Why is Pimp not an appropriate synonym for Promote?

The official dictionary definition of the word pimp is: (noun) 1. A man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them , taking part of their earnings in return. synonyms procurer, procuress, madam verb informal – make something more showy or impressive, ex Pimp my ride. Urban dictionary, my preferred dictionary source for comedic non censored relief, always more accurate, says that pimp stands for:  P-erson I-nto M-arketing P-rostitutes

Lets talk about this definition for a second. First of all, I think it’s interesting that a pimp is identified as only a male dealing with female sex workers (the female pimp is called a madam, and generally keeps her girls in a house or brothel and not out on the streets), the stereotypical shady guy in a purple velvet suit with a leopard hat, full length fur coat, diamond crusted cane, bling galore, gold teeth, and flashy gold car with hydraulics.

By definition a pimp is a horrible person, using another person’s body as a commodity. Prostitution is the oldest profession, I have no problem with a man or woman selling their body, as long as they receive all of the profit. If they feel the need to pay a security guard or driver, that’s their business. Pimping is different.

Pimps are abusive and aggressive, an integral part to illegal sex trafficking and human bondage, often preying on people with addictions or other hardships. Media glamorizes the archetype of a pimp.

MTV’s show Pimp My Ride has brought the word into mainstream as meaning custom or flashy, an attractive man might also be called a pimp as a compliment, Jay Z’s song Big Pimpin or 50 Cent/Snoop Dogg P.I.M.P. (among many other rap songs featuring the word) are about living large and having lots of cash money.

I go both ways with this word. YES, it does represent something sexist and demeaning. Many mainstream writers use the word casually, referring to the positive slang term over the literal meaning.

I have definitely used the word pimp to describe a situation where I am promoting something. “I am going to pimp out these posters.” Going from shop to shop, talking to people, trying to sell my art. I am using them to promote my show, not sell another human’s body. Yes, similar tactics are used, but pimping is specific to sex trafficking. It is used as a slang term to tout or persuade others to use your goods.

It is an insult to call someone a pimp by my standards as per the dictionary definition of the word. Others may think differently, using the word only to describe how much money or flashy goods a person has.

Pimp is a slang term used to describe someone who is slick, smooth talking, fashionable, and stylish. It can also mean to excessively customize a thing such as a car. So again, it depends who is saying it and what their intention is.

To promote is to raise someone or something up to a more important job. It is positive. To pimp is to degrade sex workers, who are human beings and not property. So therefore they are not the same thing.

It is offensive to pimp out a human, but not a thing. Freedom of speech says that you can say whatever you want and whatever I say will not change that.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Quebec politicians desiring of success must be in want of the support of the French speaking majority. There is no clearer demonstration of this than the Couillard government’s intention to modify Quebec’s existing language laws.

On May 3rd of this year, Culture Minister Hélène David announced modifications to Quebec language laws that would force businesses with trademarked non-French names to add French language elements to their signs. This would include making Starbucks add the word café to its name and having Home Depot add matériaux de construction to theirs.

The proposed modification seems to serve two purposes.

First, it’s clearly an attempt to pacify the more extreme members of the Quebec population – the ones who voted for the Parti Québecois despite the whole xenophobia scandal related to the now defunct Secular Charter. It’s a move that seems to be unnecessary. The reason the Liberals demolished the PQ in 2014 is the people’s revulsion with former premier Pauline Marois’ push of legislation much of the province considered racist and xenophobic.

The second purpose of the proposal is to punish businesses like Best Buy for the legal case they won in 2014, a victory confirmed on appeal in 2015.

In 2014 Best Buy, Old Navy and other retailers with trademarked English names took the Quebec government to court to find out if they were obligated to add generic French terms to their signage. The Quebec Attorney General said they did. The courts disagreed and in 2014 the Court of Quebec ruled in favor of Best Buy, a decision confirmed a year later by the Superior Court of Quebec.

The government does not like to lose in the courts, for such a loss is a failure in the public eye. Fortunately for governments, there is a way to save face by enacting legislation that reinforces the government’s position in the case they lost.

