I cautioned a guy at work the other day (who’s first language isn’t English (not that you’d notice, it’s so good)) against using “pimp” as a verb, as in “pimp my ride” (except “ride” was something more relevant to where I work). I said it was a bit …negative. I’m feeling very righteous (and relieved) I did so now, reading Janice Turner‘s column:

Will the makers of the British movie Pimp, released this week, see their timing as unfortunate or regard the serial killing of Bradford prostitutes as a useful, if unforeseen, part of their publicity strategy?

Pimp, featuring sharp-suited Cockney geezers having a spot o’ bovver with their gorgeous Agent Provocateur-clad female workforce, doesn’t tell us a whole bunch about the real life sex trade — but it’s certainly an insight into how prostitution is peddled to young men.

You thought pimps were bottom-feeding scum? No, silly, they’re just misunderstood. Woody, played by actor-director Robert Cavanah, is a businessman with a complex soul. He doesn’t like slapping around his best cash cow because her takings are down or to incarcerate a young Chinese girl to groom her for the game. But he does, then vents his angst writing tortured poetry.

The women, well, they’re just tortured. Artily, as if some GQ shoot has gone a bit awry. Indeed, one woman appears to have been killed in a porn snuff movie. But Woody plays detective … Anyway the trafficked Chinese girl falls in love with him. The End.

Unbelievable. They should all be made to watch Dirty Pretty Things instead. When the lights go down in the theater, the wrong movie starts. And the doors are locked. And the air conditioner is too high.

We should have seen it coming. Pimp My Ride, pimp my trainers, pimp my profile: a word that means living, often through coercion and violence, from the sexual servitude of women, has been drained of all meaning. We are supposed to see the world through a screen of irony and detachment and take it as a big post-modern gag.

Phew.