I’ve always had a grudging admiration for pimps. Not because I admire what they do, but rather how they do what they do. What pimps do better than anyone else is to get people – or rather, women – to join in their own exploitation without feeling exploited. For the life of me, I can’t help but think there’s some weird confluence of science, genius, madness, and alchemy such that a man can get a woman to do for pay one of the most intimate and personal acts with strangers of all varieties of personal hygiene and then turn over the majority of the money to him so that he can live a lifestyle better than hers. If I had to put my money on a Harvard MBA or an Oakland pimp to successfully run a Fortune 500 corporation, my money would be on the Oakland pimp, every time.
Well, America, it looks like we’re the hos in this recession, because there are a whole lot of pimps out there who are exploiting us, maybe not with the skill and finesse of an Oakland street pimp, but pretty darn close. And I’ve always believed that excellence should be rewarded in a capitalist, democratic society. With that, let me announce and award Black Woman Blogging’s first ever Big Pimpin’ Awards. These awards go to those newsmakers, who, over the last year or so, have been successful or at least tried very hard, to pimp the American people – our tax dollars, our values, our trust. The first part of success is believing in your ability to succeed. These pimps had self-confidence in spades.
The “Diamond in the Back, Sunroof Top, Diggin’ the Scene with a Gansta Lean” Award goes to: The CEO’s of Chrysler, GM, and Ford, for having the pimp hubris to come to Capitol Hill to ask for taxpayer bailout money in corporate jets. Don’t forget the rest of the song, though: “Just be thankful for what you’ve got.”
The “Sneaker Pimp” Award goes to: Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Playa, you’re not the first elected official who attempted to sell an appointment. You were just so bad at it that you got caught. And to appear on the “The View” instead of at your own impeachment trial? That’s just sneaker pimpin’. You need to get out of the way and let the real playas play.
The “Pimpin’ Around The Word” Award goes to: The Bush Administration, for getting our allies to join us in rendition and torture by setting up American prisons on foreign soil.
The “ ‘Too Short’ California Pimpin’” Award goes to: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature. Let me get this straight: California is in the middle of a severe budget crisis – I’m talking Vallejo/San Diego on-the-verge-of-defaulting crisis. State workers within the control of the Governor are going to be furloughed without pay. Yet other state workers who have the serendipity to work for the University of California, the California State University System, the California Community Colleges, and other state constitutional officers won’t be furloughed. Many state legislative staffers received raises, and yet the Governor and many in the California Legislature had the nerve to go the Presidential Inauguration even though we’re supposed to be in a crisis and running out of money in February? And no one’s seen fit to drive a semi up to the Capitol and set the building on fire? That’s pimpin’ California-style, in the vein of California’s most famous pimp and rapper, Too Short.
The “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” Award goes to: General Motors. They’re such a special case that they get mentioned twice. General Motors has the distinction of being able to dip into TARP money twice – once through GM, the other through their lending arm, GMAC, which they were able to morph into a bank so that it, too, could qualify for TARP money. GM cited the downturn in car sales and the increased foreclosures faced by GMAC as the reason for double dipping. It’s hard out there for a pimp.
The “Hos in Every Area Code” Award goes to: The mortgage lending industry. Because they do have hos in every area code. They’re called subprime borrowers. The problem is, now their hos are out of pocket, so to speak, because of foreclosures. Not everybody can be Nate Dogg.
The “Don’t Hate the Playa, Hate the Game” Award goes to: Citibank, Merrill Lynch, and AIG. Citibank, for taking TARP money and then having the nerve to try to take delivery of new corporate jets. Merrill Lynch, for paying billions in bonuses to its execs on the way to their arranged merger with Bank of America. AIG, for holding a spa retreat shortly after receiving TARP money. An honorable mention goes to John Thain of Merrill Lynch for spending $1 million to redecorate his office as his company was going down the tubes.
And, drumroll, please . . .
The Mack of the Year Award goes to: Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Paulson worked for Goldman Sachs in the run-up in the real estate bubble, and the role of investment banks in the real estate bubble cannot be underestimated. He later became Treasury Secretary, sold his stake in Goldman Sachs pursuant to ethics laws for a tax-free net of $200,000,000, and then helps in its bailout. But that’s not why he’s the Mack of the Year. Paulson is the Mack of the Year because he had balls to go to Congress with a three-page explanation as to why Congress should give the Bush Administration $750 billion to bail out financial institutions, saying that the money would free up credit and help the American taxpayer. Although he didn’t get what he wanted solely on the strength of his three-pager, he did ultimately get what he wanted. Banks and other financial institutions got the money, didn’t lend it out, weren’t held accountable, and no one called for Paulson’s head on a platter, or anyone else’s for that matter. Mack of the Year, I tell you. Play on, Playa Paulson. Play on.
UPDATE: At the suggestion of my brother and my protege, the "Katt Williams 'If You Can't Find Anyone Else To Hate, You Can Hate On Me' Lifetime Achievement Award" goes to President George W. Bush. As my brother put it, "Not only did he get us to jump on folks we ain’t had no business messin' with, but he got us to put $7 Trillion on our card to do it for him and his fellow Sith Lords."
Super Fly would be proud.