Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Implied Risks of Multifaceted Communication Within The Void / Part 1

I was just talking with A who was at the same time talking on line with B and C. B was simultaneously chatting with the parents (D) of A's boyfriend (E) telling A everything E had told D about A. C, also talking with B, immediately informed his girlfriend (F) what E had said - via D - about A. He then informed both A and B that F had expressed interest of an indeterminate nature about this, suggesting that D's assessment of E's comments concerning A, further filtered through B, were perhaps less than entirely accurate. C relayed this to A and, somewhat inadvertently, to B, who subsequently waxed indignant to A, C and D; her natural, god-given ability to repeat everything she hears verbatim and certainly without any trace of editorial license is apparently above reproach.
This, we are forced to conclude, is precisely what B would say under the circumstances.
(It should also be noted that, caught up in the conversational moment, C blurted out the gist of this ongoing online adventure to an elderly Chinese woman busy sweeping the street just outside his apartment. The Chinese woman spat once, tugged at her not insignificant chin hair and, apparently missing the point entirely, replied in her native bark ... "Crazy stupid westerners don't even eat dogs.")

So much for the already fuzzy concept of cross-cultural communication.
It is fairly common knowledge, particularly among techno-nincompoops, that each time a piece of information is repeated the content of said information is gradually deformed.
A case in point, E's original information to D about A:
"She is a really cool chick with big blue eyes and a terrific sense of humor"
Becomes over time, "She's an excessively chilly barnyard animal with bulging new eyeballs and an horrific fear of tumors."
The mutated version, while no less interesting than the original, is hardly something we would expect a boy to tell his parents about his new girlfriend.
Interestingly, as the original version of this collective communicative act mutates its way around the planet,  it is eventually told to G, a distant friend of A, who immediately informs A of what some anonymous boy E told his parents D about this girl A he's interested in.
At this point the original content appears thus:
"She's a compulsively frigid hen-like creature with bulbous Bulgarian bedsores and an iffy fascination with East Timor."
A, needless to say, has no idea what G is talking about, assumes she is just making stuff up, or has stopped taking her medication, and decides then and there to have no more to do with the girl....


  1. I'm so vain I probably think this post is about me, but is there any chance I'm D or E or C? I have a vague inkling I might be.

  2. Gossip harms three people: the one being gossiped about, the one relaying the gossip, and the one listening to it. (Ancient Jewish Belief)