Thursday, 28 February 2008

What’s the goss?

If you have nothing nice to say, come sit beside me -- Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias

The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing.” --Johnny Depp

Gossip – what is it really?

1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.
4. A close friend or companion.
5. Chiefly British A godparent.

Number 5 on that list is interesting. If you are a godparent are you aware you are a gossip? Apparently it’s old English. Anyway, why I am talking about gossip? Well because I got a stream of emails from a place I used to work at today about someone doing something to someone else and how shocking it all was. It amused me as I had not worked there for a year or more. While I knew the people involved, it made me laugh that the senders thought I would care. I will admit, being the impure person that I am, I will listen to gossip. Quel surprise. I generally believe anyone who says they won’t is fibbing. Just my impure opinion of course.

I don't at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.-- Oscar Wilde

Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys --
Joseph Conrad

Don’t tell anyone but the next five people but…--Ethel

So why do you reckon we, those that admit to it, listen to gossip? I tend to think it’s because we are human beings and we like to hear interesting stuff about other people especially in the work place or in group – in person or online – situations. Maybe it makes our boring lives a little bit more interesting. When I wrote Because I Can it was set in a call centre where everyone knew everything or thought they did about everyone else. Call centres are the breeding grounds for gossip as everyone is bored as hell and gossip is the only thing that keeps you from banging you head against the keyboard until you mercifully black out. Feedback from reviewers and readers of Because I Can indicated people identified with that.

Justin was amused as the heads popped up over partitions to watch his progress through the office. It was like meerkats scoping out an intruder. Instead these were Promptel call centre operators, predominantly female and definitely wanting to know why he was there and what was going on. It was only natural everyone would look at him. Justin was new to the office. He knew he would be perfect gossip fodder in an unhappy environment full of red-blooded women. And he knew walking deliberately up to Miranda’s desk would fuel some flames. But he did not care. He wanted to see her. When she left his office yesterday afternoon, Justin had not been able to think of anything but Miranda Marshall.

Miranda felt eyes burning into her back. She swiveled around in her chair and saw the reason why. Bloody hell! What was Justin Hale doing here and why was he coming directly toward her? After their torrid day yesterday, part of Miranda had hoped he had gone back to Melbourne. Another part had prayed he had stayed and it seemed praying actually worked. Who knew? Miranda could feel her face flushing brightly at the downright sexy look Justin Hale gave her and she knew it would be impossible to expect her fellow colleagues not to draw their own conclusions. If situations were reversed, she would have. After all, gossip, rumor and innuendo were the only things that kept the office interesting. The last thing she needed was everyone knowing she had fallen for the boss. And she especially did not need the man in question to know. How pathetic and sex starved would she look falling hard for a man she had known for only a day? Who would even believe that?

Have I been gossiped about? Sure. Do I care? Nope, it gives people something to do. I do not believe in malicious gossip – keep that to yourself but gossip like did you know that X caught Y and Z outside in a car in the car park shagging? Or, L got mad at Q and spread around the office that he had a small penis - that livens an office or a dreary moment up. As for celebrity gossip - I don’t care for it. I don’t know them so why would I care one way or the other?

I emailed back my ex-co-workers ‘thanks for the goss.’ It was amusing and irrelevant but sometimes its stuff like that they keeps us from going insane at out jobs or in our lives. Call it a break in the madness if you like. So what do you think? Do you listen to gossip or not? Are you pure of heart or bad to the bone?

Has Anny got gossip on No, she is too Zen. While Kelly on is too pure to indulge in rumour.
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


Dakota Rebel said...

I listen to gossip. I LOVE gossip. Mr. Rebel says it because I am the worst kind of Voyeur. I want to know everything about everyone at all times, whether I know them or now. I am an information whore. I eavesdrop, I read celebrity rag mags, I am next in line whenever somebody says "You're not going to believe this shit..."

My current blog obsession is PostSecret. They update every Sunday with anonymous secrets. I love it. I gasp, I laugh, once I even cried. I don't know these people and I don't even know the situation surrounding their secrets, but I want to read them.


Kelly Kirch said...

Ethel's was my favorite quote up there. Excellent.

Brynn Paulin said...

Oddly, I was going to start tomorrows blog with your top quote. Guess I won't now.

Usually I ignore gossip, but occasionally a bit of gossip rings pretty true...I got bit by a piece of it myself a few weeks ago that really hurt my feelings. But that's the way things go.

Mona Risk said...

When I started working in my old company, a succeful friend gave me this advice: To go up in the ladder here, don't gossip; but listen to every gossip.It's how you learn about you superiors and colleagues' characters.

I'm not reading the excerpt as I plan to read the book.

Anny Cook said...

Gossip can harm. Gossip can help. It depends on the setting.

For instance, if a person in a job situation is particularly cranky, and someone else casually lets the coworkers know that the person has a difficult home situation to deal with, then everyone cuts that person a little slack.

I don't take part in gossip that can have a negative effect on a person's life. On the other hand, I wish that people didn't do stupid things that attracted the gossipmongers.

As for celebrity gossip? Don't know 'em, don't care.

Molly Daniels said...

Having been the subject of some nasty gossip several years ago, I try not spread it if it hits my ears. I know how damaging it can be.

But, as Anny says, sometimes the 'innocent' kind can work in your favor.

Sandra Cox said...

All interesting responses. Thought Mona's was apropos.

Jacquéline_Roth said...

I'm with you and Anny. Don't care about celebrity gossip. I want to know if the latest movie/television show/cd is good. I do like the "how it was made" stuff and trivia too. But their personal lives? Why would I care?

The SO and I turned on our tv (a first in about 5 years) to check a weather forcast since our phone line was out and we are on dialup. I caught about 3 minutes of TMZ and was disgusted. It was horrifyingly invasive and when they referred to Brad Pitt's children as "the Adoption Lottery Winners" I decided I'd take my chances with the weather rather than listen to that.

Ashley Ladd said...

Wish I could say I never listen to gossip or participate. I try to say nice things about people. My boss joked right before my promotion to manager was official of our customer service office - sort of a call center, btw :) - that we shouldn't announce my promotion for another week or two so I could be an undercover spy. I knew a lot of things he didn't, that I tried to ignore before I was manager but that would help me to know once I moved up. He warned me, however, that I'd no longer be privy to it after.

I work for a Christian ministry and you'd think everyone would be near perfect, that we wouldn't have problems, but it's more of a soap opera (and how would we know if we didn't gossip so much???) than almost anywhere else I worked (except for the "gay" station - a Hess gas station - that's another story...)