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Keeping The Gossip Good And Not Evil

An illustration of several people, each one passing some juicy gossip on to the next one.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

Since starting this podcast, I’ve had plenty of time to think about my own relationship with gossip. Each week I ask the guest about their relationship with it, and usually that is insightful and funny and smart. But rarely does it uncover a memory within me I had stored in some deep closet I had forgotten existed.

This week, though, Julia Furlan brought up the fact that gossip is a power not everyone is ready to wield. I found this particularly interesting because the time period I remember gossip being most demonized was in middle and high school. Gossip, I was told, was a sin. It would ruin people’s lives and was never good in any circumstances. I’ve written a lot about how flawed I think that idea is, but not until talking to this episode did I consider how we are not always equipped for the power that comes with gossiping as teenagers. Perhaps the power of secrets and holding them is too strong at times.

I remembered, talking to Julia, how part of the reason it was so easy to believe that gossip was a force for evil is because it is so easy to see people hurt by gossip when you are a teenager. The rumor mill is never swifter, more disorienting, and more ill-willed than when run by teens.

Joining me for the finale of Season 2 is Julia Furlan! Julia is an independent podcasting consultant, a podcast host, and a professor in narrative audio at the New School.

I talked with Julia about how to make sure we always gossip in a way that isn’t harmful, how gossip can be used as an attempt to grab at power, and the moral tightrope of defending gossip. Then we dove together into everyone’s favorite kind of gossip: wedding gossip! And whew! This is one for the ages!

This week’s episode is our season finale. We will be taking a break so that no one burns out before we begin recording new episodes for the very shiny, very exciting Season 3. We cannot wait to bring you these brand new stories! But first, naps!

We are also still accepting gossip for our Season 2 listener gossip episode! We are looking for your stories from niche organizations (your Dungeons and Dragons group, a local organic co-op, that jogging group you joined, anything you think is a small and important culture). When you call or email, make sure to indicate that they are for the bonus episode!

You can subscribe to Normal Gossip on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you listen! You can follow Normal Gossip on Instagram here.

(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you do have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is normalgossip@defector.com, or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.

Thank you for listening to Season 2 of our show! We’re still learning and growing and having fun. We hope you are too.