Gossip in the information age

BY PHIL FOX ROSE

Gossip seems like the main form of entertainment these days. 

We’re bombarded with the ups and downs, the personal embarrassments, of entertainers, politicians, and a whole swath of people on pseudo-reality shows whose only reason for fame seems to be self-promotion. People have always been attracted to lurid news. 

In the Middle Ages, instead of Perez Hilton, its purveyors were roving minstrels — the medieval French term for a minstrel, jongleur, actually means “gossip.”

I think it’s worse now because of the information age — the obsessive focus on information to create an illusion of control. We substitute having an opinion about Kim Kardashian’s swimsuit for having an opinion about our purpose in life.

But I mention celebrity gossip only to point out how accepted gossip is in general. I want to focus on real life gossip — talking about people you know behind their backs — people at the office, people you call friends.

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