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Important note

Please be aware that fair rebuttals or even heated arguments are desired, but no one wants a subsequent legal battle.  Remember that you will be writing under the laws of Mexico and Guanajuato so be aware of legal and political considerations.

Publisher's note: When I first came to this town, I noted that it was rife with gossip.   When I consulted with people who had lived here for some 30 years or more, I was told, just ignore it.   That was not sufficient for me.   This page is intended to help slow the process even though I am aware it can not be stopped completely.  As a starting point, let me quote something I read in town, many years ago.

My name is gossip. I have no respect for Justice.
I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.
The more I am quoted, the more I am believed.
I flourish at every level of society.
My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves
against me because I have no name and I have no face.
To track me down is impossible. The harder you try,
the more elusive I become.
I am nobody's friend; I am everybody's enemy.
Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never quite the same.
My name is gossip.
Thanks to Ann Landers and Col. Phil Maher - published in Atencion (12/94)

7/20/04 Socratic Philosophy - from the SMA coollist

Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you either hear, or are about to repeat a rumor.

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?"

"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not.

Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued. "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really"

Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed.

4/24/04      Gossip as Social Fabric    by Sareda Milosz

Well, Ann Landers doesn’t think much of gossip and other idle chatter, but then she’s never lived in an expatriate community such as San "Peyton Place" Miguel de Allende, where there’s so much time and so little to do. Face it, in a small and lively transplanted colony, gossip is the warp and woof of the social fabric.

The self-defined Peter Pannish philanthropists and social servants among you are already protesting, wiggling in your seats, eager to leave intellect behind and go downtown for a doughy bagel and the Herald. Then you’re gonna plant your butts on a green bench and exchange friendly, factual chatter, NOT.

If we are honest about the reasons for choosing San Miguel, healthy and straightforward social intercourse is not among them. Oh sure, we don’t like "gossip," yet we left ourselves behind when we came here, cleverly replacing history with fictional pasts and presents that better represent our new reality than the drab personas we abandoned at the border. Screw reality: we came to San Miguel to live virtual lives in a paradise untroubled by the chores of housework and linguistic challenge.

We freely gossip about ourselves and our mates, confabulating marvelous houses of cards, and we’re furious when somebody comes along with a juicy tidbit that threatens to undermine the trembly fictions and bring us face to face with the difference between what we think we’d like each other to see and what they are actually seeing.

The easiest way to learn about your virtual self is simply to walk out the front door and salute the first person you see with a smart "Buenos dias. Como Estoy?" Be ready for just about anything. The first time I did this I found out I was having an affair with the wife of a gentleman who is conveniently in the hospital getting a makeover, and that I hadn’t paid my maid for three weeks and was recently released from jail for having mooned the city council. Needless to say, I was shocked, as I perceive myself as a generous and moral person who goes out of her way to help the poor, whose Spanish is so excellent that campesinos flock to her door for resolution of their social conflicts and familial misunderstandings.

This was a snappy comeuppance and thou unready for more self-confrontation for several days, I finally crawled out of the house and made it all the way to the post office before asking "Como estoy?" It was worth the wait. I found out that I had stolen the Biblioteca’s Country School Book Delivery Vehicle, inconsiderately ruined the chamber music concert when my cellphone played Dixie, and stripped nekkid in front of the Parroquia at high noon on Allende’s birthday while Michael Wein and Joe Ershun attempted to cover me with their flannel shirts. My God. I was outraged and heartsick. How could anybody think I was that kind of person? What did I ever do to San Miguel to earn that kind of a reputation?

After several similar exploratory "como estoy?" adventures I paused to reflect, with much heartrending comparison of my virtual self with the puny reality of my actual situation, and realized that I prefer the virtual me to the real one. Here’s an example: most of you haven’t seen me for a while, and some of you don’t even know me. But I’ll bet you dollars to pesos that whatever you’re thinking about me right now – and I mean anything, regardless -- is more colorful and exciting than what’s really happening to me right this moment.

Hell, you’re doing all the work! Most of the stuff that you’re thinking about me I wouldn’t DARE do, no matter how much I want to! I would LOVE to read the riot act to MK, he in the buff and helpless and myself armed with a sword and dressed in an archangel’s miniskirt. And yes, in my heart I have often lusted after the opportunity to place a whoopie cushion on the pews. As for that incident backstage at the theater, it’s actually TRUE, and I wish I had the stones to do it on this side of the curtain.

What is gossip, anyway? Not much more than a lie with several tongues. When I consider the options, my gray reality compared to your vicious, inconsiderate, scandal-pandering, yet colorful and rich definitions of me, I’ll take yours every time. It’s a lot easier than trying to change!

Objectives of this page:

1- this page is devoted to combating gossip, by providing people (and friends of such people) with public space to give their side of "stories" that are unfairly "going around".   Some people might not wish to read anything on this page, but this space is available for anyone who feels he or she is being publicly wronged.

2- this section will contain all such anti-gossip that meets the criteria described in Instructions (especially with regard to the laws against slander, libel, and defamation).   All such notices will be published in the date order of receipt, with the latest notices on top (the oldest nearer the bottom).




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