The legislation that came into question in 2014 is the Quebec Charter of French Language. Enacted in the seventies when tensions between Francophones and Anglophones were at their peak, its purpose was to establish and ensure the primacy of the French language in Quebec by establishing it as the language of government, commerce, and law.

The French Charter created strict rules regarding the language of business and education and established the Office québécois de la langue française (OLFQ) to enforce them. According to article 58 of the French Charter public signs, posters, and commercial advertising must be in French. Penalties for disobeying the law can be anything from fines of six hundred to six thousand dollars for a natural person and fifteen hundred to twenty thousand dollars for businesses.

For every subsequent offense the fine is doubled, and on request from prosecutors the courts can even make an offender pay an additional fine equal to any profits gained from committing the offense. If a person incites, assists, or encourages someone else to commit an offense, they are also considered to have committed the violation.

Best Buy won their case because the law and applicable regulations allow for exceptions in cases where the sign contains a legally recognized trade-marked name even if the name isn’t in French. The new law would do away with that exception except in cases where the trademarked name is an actual person’s name like McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s.

The French Charter currently allows the Quebec government to grant exceptions to the rules to certain businesses that apply for them. All other businesses would have three years to comply with the new law.

Having said all that, let’s clarify what the OLFQ’s current powers actually are.

The Office québécois de la langue française’s primary purpose is to ensure that French is the language of work, communication and commerce in Quebec. It can take any appropriate measures to promote the French language which includes inspections and inquiries for the purpose of enforcing the French Charter.

It can conduct these inquiries of its own volition or following receipt of a written complaint. Though complaints to OLFQ are widely believed to be petty and mean spirited, the theory ignores the rules regarding how the Office has to handle complaints and widely exaggerates its powers.

The OLFQ is legally obligated to refuse any complaints it considers “manifestly unfounded or in bad faith.” It can refuse to act if it feels that the complainant already has appropriate recourse or if the circumstances surrounding the complaint don’t justify its intervention. If the Office refuses to pursue the matter it has to justify the refusal to the complainant.

When the OLFQ conducts an inquiry, even a discovered violation won’t always result in legal action. Only the Attorney General of Quebec and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions or someone else authorized by the Quebec government can take the case further and these always have some discretion as to whether or not to pursue a case. Though cases that go to court are often won by the Quebec government, databases of legal decisions don’t take into account all the times OLFQ and Attorney General of Quebec have backed down.

In 2001 the OLFQ went after L. Berson & Fils, a monument company on St Laurent Boulevard that had been serving Montreal’s Jewish community since 1922. The sign has Hebrew lettering of almost equal size to the French wording. When the government started harassing the owners about their signage the overwhelming response was one of outrage, their actions widely perceived as anti-Semitic. The Quebec government quickly backed down.

The proposed tweaks to Quebec’s language laws are unnecessary, which makes you wonder why they’re being raised at all. With the Couillard government under heat for its austerity measures – measures that have cut much needed hospital beds and closed seniors’ homes, the only answer is the one of divide and conquer. After all, a population busy fighting over language is one too busy to throw eggs and tomatoes at the government.

I first picked up Adeena Karasick’s book of poetry (one of her nine books), Dysemia Sleaze, back in 2006. I picked it without even knowing what the book was about or who it was written by.

I liked the title, though. I knew I was reading something next level. It was like mathematics in words and symbols. It all made some intuitive sense before I could actually make sense of it.

Almost a decade later, in the quest for knowledge of self and existential liberation from Babylon, while working on a farm in BC, I sought the opportunity to build with the Kabbalist, mystic, scholar, international poet and multi-media artist.

I had just read her her latest book titled This Poem. I wanted to learn some science from her about language, technology and the Kabbala. As I anticipated, Karasick dropped that knowledge.

Jesse Chase: You’re a feminist poet so I want to ask: does language have the ability to combat patriarchy? And would you make a distinction between feminism and a radical feminism?

