ochlocracy

Sesquiotica

To my eyes, this word tumbles forward like a landslide of eggs and eggshells, of eyes and calling mouths, biting mouths, with the repetition of letter forms o o c c c: “Oh! Oh! See! See! See!” as the various busy bodies spot, point, call others, gather the forces, tumble down on the object…

Tumble? Perhaps more like tweet. You recognize the –cracy, of course: you’ve seen it in democracy and autocracy and theocracy and so on. It’s from Greek κρατία kratia ‘rule’. But ochlocracy is not a form of government any more than a fever is a durable state of health. Ochlocracy is a stampede, an avalanche, a corybantic frenzy; the very leaders of the group may be ripped to pieces as though by Bacchae. Ochlocracy is a Twitter-pile, when a strident voice calls out an infraction, gathers the censure, and within hours thousands or even millions…

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