As humans, bad news, that does not affect us, makes our day. We have a penchant for enjoying bad news about people. The aphorism that “nothing sells like bad news” must certainly be true in Nigeria.
Salacious rumours or gossip send people salivating for more odorous news about a person or event. The higher up the person being reported upon, the better. We love tarring people with ad brush. We just love it. It is the way we are. Vendor stands (the people’s parliament), beer parlours and public transport are fertile ground for discussions on matters that made headlines. You are most likely to hear stories that veer on the unbelievable. Some of the discussants may swear by all the gods in his homeland that he heard the news from a reliable source. That is how we roll.
We tend to get our kicks from stories about the lives of celebrities or the very high up in society. When the private lives of the well to do in society are reported upon, especially where the stories are not palatable, it sells. Many papers in the more developed part of the world are usually dedicated to writing stories on the lives of celebrities. The paparazzi thrive on reporting on the lives of celebrities. They literally follow celebrities everywhere by invading their privacy. They shove cameras into their faces with flashbulbs going off. This has the ability to disorient them and many at times has led to some of the celebrities reacting violently. A member of the British royal family fled to her death in an attempt to flee from the paparazzi in France.
Back home, our interest is focused more on political actors. We keen to hear what they did and did not do. We have our ears primed to hear the worst about them. This is most especially when we hear about new appointments. We long to hear sordid stories on the past of appointees. We dig and dig to throw dirt on the private life of a person which might have no relationship with the public life of the person. We gleefully gobble up the stories to salve our appetite for something unsavoury about a person.
People also enjoy hearing stories about others. The bad part. The successes achieved by others are usually turn-offs. Stories that titillate us are the best, especially when shared in the beer parlour. The beer parlour is home for sharing not so true news for while hairdressing saloon are for women. Over staff government offices also serves as rendezvous for not so true a news. Little gossip here and there that would emphasise the unsavoury private life of another person is shared with glee. We all enjoy the gossips, the rumours and the not so true stories. The bigger or high up the person the sweeter the news.