Adeena Karasick: This Poem (Talonbooks, 2012) is a deeply ironic, self reflexive mash up re-inscribing subjectivity as a kind of contemporary archive of cultural fragments: updates, analysis, aggregates, contradictory trends, threads, webbed networks of information, the language of the ‘ordinary” and the otherness of daily carnage.

The self becomes a kind of euphoric recycling of information (shards, sparks) and thus speaks to how we are continually reinvented through recontextualization, collision, juxtapositions of defamiliarity as we process and re-process information.

Is this radically feminist? Perhaps in the way radical poetics is, in the tradition of the avant-garde foregrounding fragmented identities, irony, skepticism, a sense of self as other or outsider, a distrust of the literal, and belief in a tradition that questions rather than answers — As per “radical” i think its useful to think about it as a radical number, which is both rational and irrational, relational. And if radical comes from the Latin radicalis “of roots” I am committed to a writing where roots are re-routed, detour and “dangle”…

I’m particularly interested in ways language can both express and alter meaning; how we use language, masage its affect, shapes the way we think, breathe, behave. Thus, most of my project engages language in a way that undermines, questions or problematizes any kind of patriarchal premise – that there is a message, that can be clearly communicated, transmitted, that there is some truth outside of language, structures of logic, borders, orders, laws, flaws, codes— rather my work opens up a space that celebrates slippage, ellipses; all that is unsaid through veiling and unveiling, a multiplicitous heterogeny of ever-increasing otherness.

So yes, a highly feminist act – of intervention, disruption dissent where the discourse is all rapturously fractured and fraught with fission, elision. Not marked by censoring but by sensors, a re-sensed sensorium of incendiary sonorities.

What you say in ‘memewars’ of “read backwards or forwards, it re-interprets itself in an infinite process of self-replicating metastability through a virally multiplicitous linguistic praxis…Mem…signifies a hermeneutic process through its name.” Can we abstractly play ‘deconstruct the name’ as a sort of activity? Infinitely re-interpreting itself ‘through its name’. Do you care to riff off this? Is it a thought provoking device or activity? Like the Kabbala?

Whether you call it Kabbalistically-infused semiotic analyses or deconstructive investigations, meaning is always hiding in the words themselves. So, I don’t know if it’s a device per se, a methodology, a hermeneutic practice, but I can say that I spend an inordinate amount of my life recombining the alphabet, wearing it as a series of labyrinthian veils, inhabiting it as an ideological emporium of self replicating metastability that houses all potential meaning.

As evidenced per se with the 231 cycles of meaning in the Sefer Yetzirah:

Gates

Everything is connectable, dissectible, detectable. So, yes through the work, there is nothing I love better than the explosive jouissance of simultaneous reference whether it be cycling through dictionary definitions of words etymologies, phonetics, graphic resonances, social, political and cultural traces cycling through webs of knowledge structures, naming and renaming through synonymy, ignonymy homonymy, hymnonomy, anonymy…

Take my 1994 title Meme wars. Mem (or mayim, (water), referencing all that flows, is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, appears in the middle. Kabbalistically read, (joined with the first and last letters of the alphabet), Alef Mem Tav, spells out truth:

Adeena Karasick 2

Mem shows how truth is always constructed in process. And moreover as the center of the alphabet, it highlights how it’s always found in the middle of language; en medias. And if the medium is the message, Mem stands in for the Law of the excluded middle, that center is always a myth, is a process of dissent, and speaks to ever-shifting perspectives.

Another linguistic echo comes through the French word, mêm(e). Meme is the self same. The same and the same is always other. This referencing a meme as a unit of culture energy virally replicating itself in and through language.

Though I must say, in 1994, when I wrote Meme wars, in no way did we know what the explosion of the internet meme as we now know it would be. All to say, that even the word itself (in whatever language) inscribes how we can never fully replicate anything but infinitely interpretive and re-generative. Re-invented. Made new. In a complex of simulacric echolalia.

Do you think the Kabbalistic logic of ‘creative misreading’ effectively challenges the ‘frame’ in a way that can be applied to a “new art” — a(e)s(th)et(ic)?

