Everything essential to storytelling is explicitly forbidden: Keep your tongue from speaking evil, no bearing false witness, no going up and down as a talebearer among your people.... Under the influence of the evil tongue, 10,000 stories and novels, before and since, have insinuated themselves into our sin-seeking world.... They are made by go-betweens, by whisperers and tattletales, by ironists and miscreants, by jesters and mourners, and always by the fevered bearers of false witness.
Yet even Solomon’s Proverbs, that ancient well of prudence, in one of its seemingly admonitory homilies, reveals — against its intent — a fierce intuition for the shattering force of storytelling: “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s innermost parts.”
A man’s innermost parts! A woman’s innermost parts! Interpret this as you will, it all comes down to the self-conscious and vulnerable organ that humanity once dared (defiantly, subversively) to call Soul — where gossip longs to tread.
December 19, 2015
"To choose to live without gossip is to scorn storytelling. And to scorn storytelling is to join the anthill, where there are no secrets to pry open."
Writes the novelist Cynthia Ozick in a NYT column titled "The Novel’s Evil Tongue."