Buddha Barbie Talks Gossip
Introducing the JN‘s newest column.
We live in an age when gossip is more widespread today than it has ever been.
Social media and accessibility to any piece of information we want, or need, puts the world at the tips of our fingers.
This is a time when Facebook updates your relationship status faster than your local county courthouse, where your 1,000 “close and personal” friends can see your life’s every move on their news feed (if you choose to post) and where you can see firsthand all the pictures of that gorgeous party you were not invited to — and quite possibly discussed at.
I have noticed that when we read a story or hear a salacious rumor, most people don’t give a second thought as to how it affects those being spoken about.
We just pop it in our mouths, chew it up and swallow it whole —relishing every morsel down to the bitter end.
And if you ever get to thinking about how an outsider knows so much about you, my mother always says — “check your insiders.”
We certainly can’t stop gossip, and we definitely can’t control everything that is posted or talked about on social media.
But the real question is: When does gossiping turn from harmless banter into public shaming?
While gossip can be slanderous and not 100-percent accurate, the intention typically is not to humiliate the person, but is more related to social bonding and making conversation.
Public shaming, on the other hand, is the spreading of gossip that intends to humiliate someone as punishment or as a form of intimidation or revenge.
It’s more of a strategy to shine the light so brightly on a subject that he or she suffers embarrassment.
Even worse than committing the act of public shaming individually is calling upon others (family members and close friends) to hop aboard the “shame train.” This is when character assassination turns into a group effort.
So what differentiates the two?
Let’s say I pass on a rumor or a piece of gossip to one or two of my friends just for the sake of idle banter and coffee talk — that is “gossiping.”
When I pass on that same piece of gossip or story openly to a group of people with the purpose of disgracing someone — well, that’s what we call “public shaming.”
Somewhere out there, someone always has a bigger platform on which to speak; and how they use that stage speaks volumes about their character.
Whether you’re responsible for gossiping or publicly shaming someone, if it’s negative in nature, then you are guilty of reputation theft; and the Talmud teaches us that gossip is like a three-pronged tongue that kills three separate people: the person who says it, the person who listens to it and the person about whom it is said.
In the end, it’s better to just bite your tongue, reroute conversation and take the high road when it comes to malicious chatter, otherwise it always comes back to bite you down the road.
However, there is something called “good gossip,” which can be used to propel a person or a business into an earned and much-deserved spotlight.
This is what I will use my column to do each month.
Publicity helps increase awareness and visibility, and I hope to help promote area businesses and events as well as talk about relevant everyday topics.
ON THE TOWN …
Recently seen at Bistro 82 were Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, left wings Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar, and new goalie Petr Mrazek.
At Townhouse Detroit: Actress Vivica A. Fox shared lunch with a girlfriend.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach shared a late-night dinner with her wife, Sarah Huffman. Michigan State Spartans basketball alumni Draymond Green visited for dinner — and was a fan of the Whole Roasted Chicken.
Upcoming charity events: Jennifer and Dan Gilbert will chair The Benefit III on Nov. 7 to raise funds for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Dennis Miller will be in town on Nov. 17, for an evening to benefit JARC. *
Karin Katz explores her Zen-centric journey into self-awareness through her blog BuddhaBarbie.com, which balances spirituality with beauty to help empower women. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments, questions, events and sightings.
PHOTO BY DAN LIPPITT