Well, like in Derridean deconstruction, which is not so much an anarchic free play of signification but questions the foundations of thinking praxis, reading from specific lenses, perspectives, codes, acknowledging we are never separate from them, Kabbalistic hermeneutics isn’t exactly “creative misreading”, as there is a system of reading called PARDES (paradise) where one spirals through the literal, metaphorical, analogic and secret/hidden layers of interpretation. Cycles through syntactic axis, gates of entry and resistance.

Does it offer a frame that can be applied to art? Absolutely. Endless analysis, interpretation begets further interpretation, re-visitation provokes different readings, spurring new understandings of the wor(l)d. For Kabbalists, Creation was enacted through the letters. The Midrash describes God “looking into the Torah to Create the World,”  and with every reading, we re-enact this process of creation or re-framation as the case may be.

And as such, it becomes a highly political act as it combats any reductive settling into an overarching unsubstantiated mode of reading, and instead points to ways we may enter into a fluid space of ever-generative explosive meaning, acknowledging the ideological codes and lenses from which we are actively interpreting from, however slippery and elusive and shifting they may be. And perhaps this is where aesthetics / ethics elide —

Would you have any suggestions as to how we could redefine what’s generally not considered technological, i.e. logic and language, and invent an activity that would itself be the redefining exercise, like the Kabbalah for example. Something that techno-poetically redistributes aesthetic values and disrupts technopoly. In other words, do you think we can use the seemingly negative attributes of a ‘technopoly’ to our advantage? And if so, how?

For me, language is a technology and at bottom is a prime mover in the re-distributes of aesthetic values. But, with that said, digital media allows me certain other freedoms and axis of entry. Unbound, it foregrounds the materiality of language in a virtual arena of eroticism, a freedom of acoustic and image and visual fragmentation bifurcation foregrounding the slipperiness of meaning.

Increasingly I am playing within this field — whether it’s the construction of videopoems (lingual Ladies, I got a Crush on Osama or incorporating filmic projections in my recent Salome project (where in collaboration with Abigail Child, mashed up the 1921 Charles Bryant film with my text overlaid), or my recent obsession, pechakuchas:

Also check out: Ceçi n’est pas un Telephone or hooked on Telephonic and BACK IN THE O.S.V.R.: THE GHOST IS THE MACHINE

Incorporating voice and text and image and animation, gifs and sound poetry, is an analytical meditation on the relationship between technology and spirituality in contemporary media; highlighting how the mystical and the machine are not oppositional, but that “all media are extensions of man that cause deep and lasting changes and transform our environment” (McLuhan) and opens not a physical vs. metaphysical, but ‘pataphysical space reminding us how language and thereby all knowledge is spectral, virtual, simulacric. Technopolis. A virtual city to live in.

If you’re interested in dim sum and live in Montréal, you appreciate the legend of Kam Fung. Maybe you’ve eaten in the cavernous St-Urbain dining room (or its Brossard counterpart). Maybe you’ve just stood in line and longed for a table.

Either experience is sufficient to grasp just how absurd—and yet fitting—it is, that now dim sum has been dragged into 2014 Québec election politics. Yes, those doughy pillows of shrimp, eel, mushroom, beef, pork (or mostly anything else that grows, swims or walks…) are the latest casualty to the province’s rapidly-degenerating discourse on language and identity.

Thankfully, it’s all been dressed with a healthy does of ethnic-food sarcasm.

It all started yesterday when outspoken Journal de Montréal columnist Sophie Durocher took to Twitter after a dim sum lunch.

The initial response seemed unsurprising, coming from one of Durocher’s followers…

 

But Montréal Gazette food critic Lesley Chesterman’s appraisal was a bit more scathing.

 

Chesterman’s tweets, it would appear, triggered a string of jabs at Durocher and, at times, the Parti québecois itself.

