I mentally toss around these two concepts from time to time, particularly when a rumor surfaces. In fact, there was quite the exchange regarding rumors on CL just last week-which has prompted this entry today.
At what point is something fact, and at what point is it fiction??
How do you determine which is which, when it comes to rumors and gossip?? I mean, how do you personally view the difference-is it fact when it comes from a close friend, but only "nasty gossip" when it comes fourth or fifth hand?
The small horse community here gossips something fierce-we all know that. There is a lot of talking going on, not in public or on the net-but emails, texting, and phone calls do fly when something "juicy" comes along. There is an equal amount of what can only be called back stabbing and trash talking going on as well. Sometimes, people are even used to carry information between parties-whether they are aware of it or not.
Many times, the same people who will denounce such behavior to your face, are the same ones that gleefully pass along tidbits to other buddies-and from there it makes the round, one person to the next-proving "six degrees of seperation" exists and functions quite well here thankyouverymuch ;)
Folks will move from one circle or clique to another-and promptly trash talk the previous set, exposing their failings and sometimes their secrets. I am not sure if this is just a way to gain acceptance, or the equivalent of sour grapes-but this is a fact we all know-and most of us, entirely too well.
I enjoy a good rumor, really. Sometimes they are hilarious, sometimes very sad, sometimes alarming-but I always, always attempt to find the truths-if there are any. I have stopped a number of them in their tracks over the years, thank heavens. Occasionally, rumors that float around about me could be resolved with a simple phone call and a question to two-but that rarely happens. Folks are much more at ease speaking to their friends than they are actually determining the truth. I'd say the majority of poeple gossip to one degree or another-whether they admit it or not. So, if two friends are discussing something that concerns them-is that gossiping? I don't think so.
If you are convinced that any talk of another person is gossip, then perhaps applying your standards across our culture will help you see the fallacy there: Any information that is not experienced first hand, would thus be gossip. All the news reports, all the articles and stories we read and hear every day, could qualify as gossip by that yardstick. Politics, international events, newspapers, radio, the internet, etc-all nothing but gossip yet we accord them more validity than we do that which we hear from our peers.
It's like the recent subject of a prior entry....I heard some startling things, and proceded quickly to discover the truths. Thus, I had contact with a number of people, and accurately relayed what I found out.
Does this make me a gossip?
Or a reporter?
Or a little of both?
Or none of those but something else?