There was a man.
He hurt me.
I cried.
I got angry.
I did something (ate ice cream).
I met another.

There was a woman.
She hurt me.
I cried.
I got angry.
I did something.
I met another.

wotd: gadfly

January 29, 2007

i’m a big supporter of the whole “free books. free reviews” project. in fact, i may have suggested the idea. but such is the curse of the editor that he can only receive credit when he acts like a jerk and takes it. in that spirit, the best book i ever found in the Powell’s free bin was, “The Gadfly,” which the cover thankfully informed me was the #1 selling american novel in the soviet union (has there ever been a better cover blurb?). Shortly after ganking the book, I began to use the word whenever possible.

and i think i’ve been misusing it.

i’ve always assumed that the word comes from gad-about, or, to be more correct, “gad-v2”: “To go from one place to another, to wander; esp. to wander about with no serious object, stopping here and there, to rove idly. Also to gad about, abroad, out.” an initial look at the AHD suggests I’m wrong. their first definition for “gadfly” is: “a persistent irritating critic; a nuisance” (i guess I really am a gadfly…); and the second is: “one that intitialacts as a provocative stimulus.” nowhere is the idea of idling present.

thankfully the OED assures me that I’m not incorrect. while their first definition is the actual fly, and their second definition is the nuisance, the third (albeit disappearing) definition is, one who gads about. seeing as the english language also has the noun, “gadabout,” one prone to gadding about, it makes sense that the third definition of gadfly is disappearing. this is also a good illustration of poststructuralism’s contention that we need to be mindful of a word’s etymology when we read. as used, gadfly could mean many different things.

“gad-v2” is actually of questionable origin. though many believe that it comes from “gad-n1”, the fly, the OED quotes imply that the word comes from the now obsolete, “gadling”: a wanderer or vagabond (also, a companion). gadling is from the gothic and means companion.

i can’t actually say whether or not the gadfly in the book is a harmless idler or a nuissance. unlike mr. butawhimper, i couldn’t make it past the yellow brittle paper stock, and the book has languished on my shelves.

To the surprise of everyone, Senator Hillary Clinton recently declared her intentions to run for president. She is leading in the early national polls (which is worth, at best, absolutely nothing) and has the most extensive fund raising network of any 2008 contender. She intends to raise so much money, in fact, that she is completely forgoing public funds–a feat even George W. Bush’s legendary fund raising team never managed. Still, Clinton is a remarkably flawed candidate. She is stiff, brazenly calculating, and wrong on the issues. Even so, her war chest will keep her in the race for as long as she wants to be. And yet, our finest seers in the SaladCorp Oracles and Lawncare Division have properly read the entrails and seen the birds in flight: Hillary Clinton will not be president. While we have made stunning advances in divination over the years, it is up to me to show the reasons behind Clinton’s foretold demise.

1) The Constitution

During the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton remarked that he and Hillary were going to be like “co-presidents” and that voting for him was like getting two for the price of one. Using that logic, Hillary has already served two terms and is therefore ineligible to run again under the 22nd amendment. Should she be elected, she cannot serve. While this argument would never hold up in court, chances are there would never be a trial. Across the land, courts have been derelict in their judicial duties, creating an extensive backlog of cases. Why? Because activist judges are spending all their time (and the taxpayer’s dime) breaking up weddings and shooting babies with the guns they took from honest hunters.

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