Gossip-Free Zone

Gossip is the enemy of any community. —Laura Tisoncik

I’ve decided to make my blog a gossip-free zone. I didn’t know that term existed when I came up with the idea, but I googled it and it does. I have no particular affiliation with any of the organizations or movements that used or coined this term, or their philosophies, or anything else. I know next to nothing about them. I just think that gossip is a destructive force that creates drama and pain and no useful action, and we can do better than to perpetuate it.

Anyone who believes similarly to me is welcome to use the graphic on their blog and link back to this page, if they want to.

I know some people may cringe at the wording of the following, but it conveys the message better than I can, it’s a poem I’ve seen floating around on anti-gossip websites:

My Name is Gossip (author unknown)

My name is Gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I maim without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning, malicious and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted, the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.
To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become.
I am nobody’s friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.
I topple governments and wreck marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartaches and indigestion.
I spawn suspicion and generate grief.
I make headlines and headaches.
Remember, before you repeat a story, ask yourself:
Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary??
If not, do not repeat it,

You can put the graphic on your page by using this HTML (feel free to edit it to your tastes):

<p><div align="center"><a href="http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?page_id=398&quot; title="Gossip-Free Zone"><img src="http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/7030/gossipfreexd1.jpg&quot; height="76" width="150" alt="Gossip-Free Zone" /></a></div></p>

17 responses »

  1. Gossip is a WMD (weapon of mindless destruction)

    Love the new blog layout……..though it threw me for a loop at first….wasn’t expecting total transformation.


  2. Gossip has been very, very good to me…..I used to worry about what people thought about me and took their views rather than my own…..now I have nothing to hide…..I know my faults and I am not ashamed…I know my strengths also…I see what is given to me by grace and it amazes me daily…..others push me to change but I (patiently?) wait for my higher power to show me the right direction

  3. Pingback: Kassiane's privacy is being violated in (literally) obscene ways, please help. - Ballastexistenz

  4. I’ve decided that in light of some of the exchanges I’ve come across lately, that I’d like to make my blog a “gossip free zone” as well. So I’ve borrowed your graphic and the code that goes with it. If I’m interpreting your post here correctly, it looks like this is OK for people to do, but let me know if I need to add any additional credits, etc. Thanks…

  5. I had a day today where i watched my 10 year old daughter tear up a magazine while chewing on a plastic toy, her favorite and tried to tell myself for the millionth time that I was not going to ever know what was in her head. That everyone around us was probably right and that she is profoundly retarded. Except that sometimes when I talk to her about stuff that is really important I just “know” that she totally gets it. so tonight I went to you tube and in the search engine I typed “retarded” and I don’t even know why I did it. Up came the most vile hateful stuff and it hurt so much and then I got your video on your opinion on mental retardation and I saw you. I saw Caroline too. She is dark haired and so beautiful. She loves to flap her arms too. she walks and paces like you seemed to do. We are getting a Dynovox in January! Maybe that is the key to it all, was it for you? Anyway, you gave me hope for Caroline tonight. I have renewed momentum for it is hard to be the Mom of a truly special child. Thanks for your video and thanks for giving me a little hope.
    Caroline has a caring bridge site if you can access that CarolineDeLuca is the site name if you get there.
    Again thanks

  6. Amanda, hi. I want to tell you how proud I am of you(people tell you they want you to communicate, they want you to be better, but your already communicating everything you need to just without words, but don’t the people that love you( people = large margin for error, love can equally make that error margin bigger and smaller sometimes simultaneously) know what’s best for you, I personally am of the mind an individual knows what’s best for themselves). I think, I’m in the class A.S.D., but I don’t know that, no one’s ever told me that aside from my sister(Who meant it as an insult, but why is it insulting it actually made a lot of sense.) . But in my heart I know it’s true. I watched you on T.V. and I had an almost complete emotional breakdown( I felt really good because I finally found someone who understands what’s right, but I realized simultaneously how horrible it is for you and others like you, not because of your disability, but because of your advantage that no one seems to realize is just that an advantage, and how awful it must feel to not be able to make them see your autism doesn’t need fixing it’s just another way to see.) Everything you said made more sense to me then anything I’ve ever heard from “normal” people( One might say the most reasonable talk.) That’s how I know I’m not normal even though I’m told I am(Which is funny because I’m told I’m crazy, unless I say I’m crazy, at which point I have another problem because healthy people don’t like being crazy, but I don’t feel crazy in the first place but since I live in this society and this society says I’m crazy then aren’t I crazy regardless of if I feel crazy or not.) I decided that I’m “crazy” because according to society’s word crazy I am, just like according to society’s word; autistic is what you are. But if this society is in control of words it’s in essence in control of people like you and I, the only people that care to correct this gross miscalculation of what society is or what role it should play in everyday life. But I’m sure you’ve figured that out. It’s odd that you said everything I have been trying to say better and more eloquently then I can ever hope to imagine saying it, but I’m the normal one and your the one that needs a cure(Ha an amusing but disconcerting realization). I have a question for you. Do people always listen to the first half of what you say, and then when you try to explain the second half, the most important half it’s like they don’t listen, almost like they can’t listen. Sincerely Jackie C.

  7. I must say, after reading many of your blogs I realized what an intellectual powerhouse you are. I have read many blogs by many philosophers and theologians and such, but your ideas and perceptions are very profound and are more authentic. If you are able to get some of your blogs published in a book, I think it would open the minds of so many people. I am sorry people judge you on how you appear to them. If they only knew how very wrong their perceptions are.

  8. However, gossip DOES have a productive, positive aspect as being a symptom or a consequence of a shoddy information network, and one which can point out the destructive nature of information hoarding. For example, say you work in an office and someone gets a promotion. If it’s not presented openly why exactly that person got the promotion, gossip is the the consequence.

    This view sees gossip not as a problem in itself but the effect of another problem and a force which attempts to keep certain types of power in check.

  9. Having heard a lot of gossip in my life, and known many people who’ve been harmed by it, I can’t believe that, it doesn’t match the evidence in front of me.

    For instance, the person I know with a chronic illness that causes frequent vomiting, who despite being open about it, got accused of being drunk because someone “caught her” vomiting. The person doing the accusing was not only overly suspicious of honesty (and therefore assumed she had to sneak around to find the “real” answers), but also had no sense of other people needing privacy (or that something might ever be none of her business), sometimes enjoyed creating drama if she got too bored, and other times spread rumors about people in a vengeful manner without even needing the small piece of “evidence” that vomiting entailed. The stories about drunkenness severely damaged the first person’s relationships, and since drunks are supposed to make excuses and be in denial, it was a no-win situation, telling the truth didn’t convince people.

    I’ve seen a whole lot of that kind of gossip. And no, telling the company why someone got a promotion doesn’t stop other people from trying to spread rumors that she’s sleeping with the boss. And failing to tell the rest of the company wouldn’t justify those rumors either. My first experience of gossip was watching a group of schoolchildren make up lewd stories about the parents of a boy they didn’t like. I just can’t buy the idea that gossip is the fault of its targets.

  10. Ballastexistenz –

    Thank you so, so much for this. I agree with every molecule of me.

    I’ve been on both sides of the gossip machine and it’s done nothing but cause massive damage to all concerned. I strongly believe that it’s hate speech in the most literal sense, and I avoid it at all costs.

    Been reading your blog for some time, so de-lurking. :)


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