Why Do I Find Gossip So Interesting When I Want To Hate It?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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I thought I hated gossiping. When people used to whisper back and forth in class or write each other notes during class, I wanted to despise them. Did they have anything better to do than talk about their classmates negatively? Was the class not as interesting as what happened over the weekend to so-and-so? I was confused about the obsession with knowing everything about everyone. I just didn't get it!

Then one day, something switched. I started learning these things about people and, while I was a great secret keeper, sometimes the information pours out of you like a volcano. I'd resorted to laughing about it with my friends and to ensure that I wasn't to blame for any wrong information, I would, without a fail, say this afterwards: "Well, at least that's what I heard". That was something that I thought would for sure keep me as an innocent bystander. That way I wasn't responsible for any rumors. Looking back on it, that was incredibly stupid of me. I was still gossiping, but to make myself feel less guilty, I'd put the blame on a completely made up person instead of letting myself or whomever told me in the first place go down in flames.

This goes for celebrity gossip as well. I can say that I hate tabloids one hundred times a day, and yet I find myself enveloped into the celebrity culture. I love knowing what's going on in their lives, despite me claiming that I hate it. I can say that it's invasive and inaccurate, yet I love when I hear a new rumor.  It's a sick form of entertainment that I can't seem to control.

In my Communications, earlier in the semester we discussed gossip. The definition in our book states that gossip is "to talk about an absent third party that can range from imparting information as well as speculation, rumors, and false information." In this sense, gossiping can include, but isn't just limited to rumors. Has the act of gossiping been taken over by the idea that it can spread false information, or is chatting about that absent third party, no matter the accuracy of the information, rude?

One of my goals is always to stop gossiping, and it always will be. Now that I live away from home, the way I learn about the happenings in NY is mainly through gossip from friends and family. I suppose I'll just have to find another way of learning about people's lives. Shall I try the old fashion way of, gasp, talking to people directly?

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