….that you’re a jerk.
….that you did something horrible.
….that your audition sucked.
….that your relationship is on the rocks.
….that you’re a substance abuser.
….that you’re no good as an actor.
….that you hopped into bed with so-and-so.
et cetera ad infinitum ad nauseum.
Save yourself a bunch of physical and psychic head trauma by ignoring all ‘somebody said that somebody said’ information. It’s not information. It’s likely not true, or at best only partially true. And on the rare occasions that somebody said that somebody said something positive, that’s probably not entirely true either. But let’s face it, the somebodies who theoretically said whatever they said to somebody who said it to you are rarely saying something positive. Right? It definitely seems that just about all somebody-said-that-somebody-said information is negative. When you try to verify this information, it’s like trying to pull on wet tissue paper and it’s a fucking mess and you end up with probably zero real information, a lot of contradictory information, and a shit-ton of wet tissue paper all over you. And chances are good you don’t even feel any better for all this mess, and in fact you probably feel a good deal worse.
We learned this back on the schoolyard with that dumb game where you start by whispering “I have a sandwich,” and by the end of the line of grade-schoolers it’s become “The moon is made of dog crap.” And yet in what can be a very gossipy business, full of intrigue and rumor, we sentient mature adults, aspiring to the highest levels of professionalism and artistic achievement, compulsively indulge the habit for somebody said that somebody said.
Ignore it. Sigh deeply and express boredom. Move on with your life. It may well be that somebody said that somebody said something that you need eventually to handle, but the fact is you don’t really have “actionable intelligence” until you observe and hear directly with your own eyes and ears. If you think the somebody-said-that-somebody-said information is important to rebut or handle in some way, go to the supposed source directly. But you’d better not be bloody accusatory and uppity about it, because I can pretty much guarantee that this supposed source didn’t say what somebody said they said, or at least not in the way it was reported, or probably with some entirely different context, and you’re gonna have egg on your face by being uppity and righteous before you get the scoop. So if you insist on investigating somebody-said-that-somebody-said, do so cautiously.
But my advice, 90% of the time: IGNORE IT AND MOVE ON.
PS: In a discussion with someone about the above, they brought up an important and particularly lethal variant: Somebody Heard That Somebody Said. How many times has something like this hit you: “Yeah, I heard so-and-so thinks you’re this-and-that.” Clearly this falls within the broader topic of somebody-said-that-somebody said, but has that awesome dissociative ‘heard’ word. I heard that someone said something. And immediately, this places you in this position: “Somebody said they heard that somebody said.” Impossible to trace. Try chasing that one down! It’ll go like this:
You: From whom did you hear that?
The Other: I don’t know. At the party this weekend. Someone said they heard you were yada-yada.
Did you see that? With a single question, you’re now here: “Someone said that someone said they heard that someone said.”
You can see how completely screwed you are. So again: IGNORE IT AND MOVE ON.