the weekly theme

Gossip

Gossip. “Did you gut the pillow with a knife?’ he says. ‘Yes, Father.’ ‘And what were the results?’ ‘Feathers,’ she said. ‘Feathers?’ he repeated. ‘Feathers; everywhere, Father.’ ‘Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,’ ‘Well,’ she said, ‘it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.’ ‘And that,’ said Father O’ Rourke, ‘is gossip!“. This part of the quote is to be found in Father Flynn speech in the movie DOUBT, based on the theater play written by John Patrick Shanley and performed, for the first time, in 2004 in New York (2005/ 2006 in Broadway): a deserved success for such cultural, sociological and political script, acted in 2008 on the big screen by an amazing cast, headed by Meryl Streep and Peter Seymour Hoffman and formed by Amy Adams and Viola Davis too. These 4 actors were all Oscar nominated the year after for their artistic performances. Gossip is either an unfounded truth or half a truth – just as destructive – or a malevolent voice aimed at injuring and destroying a person and draws its strength also from the following: “Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty. But to defend yourself from gossip, when you are the intended victim, is not at all easy and sometimes even impossible, because, once it’s spread around, it goes out of control, both for its author and for the injured person. When Father Flynn demands an evidence of guilt from Sister Aloysius Beauvier, who accuses him of paedophilia, she says she doesn’t have any and her conviction is sufficient for her: “How can you be so sure that he is lying?“- asks another character in the play/ movie to Sister Aloysius and she exclaims: “Experience”. The religious man risks to lose his job and to be disparaged by the whole Church and society, whilst pleading fully innocent and not receiving a proper legal process, therefore he appeals to his gender: men. In the official church order, hierarchy exits and is sexist (still today!): a nun, in spite of her high level, is not authorized to get in touch with the prior of a parish, she will be able to talk to another nun only. Here is the political theme of the play that ends up with Sister Aloysius, who won over Father Flynn being chased away under a shameful accuse and now confesses: “I have doubts, I have such doubts”. I stopped on such a still modern and thought-provoking play, because I believe it gives the perfect idea of how tragic the psycho-emotional consequences, sometimes objective too and irrecoverable, of a comment or a pure propaganda against someone who will never be able to defend himself, neither properly nor simultaneously. We all know what we felt as gossip victims – gossip sounds a funny harmless term, in fact it might even bring to violent and self-destructive acts, including (the victim) death. Therefore, let’s think deeply before talking.

Trailer (Eng. sub.): www.youtube.com/watch?v=05KqNmOBTv4
A specific scene of the movie: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp6rVrGmvMs
Another touching moment of the play/film: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAOUtgdcjik

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