Friday, September 28, 2007

Let's Gossip

I’ve been teaching The Odyssey this fall, a remarkably fun tale that I think ought to be retitled Everybody’s Talking About Agamemnon. Despite the reputation of Odysseus as a swashbuckling hero in the mould of Austin Powers (women want him, men want to be him), the man is startlingly addicted to gossip. I had always imagined the Sirens’ song to be hypnotically sensual, an irresistible call of female sexuality. Instead, the Sirens woo Odysseus by whispering, “Come here – we’ve got something to tell you.” Information is power in this epic legend, and it is spread entirely by word of mouth (that is, by “Rumor who is oftenest sent by Zeus to carry tidings”).

This week we moved from ancient Greece to King Arthur’s court. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as with The Odyssey, gossip is a central concern. Like Odysseus, Sir Gawain finds that his reputation precedes him wherever he goes – but in Sir Gawain’s case, the reputation is for “polished pearls of perfect speech” and amazing feats of “dazzling deportment.” The knights of Camelot are the subject of gossip, but they are also tireless purveyors of it – such is the cost and benefit of trading wilderness savagery for the civilized pleasures of city life.

Gossip is, by definition and etymology, associated with women (as Sage so beautifully chronicled awhile back), yet these archetypal male heroes inhabit a world of gossip – and in many ways, their worth is measured by the gossip they inspire (something that remains true for celebrities today, though in our culture what we mean by “celebrate” is “circulate internet sex tapes”).

The blogosphere, on the other hand, is home to the very best kind of gossip. In Veronica Mitchell’s truth in blogging post, one of the most tantalizing morsels is her allusion to a lunch with Antique Mommy during which they “talked about bloggers we read and why, and bloggers we don’t read and why not.” There is a certain candour that is possible face to face that we usually avoid in our public postings. If someone is mortally annoyed by the phenomenon of Wordless Wednesday, it may seem ungracious to say so in a blog post, but in the giddy intimacy of a face-to-face meeting, we may not even need alcohol to loosen our tongues and unleash a flood of blogging secrets.

I’m only a two-hour drive away from Toronto (Blogging Hub of the Universe!) so I’ve been lucky enough to meet other bloggers on several occasions. And we’ve talked about you. We’ve been less careful in these conversations than we are in our posts – but for all that, the conversations are invariably kind, affectionate. After this year’s BlogHer, my left-out feelings were alleviated almost entirely by the news that Jenny had embarrassed herself by insisting that I live in London, England. Being talked about is currency in the blogosphere, and it’s also fun.

So let’s gossip a little this weekend, okay? I’ll get us started. Have you visited Mrs. Chicky lately? She’s got news. (So has HBM.) The Cheaty Monkey has a baby brother, and at least two people are celebrating birthdays.

News, however, is perhaps the most innocuous and least interesting form of gossip. How about a game of match the blogger to her reputation?

(a) Domestic Diva/Cupcake Queen
(b) Sardonic Celebrity Correspondent
(c) Home Day-Care Guru
(d) Friend to Many, Sister to All
(e) Photoshopmistress

There are no wrong answers to this quiz – if the label fits, wear it! Now quiz me – how many bloggers do I know by reputation?

And hey – while we’re talking shop, I just added those bookmarking icons below each post. What do you think? Are they annoying? Does anybody actually use them? Those of you who have them – have you been getting any traffic from them?


Suz said...

Well...this is a little easy. I always think of Beck as the domestic diva and Home Daycare Guru has gotta be Mary. I think that Oh The Joys! also really knows her way around that photoshop!

Mrs. Chicky said...

I like good gossip as much as the next woman. It's one of the few vices I can participate in now that I can't drink my wine!

DaniGirl said...

I am so totally not kissing your ass when I say that when I read "Friend to many, sister to all" the first person I thought of was you!!

kgirl said...

As much as I love talking about bloggers, I almost would love more to know what they are saying about me. But hey, that's because we're all narcisisstic, right?

And, I think of those bookmarks as a cry for help. ;p

bubandpie said...

Kgirl - Hehe. If they were on the sidebar, I could slap on the title, "Help! I need attention!"

Mad Hatter said...

That kgirl. She's so hip and funny and casual. I'd really like to kvetch with her.

Did I say that out loud?

BTW, do I notice yet one more loving internet dig at my choice of the words "friend" and "sister"?

As for the bookmark and skirt thingamagies, they terrify me. I can't even bring myself to figure out what they are all about. All the bloggers-in-the-know seem to use them and I openly fear knowledge for fear that someone might actually think one day that I am a blogger-in-the-know. With that title comes a responsibility I just couldn't bear.

