Thursday :: Feb 1, 2007

Open Thread: A Molly Ivins Gadfly Edition


by Mary

To me Molly Ivins personified the term gadfly.

"Gadfly" is a term for people who upset the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions, or attempt to stimulate innovation by proving an irritant.

The term "gadfly" was used by Plato to describe Socrates' relationship of uncomfortable goad to the Athenian politician scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse. It was used earlier by the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 46 of his book. The term has been used to describe many politicians and social commentators.

During his defense when on trial for his life, Socrates, according to Plato's writings, pointed out that dissent, like the tiny (relative to the size of a horse) gadfly, was easy to swat, but the cost to society of silencing individuals who were irritating could be very high. "If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me," because his role was that of a gadfly, to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

Molly had launched the newspaper crusade to stop the latest Bush wars before she died. And I expect she'd think that now it's up to us to carry on in this quest.

Okay, your turn now.

Mary :: 12:52 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!