Spinning Stories

Gossip as virus by ebutterworth
September 3, 2009, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Storytelling, Uncategorized

Gossip and rumour are often described as a kind of virus, spreading unseen and unheeded through an unwitting population, sowing devastation in their wake. They infect people with a kind of fever – a mania to pass on what they’ve heard, to spread the news.

‘Within the social organism the bacilli of rumor are always active. Sometimes they move sluggishly in nonvirulent fashion. Sometimes they burst into a fever of violent activity. The fever, unfortunately, burns most dangerously when the health of the social organism is least able to withstand its ravages.’ (Gordon W. Allport and Leo Postman, The Psychology of Rumor, 1947)


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