Sophomore political science major Dick Rastley announced Friday, March 19 that despite using the word “clout” in several essays, papers, conversations, and group chats over the past few years, he has absolutely no idea what it means.
“It’s really embarrassing, and not just for me,” Rastley said. “I mean, I should know what it is, but somebody should have said something. All of my friends are poli-sci too, so what does that say about the cost of tuition?”
Rastley attributed his ignorance to the current chaotic technological and political climate. According to Rastley, in a world of fake news, Urban Dictionary, and post-modern English professors, it’s getting harder and harder to know for sure what words mean.
“After I came out, I asked one of the professors in the English department what the word meant, and they told me that it didn’t really matter,” Rastley said. “As long as people understood what I was saying, that was good enough. I don’t really know what to think anymore.”
Rastley chose not to divulge which member of the English faculty he had contacted.
Rastley’s problem is not a common one, and his admission has not been well received by upper and underclassmen alike.
“You literally have a super computer in your hand with access to all of the information ever uploaded to the internet. If you don’t know what a word is, look it up. I have absolutely no sympathy [for Rastley],” senior art history major Collin Barrel said.
“Why are you even reporting on this? How is this news?” first-year criminology major Kate Blansette said.
Even under criticism, Rastley remains firm about raising awareness for what he sees as a deeply important issue.
“I just think that language matters … I won’t let people bury this only because they don’t care about it,” Rastley said. “I care about it. Everyone should.”
Rastley is proud of himself for being one of the first to come forward, and sees it as a big step toward ending the tyranny of the word clout.
“What does clout mean? I still don’t know. I don’t think I ever will,” Rastley said.
The word clout, according to the Merriam Webster Website, can be used as either a noun or a verb. As the former it can mean political or social influence, a blow specifically dealt by a hand, or a piece of cloth or leather. As the latter it can mean to hit something forcefully or to cover or patch something with a piece of leather.
Following up with Rastley after the interview, he still remains ignorant to the several definitions of the word clout, and seemed eager to share what he hadn’t learned.
“Progress is slow, I admit, but I really feel like I’m getting somewhere with this,” Rastley said. “Who knows what the future holds? Oh, and I don’t read the news. You just can’t trust the media these days.”
If you or a loved one ever need to know what a word means, please take a few minutes of your time to put the word into Google, ask Siri, Cortana, or whatever Android has, or just go to the library. Definitions are only a few fingertaps away.