3.c.10 – Do rumors have an important role?

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April 11, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Do rumors have an important role?

The gossip is often confused with the backbiting; in reality it becomes so only when reporting lies and slander: in other cases, its natural function is not to destroy the reputation of a person through distorted facts, but to reveal the true moral identity or to report facts having public interest.
The gossip has the goal of transferring information within the community about the personality of its members and, although often not very respectful of privacy, has an obvious usefulness because the facts concerning the behavior of people we live and interact with inevitably affect us too: they are facts to be known in our interest.
 This is therefore the primary source of information, always been used in communities, and that is why we are so tied to it; as we have seen for superstitions, also rumors have not only negative aspects and have an important social function. But we must emphasize that this function remains valid in a real community and against members of the same; unfortunately, the increasing psychological pollution leads us to identify as members of our community celebrities presented by the mass media, even when they are people who live in distant states, with which we will never have any direct relation and which we hear talking through the voice of a dubber or an interpreter. That is why we are so much interested in the infidelity of a married actress or in the drugs addition problems of a sport champion: in practice we activate our natural attitude to gossip without realizing that in these cases it is of no use, indeed it may be harmful when it takes space away from some important information we really need.
In a community, the gossip is made by each member against all others, but in a population that includes millions of members, professionals gossip tellers are needed, who are called journalists. What is the function of journalists but to make public the facts of common interest? This is a function so fundamental as delicate because, being carried out by professionals, automatically acquires a greater authority and thus is able to influence the opinion of the rest of the population. 




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