A gossip is someone who takes pleasure in airing the dirty laundry of others. A political consultant is someone who wins elections airing the dirty laundry of others. Wait a second, that is actually the definition of a successful blogger. Excuse me, that is really the perfect description for a really good internet news site; a place where “reporters” air the dirty laundry of others for the pleasure of their readers. Come to think of it, what I’m really trying to describe is the current state of our American discourse. Our democracy has, in fact turned into a “gossip nation.” At least that’s the rumor on the street.
Gossiping is by definition a parasitic activity. Parasites select hosts to create sustenance and nourishment for their existence. Gossips refuse to create; instead they find their nourishment from the creation of others. Unable to find meaning in their own doing, they replace their existence with the existence of others. Instead of focusing on their own responsibilities and relational assignments, gossips live through the faults and failings of others. They literally allow the failings of others to set the course of their days.
The gossip sits and stares, waiting for the world to move. As the world moves, the gossip waits for errant or perceived errant movement. Once the error is revealed, the gossip comes alive. The smallest of errors, the slightest disjointed expression, has birthed a thousand gossip words, posts, blogs, and websites. Gossips are more than judges, they are scavengers, circling their prey for a taste of meaning. In death the vulture finds meaning, in loss the vulture finds life.
In recent years, the gossip has flourished and diversified. No longer in the shadows or the corners of the room. No longer relegated to the back pages of slightly compromised publications. No, the gossip has come out of the shadows. Gossips are no longer just pundits, they’re reporters. Gossips are no longer chat room squabblers, they’re executive editors of major news websites. The gossip is the lead story, the engine that drives the machine. The gossip is the ad campaign, the debate highlight, the roundtable discussion. Gossip is the substance. We sift through the substance searching for decay. We spit out the choice meat, in search of the rancid. If we are lucky we will see the fault first. We will be the first to tweet the sad truth.
The night is short and restless. When morning comes we will seek aggregatable prey. We will not rest until we have our pound of flesh. So we circle and circle looking for fresh death.
The gossip reads these words and sees that I too am not above the decay. I say eat up! Let my failing be your sustenance. I’ll let grace be my defense and my reward.