Date: Fri, 5 Sep 1997 10:19:06 -0500 From: Mark Mandel Subject: media-cracy Barry A. Popik writes: >>> Media-cracy is a combination of "media" and "democracy" made to sound like "mediocrity." <<< I don't think the second half can be firmly attributed to "democracy". That component is common also to "aristocracy", "meritocracy", "kleptocracy", and probably others. It comes from Ancient Greek "kratia", meaning 'rule, government'. In fact, "meritocracy" is itself an argument for "-cracy" as a suffix. In, hmm, Plato's I think, analysis of government (probably in "The Republic"), it's called "timocracy", lit. 'rule by honor', in which the state is ruled by those chosen by their fellows for their ability. But in English, more familiar with Latinate roots than Greek ones, that "tim-" tends to be misunderstood as 'fear' (cf. "timid"), and the word to be critically misunderstood as 'rule by fear'; and, I guess, "meritocracy" is used for that reason. It can't be a Greek word because "merit" comes from French. Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA : Personal home page: