Gadflies Are Everywhere

In February, the New York Times published a profile of Christopher Fountain,  the Gadfly of Greenwich Real Estate, which mentioned his popular blog.

Landon Thomas, the author uses gadfly to describe Fountain. What is a gadfly? A gadfly is a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism.

Christopher Fountain, real estate agent and blogger,
often lampoons the market he serves.
Andrew Sullivan for The New York Times

Fountain is a real estate broker, but also a blogger. Just as Thomas describes, “Indeed, Mr. Fountain would seem to spend as much time selling schadenfreude as houses.”

Fountain’s blog is full of sarcasm and criticism. He makes himself a know-all, while all the others the witless. In some people’s opinion, Mr. Fountain is a great blogger. “He is really catnip for all of us,” said a defense lawyer for a legally encumbered Greenwich resident. But for me, his sarcastic voice skewers me.

The essence of Fountain’s complaint is about that decades of easy money and ceaseless greed have created a glut of unsalable houses that will remain a blight for many years. Thomas takes nearly one third of this essay to describe these blind and greed investors, such as DeVito. They cannot wait to waste their money building houses even if they just get out of the prison.

No other words fit Fountain better than gadfly.

But gadflies are everywhere now.

What’s Chinese complaining about online? We argue and even quarrel about social issues: the high price of the houses and apartments, the expensive medical costs, the difficulty to find jobs and the anomalous poisonous air.

Chinese have completely discard blog when they have Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. Messages from the so call “opinion leaders” may be reposted for tens of thousands of times on Weibo. The core of their posts is criticizing the authorities. They blame the government for all the social problems and call themselves the “public intellectuals” or “innovationists” asking for democracy. The development of Internet and social media are considered to contribute to the freedom of expression in China.

Well, we can say nearly everything freely online now. But is that real freedom? Can these “complain-about-everything-Weibor” really speak for us, as we expect? They are so extreme that they gloat when the officials are attacked or even killed.

I am already tired to see complains when I wake up and check Weibo every morning. Even if I unfollow those opinion leaders, I can always see their posts because the friends I follow repost them. They are gadflies, who can fly to anywhere.


Will the gadflies help to make our life better? Or just bring us an online environment full of noise?


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