 

Disapproval of Durocher’s complaint was not limited to English, either:

Then the whole thing started to echo the last few party debates themselves:

 

 

Just like a TVA debate, there was mild mudslinging:

And even humour:

It seems that Charte-fuelled tensions of language and identity have officially peaked. Whether it’s Couillard or Marois who ends up at the helm, we can only hope for strong leadership.

But maybe politicians are just exacerbating the issues and the solution to Durocher’s quandary is really quite simple:

National Geographic has a venture called The Genographic Project which, through genetic data gathering, is able to map out where each individual’s genetic background comes from. By participating you are able to see where your ancestors travelled from, and how you might have ended up where you are. What is so profoundly important about obtaining these results, is the fact that not a single human being can claim ownership to any land or country through birthright, simply because down the line their heritage reveals them as migratory elements containing multitude of different races and immigrants.

You, being born in this land, does not make you a native.

The language you speak just like the genes you have inherited come from thousands of years of evolution that was prompted by relocations, wars, invasions, and trades which tremendously influenced your modern tongue, as well as every single linguistic development in the world as it still does today. The French you speak is not pure. The English you speak is not pure. The Farsi you speak is not pure. They are mutants of long forgotten languages that were themselves mutated from other common ancestral languages.

Your mother tongue does not make you a native.

The Genographic Project has proved without any room for speculation that all human beings have migrated out of Africa, because we share a common gene that links us all to a tribe that resided there, and then we proceeded to migrate to all the corners of the world in search of better conditions. The linguistic experts have all agreed that all modern languages have a common ancestor which then branched out to create different dialects and ultimately different forms of languages which then through progress in travel got intertwined.

If you consider political and philosophical matters you will also come to the conclusion that throughout human history certain aspects of our needs and wants in terms of social justice and equality have always been shared. Discrimination has always been punished, and morality has always been rewarded. We tend to be compassionate toward one another’s suffering. We want equal opportunities. At every step in our history, no matter where we came from, no matter the colour or race, no matter the religious or political standings, we have managed to find answers and find a way to reduce injustice and tyranny, at times more successful than others; and yes many civilizations were lost due to idiocy and misplaced opportunistic hatred, however what was the root of these idiotic, racist, prejudiced behaviour was, is and always will be division.

genographic_projectYou and I are less different than we think.

Yes, I was born in Iran, and you might have been born in Israel, India, China, Germany, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Japan, Africa and so on, and thus look, sound and write different.  Does that sound like something acutely different, or considering that we share so much genetically and linguistically as well as intellectually and philosophically, all the rest are superficial nonsense?

You see we have started nitpicking and projecting differences between ourselves in order to justify our bigotries. We blame and label nationalities based on stereotypes. We blame religious minorities because we do not want to understand them. We blame headscarves, crosses, turbans, beards, sideburns, skinheads, tattoos. We are doing our best to be different, because we are scared of what might happen if one day we decide that these differences do not matter.

We are scared to count ourselves as part of an all-embracing human race.

We are scared of being fully committed to making everyone’s life better, and not just our own. We want somebody to blame. I have a suspicion that we like our indirect democracy for the same reason; otherwise this form of governance is not viable. We want to elect someone to do the dirty job for us, because we do not want to be directly involved, and when things go awry we can blame someone else.

You send others into battle and rather be safe yourself, why? Why can’t you see that if someone is injured, humiliated, taken advantage of, or killed every single human being on this planet will be affected? Why can’t you see that you are not from this country or that, and are not just responsible for your own land and your own perceived kind, because you do not have a native land and kind of people? Why can’t you see that you are responsible to speak out against all the injustices of this world, and not participate in any system that aims to supress people, take away their right, or withhold their basic liberty? Because those people who might look and sound different are not different from you. You are not defined by your colour, nationality, language, religion, political views, job and so on; you are defined by something much more simple and profound: your humanity.

Wouldn’t be better to say out loud that you do not agree with prejudice, instead of hoping someone else does? Why would it matter if you alienate you mother, father, brother, sister, wife, family, community, or half of the world, if what you say and do shows that you are standing up to sources of division? Wouldn’t be better to lead by example? Because I promise you, things will only get better if people see you stand up and say I want fairness, integrity, honesty, inclusion and unity.

