Hearsay: A Public Service Announcement

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Hearsay

In every town, in every street,
In nearly every house, you meet
A little imp, who wriggles in
With half a sneer and half a grin,
And climbs upon your rocking chair,
Or creeps upon you anywhere;
And when he gets you very near,
Just whispers something in your ear-
Some rumor of another’s shame-
And “Little Hearsay” is his name.
He never really claims to know-
He’s only heard that it is so;
And then he whispers it to you,
So you will go and whisper too.
For if enough is passed along
The rumor, even though it’s wrong-
If John tells Henry, Henry-Joe,
And Joe tells Mary, Mary-Flo,
And Flo tells Mildred, Mildred-Ruth-
It very soon may pass for truth.
You understand, this little elf
He doesn’t say he knows himself,
He doesn’t claim it’s really true-
He only whispers it to you,
Because he knows you’ll go and tell
Some other whisperer as well.
And so before the setting sun
He gets the devil’s mischief done,
And there is less of joy and good
Around your little neighborhood.
Look out for “Hearsay!” when he sneaks
Inside the house-when slander speaks
Just ask the proof in every case;
Just ask the name and date and place;
And if he says he’s only heard,
Declare you don’t believe a word,
And tell him you will not repeat
The silly chatter of the street.
However gossips smile and smirk,
Refuse to do their devil’s work.

Author unknown, circa 1929.

A Generation of Narcissists and Voyeurs

For some, photo-sharing sites have become public shrines to personal vanity. Particularly among teenage girls. Like Narcissus of old, they are absorbed in reflections of their own beauty.

Boys, on the other hand, are entranced by an endless stream of maidens who, like the ancient nymphs, are more fantasy than reality.

In this cycle, the voyeur feeds the narcissist and the narcissist the voyeur. The camera, rather than bringing people closer together, maintains an untouchable world of distant and augmented realities. Both ends of the spectrum lose perspective on what is real.

Beauty and appreciation of beauty are part of the sweet joys of life. Yet, beauty in the eye of the narcissist is no longer beauty for the sake of beauty. It is a commodity for sale on a path to fill a hidden emptiness. A void that is unable to accept the true value of beauty.

May the rising generation embrace a reality where the greatest moments take place off stage without camera or script. Moments that reward patience and delayed gratification. Moments of simple joy far beyond the hollows of narcissism and voyeurism.

The Value of a Whisper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can the whisper still tame the lion? If everything is loud, nothing is.

 

Young children flinch at loud noises, but in modern society they soon learn to endure and then to enjoy excessive decibels. Loud noise, however, prevents the development of discriminative refinement. Our civilization shouts so loud that the value of a whisper is forgotten.

Continuous background noise – from the radio or television, for example – discourages the development of perception and discrimination. Something that is there the whole time no longer draws proper attention: it dulls; it becomes a kind of drug; it floats us sluggishly along. It is like a stream of dirty lukewarm water – a kind of inferior bath taken disgustingly in common. Whatever encourages our inattention diminishes our ability to make wise choices because, of all the things that are required to make wise choices, a delicate and sensitive attention is the most important.”

Arthur Henry King – Arm the Children, BYU Studies 1998