- Last Updated: 12:16 AM, July 27, 2012
- Posted: 11:52 PM, July 26, 2012
The root of the word “gossip” is gospel. As in The Good Book. The Bible.
In fact, with respect to Nehemiah, Job, Amos, Ezekiel, Haggai, Daniel, Zephanaiah, Hosea and the rest of that crew, the first four gossips were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
So, in other words, if I report what Brad was doing to Angelina on a mattress once laid on by Britney Spears — what I’m actually doing is holy work.
Gossip stems from when The Voice proclaimed: “Let there be light.” Before dinosaurs. Before I even joined The Post. Back when The Man in the Moon was only a little boy. I’m talking a period predating excavations for the Second Avenue subway.
We beginneth at the most ancient civilization. Think down at the riverbed. Think ladies sloshing their husbands’ loincloths on the rocks.
Think Nancy Neanderthal whispering to Shirley Cro-Magnon: “Shirl, hon, you heard maybe what that lousy caveman did to Gertrude the other night?”
Face it. Conversation between Adam and Eve must’ve been limited. Nobody to talk about. Years later he might whisper: “You believe that terrible story about Cain and Abel?” And she’d reply eagerly: “Yes . . . what is it?”
But in those early days — forget it. How much can you chitchat about a lousy apple?
Of course there exists Harvey Keitel’s comment: “I hate gossip. I don’t give a s - - t about anyone who deals in it.” This is overlooked because Harvey was probably addressing a closed-circuit think tank of Mensa’s senior highest-level professors at the time.
While some of us forget what Nostradamus or Confucius may have said, Harvey’s immortal words will one day end up on a sampler.
Let it be known gossip is the way of the world. It’s television, telex, telecommunication, telephone, tell a friend.
It’s beyond a rumor going in one ear and out another’s mouth. Beyond telling your hairdresser: “I’d never believe that dirt about Clarissa if I hadn’t started it myself.” Beyond realizing many people can keep a secret. It’s the person they tell it to who can’t.
Gossip is communication. Learning. Broadening.
It’s e-mail, Facebook. Skype. Dialogue. Knowledge. Exchanging ideas. Interchanging human relations.
It’s not just who’s Tom Cruise hitting on today — although, if anyone knows, I’d be pleased to hear it.
When a businessman’s robbed he calls his insurance man. The actor calls his publicist. The reporter says: “Geez, too late to make the late-night edition.”
The neighbor says: “I’ll tell about it at the cocktail party.”
In this town, everybody tells somebody about something. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, and you’ll never get invited.
Plato once said: “Best way to save face is to keep its bottom half closed.”
And if he didn’t say it — so what?! The guy was probably never asked to a sit-down dinner in New York.
At a New York gathering, sandwiches and friends get cut into little pieces. Everyone’s hungry to hear truths — especially about someone else. The menu is one part cocktails and two parts dish. The currency is what tasties you bring to the table.
Note: Never talk about yourself. That’s done after you leave.
There are rules. Be the knife of the party. Never tell a lie if the truth will cause more damage. Cover yourself with: “I don’t actually believe everything I’ve heard, but that won’t prevent my repeating it.”
Over the appetizer, a choice opening morsel is to turn to one guest and open with something like: “Raquel told me you told her the secret I told you not to tell her.” Response: “But I told her not to tell you I told her.” Answer: “Well, I told her I wouldn’t tell you she told me — so don’t tell her I told you.”
At a Park Avenue event, a cover girl purred about her ex-boyfriend: “He’s never taken a shower. It clouds the mirror.” A comedian about an aging cohort: “He has an alarm clock and a cellphone. Neither ring.” One actor about another: “Conceited? When he hears thunder he takes a bow.” And this was a group of friends.
Gossip is not all bad. Private talk, when malicious, stimulates a quick togetherness. Dropping a fact others don’t know envelops you as a savant.
Extra points come when a hostess’ Guest of Honor is fresh out of the can. In some areas, this is not possible. In our part of the world, it’s an everyday occurrence. Apparachniks on parole aren’t an A-1 get. Tycoons, after three years behind bars, beat a bowl of orchids.
Why? The dinner partners have something to gossip about next day. They met someone you haven’t. Heard something you didn’t. Were at a gala you weren’t. Best fillip is a freshly released felon. He only needs a blue suit. Trust mother, kiddies, those orange overalls won’t cut it on Park Avenue.
So, remember, gossip isn’t all bad. A useless commodity is the tidbit that isn’t worth repeating. Keeping it inside is bad for the heart. Speak out. It’s healthful. Consider it therapy. Want to make someone happy? Don’t mind your own business.
And if you hear who Tom Cruise is hitting on — call me.Follow @PageSix