Idea Of The Day

No Gossiping

Anything that’s good enough for Nicole Kidman, a usually stoic friend says, is good enough me. Such devotion apparently includes a willingness to join a campaign to improve our public speech, a cause that the Australian actress has espoused. Named Words Can Heal, the venture is the idea of two New York rabbis eager to see the demise of gossip and bad language in American life. It is, you could say, the biggest assault on the New York Post’s famous gossip sheet “Page Six” in recent history. In addition to Kidman, Words Can Heal enjoys the support of President George Bush, former Sen. Bob Dole, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and various Hollywood types (including Ms. Kidman’s former husband, Tom Cruise). You, too, can take The Pledge: “I pledge to think more about the words I use. I will try to see how gossip hurts people, including myself, and work to eliminate it from my life. I will try to replace words that hurt with words that encourage, engage and enrich.” An extract from the campaign’s handbook offers five excuses that will allow you to avoid so-called “ gossipy situations.” “Excuse me, I need to freshen up my drink.” “I just can’t make it to the cafeteria for lunch today.” “I can’t talk on the phone right now.” “I’d love to join you, but I have to get some work done.” “I’m going to be late for an appointment; I’ll see you later.