Can't get enough of Britney, even if her latest slip-ups have entered the realm of the cringe-inducing? Has the celebrity game of musical rehab thrown you into a tizzy? Are you losing sleep over the latest blog trysts with the pseudo-news du jour covering B-listers and celeb-politicians? It's all good. You're not morally off-kilter: It's merely your survival instinct turning tricks, apparently.
No amount of hard facts can stem the rising tide of juicy gossip, and there's an evolutionary reason for this. That's right. Check out this article featured in yesterday's Science section of the New York Times, sent my way by one not-at-all-gossip-averse friend in Brooklyn. The article attests that gossip "promotes the 'indirect reciprocity' that made human society responsible." No matter how rational we may be, hearsay and second-hand accounts way in more heavily on our decision-making process than hard truth and figures. Why? Basically, it helps us get along and thrive as a society and whatnot—scientific fact.
Take that, level-headed lobbyists of fair and balanced journalism! Score, media spinsters and PR! Gossip seems to trump facts time and time again, and molds our society with forceful sway.
Duh. It doesn't take a scientist to tell you this. Publicists have known it all along. But now you know for sure: Even the most artless snoozes care for what others have to say, no matter what they say. It's been hard-coded into our DNA and it is essential for our survival as a species.
So don't buy into the hype that totes gossip as an insidious social evil. It does more good than harm, yes sir. No need to read the studies—you can totally take my word for it.
Next time you see a supermarket tabloid screaming sex and scandal on the news rack next to the latest issue of The Economist, make sure to thank the Creator for our impervious instinct at social prying. It's the reason you and I are alive and kicking—even though our collective psyche may end up a little damaged. In the end, the perception of the truth is more important than truth itself. Dare to disagree?