Gossip... of the worst sort

Monday, June 23, 2008 Leave a Comment

I really hesitate to even touch this topic, but... two incidents have happened over the last couple of weeks to serve as a good reminder that we live in a small community here in Stapleton... and for that matter, a small virtual community here in blogworld too.

The first was on the Stapleton Grapevine, where a man posted pictures of two guys who let their dogs run off-leash in Central Park. A public shaming.

It wasn't the public shaming that was so shocking, but the folks who eagerly jumped on the bandwagon, making fun of the guys' goatees/beer guts/ sunglasses -- in other words, totally personal and totally irrelevent attacks. (And yes, everyone posted using their real names.)

Now, on the Stapleton moms email list, a mom, again, using her real name, asked for advice about her neighbor's "gay husband."

Like, should she tell the wife or not.

Um, I think you just did.

Amazingly, moms responded with their advice on what the secret-teller should do -- and not one of them admonished the secret-teller. Your neighbors are OUR neighbors!

In both cases, someone finally piped in with a voice of reason. That it's unwise to publicly attack your neighbors, people you see on the street, in the store, at your kid's school. That this is gossip of the very worst sort. But, like those stories of people who get hit by cars and bystanders just walk on by, it took a while for someone to say anything.

If you heard about the girl who was bullied online and then committed suicide, and the mother who was brought to trial for her hand in the death, and wonder how stuff like this can happen, well, this is it. We set the examples for our kids. What we do online, anonymously or otherwise, is what our kids will do. And while I'm guilty of the occassional snarky comment, I don't want to be the bystander who walks on by and pretends like they didn't see.

Show a little restraint. A little thoughtfulness.This is our community!

4 comments »

  • Stephanie said:  

    I agree completely, why I don't live in a small town I think people should practice some restraint. I think because its "anonymous" over the computer people fill like they can say anything no matter how mean or cruel.

  • Ann said:  

    I absolutely agree with you.
    It's scary how people, when they feel anonymous, will say the most vicious things that they would never say to that persons face.
    "If you can't say something nice,..."

  • CewTwo said:  

    I beleive that any large town is a collection of smaller communities.

    It is sad when we don't think of what we are saying when we say.

    What's the old saying about e-mail? Write it while you're hot, but don't send it until you're not.

    Sage advice.

    Sometimes we have to keep that in mind when we blog, when we talk to the neighbor, when we talk at work, when we interact with anyone. I think it is called, civility!

    Thanks for sharing. Really poignant!

  • myra@wemakethree.com said:  

    isn't it shocking that people don't realize how not anonymous they are when they speak/write in a public forum? i especially find this amazing with kids and myspace.

    this is a really timely post, and good reminder to everyone on using discretion.