...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



A short meditation on certain words:

You have to figure there were plenty of them at first, mostly young, mostly male - not all, but mostly. And they just wouldn't get in line, wouldn't go along with the way it was and was going to be.
Zoo-keepers in the early days had that, the animals that just wouldn't break to the way things were, and you figure most of them died pretty quickly, one way or another.
Same with this, they died most of them, a lot of them killed in their chains, maybe rarely some elder would get them in time and talk it down, show the only way forward as acceptance at least for a while etc. But that strength when it's on fire doesn't listen too well. And you have to figure the men who worked hands-on for the combines that brought that strange cargo from the one seashore to the other had the same problem, and people use words for that, they need and find words to name what they work with, utility decrees it - they name the thing that's causing the problem.
Let's meditate briefly on the names the slavers must have had among themselves for the young bucks fresh from the jungle who wouldn't break without the energy expense of beating them down.
Some word in Dutch for the ones you want to watch out for, because they'll wait, and jump when they think you're not looking - or in English, or Spanish, French, Belgian.
Unpredictable, dangerous, but powerful, and valuable for that.
"Rogue elephant" is an example of this. Cowboys had terms for the cattle they worked, to exactly the same purpose.
We've lost those words for the early ones, the ones filtered out from just before the darkness became a way of life, because we stopped needing them, we don't need a word to describe a young African captured and sold from hand to hand and fighting every chance he gets, it doesn't come up anymore - maybe they're there in some antique book, maybe a particularly erudite philologist can come up with one - the Slaver's Glossary - but nothing remains in the common tongue of what must have passed spontaneously and naturally from one grim overseeing soul to another, as they did their brutal work, making their money off the backs of human lives breaking.
What's gone is a word for the ones who were a danger as long as they had some strength, and that defiant life in their eye - not as general as "nigger", more specific, more immediate, a little less obvious, and far more heinous in its import and its content.

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