BEST GADFLY - 2006
According to the American Heritage dictionary, a gadfly is one of three things: "A persistent irritating critic; someone who acts as a provocative stimulus; or one of an array of various flies that bite or annoy livestock and other animals." So far as we know, Morrissey does not harass cattle. On the other two counts, though, he meets the definition to a T. Captain's Quarters, the political blog Morrissey has operated since 2003, can be a tiring read. It is chock full of predictable right-of-center talking points and, like most political blogs, is stained by its tone of chronic indignation. But if nothing else, Captain Ed—as he calls himself—is one persistent fellow. And per the definition, he certainly is willing to act as "a provocative stimulus." Just ask Paul Martin, the former prime minister of Canada whose long-ruling Liberal Party was ousted in the January elections. Martin's defeat, it is widely acknowledged, came in part due to Morrissey's tireless blogging on the subject of a kickback scandal involving Montreal ad firms with government contracts. How, you ask, could a middle-aged call-center manager from Eagan out-compete the Canadian media on such a matter? To understand that, you need to recognize the peculiarities of press restrictions in Canada, where media outlets were barred from reporting on the continuing investigation. Supplied with a steady stream of information from a Canadian citizen who attended the court hearings in Ottawa, Captain Ed faced no such constraints. Not long after he began publishing the particulars, hundreds of thousands of Canadians were soon visiting Morrissey's blog for updates. Why did Morrissey feel compelled to weigh in on clean government issues in Canada? Because he's a gadfly, that's why. And an effective one at that.