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  1. #1
    mrghd is offline Junior Member
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    Default The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    (source: Iceberg Slim –Pimp, The Story of my life)

    Section that contains the expression:

    “A good pimp is like a slick white boss. He don't ever pair two of a kind for long. He don't ever pair two new bitches. He ain't stuck 'em for no long scratch. A pair of new bitches got too much in common. They'll beef to each other and pool their skull, plots, and split to the wind together.
    The real glue that holds any bitch to a pimp is the long scratch she's hip she's stuck for. A good pimp could cut his swipe off and still pimp his ass off. Pimping ain't no sex game. It's a skull game.”

    Background:

    Slim is being taught by Sweet Jones the great master pimp. Sweet is talking about how a pimp can keep a girl at his side for a long time to make her earn as much money as possible. Sweet emphasizes that it is erroneous to think that making love with a girl and waking up emotions in her is a good way of keeping a whore. He rather thinks that ‘the real glue…is the long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for’

    But what does that supposed to mean? (I am completely at sea with the interpretation.)

    PS. The novel plays in the criminal underworld of Chicago in the 30-40s and all the here mentioned characters are Afro-Americans

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    I don't know how you're still reading this book.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
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    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    Difficult material, as usual, mrghd. Here scratch means money. Nowadays stuck for is commonly heard in stuck for words, unable to think what to say. But in AmE to be stuck for something other than words still occasionally means to be financially responsible for. One can be stuck for or stuck with the bill. I have heard this expression in the last few days on the television program High Stakes Poker, in which losing players were said to have been stuck for whatever sum they had lost. So I would paraphrase your passage thus:

    “A good pimp is like a clever white boss. He never pairs two of a kind for long. He never pairs two new bitches. He has yet to make them understand their long term financial obligation. A pair of new bitches have too much in common. They'll complain to each other and pool their brains, plots, and run away together. The real glue that holds any bitch to a pimp is the long term financial obligation she understands she owes. A good pimp could stop charging his girls commission and still retain them. Pimping ain't no sex game. It's a mind game."

    We do this work because we like it, and I enjoy trying to decipher your Iceberg Slim passages. But you need to face the fact that his work is absolutely untranslatable. To do so, you would have to remove all the archaic slang and dialect, and then the essential flavour would be lost.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I don't know how you're still reading this book.
    It does at least make Damon Runyon seem like Janet and John.

  5. #5
    mrghd is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I don't know how you're still reading this book.
    As I mentioned before I understand that the theme of this book and the mean and violent thougts and actions described in it are not pleasant to confront with. Nevertheless, the process of psychological transformation of the writer/main character is very interesting for me. Slim was INDEED a pimp. Mean, dirty, violent man with a criminal mind. After this, he step by step got to the decision to try to live as a goodwilling man and to really become one. Later he became a noticeable writer of 7 books. For me, this story is one of the most interesting ones I have ever read.

    I would like to emphasize again that Slim does not show his pimping past to be 'cool' in the book. May be it makes sense here to quote the short Preface of the book:

    "In this book I will take you, the reader, with me into the secret inner world of the pimp. I will lay bare my life and thoughts as a pimp. The account of my brutality and cunning as a pimp will fill many of you with revulsion, however, if one intelligent, valuable young man or woman can be saved from the destructive slime; then the displeasure I have given will have been outweighed by that individual's use of his potential in a socially constructive manner.
    I regret that it is impossible to recount to you all of my experiences as a pimp. Unfortunately, it would require the combined pages of a half-dozen books. Perhaps my remorse for my ghastly life will diminish to the degree that within this one book I have been allowed to purge myself. Perhaps one day I can win respect as a constructive human being. Most of all I wish to become a decent example for my children and for that wonderful woman in the grave, my mother."

  6. #6
    mrghd is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    We do this work because we like it, and I enjoy trying to decipher your Iceberg Slim passages. But you need to face the fact that his work is absolutely untranslatable. To do so, you would have to remove all the archaic slang and dialect, and then the essential flavour would be lost.
    The situation is the worst I am already in the process of translating this book to my language

    I am fully aware of the difficulties you mentioned and some other ones (e. g. it requires different usage of language when Slim the pimp speaks and when Slim the writer speaks about what he did as a pimp.)

    Yet, I would not consider this work as impossible (Rather enjoyable). After all, the book has been already translated into 8 languages...

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    Quote Originally Posted by mrghd View Post
    The situation is the worst I am already in the process of translating this book to my language
    That explains your dedication over such a period of time.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 12-Jan-2013 at 00:28. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: The long scratch she’s hip she’s stuck for

    Quote Originally Posted by mrghd View Post
    The situation is the worst I am already in the process of translating this book to my language
    That explains your dedication over such a period of time.

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