Those three words – they make a man, they break a man. They change lives forever. They bring people together, they tear couples apart. They make criminals out of common men. Those three words – Hollywood thrives on it. High school students crave for it. Adults are all ears about it. Because haven’t you heard?
“You’re nobody until you’re talked about”
The celebrities are fighting for a new law that states paparazzi cannot take pictures of their children. They’ve got it wrong. The paparazzi wouldn’t be there if some idiot on 5th avenue on his way to work didn’t look at a magazine that says “Ben Affleck’s family goes walking” and immediately fishes out $2 so he can read about it. In a way, doesn’t that feel creepy – that you would pay $2 of your hard-earned money to read about a family walking around the block? That you crave to look at pictures of them and read about their everyday activities?
When the media builds someone, they ensure that this person has always got the spotlight. When it vanishes, that person will do anything to bring that attention back. As a result of all this, we young adults have half-naked TV Awards, full naked music videos and the reigning queen’s photoshopped thigh gap. When someone posts a photo of themselves with another celebrity in a sexy manner, they spark rumors. “Is she dating him?” “Are they together?” And just like that, they’ve made news again.
Imagine you’re a kid in high school and nobody knows you, nobody talks to you but everybody knows her. There’s two ways to change that. Start a rumor about you so it would put you on the map. Start a rumor about her so it would take her off of it. Where does that kid learn this trick from?
The parent that sits at home and gossips about one friend to another. “Did you hear she got a nose job?” Why do you care if she did?
I moved to a new house a few years ago. Every time I walked into that house, people knew. Every time I walked out, they knew. They knew the people that came to visit. They knew what we were doing. Even weirder when the landlord, who lived five miles away, turned up exactly five minutes after we got there because someone had called her. When I moved out of there, I informed her that her “contacts” could be sued for stalking and invasion of privacy. She smiled and said “People just talk. It’s gossip and rumors. Ignore it.” But why should I?
This is something that has bothered me for a long time now and I’m just going to put this out there in the universe for someone to answer – Why is it so difficult for one human being to not care what the next one does? Whether on a bus or a train, when walking on the streets, when living in the same block, when picking up a gossip magazine – why? If you have a lot of time on your hands, join a class. If you don’t have the money, teach one. Go walk around your city, pick up a new habit. Why does one feel the need to read about another person – rumor or real – and then comment on it and spread it around?
Because this is the truth – if you’re not hearing something from the source, you can be very sure it’s either false or exaggerated. If I told someone that we found a 2ft long snake in my apartment building, the third person that hears it will hear – “Did you know? There was a 5ft long snake in her apartment and apparently it was hissing at everyone. It almost attacked a security guard. They couldn’t even control it. I heard it was such a fuss. Such a pity. Such a nice building, yet no safety.” All I ever said was “There was a 2ft long snake in my apartment building.”
With so many different types of social media, the world is shrinking. And as more people allow strangers a sneak-peak into their worlds and into their minds through pictures, messages and blogs, it is very difficult to know where the line of privacy is drawn. But anything you say will turn into a bigger story five people down and that fifth version is what we call “A Rumor” ..
It is fake, it is made up and yet, so unbelievably juicy. It is an individual’s responsibility to check with the source before spreading it around. If the source is unreachable, then maybe it’s time to put a stop to that story.
There are, of course, times when the source is lying to look cool. These are the times when you have to trust your own judgement. These are the times when you have to decide if you want to be the person that has the juiciest story or the one that does the right thing.
When we say we heard a rumor, it feels like such a petty thing. But I assure you, it’s not. I’m pretty sure 7 out of 10 rumors ruin lives. They change the person and not always for good. Any rumor about me would make me close up and go completely anti-social. Some rumors put people through mental trauma. Regular people like you and me have committed suicide because of rumors. So think twice before you click on that website to read about her new boob job. Think twice before you pick up that phone and talk about that secret you heard. Think twice before you make up a story to look cool. Always remember, if they’re gossiping to you, they’re gossiping about you.
And oh ! I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you. I just heard that rumor has it