January 4, 2018

Yes, "Fire and Fury/Inside the Trump White House" is #1 at Amazon, but what is it beating?

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2 books about using a pressure cooker. Much as I occasionally think of cranking out a book and competing for the book-reader's money, I am too busy being a subtle artist and not giving a fuck.

Now, if I could have expanded my screen grab a little more, I could have showed you that #10 is "Pimp: The Story of My Life," by Iceberg Slim. This is a book that was originally published in 1967, and the author has been dead for a quarter century. So what's up with its being currently almost as popular as pressure cookers?

I myself have encountered references to "Pimp" twice in the last few months. Dave Chappelle talked about it for a long time in his new Netflix special. He mostly just retold a whole long story from the book — a story that took place, I think, in the 1940s. Chappelle was waving the book around and recommending the hell out of it, almost as if he wished he had the material to tell the kind of stories Iceberg Slim knew firsthand. Or was it that hiding within Slim's story, Chappelle could say things about women he didn't want directly on him.

The other time I ran across "Pimp" was reading David Sedaris's "Theft by Finding: Diaries":

April 19, 1994 New York

At the library I found Pimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim. It’s the kind of book you have to read from the beginning, otherwise you can’t understand the slang. One chapter is titled “To Gain a Stable,” and in it he teaches you how to turn out a whore by breaking her will. (He suggests beating her with a straightened-out coat hanger.)
ADDED: From Reddit:
Most posts seem to discuss how the Iceberg Slim story relates to Dave[ Chappelle]'s leaving comedy... he was being tricked into being a Bottom Bitch for Comedy Central. But he left before he got more "ho mileage" put on him. But he acknowledges that he is also a pimp, and the audience is bottom bitch per his last line at the end of the story, "and now we got a secret, bitch."...

If Dave (and the Entertainment Industry at large) is the Pimp, that means we, the audience are being flayed by a coathanger, then given pills and drawn a hot bath. How are our minds being flayed? How are we being soothed?... Further, this pimping out of our consciousness trains us to be cold as ice to other people...

Truth and reconciliation starts with ourselves. Who is pimping out your consciousness? What have you done to keep other people in line? What would it look like to get free? Big questions and a serious calling from an epic comedy set.

20 comments:

Tim at large said...

This American Life had a segment about how pimps turned women, whom they started out as girlfriends. It was not that brutal, at first anyway. A good technique was to sidle up to a single girl at a bar and demand she buy you a drink, if she refused, you moved on until you found your mark. After that, you would get them to sleep with a friend of yours, she kind of liked anyway, for a little money, because it would make him happy. It was all very sick.

rhhardin said...

It's also ahead of Derrida's _The Other Heading_ in which government by public opinion is disparaged as an untrustworthy threat to democracy.

Public opinion should be expressed as yes or no in an election. The rest is extra-legal entertainment.

Rob said...

Now now now. Women are fully capable of making their own decisions. They are in control of their bodies. There's nothing wrong with choosing to be a sex worker. Those of us who are woke--and I like to think that's everyone here--understand these things. David Sedaris's derogatory use of the word "whore" instead of the acceptable term "sex worker" and his retrograde notion of a woman being "turned out" (shared by of all things This American Life) are deeply troubling. He's on thin ice.

David Begley said...

“Much as I occasionally think of cranking out a book and competing for the book-reader's money, I am too busy being a subtle artist and not giving a fuck.”

Tom Wolfe is 86. America needs Althouse.

Heightened Awareness said...

“Pimp” shows up in episode 7 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s jarring there.

Ann Althouse said...

"“Pimp” shows up in episode 7 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

Thanks. I don't remember that... maybe vaguely.

But the book came out in 1967. The show is 1958 or so.

Clark said...

Heh, that's not just a pressure cooker, it's an Instant Pot. I got one for Christmas and it's pretty useful.

Balfegor said...

He suggests beating her with a straightened-out coat hanger.

Completely honest first reaction: would that really work? The wire of a coat hanger is stiff, but is it really that stiff? I'd think after one or two whacks it would start to bend at the point where you are grasping it, so you'd either have to pause to straighten it out again, or start contorting your hand awkwardly to preserve the alignment of the beating-surface, so that your strikes lose much of their force. That's the reason people usually use stiffer/springier wood-based products, like the proverbial "willow switch" or "birch rod" (or a cooking chopstick, back-scratcher, etc.), no? Or perhaps I am envisioning the wrong technique, and this is more like beating with a belt? I actually don't know how belt-based beatings work -- do you crack it like a whip?

Ann Althouse said...

"... that's not just a pressure cooker, it's an Instant Pot...."

What old ad slogan is that like?

It's not just a car, it's a Lincoln???

What am I thinking of?

It's not just a .... it's a ....

It's not just a smoke, it's a Camel???

Ann Althouse said...

Meade remembered: "It's not just a job, it's an adventure!"

DKWalser said...

Althouse - A serious suggestion: You should cull through your blog posts and repackage them into a book. Columnists do it frequently, why shouldn't bloggers? Your book could include excerpts from your comment section -- how could you exclude your introduction to Meade? It could be an interesting perspective on the past decade or more (however much you choose to include of it).

tcrosse said...

He suggests beating her with a straightened-out coat hanger.

That's the Joan Crawford method.

Mac McConnell said...

Balfegor
For beating with a belt on folds the belt in half. Same for wire hangers, only one holds the hook and stretches out the bottom of the hanger. Telephone cords have to be at least four strands with knots at each end. Anonymous sources report that I prefer a two foot length of rubber hose, probably from memories of nuns in parochial school.

Mac McConnell said...

In high school in the late 1960s "pimping" was a term used by non Italian students for "ball busting" someone. For example, if I said "Your mother wear combat boots", that would be pimping you. But, of course a line that lame would actually be pimping yourself.

Tim at large said...

That was called "ranking." Viz Welcome Back Kotter.

Ann Althouse said...

“Althouse - A serious suggestion: You should cull through your blog posts and repackage them into a book. Columnists do it frequently, why shouldn't bloggers? Your book could include excerpts from your comment section -- how could you exclude your introduction to Meade? It could be an interesting perspective on the past decade or more (however much you choose to include of it).”

The reason to do that would be for the money. Since I’m not desperate for money, I continue to write in the format that gives me energy and intrinsic reward. I love the immediacy, the flow, the linking, the variety, and the surprise of blogging. I love the endlessly aggregating archive and the openness to comments.

I don’t want to write up the story of me and Meade. It already happened and is preserved in the archive. To write it up would require me either to be a hack or to invent some way to make it real art. But the art form I have cared about all this time is the blog, and it is here where I believe my powers are most effective. It’s like choosing your sport.

Tim at large said...

Sinclair Lewis used to deliver a trunk full of manuscript to his editor. There was always a book in their somewhere! Maybe it was Dreiser... Anyway, the stuff is all there.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Yes, those are Instant Pot cookbooks. An Instant Pot isn't just a pressure cooker; you can steam, saute, make yogurt, slow-cook, &c. One of the two listed books I've bought, after I got an Instant Pot for Christmas. So far I've just made rice, and a lamb stew.

Ann, if you aren't "desperate for money," why is it that you remind us daily to remember you through the Amazon portal? (Which, for the record, I don't do, because all my Amazon donations go to the ASPCA.)

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
walter said...

"Instant pot" is a weird name.
There's probably a shop in Denver with that name.

Somewhere..an ad agency has considered using "Under Pressure" in a pressure cooker commercial...or Ice, ice, baby for snow cones.