I am a copy editor, and as part of that job, I write headlines. Last week, I wrote this headline, using a word that we rarely see except in headlines
The cover of Friday's Weekend section included tips for how to improve the N.C. State Fair under the headline, "Pimp my fair." Several readers complained.
One wrote: "In an effort to be 'hip,' I suppose The N&O felt this headline was appropriate. However, its use actually demonstrates a great lack of knowledge of the English language, not to mention extreme bad taste. The fact that it was used to describe a family event in an entertainment section of the newspaper is further disturbing and disappointing." Another reader wrote: "Could you try to get The N&O out of the sewer or is that not considered a viable strategy?"
Adrienne Johnson Martin, Weekend editor, responded: "The term, as it was used, is a colloquialism that means to upgrade or improve. If you check the Fourth Edition of the Webster's New World College Dictionary, you will see that the term comes from 'pimper,' which means to allure or dress smartly....The Weekend section, as the entertainment guide, is a little younger and a little edgier than the rest of the paper. We try to acknowledge that and fufill the paper's mission of appealing to a mass audience. It isn't always an easy balancing act but it's never our intention to offend."
What did you think of the headline? Post your comment below.
For more on the fair, go to our blog at blogs.newsobserver.com/fair