We here at the DoD seek to lead with the idea that deviants know best what they are about and so generally eschew limits of most kinds. However, we’ve really had it up to here (“here” being way up high, like above our heads, as far as our arms can reach high) with gadflies. Well, that’s not it exactly. What troubles us nigh unto perishing is people invoking the gadfly to explain their own ratty behavior. Yes, we know that there is a long and storied history of useful gadflies, those stingers of the staid and stale among us. But here’s the rub: Thinking you’re the gadfly is, we have ruefully concluded, generally a bad idea, not least because:
a) Thinking you’re the gadfly, the one delivering stinging truths to an otherwise bovine population, requires high confidence in oneself coupled with low estimation of others, a posture ill-suited to our fundamental mission here at DoD, the quest to know more things. Sure, Socrates – that gadfly we count as both blessing and curse upon us all – got away with some of this, but he also had a daemon. So, get a daemon, then we’ll talk.
b) Yes, thinking you’re a gadfly can be a marvelous alibi when you’re counting the reasons people don’t like you, but the risks of puling self-flattery are high here. While it’s historically true that gadflies came in for some serious dislike, it would be high folly to act as if the only or most plausible reason people dislike you is that you’re just so much the bomb at telling hard truths nobody else can see. Even worse, to imagine that others’ dislike of you is proof of gadfly status. Yes, right, they also hate you because you’re beautiful.
c) Maybe – just maybe – thinking you’re a gadfly is a self-defeating thought. Sort of like thinking you’re wise. Start thinking these things about yourself and you carry yourself several long strides away from them. Leave it to others to decide if you’re a gadfly. Or if you’re wise. Less chance you’ll be wrong then, we think.
d) Finally, is there anything more bathetic than thinking you’re a gadfly when you’re really just practicing some garden-variety juvenile rudeness? Probably, but we’d not want to find out. And, at any rate, we prefer our self-satirizing burlesque to be of the intentional sort, not something we stumble into out of misplaced self-valorization.
For all of these reasons, we here at the DoD have decided that for the foreseeable future, we shall eschew invocations of the gadfly. We recognize that this will leave us without rhetorical cover for a host of socially disagreeable sins and ills, but, well, that’s sort of the point.