How about this one:
Young mother, two kids, big heart?

Magpie said...

Scratching head about A, B and C. But no question about D and E. Well, in my mind anyway. :)

Mad Hatter said...

A) Beck
B) Alpha Dogma
C) I assume it is that Mary that people talk about all the time
D) I think I just guessed this one but I could be wrong.
E) Jess

Do I pass the test?

Mad Hatter said...

BTW, if it is that Mary, please post her handle and url b/c I always miss her on the follow-up.

Mad Hatter said...

Chatty Kathy who definitely doesn't do Wordless Wednesday?

For the record, I have decided I like Wordless Wednesday. It's like a little eye candy each week, it takes no time to come by and gawk, and commenting always feels optional--at least more optional than it does with wordier posts. Besides this is a visual as well as textual medium.

Can you tell it's Friday afternoon? Maybe, I'll shut up now. It's just that I do so love me a good gossip session.

Mad Hatter said...

Doh!!! Jen. Jen is sister to all. I am sister to none (er two).

I think my thyroid meds are starting to work b/c I'm bouncing off the keyboard here.

Skulking off...

RadarMa said...

Um, er go first.

Fester Bestertester said...

I think you are trying to trivialise ancient and revered texts. But I'm stupid, so what do I know?

bubandpie said...

Mad - Yup - Jen. For you I'd say "Not a sister, best of friends."

Here's Mary's URL:

And Kyla!!!

Fester - Just be glad you're not in one of my classes. Reverence is in short supply. (You're not in one of my classes, are you? Please tell me you're not in one of my classes.)

kittenpie said...

OMG Chicky, how are you going to handle things without wine? Well, at least you may see the insides of a few less toilettes, unless your have bad progesterone poisoning.

I definitely see Mary P. and Oh The Joys in there.

I'm with kgirl, though - I wonder soemwhat if people talk about me, too. (I have a bit of a complex that I am eminently forgettable, though, so that's just me, perhaps!)

Mad's has got to be Kyla.

I also know:
-two other librarians
-two other professors
-two in grad school

nomotherearth said...

You are one of the few people I know who has actually heard of and would write a post that includes "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". I am a HUGE fan of Arthurian legend. (Remember that if we do, in fact, have another boy in November...) ;-)

Mimi said...

Teehee. You know I loves me the gossip aspect of the bloggy get-together, but I do feel odd compunctions about talking about Absent Digital Friends. Like it's not sporting. But I'm excessively rule-bound.

You mean you don't live in London, England?


Amanda said...

So sweet of you to send out some linky love.

Momish said...

Bossy must be the photoshopmistress! Or, it would be a tie between Bossy and Oh, The Joys!

Mouse said...

I had a Grade 10 English teacher who quite obviously had a thing for Odysseus. It was a little creepy.

But it's interesting to think about the currency of information in literature, especially when you're looking at cultures that relied much more heavily on speaking over writing.

P.S. There's a description of Rumor in Vergil's Aeneid that's actually quite disturbing (a monster who just keeps getting stronger).

slouching mom said...

LOL at one of your students reading your blog. Has it happened?

Yep, I'd say for the last one a tie between Bossy and OTJ.

Janet said...

Pregnancy seems to be rampant in the blogosphere this week (Amanda at toddlywinks too!). I hope it's not the water....

I was thinking Beck for "Domestic Diva/Cupcake Queen," for sure. For "Friend to Many, Sister to All" I thought of Slouching Mom, because she is. But then I had an "aha!" because jen calls everyone "sister." So can I say both? I just did.

Kyla said...

You outed Mrs. Chicky for me! I hadn't gotten to her post in Bloglines yet (reading through from top to bottom) and I had to run right over there and see what was going on! Yay!

Everyone is getting knocked up, sheesh! And my period is's that for gossip? I'm only posting this because it insures that my period will start in the next 24 hours. Right?

My answers are:

I don't know
I don't know

3 out of 5. Do I pass?

Alpha DogMa said...

Well, thank you for the lovely nod, missy. Domestic Diva/Cupcake Queen is the best title for Beck!

Are you saying that Perez Hilton will be the Homer of the next millenium? Not that he displays those polished pearls of perfect speech, of which you speak.

Beck said...

This is such a fun post.
I've been terribly burned by gossip, and so now it feels very precarious to sit with a dear friend and talk about our other friends - but it still DOES have its siren's call.
1) Blush.
2) Alpha Dogma
3) I dunno! When you reveal all, I'll check her blog out.
4) Jen
5) Um...?

niobe said...

