Volume 92, Issue 76

Thursday, February 11, 1999


Don't believe everything you hear

Fight night in the hell-bent kitchen

Who has the final say

Aussie rules complaining

Don't believe everything you hear

By Terry Warne
Gazette Staff

Did you hear what happened at Saugeen a little while back? A bunch of guys burst into some dude's room, tied him to the bed, stabbed him and set him on fire. Really, I swear – a friend told me who knows someone who knows someone who might have heard what actually happened.

If this story sounds familiar, it is. On the day after the unfortunate incident at Saugeen-Maitland Hall, during which a student suffered from self-inflicted stab wounds, it was the story repeated more times than a Eugene Robinson apology on Super Bowl Sunday.

I overheard this story from a group of guys who were discussing it in the University Community Centre men's locker room the morning after the occurrence. My attention was immediately piqued and after asking for verification, I was assured this was indeed the case. A half hour later, I again overheard the same story. Obviously, the story had been making the rounds.

Warning bells began to go off in my head. I believed something had happened, but this story was just too fantastic to accept at face value. Sure enough, the report in the newspaper the following day contradicted the details which were being bandied about.

We attend an institute of higher learning which requires students to question, examine, explore and then question some more. One would hope students would apply these same practices during the course of an average day. Apparently, that is not the case. It seems quite a number of students actually believed the story of a "midnight residence invasion."

The question then becomes, why? Is the lust for sensation so insatiable people will completely abandon common sense? Through various mediums we are constantly inundated with sensational and fantastic stories from around the world. Is it possible people would leap at the first opportunity to become a part of this carnival of misfortune? Let us hope not.

I think what the spread of this story can be attributed to is an old friend – gossip. No matter what your background, your education, where you are from or whether you eat cauliflower, too many people like to hear and believe a wild story. I too have been known to pass stories along with a smirk and a nudge, but people, let's be selective. Gossip with grace and don't do so shamelessly, because inevitably details get blown out of proportion. This is what happened with the Saugeen incident and I am sure some people were terrified by the story.

Don't believe everything you hear – because it might not be true.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999