A is for

is an interesting term. In Spanish it originally had the meaning of pimp, or procurer, by extension it has come to be slang for a snitch, gossip, butt-kisser, ass-licker, brown-nose, kiss-up, and so on.

However, Negro tended to use the term to refer to those whose empty erudition made them perfect pundits, public intellectuals, and others who trafficked in ideas, pimped for fashionable ideologies, or those high-level gossips expert in selling whatever idea the market favoured.

This term is also an example of Silo’s unusually rich ideolect. Some of this sort of private language consisted of vocabulary others were turns of phrase that gained particular significance. Often they were almost a code he shared with a few, or even one other person. Sometimes they filtered down to a more general usage among his friends. Alcahuete could be a good example of the latter.

His wonderfully colourful forms of expression led me to think about my own private or semi-private language and even more so about my private mythology. What, for example, were the metaphysical beliefs that I held unexamined about the nature of reality. It’s like asking not about the presuppositions or mental-form behind my beliefs, but about the early translations of that into allegory and images.

As an example of my own personal (or semi-personal) vocabulary consider this short phrase: monkey business. It’s a very rich and nuanced word that captures a constellation of ideas that are key to my vision of the world.