Spreading Ugly Rumors
 
One of the more unpleasant aspects of human psychology that we have probably all been guilty of at one time or another is the spreading of or listening to an ugly rumor. There are no doubt very few instances of this where the information being peddled has not been wholly fabricated or at the very least embellished to the point that the original “truth” (if ever there was any) has been so distorted that it is lost to history. And in the world of rumor/hate mongering, “history” moves with intrepidity.
 
Less often, we are the victim of someone else’s attempts to spread this kind of reputation damaging innuendo. Those of us that have experienced this would no doubt confirm that the devastation such an attack exerts on one’s self is a wound that does not soon heal, if ever.
 
The problem that exists with such acts is that as a society, we value freedom of expression above nearly all other rights and privileges. Therefore, when one spreads such filth, all that person has to say is that they thought it was the truth and it unfortunately and thoroughly unfairly gets them off the hook. Essentially, they are rewarded for engaging in the two of the most reprehensible of behaviors; they are rewarded for knowingly lying about another individual, and then rewarded again for lying that they were lying.
 
Our courts are of little help in this matter either. There is always the recourse of filing a lawsuit against an individual that conducts themselves and their affairs in this manner, but due to our reliance on that sometimes pesky first amendment, juries are somewhat loathe to find for the injured party.
 
However, there are some silver linings for those of us that have been abused by the dishonesty and willful debasement  that these mendacious types adhere to.
 
Recently, I took one such individual to court over her outrageous lies and falsehoods and while there was no financial relief awarded, the jury did make a couple of very important observations in their verdict.
 
1. The other party did spread false information about me.
 
2. She was not found liable because she didn’t realize what she was saying was false.
 
(This was a polite way of saying the she was so crazy that she could not tell the difference between reality and fantasy when it came to her statements.)
 
I don’t know if any of this entry has a point.
 
Except for this.
 
If someone is spreading lies about you, (and by this I mean lies that are truly harmful and reputation-destroying) challenge them. Take them to court. Force them to account for their falsehoods. Even if you don’t win, you accomplish two things.
 
1. You cast a light on their dishonesty and expose them for who they really are.
 
(Sunshine is a very effective disinfectant.)
 
2. You silence them.
 
The next time they are so tempted to delve into their hateful ways, hopefully they will think twice. (Or at the very least, people who are close to them will convince them to do so.)
 
 
My Blog
Tuesday, May 4, 2010