A Wicked Game of Telephone

Summit’s rumor mill runs amuck


 Remember that game you played as a kid, someone would whisper a sentence to the person next to them, then so on and so on until the last person says the statement they heard out loud. The goal of the game is for the last person to have a sentence as close as possible to the first.

 The name of the game is “Telephone,” and spoiler alert, most of the time, at least when I played, the last person had a very completely different sentence than the first.

 If you really think about it, Summit High School is just a big version of this game. Rumors spread, like most schools, and every so often a detail is changed, and a new version of the story is spread, and once again a component is changed until it reaches the last person, and from the beginning to the end, the narrative has changed immensely.

From absent teachers to student-teacher relationships and don’t forget about the medical emergencies of both students and teachers, stories at Summit often get modified and adjusted to fit a new narrative.

“I don’t think [rumors] are always false, but people definitely exaggerate the rumor and add their opinion to sway it in a certain direction,” said Summit junior Lauren Hartrich. The rumors start to swirl around immediately and occasionally they might be true, but frankly, a random girl in my class can’t know for sure of anything the moment it happens.

This is not only Summit, this game of telephone happens in many towns and in many schools. In 2022, work began on “Bama Rush,” a documentary directed by Rachel Fleit. If you are unsure of what that is, according to an article in the New York Times, Bama Rush became a national sensation in 2021. Through TikTok, people got an inside look at the University of Alabama Rush which in the past has been a bit mysterious.

During the sorority recruitment at Alabama in 2022, there were rumors of a film crew and even hidden microphones throughout this period. However, according to Fleit, there was filming for the documentary, but there were no hidden microphones.

One person caught up in the rumors was Marina Anderson, a freshman at the University of Alabama who was rushing at the time. Despite denying them, when rumors started circulating that Anderson was wearing a hidden microphone, she was dropped from every sorority.

Anderson was not in the documentary, but according to the article, ‘‘It Wasn’t a Documentary About Bama Rush Whatsoever!’” from the New York Times, “Ms. Anderson added that she had occasionally wondered what she might have missed out on because of the microphone paranoia. ‘I think the main thing is just that rumors are really dangerous,’ she said.”

Before the documentary aired on Max on May 23, the trailer seemed to give an even better look inside Greek life at the university, however, the actual thing seemed to be a bit anticlimactic. The documentary focused more on the disease of Fleit and less on the sorority recruitment at the university. Still, the rumor of Anderson being a part of the film put a spotlight on her.

 “[The rumors] really messed me up my freshman year,” Anderson said in an interview with Madison Malone Kircher.

 Rumors, true or not, can really stick with people. When gossip is spread, the little changes that might seem ineffective can completely alter the storyline.

“I think a lot of times rumors can be hurtful because they spread so fast and I would be worried if a rumor started to spread about me,” said Summit junior Julia Kaisner.

High schoolers are notorious for gossiping, we are teenagers after all, but at least make sure you have the facts right. Of course, the best option that might cause the least damage would be to not take part in the huge game of ‘Telephone” that happens on a daily basis at Summit High School