Sunday, January 10, 2016


Did you know that the word "mediacracy" exists? It does, although the Blogger spell check, and the AOL spell check put red squiggly lines under it.

References were reluctantly revealed by a Google search, after helpful suggestions that I might really be looking for "mediocrity" or perhaps "mediocracy" (which latter, btw, contained politically biased suggestions that mediocracy referred to the most recent Republican administration.)
Mediacracy is a situation in government where the mass media effectively has control over the voting public.
Noun[edit]. mediacracy (countable and uncountable, plural mediacracies). Rule by the media; a situation in which the media dominates or controls the populace...
Definition of mediacracy :. 1. (n.) Government, usually indirectly, by the popular media;
And there were three or four more sources. Apparently, great thinkers have been opining about the media controlling the voting public for several years. In former times, the great newspaper barons were allegedly thought to be potentially dangerous opinion makers and kingmakers.  

If newspaper barons interest you, there are some vigorous discussions of the part played in UK political elections using this search   However, I'm more interested in the types of social order that might inspire world building in a steam punk, cyber punk, science fiction, futuristic or fantasy novel. 
In a past blog post, I've opined about a Pharmacracy, and for a compendium of almost all the forms of government from acracy to xenocracy, go here:

I particularly like Stephen Crisomalis's term "kakistocracy" and the excessively polite explanation for a word surely derived from "poop". 

(See )  And, by the way, the top ten pages of a Google search led me to a Brazilian football player. I had to know the scatological synonym for "kaka" and search for "kaka + ...." in order to find the poop-word site.
It must be said, the phronitistery site's excellent list does not include "Pharmacracy", nor does it include "Mediacracy", but "pharma-" and "media-" may be of Latin origin, and "-cracy" is Greek.
 How did I get onto this train of thought? A confluence of blogs. One was a blog post by Chris Castle which discusses the power of Search, and asks how far, in theory, a search engine with a monopoly and flexible morals could influence an electorate.
One of many interesting speculations in the piece is what would happen if, for example, a search engine gave users the option to filter out the name of a political candidate that they disliked. Such as "Trump".  What if the Search engine imposed a filter without being asked... such as making rapid encounters with "kaka" of the excremental kind  hard to find?  Or the helpful attempts to direct me to "mediocrity" or "mediocracy".

Chris Castle's blog post also discusses the power of the media to influence pharmaceutical drug taking by a suggestible populace. Drug marketers create a drug, and then create a need (or the perception that there is a need), for what the drug does. A solution in search of a problem!
The next article was Philly Law Blog, ostensibly partly about the erosion of The First Amendment, or at least of free speech. (I usually follow the law blog for information on current doings relating to copyright matters.)

I googled The First Amendment: 
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Perhaps the loophole is the word "Congress".  It seems that the press itself, also various universities, and a State department of education or two are able to abridge freedom of speech without the assistance of Congress.

As a writer and a logophile, I am bemused and offended by the continual banning of words, and dictionaries dropping words, and the touchy feely folks who tinker with politically incorrect words in the worlds' most important religious texts. There is quite a difference between forgiving "trespasses" and forgiving "debts"  for instance.
The final blog article was by Richard Russo for the Authors Guild, among other things comparing the permissionless innovativeness of Google to that of the scavenging seagulls in Finding Nemo.

Not only does the word mediacracy exist. Some might suspect that a mediacracy has been established, and we never noticed.
Rowena Cherry

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