Gossip or is it just misinformation on print

For today’s blog, two of Starts at 60’s long time bloggers Sue Leighton and Susan Gabriel-Clarke share their thoughts on the topic of “gossip.”

Gossip is the equivalent of what we are force-fed daily by the media.  You know those that are written about high-profile celebrities, movie stars, sportsmen and women, Royal Family members…the list is endless.  Those tantalising titbits of trivia that many are tempted to read are often the entire content of many publications. “What’s the ‘Goss’?”; “Who’s dishing up the dirt on whom.”

And while people want to know this nonsense, according to Sue Leighton, she doesn’t. 

Sue Leighton say if we were talking over a garden fence, we’d be “gossiping” in the eyes of people who could see us talking together.  That is an aspect of gossiping though that isn’t nasty, it’s beneficial because of the saying: “A problem halved is a problem solved” Is that the right way of saying that if you speak of your problems or worries to a confidant, it helps – hence people going to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. 

“I do not gossip.  I detest gossip!  Whether it be over the back fence or a post on some social media site, the end result is never good. It has ended friendships; ruined careers, marriages, and sometimes caused an individual to even take their own life!” she exclaimed. 

Susan Gabriel-Clarke, on the other hand, doesn’t mind a little bit of gossip every now and again.

“Right, so here’s my two pennies’ worth. I like to know what a favourite film actor or actress is up to, for example, last year when I saw the headlines of an article that said a French TV game show presenter, Nagui, and his wife were separating I immediately wanted to read further,” Susan said. 

“It was in a long-outdated magazine in the doctor’s waiting room and as I hadn’t finished reading it when the doctor was ready to see me, I took the magazine into his surgery with me and asked if I could pay for it but he said to take it with no need to pay.

“Unlike Sue, I do love a bit of gossip.  Proof in the fact that I only get tempted to Read Starts at Sixty when it’s news of film stars of mature years, certain news on royal family members and if there’s a blog by a favourite blogger.  The same goes for newspapers here in France, I double-take newspaper headlines if they feature a favourite TV or film star, or Royal family member’s deeds!

“I remember an interview with Nicole Kidman on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and the interviewer asked her questions about her private life, she evaded giving answers to the first and second questions but the third question really annoyed her and she, figuratively speaking, shot the interviewer down in flames, exclaiming over the personal questions being put to her, again I can’t remember the exact words but I got the impression she thought the questions were audacious.  Had I been there I’d have given Nicole Kidman a “thumbs up” for defending her right to privacy. 

“Then there’s poor Megan’s “laundry” having been made public – I didn’t read first-hand all about it but I heard afterwards when Megan took the newspaper to court, that was via the BBC Radio 4 news which I can tune into on longwave here in France.

“Now, that article publishing Megan’s letter to her father was in a British national newspaper, it seems her father supplied the newspaper with her letter . . .. and the editor should be ashamed for publishing it.

Then there are so-called gossip rags: magazines that report on celebrities even though they are reporting exactly what a famous person says to them in an interview.  But then again, I’ve had things I’ve said in interviews that had sort of been manipulated or embellished or taken out of context in local newspapers in England and it’s wasn’t nice as readers misunderstood the point I was making. 

“The same happened with an article I wrote for The Building Trades Journal; I was commissioned by the editor to write an article giving a woman’s viewpoint on unit and appliance arrangement in a kitchen. This was way back in the early 1970s when I was the only woman kitchen planner the editor had come across.  I expressed an opinion in my article that provoked a derisive letter from a builder and the editor published it the following week. The builder refuted my opinion that it was better than the kitchen window gave illumination to the kitchen table and not to the sink because the sink could be sited elsewhere with a light fitted above it and he said that a sink had to be placed before an outside wall, where the window is because the drains are on the outside, nowadays my point has been well proved as kitchens can be in the middle of a house with under-floor drain pipes fitted beforehand!

However, people can misunderstand the written word and form strange opinions from what they read and hear and unfortunately, they can report it to a friend who hasn’t heard or read the original and speaks about it to someone else and that is how gossip spreads to the detriment of someone and also for that someone to be berated for having said or done something that someone didn’t say or do! I was told off by my sister for having said something silly about a kitchen sink. She hadn’t read the article; she’d just heard a scoffing remark from a distant relative who had presumably read the article or she herself had heard it second hand!”

There you have it!  Two different people; two differing opinions. Sue hasn’t the slightest interest in what the media “feeds” us about this or that person, yet Susan loves it! 

Sue’s only request is that all in-house writers, bloggers, “gossip-garbage” magazines…. Continue to spruik your “tripe”, by all means, but at least learn to spell; construct grammatically-correct sentences, and please, please don’t rely on applications to do it for you! 

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