Friday, 21 December 2012

Running amok...


In 'Stand on Zanzibar', John Brunner coined the word: "muckers". This describes someone who flips and engages in a seemingly random and purposeless act of violence usually in a crowded placed like an airport, high street or, dare we mention it, school. The word - in Brunner's etymology was a corruption of the word "amok" which we know and define as:

...behave uncontrollably and disruptively

But more importantly, the derivation of "amok" is:

...mid 17th century: via Portuguese amouco, from Malay amok 'rushing in a frenzy'. Early use was as a noun denoting a Malay in a homicidal frenzy

And this was Brunner's usage - a homicidal frenzy. And they've been around for centuries - probably much longer.

So a question - following the terrible events of the last week, we're talking again about gun control. Now while I'm equivocal about such controls, it does seem to me that we should consider why we get "mockers" rather than just the means by which such men run amok?


1 comment:

DJMoore said...

This has been on my mind as well.

Small quibble, though: Brunner called his amoucos "mUckers"

He described a typical mucker as being insensitive to pain, sporting a conspicuous erection, and possessing unusual strength.

One of his characters actually became a mucker, a momma's boy who was subjected to constant sexual teasing and arousal by his mother.

Another character was specifically trained to exhibit many mucker-like qualities on demand, aimed at a precise target.

I don't know that real world goblins, as in Sandy Hook, adhere to the strict profile, which I think was based on the Viking berserkers.