". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, May 21, 2011


My favorite factoid gathered out the little time I've been able to give into research this week for The American Slave Coast:

Most people likely know that staff for a hunt includes whippers-in -- 'whips' -- assistants to the huntsman. Their main job is to keep the pack together, "especially to prevent the hounds from straying or 'riotting', which term refers to the hunting of animals other than the hunted fox. To help them to control the pack, they carry hunting whips."

But, get this!  "The role of whipper-in in hunts has inspired parliamentary systems (including the Westminster System and the U.S. Congress) to use whip for a member who enforces party discipline and ensure the attendance of other members at important votes."

Can you possibly get more aristocratic than that?  Recall, ladies and gentlemen, that the first Fox Hunts were formed in England in the late 16th and 17th centuries to control the foxes predating upon the birds that belonged to the lords.  Already in the 17th century a Virginian aristo slave owner imported horses, hounds AND foxes to form the first packs here.  Both Jefferson and Washington had packs and rode to hounds when they could, as well as spending as much time at the race meets as they could, particularly Washington. 

Very likely here in the U.S.of those days the whippers-in were slaves.  And likely the huntsman was also, who often played the role of kennel man too.  The huntsman was the one with the horn, with which he communicates to hounds, followers and whippers in.

Postmamboism at work, thank you very much. El V was very proud of me uncovering this, but this kind of thing is very much what a reader and writer of fantasy would know.

That the political term 'whip' came from the hunt though, that I did not know!

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