Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Word of the day: "helot"

As found at a post at PunkAssBlog: "Oh noes! Invading Crackers!"

Not a word I'd known before. From Webster's:

"A slave in ancient Sparta; a Spartan serf; hence, a slave or serf."

Also see: bondswoman, chattel slave, clawback, debt slave, flunky, groveler, lackey, peon, puppet, servant, stool, thrall, timeserver, toady, truckler, and tufthunter...among others.

Oh, context? Go see for yourself. A hint:

Of course you think of the slave as someone who is eternally working, because the word “slave” is as much verb as it is noun, which is perfect for the oppression of helots as someone who is defined by their work is a robot, something, rather than someone, and a something is not something who’s emotional well being and personality matter, they are something that is defined, not merely by their actions, but by solely by their Job, The Immigrant picks lettuce, The Slave picks cotton, The Woman picks up after her husband and children.

This is why the “Personal Is Political” tactic, exemplarized in feminist circles by the Vagina Monologues, is so important in the class struggle as much it is in the feminist struggle (which are not seperate entities by a long shot, the hydra has many faces, and they’re all just different enough to confuse), things like the novels of Maya Angelou, or the recent Dkos post by Stay The Course (via Bellatrys) are important, every single civil rights struggle has been, first and foremost, about the reclaiming of a group’s stolen humanity from those who live off of society like bloated ticks, and the refusal of those who fight for a better society to allow another group to be dehumanized. And the key to that, is to first of all show what life, not just the job, is like for the helots of current system, and what it was like for the helots of past systems, so that people can see the common humanity of all downpressed people, and to do something about it all and then say afterwards, as a single unified group: Never Again.

6 comments:

antiprincess said...

I'm sure if I put on my new thinking cap I could come up with something really intelligent and insightful and meaningful to say...in the meantime - "tufthunter?" does that sound naughty to you?

dwayne m said...

And here's a companion word:

hierodule

Wikipedia says...

In ancient Greece and Anatolia a hierodule, from the Greek ἱερόδουλη (ἱερόν "temple" + δούλη "female slave"), was a temple slave in the service of a specific deity, often with the connotation of religious prostitution. The priestesses of Inanna were known to be hierodules.

Among some neopagans, a hierodule may be a priestess who has sexual intercourse in the role of whichever Goddess she serves in the divine union of hieros gamos.

...

antiprincess said...

is it pronounced "hee-lot" or "hel-o" (silent t)?

Alon Levy said...

HEL-uht.

antiprincess said...

Hell-it?

Alon Levy said...

Yeah...