Saturday, April 18, 2009

Layin' the Smackdown on Chatty Cathy

I get it…Everybody wants to be in on a big secret; it’s human nature. People are naturally curious and everybody wants to appear important by being “in the know.” But is it worth someone’s reputation? Gossip, like cockroaches, has followed us since the Stone Age.

First people talked trash about how bad Cro-Magnon’s sloped head looked in that animal skin. I mean really! He’s going out like that? Then people talked smack over the back fence when they were hanging out the laundry about how much Mr. Jones’ paid for that fancy car. Then they got on the telephone to dis’ Martha’s meatloaf recipe.

Today we have an updated term and method for gossip. We call it “cyber bullying.” Problem is, once you post: “Cindy is a slut,” as they say about venereal disease…that crap is forever. Even if you take it down, if someone has forwarded your text or email or link, then it’s out there. Why, my dear friends, do you think they call it “viral?”

The bad thing is this kind of gossip has lasting effects. When you’re done reading this, go Google “suicide and cyber bullying.” You’ll get 126,000 hits in 0.19 seconds.

Ancient people felt so strongly about gossiping that it made the BigTen. Commandment number nine says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

I used to be a cop. I wish I could share the stories and pictures of the young men and women (teenagers) who I helped shove into body bags because someone “heard” they had said something untrue and scandalous about them. Take it from me, slander and a 9mm ain't a goood mix.

Our grandmothers had it right when they said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” 'Nuff said.


Mary Cunningham said...

You lay it on the line, Sam! It's very sad to hear about a young life destroyed whether by suicide or by just being traumatized by malicious gossip.

Teenagers and adults need to be held accountable for their words. It's taken too long for this problem to be addressed.

Thanks for a great post! You have such a great way of tackling issues with not only hard facts, but with humor.


Martin Bartloff said...

I agree with Mary, Sam you put that nicely in perspective for everyone.


Ophelia Julien said...

Back when my kids were in grade school, one of the village cops talked about that very issue -of gossip driving a young girl to suicide. Sam, you're right about cyber-bullying being viral. Too bad we have yet to find the Vitamin C, the Nyquil, and the cough syrup for gossip.

Pam Ripling said...

Certainly another, very dark side of this week's subject. Thanks for the reminder about how wrong these things can go.