National Commentary

Johnny’s World: Gossip Folks


“Hi! It is so great to meet you!”

It’s good to meet you too.

“Can you sign this for me?”


“Can you make it out to Cassandra? Its spelled K.A.H.S.Z.A.N.D.R.U.H.”

Seriously? What was your mom smoking?

“Great. Now can I have a picture?”


“Ohmigod, you are so nice. Everyone says you’re so mean, but you are so nice in real life.”

Who’s everyone?

“Ok, theenks, bye!”

You don’t know me.

In just a few seconds this past weekend, I was sideswiped in this manner by a teenage girl whose name may or may not be Kahszandruh. I’ve been on the active and receiving ends of meeting people who make you nervous and say stupid things just because they can’t believe their luck to be actually meeting someone they look up to. Things like, “I’ll teach your baby to skate” or “I loved ‘Gigli’” come flying out of your mouth without a moment’s notice. Having said this, sometimes, like drunken honesty, nervous honesty comes into play.

How did Kahszandruh know me well enough to think she could depict me as a mean person and, more importantly, what other recent middle school graduate told her I was mean to begin with? The fact of the matter is that she didn’t, doesn’t, and won’t know me, yet because I am on television and people are welcomed into my home on television, they can lay out a character analysis of me faster than attacking another can of cheese doodles. If you have never heard of me or seen my show, gossip is a more lethal and quick tactic for transferring information from one to another.

Gossip and whispering are what bind this world together. There is a reason Justin Bieber creates international front pages for misspelling Chanel, taking a topless photo of himself and posting it to Instagram, or wearing a gas mask in some European city: He’s famous. What happens after the initial infraction on Justin Bieber’s part is just plain gossip. Either he’s going off the deep end, addicted to drugs, or crying out for attention from a mother who can’t love him as much as his fans do. In reality I’d assume his iPhone misspelled Chanel as Channel, he is proud of his abs (as he should be) and showed them off like any other teenage boy, and wore a gas mask as a costume or joke or just because he hadn’t had hair and makeup done. At the bottom of all gossip is a truthful explanation of why things happen.

The same way Justin Bieber is talked about internationally, local kids who paint a penis on the wall of their school or the mom who’s cheating on her husband with the milkman’s wife are hot topics at the dinner table. Whether you know the truth or not, it’s fun to gossip, dramatize, and elaborate on facts.

Perception is key. If you dress like a prostitute, there will probably be gossip about you being a prostitute. If you look like me, then there is probably gossip about sexual reassignment surgery. If you smell like onions when you walk into a classroom, there will be gossip about how you have some weird dietary system that only allows you to eat onions. However ridiculous the gossip gets, wait 10 minutes and it will be mind-blowingly more far fetched.

We gossip because we can. We gossip to make ourselves feel better about our own lives. I gossip positively about my husband at times because I’m proud of him, while I will gossip negatively about my friend because she upset me one afternoon over text message. Everyone is guilty, and it’s hard to take a stand because that stand will later become elaborated and gossiped to death.

While I respect the theatrical quality of our beloved habit, I wish more people would actually try to learn a little truth before they ran their mouths. I wish we could all respect our fellow man and his life enough to take some interest in his truth before creating our own miniseries. I believe that gossip can change the world and create a spark that sets the world on fire with knowledge and renaissance, but I hope it’s to better our race, not destroy it.

I wish Kahszandruh knew that I am a nice person.