Re: Richard Gere and the Gerbil
Heard a fascinating take on the whole Richard-Gere-and-the-gerbil thing many years B.I. (Before Internet) from a friend who could lie with an amazingly straight face. (So I make no guarantees as to accuracy, y'unnerstand.)
Seems, this friend told me, that there is a public relations firm out of Washington, D.C. that performs some specialized research, including the promulgation and propagation of rumor. In every city, they have "seeders" and "spotters". The seeders begin by putting forth some outrageous lie to, say, half a dozen people. And then the spotters sit back and wait till someone tells it to 'em. Naturally, all the experimental observations are carefully collated back at U.L.H.Q. in the nation's capital.
One of them was the all-time hands-down prize-winner. The original rumor said only, "A big Hollywood star was rushed to the emergency room recently for the removal of a live gerbil lodged in his rectum. The gerbil had been inserted for purposes of sexual gratification."
Armed with their new script, the seeders went to work. (Honestly, I think I'd rather be a spotter; less work, plus you don't have to worry about the inevitable breakups.) The rumor was carefully launched in a major metropolitan area in Pennsylvania. Within a week and a half, goes the story, it had reached the West Coast the fastest any seeded rumor had ever crossed the country. Somewhere along the way, it was firmly attached to the name of the luckless yet gracious Mr. Gere, who has resisted all possible blandishments or temptations to utter one single solitary word of comment on this ridiculous canard. (I am not made of such stern stuff, but you'd expect that from a guy who's spent much of his career in the laudable but unlikely pursuit of Tibetan liberty.)
Anyway... there's now a co-rumor, or possibly a commentary on the original, like the Talmud of urban legends.