Apparently I'm reading all the wrong blogs, because I can't think of anyone who'd fit into a single one of those categories. I'm sure the other commenters will enlighten me.

Damselfly said...

E has to be Oh The Joys!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

One of the things that bugs me about blogging is the inability to gossip about other bloggers. Like: she said this sly thing, I think she was talking about me, was she? If not who was she talking about? etc etc. Gossip often serves as reassurance, seems to me.

NotSoSage said...

You know how I love my gossip! But I have none, as I've had few moments to catch up this week. I'm glad that I'm getting some of it here.

And, darn, here I was thinking that when you visited with us, you'd flown in all the way across the Atlantic. Oh, sigh.

Julie Q. said...

Beautifully written gem of a post. I miss the days when I got to teach the Odyssey. (I've been stuck in a Modernism rut lately). I love that you can pin the gossip on the males.

Jenifer said...

I can only spot Beck, ADM and OTJ from your list...

As for your bookmarking Mad I have no idea what they are! One of these days I will get up on all that stuff.

It is funny because I see blogging (or at least the blogging I do) as the opposite of gossip in a way. This is where I go to find out/read about/ relate too/sympathize and empathize about real things. Does that sound strange? I am not talking about gossip sites like Cheaty's obviously and I am not sure why I don't equate gossip with the blogs I normally read.


painted maypole said...

i cheated and looked at the answers in the back of the in the back of the comments?

cinnamon gurl said...

I do enjoy a good gossip with another blogger, but I find there are usually so many other things to talk about, we often don't get there... our visit in April was a bit of a shock to discover the sort of backside of the blogosphere. A good shock.

Omaha Mama said...

I grew up in a smalltown. I was in a gossipy clique of 6 girls who talked constantly of anyone/everyone, especially each other.

So yeah, I like gossip. Unless it's about me...and not good.

Great post!

Casdok said...

Love a good gossip!!

Veronica Mitchell said...

Well, if I were picking from my regular reads, I would fill your slots with:

1) Beck or Kit
2) sweatpantsmom or Lindsay
3) not a clue
4) hmmm
5) OTJ

Susanne said...

(a) Beck
(b) no idea
(c) ditto
(d) Jen
(e) HBM?

Keep the social bookmark thingies. I have a skirt button and I never got any traffic for it. When I tried to skirt-bookmark some else's post I gave up after being asked to write a summary and about three other things. Sorry, that's a little too much.

They don't annoy me though. There sure are people who dig digg, I don't know though if they live in the sphere of mommyblogging.

ewe are here said...

Oooooh, gossip. Always fun, as long as it's not meanspirited. ;-)

I participate in Wordless Wednesdays from time to time, primarily to show off my wee ones. I like to look at the pics other people pick out as well...

Nowheymama said...

What fun links! New pregnancy *and* September birthday blogs to read!

Jenny (the easily confused) said...

How embarrassing.

Also, I recently discovered that British Columbia is neither in Britain or Columbia.

Ah Canada, how you confound me.

Catherine said...

I love this one too!!! So fun. We should blog-gossip more often, I think. And thanks for the birthday link. :)

Wow, I have no idea on the quiz. I never seem to know the same people everyone else knows...

And the bookmarks - I don't know. They don't bother me, but I don't use them either. I've thought about it though..

bubandpie said...

Jenny - Hey, no hard feelings? It was ungracious, I suppose, to draw attention to your gaffe, but it was SERIOUSLY my favourite bit of BlogHer trivia.

Jenny said...

We're cool. This was the same outing that I embarrassed myself in front of Amy Sedaris, accidentally cut off some of my hair in front of Chloe Dao, felated a licorice stick and told everyone that Mom 101 looked like a porn star I was familiar with.

Mortification is almost an artform with me. Glad it could at least bring a little laughter to the world.

Christina said...

I'll confess I love to sit around and gossip with friends. It is a little hard to do when it comes to blogging. There are a couple of local bloggers I get to meet up with now and then, and we do talk about other bloggers a little, but they don't read nearly as many as I do.

But there's always instant messenger. You can have a great one-on-one conversation over IM. It loses some of the intimacy of a face-to-face, but still gives you the ability to kick back and gossip away.

Becky said...

I have found that men are bigger gossips than women! Our shipping department is comprised entirely of men and they are more whiney and gossipy than any group of women I know! LOL!

lildb said...

I'm the one feeling left out. Because I haven't had time to be a part of the revolving realm of blogging in the recent past. And I feel guilty for it. How dumb is that?

But I miss being in the mix so much, and I'm so glad I read this post because DUDE. Everyone is getting knocked up again.

hold me, G. *sniff*