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You Can’t Trust A Teen, But You Can Follow Their Gossip

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

Everyone lies, but teens lie more. To their credit, teens have a lot of good reasons to lie. They want to be adults, but aren’t quite yet. They feel like they are the smartest they’ve ever been (which is true), but they still have plenty to learn. Teens believe they know more than their parents in some areas, but they don’t know just how much they are underestimating their parents. What teens are best at, really, is supporting one another. They will lie for another teen every time, because it is always, for all of human history, teens against the world.

I gossiped a lot as a teen. Maybe everyone does. It’s the kind of lifeblood of a high school to ask one another what happened when we missed a party or a class or a fight in the cafeteria. Part of this is probably the culture of everyone being very horny and insecure and also having five hundred crushes.

I am thinking a lot about this because this week’s guest on the show is Laurel Bristow. Laurel is the very first scientist we’ve ever had on this podcast. She is everyone’s favorite guide to infectious diseases, and she’s just gotten a brand new job as director of Emory University’s Tuberculosis Research Advancement Center.

In addition to telling us about her father being a butcher, and why butchers having the best gossip, Laurel also explained that part of infectious disease research is knowing that teens may not tell you the truth, but they will reveal the truth with their gossip. You can follow their tags and who they post on Snapchat and when they post and know which ones of them are smooching in a tuberculosis outbreak whether they want you to or not!

Then we jumped right into a story about a family with decades worth of hurt feelings, falling outs, and, well … kitchen pots? Laurel brought a very chaotic energy that had her encouraging people to steal, so you know it’ll be good.

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.