Gossip

This from Collins Dictionary

gossip

Word forms: plural, 3rd person singular present tense gossips , present participle gossiping , past tense, past participle gossiped

1. variable noun

Gossip is informal conversation, often about other people’s private affairs.

He spent the first hour talking gossip.

There has been much gossip about the possible reasons for his absence.

Don’t you like a good gossip?

Synonyms: idle talk, scandal, hearsay, tittle-tattle  

2. verb

If you gossip with someone, you talk informally, especially about other people or local events. You can also say that two people gossip.

We spoke, debated, gossiped into the night. [VERB]

Eva gossiped with Sarah. [VERB + with]

Mrs Lilywhite never gossiped. [VERB]

Synonyms: chat, chatter, blather, schmooze [slang] 

3. countable noun

If you describe someone as a gossip, you mean that they enjoy talking informally to people about the private affairs of others.

[disapproval]

He was a vicious gossip.

Synonyms: busybody, babbler, prattler, chatterbox [informal] 

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This from Merriam Webster

gossip noun

Definition of gossip

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a dialectal British : godparent

b : companion, crony

c : a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others the worst gossip in town

2a : rumor or report of an intimate nature spreading gossip about their divorce

b : a chatty talk

c : the subject matter of gossip Their breakup was common gossip.

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This from Cambridge dictionary

gossip

noun

uk

conversation or reports about other people’s private lives that might be unkind, disapproving, or not true:

Her letter was full of gossip.

I don’t like all this idle gossip.

I’ve got some juicy gossip for you.

Have you heard the (latest) gossip?

UK Jane and Lyn sat in the kitchen having a good gossip about their friends.

[ C ] disapproving

( also gossipmonger, uk/ˈɡɒs.ɪpˌmʌŋ.ɡər/ us/ˈɡɑː.səpˌmʌŋ.ɡɚ/)

someone who enjoys talking about other people and their private lives:

She’s a terrible gossip.

More examples

  • I’ve just been talking to the girls downstairs and I’ve got some delicious gossip.
  • Some magazines contain nothing but scandal and gossip.
  • She always keeps me up to date with the latest gossip.
  • There’s a lot of gossip about me going around. What have you been saying?
  • Let’s go for a coffee – I need to catch up on all the gossip.

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This from the Urban Dictionary

gossip

Exaggeration or fabrication of a story, regarding somebody other than the tale bearer, in the absence of this person who is being discussed – for the malicious purpouse of demeaning, slandering or tarnishing this person’s reputation.

I used to be good friends with this bitch for like 6 years, and when we had a fallout, she went around gossiping all of my personal shit to people behind my back.

gossip

Something nasty people do when they are bored, have no life, or are really stupid. It’s nasty because a lot of the time you never hear about it and people are way too PC to admit and are nice to you to your face, but spread nasty gossip behind your back. And you never know what happened when someone suddenly hates you for no reason or some people start threatening you for no reason. That’s because some loser(s) with no life or brain decided to gossip because they’re too stupid to have any hobbies, a real social life, or any shread of conscience whatsoever.

Gossip is what happens before you get a knife in your back.

“You’re a gossiping wench and I hope the toilet eats you next time you take one of your rauncy diareah shits”

“Get a new hobby, try nitting, cutting yourself just stop gossiping. It causes cancer.”

Gossip

An event between loose mouthed assholes, that happens as soon as you get into highschool. People start talkin, before you even get a chance to say anything, then ruins your reputation, and follows you all the way to your deathbed. It never ends.

“psst did you hear…..”

“like omg, lets go up to her and make fun of her”

“i heard what you did over the summer you slut!”

Gossip

Talking bad about a person and their life when it’s clearly none of your fucking business.

“Omg, she likes him? She’s so unattractive tho!”

“I don’t care. I hate people who gossip.”

gossip

a fancy word for bullshit.

Why do u even listen 2 that gossip!?!

What is Normal for You?

For many, I imagine, the idea of having a good old chin wag and a gossip is normal and even socially acceptable. Very little thought is given to it. People spread the “goss” on others and take some salacious pleasure if there are any juicy morsels therein. Without doubt there is some enhancement or elaboration as the morsel passes between vectors.

In my former profession gossip was rife. In fact, a form of gossip called “measures of esteem” was used as a metric for career progression. I have joked that the collective noun for a group of academics is a “gossip” of academics. Reputation, as impermanent as it is, is an “important” thing in the academy. Decision making is not quite as rational as it may be deemed, especially when it comes to the allocation of money. Reputation can be built or destroyed by the swish of a tongue. It is part and parcel of a way of life, it is “normal”. Any organism has internal politics.

