Is it good to gossip?

‘What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth’ runs a Jewish proverb. Indeed, it would be hard to find an instance where gossip has been celebrated rather than discouraged. Yet, many of us find still find the urge to talk about others irresistible. Perhaps, as an article in Scientific American argues, gossip actually has a valuable social function. Maybe it is time to rethink our attitudes.

Is it good to gossip?
Yes because...

Gossip is important for making friends

In an industrial society where there is considerable mobility, using gossip about celebrities to bond with co-workers can be an important weapon in our social armoury. Whereas in the past, live was stable (families often knowing other families for generations) with a minimal number of ‘strangers’, modern life depends on being able to interact comfortably with those new to our acquaintance. It is here that gossip is useful; where two people may have entirely different political views, ambitions, and backgrounds, it is, however, likely that both will have an opinion on a celebrity. Even the newest of acquaintances would be able to discuss, for instance, the Richie-Madonna divorce. Moreover, on a more personal ‘local’ level, it is also important in learning who not to trust.
No because...
On the other hand, this aspect of gossip allows us to be lazy, bitching about others rather than honing our social skills by thinking of topics of conversation.

Is it good to gossip?
Yes because...

Gossip is important for moulding society

At the most basic level, gossip helps to mould citizens. Negative gossip tends to revolve around people who have broken collective expectations of acceptable behaviour: for instance women smoking or drinking during pregnancy; ‘welfare cheats’; cheating husbands or wives; drug-taking and so on. Gossip tells us what behaviour is and is not socially acceptable and as a result, helps us understand what we should or should not do.
No because...
We have laws to do this, we don't need tittle-tattle.

Is it good to gossip?
Yes because...

Gossip is not necessarily destructive

We should not assume that all gossip is destructive. Some gossip such as telling others the good news about someone’s pregnancy or promotion is actively positive. We should be careful not to not tar all gossip with the same brush
No because...
No but it puts unwanted scrutiny and pressure of expectations on a person unless they choose to break it. For instance a person might be in line for promotion but the additional pressure could make them do something stupid and lose their chance at promotion.

Is it good to gossip?
No because...

We have forgotten to mind our own business

In these days of gossip magazines and celebrity television shows, we often seem to forget that we are not entitled to dig into other people’s lives.
Yes because...
Those in the public eye must accept the responsibility of this when they decide to become famous. With the exception of a select few (like the royal family) most people decide to become a celebrity. If they do this they need to accept that the responsibility this brings and behave appropriately. It could be argued that if they do not then they have waived thier right to privacy.

Is it good to gossip?
No because...

Malevolent gossip can have a devastating impact on the person involved

It is important that we don’t lose sight of the human. Being gossiped about is often a terrible experience. Nobody likes to feel that they are being scrutinised and criticised by all around them. Moreover, it is particularly important that we remember the human element in the case of celebrities where their finances and status can seem to set them apart from the herd.
Yes because...
This can be true but is not always. Some celebrities enjoy attention no matter whether it is good or bad, and relish the thought of appearing in hello. It will also enhance thier careers - look at Rebecca Loos! As they say 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'.

Is it good to gossip?
No because...

The gossip market is too large as it is. We should be careful about encouraging this intellectual dumbing down of our reading material.

The gossip market seems to be ever-expanding: television, magazines, the internet, even mobile phone updates to keep us up-to-date on our favourite stars. Whilst a bit of gossip may be good for us, there can be little doubt that this flooding of the market is doing little for our intellectual development. Indeed, the number of young girls who can talk of Paris Hilton’s latest flame or Kerry Katona’s breakdown compared to those who can comment on Gordon Brown’s new initiatives, is frankly frightening.
Yes because...
The principles of supply and demand indicate it is only expanding because the public want it to...

Is it good to gossip?
No because...

It RUINS friendships!!!!!!

It RUINS friendships!!!
Yes because...


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