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The Gadfly

The Gadfly brings you the best of social satire from Western Carolina University’s student community.

We want to make you think. And we want you to join us in making others think. We are firm believers that if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention, but anger is only the first step.

Changing the world is the second.

A long time ago, this awesome guy named Socrates stood up against an entire political and social structure and challenged some of his peers’ most basic beliefs. He did this because he believed that every one of us – as citizens, as neighbors, as humans – has the right and the duty to challenge the abuses of power that create disparities and divisions between people. (We’d tell you what happened to him, but it might ruin it. Go find a philosophy professor and ask.)

In that spirit, this publication uses satire and irony to point out the social, political, and economic problems that drive our contributors crazy.

(This is, in some ways, entirely self-serving; it’s much easier to laugh than to cry.)

Irony, by definition, means using words to express something other than – or opposite of – their literal meaning. This isn’t being sarcastic, or using that dry British wit we all love so much. Sarcasm hurts people by making ironic remarks – a very different thing.

Irony, on the other hand, aims to make its audience think, not bleed. Much cooler. Satire has been used by hundreds of good writers, philosophers, and thinkers throughout history to call attention to problems in a humorous way – if you can laugh at it, then you can wrap your brain around it, and if you can do that with other people who feel the same way, then you can laugh even louder, and maybe even do something about it.

For Socrates, the goal of being a gadfly was to “sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.” For us, it’s the same. We know we’re capable of using our brains, our creativity, and our voices to make people think about what’s really happening around them. We know that you probably are too. And every person who wakes up to the world as it really is – not the world as we are told it is – brings us all one step closer to the service of truth.

We use irony to show our contributors and our readers two very important things: one, that each of us is actually capable of using an ironic and humorous style to talk about serious things and reach a larger audience; and two, that if we can do it, so can everyone else – so it’s a good idea to learn how to think critically, evaluate arguments, and synthesize your own opinions without letting the media, the government, the church, or any other establishment shape those without your consent.


The Gadfly is run entirely by a student editor and editorial board, and governed by the WCU Student Media Board, an independent publishing board that oversees Student Media. The publication is supported by WCU Student Media and is affiliated with the WCU Philosophy and Religion Department (two of the coolest places on campus, by the way – we strongly believe in shameless self-promotion, coffee, and original thinking).

The student editor and the team he or she assembles to assist with the design, editing, layout and publication of the magazine retain full control of the magazine. There ain’t nobody here but us grownups, so don’t expect to be censored or shut down. We really like the First Amendment around here.

Do, however, expect to be asked to think, to challenge your audience and yourselves. We will help you do it, and it will be a lot of fun. We don’t have boring meetings – in fact, we don’t know what it means to be bored or to be boring, because there is so much in the world and in life to talk about, laugh at, and fix. But we do want you to be good at what you do.

How you say what you think is the most important thing you’re going to learn about yourself while you’re here. We want to help you do that in a way that reflects well not just on you, and not just on our coterie of writers and designers, but on the WCU community as a whole. We’re bringing the average up a little higher when we ask you to revise, edit, or discuss a piece with us. So don’t get angry with us; sensitivity is not a recommended attribute for Gadfly contributors. Just think of it as doing a little bit of good for all the people on campus who don’t care enough to try.

And the student editor and the editorial board (the fancy name we have to use for the people who work really hard in the middle of the night to put this thing together) retain full editorial rights. We can make revisions, ask you to make revisions, reject or accept proposals at will. But we’re pretty cool folks, so it really won’t be that bad.

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