Few would consider gossip as a an entirely toxic poison because what would there be left to talk about without gossip. Of course, it is only other people who spread and listen to gossip. WE are having an intelligent conversation. It is very easy to kid oneself and find justifications for any behaviour which one wants to indulge in.

It is normal to gossip, isn’t it? So that makes it OK.  People can have some very dodgy motives.

I think I have mentioned that on a number of occasions I have had people gossip about me, to me, without their realising who I was. This is weird to experience, the temptation to say “please, tell me more” was strong.

Is it normal to use the internet to stalk another being, perhaps an ex?

If everybody is doing it, is it really OK?

I’ll make a hypothesis.

As a rule of thumb people are not honest with themselves about their motives and they use justifications to obfuscate and mitigate said motives, so as to kid themselves. People are not self-aware.

Is this normal behaviour? What do you think? Is it an accurate hypothesis?

I suspect that this hypothesis applies to groups of people as well as individuals.

I want to ask a question:

Have you ever used the cloaks of normality and social acceptability to indulge is something that is dodgy?

The reason that this is flagged up today for me is that people on the telly are banging on about wanting to get back to normal post-pandemic. The pandemic isn’t over yet, and I am not so sure that normal is any good any way.

The Big C Recapitulation.

I found these excerpts from an earlier blog, written not long after my cancer operation on the 2nd July 2015.

Thursday the 7th of August

It has been a bit of a whirlwind these last two months or so; so much to process and much to learn. June 2nd they found seven polyps, I said to the GP that as I had seven tickets in the cancer lottery at odds of 10:1 per polyp, there was a good chance I would win. He didn’t like my analysis and was a little shocked. June 10th a strange man stuck a big black colonoscope up my arse and through the haze of barbiturates he said “tumour”. I looked at the screen and there it was, markedly different from the now eleven polyps. He said that from his experience he was 97% sure that it was cancer. I watched him excise the polyps and take biopsies of the tumour.

In the recovery room the nurses were all a bit weird, they did not know what to say or do. I had to tell the wife. In the step down room there were others there. I said the word tumour and the place fell silent. One CT scan and an inconclusive biopsy later, I was back for yet another thing up my arse. Measure twice cut once; is the old adage. I got my second internal tattoos. July the 2nd on a hot night to the light of a full moon they cut it out along with 38 lymph nodes. And now I am here back on the farm, a member of the Big C club.

I am not back to full strength yet. If I do exercise the next day I am tired. My brain and my language is functioning OK. My plumbing and sewerage works, though the latter now has idiosyncrasy. How I yearn for a curry but the pipes can’t cope with that yet.

I was never afraid of death and I still am not. This is not bravado talking. When you have seen what I have seen, there is no fear of death; not so keen on more operations, a stoma and chemo though. For now though it is wait and see. Watch the pan for any blood and at Christmas the chimney sweep will again look up my chimney, the CAT scan will cut my body into slices and the Gods of the interdisciplinary team will decree.

It is strange to watch people’s faces as you say the magic word of doom. You can’t unsay it. It is out there. It causes a lot of fear. You can almost see; “But for the grace of God there go I” run across a screen on their foreheads. Those who have been a bit shitty to you blush a little internally. If you listen to the wind you can hear the jungle drums of gossip. “Well I never. He did drink and smoke you know! Tut, tut, tut…” Are not people just great?

It occurred to me that having a Big C could be used for manipulation and attention seeking. I made a little vow to myself not to do this. I did not want to have to deal with other people’s drama. It is funny how so very many people make your cancer all about them.

Life has no doubt changed for me and the wife. In fact it is still changing. I am not yet clear how I want to use the rest of this life. I don’t have the obligatory, perhaps inane, bucket list. I have already had quite a few adventures and travelled widely, by the age of 13 I had 160,000 air miles, back when air miles were harder to come by. The world now is so brim full of health and safety and you have to sign a chit before you can fart. How did we get here, to this and the mind-set which pervades?

If it comes back I have thought of Dignitas or running away to join the Peshmerga. I don’t know how I will be or what I will think. I can take my consciousness out of the body at will, but you cannot break the laws of karma. When your time is up, it is up and not before. I guess wait and see how this pans out is all that I can do for now.

I do have a sense of needing to move and a vague feeling that chapters of life need closing. The trouble is there are other actors in those chapters and you cannot simply stand on the book to close the chapter when others are keeping it open. They have unfinished business even if they do not acknowledge this. I can sense this at a distance. It is not my move in the game of life in this respect.

