The Real Dirt on Gossip – Bonnie Fuller

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Every week tens of millions of North Americans read gossip magazines, scan celebrity blogs and websites, and follow Twitter feeds that buzz incessantly with both rumours—and truth. Meanwhile office gossip about who got a raise, who is underperforming, and who is getting hired or fired, tirelessly fills our desires for workplace water-cooler chatter.

Let’s face it, we all gossip. We seek it, we spread it. And now language and evolutionary science says gossip is as old as time and will never go away. But is that such a bad thing?

While we’ve been taught that dishing out the dirt is for sinners and ruins reputations, it turns out gossip can also be very good for us. THE REAL DIRT ON GOSSIP uncovers the fascinating science and intrigue behind this most human compulsion.

Did you know that 66% of what we talk about in everyday conversations is gossip—and that after an analysis of 22,000 conversations the most common topic of discussion is: what other people are doing? Or, that men gossip just as much as women? Or, that all humans tend to gossip about other people of their own age and social status? Did you know that good gossipers tend to make more money at work?

All true.

Through the back and forth dissemination of information (newsmongering), gossip provides social clues and value judgments as to what is acceptable conduct at school, at work and in the community. Indeed, it can give us the upper hand and even power over others who don’t have information.

Many of us can’t seem to help but spread a juicy tidbit, especially when its someone we don’t know personally like a celebrity or public figure. The Real Dirt on Gossip talks with former reality TV star Jon Gosselin, of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, on the subject. Jon allegedly had an affair on his wife and the tabloid magazines and talk shows had a field day calling him everything from a scumbag to a scoundrel.But despite how it may seem what we whisper about is not all negative. In fact only about 10% is; the rest is either neutral or positive. But here’s the catch, it is the negative gossip that sticks with us for much longer. Hence the reason Jon Gosselin is still ranked the 5th most hated man in America well over 2 years since his appearance on the show.

This is a film about the enthralling world of gossip— sex, science, juicy scandals, history’s chattering masses, and the dirt on fallen celebrity and politicians.


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