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Ugh to bling out. It implies customizing your game's appearance in a tasteless way.
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Kirk
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skutsch wrote:

Ah, sarcasm. Always fun to use, less useful for actual communication.

Do you think ANYTHING is offensive? .


Sarcasm is fun, you are right.

I now think everything is offensive to someone. I choose not to search it out though. It becomes exasperating trying to not offend anyone all of the time. So, yes something as innocuous as "pimpin'" that is used all over the place culturally (See Pimpin' My Ride" TV show) does not equate to racial slurs that have a rooted and painful past.

But hey, your results may vary and Pimpin' may bother you...
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Greg
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saturnkk wrote:
Haven't you heard? EVERYTHING is now offensive.

Seek it out, and you shall find it. And if for some crazy reason it isn't offensive at the moment, just wait until tomorrow...

Empowerment via censorship!! Woohoo!

Someone asks a reasonable question about word choice and people start having a reasonable, thought out discussion on the topic. No one is condemning the user either way. Most responses are right down the middle and seem to have a balanced view of language.

Then, always in these threads, someone comes in with some extreme view, saying things like "everything is offensive! This is censorship!" Then the thread is derailed and sent to RSP.

Why can't you just leave it be and let the adults have a conversations for once?
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CARL SKUTSCH
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Dragon66 wrote:
saturnkk wrote:
Empowerment via censorship!! Woohoo!


Clearly, you don't know the definition of "censorship."

It's weird. Some folks get all upset when their words are criticized, with words. They say: "I should have the right to say whatever words I want. You should stop using words that say my words are bad." Er, irony much?

Go ahead, say whatever you want, and face the consequences, including, possibly, public disapproval. That's what free speech is all about.
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Trevor Taylor
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IamJacksUsername wrote:
negatrev wrote:
I don't see it as offensive, but you could say 'Blinging-out' instead.

The usage of pimping used in games doesn't really derive from Pimps in prostitution anyway. It comes from the bastardisation of the term that derived from MTV for Pimp my Ride. The original message was to try and 'push' or talk people into 'buying your merchandise'. However MTV had it as improving your merchandise and so the term is used everywhere.

Note the second definition from OED.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pimp


Didn't that come from pimps trying to push prostitutes, to get people to buy the services of their "merchandise"?

Wasn't lots of garish clothing and car customizations popular with pimps, leading to the term "pimped out"?

I don't personally find the term offensive, but many people do; but then I think people who are offended aren't worth taking into account. If an insult is invalid, ignore it; if it's valid and it bothers you, then change yourself so that it stops being valid.


You're basically repeating what I said, but yes both your statements are true. But language is always changing and both terms as completely separate usage of the same word are now 'accepted' (this is a complex term as different countries have different measures of 'accepted language' OED is considered an authority on this in England and has many rules on when words and usage becomes part of their dictionary).

In the opposite way that plowing and humping are slang for fornication (and if that slang became common enough to become accepted usage, it could enter language as well, but I hope not) I wouldn't be offended to hear someone talking about plowing their allotment of having the hump (English turn of phrase for grumpy).

Context is key and if someone called my wife a bitch, I'd likely take offence. If they called my dog a bitch, they would just be stating a fact.

If someone wants to take offence, especially by deliberately taking something out of context, then they can. But I certainly won't apologise for using language correctly. Ignorance (again telling some they are ignorant can be an insult, or can just be referencing a lack of some specific knowledge) can be a reason for misunderstanding, but it isn't an excuse to lambaste others either way. Not realising someone is using a word correctly, not disrespectfully isn't an excuse. Nor is judging someone for being upset (because they don't know you didn't just insult their dog) but you should not have to censor yourself because of someone else's ignorance either (but you can if you want).
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I love the evolution of language... to see words that have a negative connotation be taken up and given a positive one... to see words that have one meaning gain a second and completely unrelated meaning. I especially love to see it happen during my lifetime.

It can be a tightrope to walk for some words, though, and thus requires an extra bit of awareness and consideration. In this case, being open to those who would take offense, explaining yourself if confronted, and respecting other's wishes not to hear it in their presence.

Positive change in nomenclature can't happen immediately, nor without effort. Personally, I feel no word should be taboo/censored, but those that invoke strong feelings should be treated with consideration and maturity.

Tl;dr: I say use the term pimping, but be respectful and open to other's opinions when you do.

~V

P.S. Treat others as you would wish to be treated, and everything else will fall into place.
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Matthew Ludlam
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skutsch wrote:
C'mon, don't complain about it going off track, keep it ON track, say something about pimping a game!


Of course Carl, is this the sort of thing you mean?

skutsch wrote:
Do you think ANYTHING is offensive? Would you approve of the use of racial slurs directed towards young children? I'm going to hope your answer is no. So then the question becomes not is ANYTHING offensive--because we'll mostly agree SOME things are--and not that EVERYTHING is offensive--because that's just a straw man--but WHAT exactly is offensive. A good part of life is about making judgements, parsing differences, investigating nuance. It's not usually either/or, black/white.


As with my earlier post, words can mean different things and the term pimping is widely recognised as referring to prostitution but it probably became this from other forms of words. Language changes and evolves over time, something I see a lot on this site is the use of "non-word". There are opportunities to reclaim words that have been taken away from their original meaning by using them positively, I'm of the mind that burying words because of their negative connotation is not always the answer.

Personally I think the term fine in this context and I always enjoyed Mr Xzibit putting speakers and TV's everywhere
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"Pimping" something out does not strike me as offensive (unless it involves your sister). Tacky? Maybe. I'm not likely to use the term in a serious conversation.


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saturnkk wrote:
I now think everything is offensive to someone.
Really, everything? I guess you could search the globe and find a couple odd ducks who are offended by water, trees, and cute little bunnies, but that's stretching definitions. Realistically, the list of broadly offensive language isn't that long.

saturnkk wrote:
It becomes exasperating trying to not offend anyone all of the time.
I don't see why it's so tiring, but I've often heard the same thing about the heavy burden of not being offensive, so I guess somehow it is for some folks. Me? I'm sitting here in my apartment not offending anyone. (Ok, maybe I'm offending you with the words I'm typing.) Later on I'm going out for a bike ride. I'm going to get my bike seat repaired, grab some lunch, maybe head up to the Harlem River for a little exercise. I don't think I'm going ot have to expend any effort not offending people. I'll mostly say "Hi," "Have a nice day," and "I get a bicycle discount."

saturnkk wrote:
So, yes something as innocuous as "pimpin'" that is used all over the place culturally (See Pimpin' My Ride" does not equate to racial slurs that have a rooted and painful past.
I'm glad you agree that racial slurs are bad. I'll bet you may even spend some minor effort in not using them. So we're almost in agreement here.

I'm not saying that using "pimping" is on the same level as racial slurs, but that doesn't mean it's not offensive. I'm not even arguing that we shouldn't say pimping (I'm on the fence) I'm arguing that it is worth thinking about.
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