I have a strange hankering for mountains and rivers. I do not want another cold dank British winter. I will need a revenue stream wherever we go. It does not need to be big. These are the only parameters which spring to mind.

Only once did self-pity get the better of me. A syringe of oral morphine soon fixed that as I drifted off in reverie. Death could be a release for me for I am often unwelcome and I am a source of friction to others. The world has not always been kind to me. That sore thumb which simply will not shut up and die, I am a reminder.

But hey, I am alive and kicking.

As a result of all this my will has been rewritten and my tax return submitted early. I even have a free prescription voucher now, yippee!

People are so very scared, so unreal. I am not made of porcelain, never have been, never will be. In fact I am likely to be even more forthright than before. The vestiges of fear are perhaps dissected under the pathologist’s knife. Cancer is not taboo to me, it is, so it seems, to others.

There is no fatted calf waiting for the Prodigal, this I have learned in spades. There is no way back to the life I had once. All that awaits is resentment and suspicion. To jettison that which people hold dear is the ultimate betrayal. Yet did not Siddhartha also leave the palace and Thoreau, did he not say;

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

Well what do you do when you have left the palace and wandered in the woods? What next?

As sure as sixpence you belong among the madding crowd even less.

This is not my first brush with death, that happened when I was 11. I never felt his breath on my neck this time, I heard his footsteps down the corridor but I wasn’t yet in his diary. He had an appointment elsewhere and had to dash. No doubt we will meet again some day.

So I am in a sort of limbo, an in between state. It is all rather odd even timeless. There is no real sense of life before the Big C and as yet no sight of a future. There is only now. Each second seems somehow dilated as if the elastic of time has been stretched. I wonder if it will ever ping back or whether it is stuck like this.

I guess I am an even stranger fish than I was before, though looking at me you would not know. My fifty year old vehicle looks much like all the others, you would not know my exhuast is faulty at first sight.

Devoid of ambition, alive and wondering what else lies ahead. What shall I do with the rest of the time on my clock? I sure as hell don’t know today….

Monday the 10th of August

Today is one of those sleepy drowsy days. I am napping on and off. Last night I had a Chinese takeaway and today I am paying the price; a bit glued up down there.

About five weeks since a nice man sliced me open and took out a piece of colon. The sciences of soft wet matter, biology and medicine, have advanced. Half a century ago I would be five weeks closer to the grave. The stricturing tumour would be closing the diameter of my colon and my appetite would be waning. Perhaps it would have broken through the colon wall and into the lymph nodes. After that, well it would probably only be a matter of time. There is a part of me that wonders if I have interfered with karma.

There is a sense of other worldliness to me. I go into town and watch the townsfolk go about their business, urgent on their ‘phones and tutting the children. Snippets of conversation float by and I hear the gripes, the cunning plans and the gossip.

I discussed telling others about this. I live pretty much as a recluse and it seemed a bit odd to contact people out of the blue; “Hi remember me? I just got a cancer diagnosis.” So I haven’t done this (with one exception). Someone emailed me a week ago, I told them and nothing; no reply, no “how are you?”. Another wanted only to argue with me.

In the ether I can sense people with temporal power of varying degree talking about me. {I was not always a recluse}. The gossip goes on. What to do? They may even still be watching me and what I say or do, the sick bastards. Of course this could all be paranoia.

That world, their world is now so very alien to me. It is a case of same planet, different worlds.

That chapter started again over two years ago when I was stupid enough to apply for a job back in technology and science. When will I learn? I can’t undo that nor whatever is in motion now. It will run its course. I opened up Pandora’s box.

Around those campfires, how people like to sit and gossip and those jungle drums, they beat of a jungle night.

Me I am powerless. Here in my hut I regain and do not have any clue what the world will now turn out to be. There is no oracle or scrying glass to foretell and I am not strong enough for a vision quest.

For now I must simply wait and doze.

Since the anaesthetic my dreams have been all over the place and what remained of my memories have faded. This stillness of now, is utter. It is only punctuated by the sound of the farm and the rare passing car.

Now, that is what there is, now and a whole lot of it.

Thursday the 13th of August

We cannot claim that the ally is a moth as we ordinarily know moths. Nonetheless, moths are the heralds of eternity, and because of this they carry on their wings the gold dust of eternity. This is the way in which it has been set up by power.

