One of the hazards of being in the media, is about constantly being in the midst of gossip, whether you like it or not.
For journalists (and writers), every bit of information is grist for the mill. It seldom matters if it’s true or false.. or wildly improbable. In fact, the more dubious the scrap of gossip, the greater the relish with which it’s passed on.
Gossip is rather unfairly associated with idle housewives but everyone does it. And sometimes about people they have never met and never will. Also, notice how only the salacious bits are whispered about — affairs, secret liaisons, drunken bouts and so on?
No one will ever gossip, say, about a person who goes to the temple every morning and feeds the poor. Nice things about people are kept under the hat, while misdemeanours — real or imaginary — go around in a matter of minutes.
Also, notice that while passing on a particularly lurid bit of gup, people will not even stop to ponder about its veracity. And if you question them, they will cite an unimpeachable source.
I often end up defending folks I don’t even know, simply because the piece of information being conveyed to me is obviously utter rubbish, and should be stopped from going further.
Not that it matters, people who listen to clearly false rumours may or may not believe them, but will pass them on with the same amount of glee.
Like more than one person (who must have had the same source) telling me that a major actress, at the start of her career had to grant ‘favours’ to a minor actor, a non-entity really, to get a break in films.
And, though the lady in question was no friend of mine, I had to reason with the gossip mongers that it couldn’t possibly be true, because the man was not even big enough to get an entry into the kind of production houses that had given the actress a ‘break’.
And if he did have that much clout, how come he could not use it to further his own career? But the spiciness of the piece had made it go around the grapevine several times, without anyone even stopping to think of how absurd it was.
Then I had several people saying, with great authority that the adopted kid of an actress was actually her own child. And it was ridiculous, because women can’t hide pregnancies easily.
And this actress had not been out of the public eye long enough to have given birth somewhere in secret — and if she had, the details would have emerged by and by. There are many people who leak out such stuff for a fee. But many had believed it without question, or they wouldn’t have been talking about it.
Then, just the other day, two journalists were speculating on the friendship between two women. And it was strange, ecause at one time friendship between a man and a woman would have been gossiped about.
Now it has come to this —two men or two women can’t be friends without inviting scandal. In that sense, the grapevine is democratic — it thinks the worst of everyone!