When I look at at my vices, of which there are many, and consider trying to conquer some of them, it’s daunting, to say the least. Many of them would be difficult to quit. Coffee, smoking, drinking, betting on horses, betting on dogs, betting on finches, prank phone calls, or emailing anonymous threats to the cast of How I Met Your Mother, for example. Others would be downright impossible to curtail. Opium, daily Greek pizzas, auto-erotic asphyxiation, peeping tommery, sleight of hand or whaling. But there are a few, were I to put my oxygen-deprived mind to it, that I think I might be able to get under control. After some careful scrutiny, I decided that one foible I might be able to correct with relative ease would be swearing.

Now, I swear a lot. The way I’ve always seen it, anything worth being said is worth being said with a splash of profanity. In fact, I really don’t take a person seriously if their speech isn’t riddled with expletives. Whether casual conversation or business power-speak, pickup line or post-coital cooing, wedding toast or eulogy, there’s always a place for the curse. Sadly, it seems that times are changing. After a string of unsuccessful dates, awkward business meetings, and some intense introspection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to change my ways on this one. (The constant spray paint huffing during the dates may have been a contributing factor as well, but one step at a time, right?)

So I decided to see if I could go one day without swearing. I figured if I could do that, I could beat swearing once and for all.

fuck you alarmI started my day as I start most days: screaming at my alarm clock. Normally, I’d be screaming obscenities, today I managed to just hurl some unintelligible nonsense at the darned thing, and swung around until I connected with the snooze button. After some more grappling with the alarm clock, I managed to drag my sorry rear out of bed, but by this point I was running half an hour late for work. Fudge. I had a quick shower that was cold as all get out, and had to force down some burnt toast with nothing on it, because I was all out of crunchy gol durned peanut butter.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, I missed the monstertrucking bus by, like, ten seconds. That hooplehead bus driver totally saw me running, and didn’t stop, just to be a jerk, I just know it. He’s had a real problem with me ever since I called him a Grade A sphincter sucker that time when he splashed me with a puddle. (I didn’t actually call him that exactly, but I’m not swearing today, remember? Keep up.) Anyway, I caught the next bus and made it to work, even later than I already was, thanks to that verkakte bus driver. The boss didn’t quite see it my way, though. He didn’t really care to hear about the ongoing feud between us. He said he didn’t give two shiksas why I was late, but if it happened again I’d be out on my buttocks. That lousy flim-flammer.

Sweet Hannah in a handbasket, that piece of toast sans crunchy peanut butter didn’t do much to tide me over until lunch. By 11 o’clock my stomach was rumbling like a shrimp boat. It felt like noon would never come. If only I’d had some shrimp. As soon as that Rickenbackin’ clock hit 12, I made a mad dash for the McDonalds down the block to buy a shipload of McDoubles. I felt like I could eat a dozen. I settled for four, in the end.

As luck would have it, those hot gosh McDoubles didn’t sit well. The last hour of my workday was spent mostly in the toilet, with a debilitating case of the shoots. That didn’t sit very pretty with my boss, who was already pretty miffed about me being late. At the end of the day, he called me into his office and told me he had to let me go permanently, the mook. It wasn’t just my being late that day and the hour in the john, he said, but an ongoing problem with attitude and language. That rotten cur didn’t even notice that I hadn’t swore at him once the whole day.

Sweet city woman, what a crummy day!  To top everything off, I stubbed my toe, got a paper cut, and spilled grape juice all over my new shirt. Plus, when I was taking out the garbage, this group of kids challenged me to a swearing contest– whoever could say the most swears in thirty seconds wins –and when I politely declined they called me names and started throwing rocks at me. One of them hit me in the back of the knee with a whole brick. Whatever though, I made it all the way through. I can be proud of this accomplishment, maybe even see it as a glimmer of hope. I may soon be able to triumph over other vices! Perhaps one day I’ll be vice free, and live like a fucking superman. Whoops, shit! Ah, cunt!