Today it rains and the sky stomach rumbles, waiting for dinner. The rain ebbs and flows and boy does it feel good. In town and out here, the cold water drops through my linen shirt had me scurrying. To have your hair washed in such a way brings a smile and not a grimace. I love the rain as only a child of the desert can. For I was once scorched there.

This afternoon a gentle tear rolled down my face as I remember the kindness of the two young nurses in the recovery room. I am not used to so much of that.

Last night the ally came and we watched Perseids in the night sky. To lay on the grass and then in the cloud window before the storm, they came. It is good out here, for England that is, not too much light pollution. The skies are not quite so big as those of the Australian desert or the African bush. They are big enough.

When I awoke after five hours surgery in the recovery room, things were a bit of a blur. I was off my face still. I had three cannulae and a catheter, two veins and an artery. There was an arterial pressure transducer and a sleeve. I had two inflating stockings pulsing on my legs. After everyone was gone I was there with the others. I drifted in and out unable to sleep like everyone else. A soft-spoken Czech nurse was looking after me. She sat close doing some paperwork and from time to time we spoke as she gave me more IV morphine. Everyone else seemed to be sleeping. It was a United Nations ward, at least among the staff. We spoke of many things in those wee small hours.

She handed over to a young Kenyan nurse in the morning. And that African alternation in her words had me back in the garden with Spider and Tembo. I was sitting with them playing the stone game as they held court for the young men. I was always allowed to be with them. I passed many an hour there and was more native than the rest of my family. I was back with Maasai witch doctor who offered me a place to stay in his village and for as long as I wanted. That rhythm of life had me. Unless you have experienced it, you will never know the directness. There are words and there is communication beyond words.

She bathed my back and made me do my front. She asked me what I did and I told her. I said that I did not know what to do next. She said that I could write a book. And then she said as if I was stupid and it was very obvious; “You impart knowledge!” . It was almost a command.

When I stood for the physio to check me over I could see the concern in her eyes that I might fall. That nonverbal communication was clear enough. Less than twelve hours after the operation the physio discharged me. A little later I was handed over to the private single room. The young nurse hugged me, kissed me on the cheek and said that my name was now in the prayer box. Prayers would be said for me. I thanked her.

Strange, that I am welling up as I write this. How often it is that acts of kindness from a stranger are profound.

Given how weird the days after the operation were, there is a part of me that wonders if something else happened in theatre, something nobody has mentioned to me. Anaesthesia and meditation do not mix well, I know this from another operation I had. This time it has been a whole different kettle of fish. When I got to the private rooms, the look on the nurse’s faces when they relayed that I had already been discharged by physio was to be beheld. There was a sense of something secret to which I could not put my finger; I was a hot potato.

I don’t feel very spud-u-like today, rather slightly tearful. There is a tenderness in that water and a sadness at what people do to each other. My heart feels full, it is the soft swell of compassion. I wonder when and if people will stop being so silly and nasty to each other. Don’t they realise that time runs like desert sand in the clock of life. Why all this damn posturing?

And now the rain has fallen, there is the sound of a passing car and a puddle; such an evocative call. It is the human swish of life, always in a hurry, never pausing to tarry. The world is in a rush and life is for granted. And there goes another one…..

Catastrophising

Is “catastrophising” a common phenomenon? Do lots of people do it?

If you have a wild horse secure in a stable and you open the door what happens to the horse? It bolts off down the paddock and then it is very difficult to get a calmed down wild horse back into the stable. There is no point shutting the stable door it is too late for that. One would have to spend a lot of time and effort to coral the horse and get it safely back into the stable. One might have to use ruses and tricks to re-capture the horse.

This is a metaphor for the catastrophising mind, once you have started to catastrophise mind pisses off down the paddock quicker than Usain Bolt and all calmness is lost. One lurches from terrifying conclusion to the next getting ever more fear full and anxious.  Mind jumps from A past Z until it is halfway down the add symbol menu and well into the Cyrillic section.

I’ll wager that over the last year or so many more have catastrophised that they will die of Covid-19 hooked up to a ventilator than have actually done so. Someone coughing across the aisle in the supermarket is obviously the direct precursor to instant infection and prolonged painful death.

The trick with catastrophising mind is not to open the door, so to speak. The moment you open the door more than a smidgeon the wild horse will bolt. By all means takes a quick peak at the future but don’t fully open the door. Do not conclude that your worst fears will manifest immediately.

Some people, I guess, actually enjoy catastrophising because it gives them an excuse not to do anything.

