Several years ago the Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibited a collection of American artist Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Morning Post magazine covers. One featured his painting The Gossips. It depicts fourteen people passing on an item of untrue gossip about someone from person to person. Finally it reaches the ear of the man who is the subject of the gossip. He becomes angry and confronts the woman who originally told the lie about him. I’ve since learned the man was actually Rockwell himself and the people in his painting were neighbors who were spreading a false rumor about him.
In Rockwell’s 1948 painting the item of gossip is passed on face to face and by telephone. Today gossip also spreads via social media. Famous people have become embroiled in scandals for saying unkind or politically incorrect things about others on Twitter. Sadly some teens have committed suicide after being bullied on Facebook. So many negative comments were made about them they thought the only escape was to take their own life.
There is a verse in the Bible that talks about refraining from gossip. Those who desire life and desire to see good days let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit. 1 Peter 3:10. It reminds me of something the rabbit Thumper says in the movie Bambi. Thumper’s words have come to be known as Thumper’s Law. “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”