Monday, 25 August 2008


Don't we all hate busybodies who poke their nose into things that don't concern them and aren't doing them any harm? Shouldn't they just mind their own business and butt out?

Well, yes and no. Busybodies who tell us we should get married, or have children, or earn more money, or get more exercise, are a pain in the arse. Who asked for their opinion?

But busybodies who're concerned about some blatant injustice and want to put it right are a different matter. Without them, all sorts of social scandals would never have been tackled.

It was busybodies who got steamed up about slavery, sweatshops, industrial accidents, child labour, slums and chain gangs, while others looked the other way.

If the do-gooders (as they're often snidely described) hadn't raised their voices in protest, these things would just have continued unabated. Many more people would have suffered.

And if it wasn't for today's busybodies (i.e. people with a conscience) complaining about domestic violence, people trafficking, mistreated immigrants or filthy hospitals, nothing much would be done about those either.

Sometimes poking your nose into unexpected places and passing judgment on what you find can be a good thing, even if those alighted on bristle and try to shut you up.

As long as it's something genuinely abhorrent and pernicious, why not? No, I don't want to be lectured on my dress sense or my dust bunnies. But yes, I do want to be told about sex slavery in Soho. There is a difference.


  1. If I'm doing something that somebody thinks is wrong then fair enough let me know. It's the ones that make my business their business for no apparent reason that irk me no end!

  2. Quicky - Exactly. Some people have a compulsion to pry into other people's private lives just out of morbid curiosity or self-righteousness. But if you ask about theirs, the shutters come down pretty damn quick.

  3. Honestly, apart from one annoying neighbour years ago, I've never met one! Oh except for one woman at work who has sonar hearing and likes to put her uninformed two-pence worth in on a regular basis but I just ignore her. I think there are precious few of them frankly, look at the number of old people who are 'found' weeks after passing because no busybody neighbour asked about their welfare. I'd rather someone be interested than not. Bit ironic really since blogging is 'prying' to some extent! Although I guess bloggers 'give out' information rather than have it pryed unwillingly.

  4. Baino - Lucky you! But maybe that's because (a) you tend to be pretty frank with people anyway and (b) they know that if they ask too many nosy questions you'll give them a piece of your mind! But you're right about people who die and aren't found for weeks. We could do with a few more busybodies in those cases.

  5. Well in that case, I would like to host a busybody party next door to me in the hope that such a ground swell of disgust and indignation will float my neighbor out to sea among the other sharks.

    I know. I'm an opportunist. So sue me.

  6. Heart - That bad, huh? Some neighbours unfortunately are immune to any amount of disgust and indignation. Like the neighbours we had once in London, who hosted all-night parties twice a week.