Once catastrophising has set in scaling is very difficult to bring about. This is where the simple just like this can be very helpful.

One can use bizarre questions to help scale:

Are you likely to experience full on gang rape as a part of organised ethnic cleansing in the next 24 hours?

no

Is a 400-year-old European vampire going to drain you of 80% of your blood tonight?

probably not

Is that freckle on your thumb actually stage four skin cancer?

Nah, I don’t really think so..

Is it possible Donald Trump might get re-elected?

Yeah, it is possible.

If you are wrong and lose the argument, will a vortex open up in space-time and suck the entire galaxy through it into another dimension?

Seems a tad unlikely.

If someone disagrees with you does that mean that they hate you and will do so until the end of the Kalpa?

No, I guess not.

Are you overreacting?

Possibly

Maybe you might be a bit more proportionate?

Yes, I guess but what if the werewolf comes to eat my gizzards?

That is unlikely. Where do live?

On the seventh floor in a secure flat in central London.

What is the data concerning werewolf density in your neighbourhood?

There isn’t any…

Why do you suppose that is?

Because they can’t afford to live in Chelsea.

You do know that your nail will grow back, don’t you?

I suppose so….

Positivity, Negativity or Equanimity?

I’ll make a statement to kick off:

We live in times where black and white thinking is common, and where thought is polarised.

I’ll raise a question:

Can polarised thinking ever be entirely accurate?

A long while ago when I used to do small group personal development facilitation, I was more than a little surprised at the levels of negativity in young capable Ph.D. students. These were able to find holes and faults in just about anything, there was also a high level of cynicism. They were young, smart, healthy and yet they were largely negative. They had loads of reasons why not and not many why to. From one particularly negative group I got my favourite piece of feedback:

“Alan’s ability to find a positive from and in any situation began to get a tad irritating.”

This cloud of negativity seems to be the human default. It seems people prefer to complain about everything. Many moan about prices, lock-down, the government, the weather. Not many of the moaners live in Gaza in the sights of Israeli jets, nor in a Syrian refugee camp, or in Dafur. This negativity saps the will to joy. Few realise just how good they have it, they take so very much for granted. People feel entitled and somehow owed by the universe or society, they believe in the notion of “rights”. Ask a starving refugee what non-binary gender means…it would prefer a bowl of rice.

If one has the negativity virus then one needs a positivity antidote. But one might be careful not to overdose otherwise one ends up in hyper over hyped bullshit land.

I used to advise Ph.D. students doing job applications to be a little more American in their approach but not to go too far as that would not be palatable to British tastes.

To be overly positive can set oneself up to fail, because over positive is idealistic. When ideals are not met one can crash and burn. It is easy to see the positivity-negativity yo-yo in action. We have oscillating quasi bipolar behaviours.

What then is the answer? To gently strive for a balanced objective and non-partisan perception. A perception not coloured by emotions or prejudices, a perception not overly up or down, a state of equanimity.

“Just like this.” Is a notion in Zen but it does not pertain only to Zen, it is accepting reality as actually is. Strangely to my eyes humanity often struggles with the simplicity of reality and rarely has emotional equanimity. Humans are hooked on what I call the heroin of complexity. Humans have a lot of preferences and when these are not met, they get to whinge, moan and complain. It would be rare for someone who likes to complain to imagine that the luxury they are complaining about might be taken away. Balanced perception would recognise that they are pretty damn “lucky”, a bit of frustration is a whole lot better than starvation.

The mid-point between polar perceptions is often more accurate, there are shades of grey. The world is more nuanced than the adamantly held and professed views of many.

Expediency versus Karma

Over the last few days or so I have been touching upon choice, decision and truth. People choose their truths and decide how to act apparently upon that basis. They will choose to act in contravention to something which they pertain to believe in, if it is expedient so to do. Immediacy and perceived social immediacy, often dominate in decision making or reactive gratificatory behaviours.

In effect people often take a gamble or place a bet that Karma does not exist, nor will they be judged at the “Pearly Gates” for their actions or their inactions.

They are betting that they can, “get away with it”.

Using the example above, plagiarism seems tempting for short term success. Yet what does this do to the confidence and self worth of those so tempted, in the long run? Sooner or later that which they claim as “theirs”, vanishes. They have but loaned it and often sneakily so, so as to look better than they are, or for pecuniary gain.

If expediency goes wrong there is always the possibility of redemption; an option not known for its popularity. So the bet usually stands until the croupier calls time.

Does expediency always win?

Do I believe in Karma?

What happens when the wheel stops spinning?