The Scandalmonger – a defamer par excellence
The nature of human beings comprises good, bad and ugly characters, all of them equally ready to dominate in specific circumstances. One person could be an extremely good character at work, but ugly at home and/or bad while s/he is driving a vehicle. Nobody is all good, or all bad, or all ugly, though people of quality are most of the time in most circumstances good.
I can be bad by merely mentioning the name of the person who had inspired me to expose the character of a ‘scandalmonger’. I can even become ugly and publish a list of names of all the scandalmongers I have met in my life. But then I will have to put my own name on the list as well, for I can clearly remember the times I was a scandalmonger. And of course I can justify my behavior with many rational explanations.
What is a scandalmonger?
The Internet’s free dictionary defines a scandalmonger as a person who stirs up public outrage toward someone or their actions by spreading rumors or malicious gossip.
The scandalmonger is a person who charges others falsely or justifiably with malicious intent. Discrediting and defaming others is simply their modus operandi. Scandalmongers prefer not to see the good qualities in others. They don’t want to recognize any notable achievements of others. They always remember, either in silence or aloud for all to hear, the bad and ugly they have seen, or heard about others.
According to Roget’s Thesaurus synonyms and relating nouns and verbs are blab, gossip, gossiper, gossipmonger, newsmonger, rumormonger, tabby, talebearer, taleteller, tattle, tattler, tattletale, telltale, whisperer, yenta, and all of these are persons habitually engaged in idle talk about others.
Conversation with a Scandalmonger:
You: “Jenny looks lovely today. Pink really suits her.”
SM (Scandalmonger): “Three days ago she was wearing a yellow dress that must have been her grandmother’s. She looked like a scarecrow. She actually once admitted that she has no idea what suits her and what not....”
You: “Johnny is extremely clever for his age.”
SM: “He is, in fact, a brat. The other day he talked to his mother as if she was born to be his slave. If one of my children ever behaves like him, I will never show my face in public again.”
You: “Maggy has the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen.”
SM: “Did you notice how big her nose is?”
You: “Elvis Presley is my favorite rock-star.”
SM: “Elvis was a drug addict.”
You: “I think Joey is a lovely mother.”
SM: “You haven’t heard her shouting like a fishwife at her children when they don’t do what she wants them to do.”
You: “Ex du Zet was an amazing writer.”
SM: “He was a covetous, shallow, puffed-up, crude, flaccid man who loved only himself.”
Scandalmongers malign others without any qualms of conscience. Discrediting others is part of their nature; they don’t see this as ‘ugliness’, but rather as their right to be honest and outspoken. They even believe they are serving their fellowmen by ‘opening their eyes’ to the bad and the ugly.
What motivate a person to be a scandalmonger?
An inferior complex, especially one that has not been acknowledged, tends to force a person to see the bad in others in order to feel normal and even of superior quality.
A superior complex will always force a person to hold others in scorn. To prove his superiority he will virulently turn the spotlight on the dark sides of others.
Grievances can change the best characters into scandalmongers. The need to see others suffer the same pain they’ve brought on us can bring out the bad and ugly in all of us. In our desperate efforts to regain our emotional balance and peace of mind, we tend to overstep the boundaries to expose the shortcomings of others. Like wild animals in a trap we feel trapped in our pain, and just like wild animals in pain we will hurt others left right and centre and lose our dignity. In retrospect I always categorize myself in this group whenever I found myself guilty of tattling.
Another reason for being a scandalmonger is simply ignorance. Children grew up in families and environments amongst people who gossip all the time. They merely accept gossiping as a human right. They have a specific view: Do and say whatever you want, but always know that people like to talk about people and they will also like to talk about you. (So you better keep a low profile, for the higher you rise above others the more others will enjoy talking about you.)
How to handle a scandalmonger -
Most of the times the scandalmonger uses the truth or what could be regarded as the truth to discredit another person. Only people who have the tendency to protect others against bullies and intimidators such as scandalmongers, will use another truth in an effort to recover the good, or acceptable reputation of the victim. This normally leads to arguments, as the scandalmonger is bent on proving himself as an adequate judge. After all, he already made up his mind, which is programmed to register negative perceptions. (Any positive perceptions in his mind are merely pending, to be replaced with the negative before final registration.)
Unless you are a screwed advocate, able to befuddle and stupefy others with facts and evidence, the best way to handle a scandalmonger is to ignore all negative remarks coming out of his mouth. Just don't react. Change the subject.
There were many rules I was obliged to obey as a child, which had eventually become natural boundaries I am only able to overstep with a horrible feeling of guilt -
- “If you don’t have anything good to say about a person, keep your mouth shut.”
- “Before you say anything nasty about somebody else, make a list of the nasty things others can say about you.”
- "Slandering others, is killing their reputations."
- "Never dig up the skeletons of others. If they want to see them, they have to dig them up with the support of a person they can trust."
Quotes to mull over -
- “Anyone who has obeyed nature by transmitting a piece of gossip experiences the explosive relief that accompanies the satisfying of a primary need.” ~ Primo Levi
- “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” ~ Miguel Angel Ruiz
- “Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip.” ~ Richard Steele
- “Slander is worse than cannibalism.” ~ John Chrysostom
- “Society is a republic. When an individual tries to lift themselves above others, they are dragged down by the mass, either by ridicule or slander.: ~ Victor Hugo
- "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt