Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Meaning of the Word "Pimp"

A 9th Circuit panel today couldn't agree on whether calling Evel Knievel a "pimp" was, in the current vernacular, an insult, a compliment, or neither. ESPN published a photo of Knievel and his wife standing together arm-in-arm with an unnamed young woman at the 2001 Action Sports and Music Awards Ceremony with the caption "Evel Knievel proves that you're never too old to be a pimp."

After summarizing Knievel's career of daring exploits in a manner worthy of the best publicists, the court held that Knievel's lawsuit had hit a slippery patch of 12(b)(6) grade motor oil and crashed. Blame it on kids today. Given the other "satirical, risque, and sophomoric slang" used by ESPN and others in describing the "youthful" event, two judges held that the word pimp wasn't really an accusation that Knievel was, in fact, unlawfully engaged as a business manager of prostitutes. Holding that Knievel should get over it (the majority actually wasn't quite that blunt), the court affirmed the dismissal of Knievel's complaint.

A dissenting judge wasn't so sure. He quoted Shakespeare (presumably, in the context of this case, to exemplify just how far pop culture has fallen) and lamented that the jury ought to have decided whether Knievel was defamed or not. Here's the link.

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