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Comm 146 Notes Lec 10

Comm 146 Notes Lec 10 - -25 Gossip I Origins of gossip A...

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Lecture 10, 01-25: Gossip I. Origins of gossip A. Originally, gossip meant the activity that one engaged in wtih one’s “god-sibs,” one’s peer-group equivalent of godparents, or those with whom one was especially close B. But it has a shady reputation today C. slkdjf II. Theories of gossip A. Gossip as an indirect form of aggression, rooted in the desire to harm others by damaging their reputation B. Could be a way to police deviants to keep them in line. If they do something wrong, the social group may ostracize them thru this mechanism of gossip 1. Obama: damaging the reputation of someone is effective, and can be used as a political vehicle 2. Palin doesn’t read: III. Gossip as indirect aggression: the example of Presidential politics A. McCain almost won the nomination in 2000, but Karl Rove came up with a successful smear tactic: Called as many southern voters as he could and asked them if they would be more or less likely to vote for McCain if they knew he fathered an illegitimate black child. B. McCain hired the same people for his 2008 campaign and let rumors of Obama as a muslim/terrorist fester C. Bush did the same thing with Kerry’s war record. Bush had more shaky war record. Came up with rumor that Kerry lied to get Vietnam medals. Rumor helped Bush win. D. --> This is dirty politics. We don’t like it, but it works. E. But gossip is more complicated than this. There are some situation where we judge people more harshly if they don’t gossip... IV. Gossip scenarios A. Scenario 1: 1. Tom, Jim and the cattle. 2. When polled, most people approve of this behavior B. Scenario 2: False negative gossip (FNG) 1. “I bet he spends too much time getting drunk to worry about mending fences!” 2. Men approve, women don’t C. Scenario 3: Transgressor present (TP) 1. Women -- mild approval. Men -- strong approval, more confrontational
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