Rumour mill

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The Independent Online

Rumours, rumours, rumours: much agitation, we note, about the ease with which unfounded tittle-tattle can be spread through cyberspace. Much debate about practical remedies that could stamp out this irresponsibility; much moral mulling, too, over the function and social utility of gossip, and whether there is any "essential qualitative difference" between clicking a mouse and whispering sideways through pursed lips above folded arms in the post-office queue.

Rumours, rumours, rumours: much agitation, we note, about the ease with which unfounded tittle-tattle can be spread through cyberspace. Much debate about practical remedies that could stamp out this irresponsibility; much moral mulling, too, over the function and social utility of gossip, and whether there is any "essential qualitative difference" between clicking a mouse and whispering sideways through pursed lips above folded arms in the post-office queue.

Down here, we feel qualified only to wonder how many people have to hear a bit of gossip before it stops being interesting, and to lead a crusade for a more benevolent, life-enhancing type of rumour. Nasser Hussain is just lulling them into a fatal over-confidence, for example. John Prescott is doing it for a bet. IDS does Elvis impersonations. Ken Livingstone is going into the minicab business. It's going to stop raining. We say: get clicking!

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