‘As a parent’ — in the parlance of our times — I’d be seeing Hillary’s progenitorial rage and raising it a few capfuls of testosterone. But there’s little or no escape from the problem that today’s parlance defaults to the mildly, ironically offensive, and that judging by the standards of our times Shuster’s ‘Pimped Out’ Comment is not ‘incredibly’ offensive but simply mildly and ironically offensive. The appropriation of Ghetto Talk by the whitebread infotainment industry mirrors a broader ease, especially among those under 45, with casually framing the events of everyday social life in bitch-pimp terms. In a world where pimping out your ride is a great honor, ‘sort of’ pimping out your daughter would appear to be less of an honor primarily on account of the ‘sort of’ qualifier. Of course, Shuster was trying to be less-than-honorable, obeying another cardinal rule of MSM Edginess: degrade obliquely. But he was under marching orders — probably not written in neat hand by an MSNBC intern, but certainly uploaded into his hard drive over many years spent in moving through a high-budget industry devoted largely to making itself comfortable with the great American lowbrow.
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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.