Thursday, February 26, 2009

OK (or not OK)

I have thought about this and I still can’t decide what I hate most about the tragedy for our times that is Jade Goody.

So in no particular order:

I hate the producers of Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother who both built JG up, knocked her down, and then led her to take part in India’s version where she ended up being televised live hearing she had cancer.

I hate the ‘celebrity’ obsessed media who will fill page after page with trash about people such as JG. I also hate that I knew all about the fairy tale wedding (Costing £1.5 million – money well spent I am sure), but did not know until someone with family in Cairo told me, that there was a bomb in the main market in Cairo on Sunday which not only caused death and destruction but will have an on going seriously negative effect on Egyptian peoples livelihoods. I expect the BBC had no time left to report on this once they had covered the wedding of JG so comprehensively..

I hate the fact that we the public still buy these rags and allow the media to profit from the trash they print. And I hate people like Max (slime ball) Clifford (3,383) profiting from someone who is dying by selling the various ‘exclusives’.

I hate the fact that somewhere along the line I became so cynical about the media that when I first heard the JG has cancer story I assumed it was fabricated or at the very most - grossly exaggerated.

I hate seeing the effect the blanket coverage has on my close friend at work who has had cancer twice and tells me she finds the JG story really hard to cope with.

I hate the fact that even our government has to get dragged into the saga with Gordon Brown expressing his regrets and Jack Straw lifting the curfew on her jailbird bloke so that he can spend one evening cavorting in women’s underwear, and the next one boozing till 4.30 in the morning, whilst we are told his beloved bride had long since retired to bed. Yes - can sure see what she must see in him.

I hate the hypocrisy with which people who had not a good word to say about JG after the racist bullying incident are now falling over themselves to express their sorrow for her imminent demise. And when people who are total strangers to JG write things in comments on web pages like “Goodbye brave Jade. I shall never forget your beautiful smile. You are an inspiration to us all.” …Well, I am afraid it just makes me feel nauseous.

I think I can understand and appreciate that living out this final act in the drama that has been Jade Goody’s life in the public eye is her way of dealing with it. What I can neither understand or appreciate though is how on earth our society became so obsessed with the trivial that such a person - famous only for showing herself up on reality TV shows - is actually in a position where she CAN live out her final days in the public eye, and in so doing add to the huge amount of money she has already made

As a final observation when Jade’s popularity plummeted following the Celebrity Big Brother racism row Living TV cancelled her programme. Now Living TV is making money by filming Jade whilst she is dying. Irony or what? Maybe Living TV should reconsider what they call themselves?


Fire Byrd said...

weirdly I have never being interested in the JG saga, but found myself watching with a fascinated curiosity last night's programme. I wanted to watch relocation relocation, but just got hooked into this macabre and distasteful programme instead. It, regardless of who it is feels sad that a mum of two young boys should be dying so young. But maybe I'm saying that having those choices in front of me a couple of years back. Life is precious and we don't think about it till we think it might be taken away from us.
That was my excuse for watching anyway... or maybe I just lost my marbles last night!!It was a strange programme.

word ver: realve!!

Reidski said...

Great post, JJ.

Steve said...

There's a 'Diana-moment' on its way and I don't think I can take any more. You're spot on with this post Jane, but if you dare to open your mouth in public........

Moo said...

"Goodbye brave Jade. I shall never forget your beautiful smile. You are an inspiration to us all"

Inspiration? Did I miss something?

This is totally ridiculous, I cant even bear to watch any news that she may be on. Great post JJ x

Anonymous said...

Did you all feel like this about John Diamond? Max Clifford is right: this is a class issue.

Yours outspokenly

PS Okay, okay, I know John Diamond was restricted to a newspaper column, but that is the only material difference, as far as I am concerned.

word verification=pnesters!

Jay said...

I'm not sure whether I find it sadder that we (and I use the term loosely) have become a nation obsessed with voyeurism of the worst kind, akin to public executions, floggings and Roman circuses in my poor beleaguered little mind,

"I hate seeing the effect the blanket coverage has on my close friend at work who has had cancer twice and tells me she finds the JG story really hard to cope with."

... or that. I think it's the second. I'm sure this is partly because it brings it all so much into the area of personal experience.

To elaborate, and also to answer Melissa, it's also partly because I was myself diagnosed with oral cancer during the time John Diamond was losing his battle with throat cancer. It was all a little too close to home for comfort and did, in fact, cause me considerable personal distress to constantly hear how fast he was going downhill ... and then that he'd died.

I am absolutely convinced that the whole media circus surrounding Jade's experience is causing a huge amount of unnecessary pain both to many of her fellow cervical cancer sufferers, and to their families.

I feel desperately sorry for her, but I do feel that it should all have managed with more dignity and consideration for others. She is obtaining catharsis for herself (and money for her family) at the enormous expense of other people who suffer and die in obscurity.

And yes, I felt distaste for the whole Diana thing too.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Great post: and Jay "She is obtaining catharsis for herself (and money for her family) at the enormous expense of other people who suffer and die in obscurity" -- you nailed it.

It is sad when anyone dies young; yes, there is a touch of the class issue about attitudes to JG. BUT... we've reached the point where people want to be famous rather than famous for doing something and I'm baffled at what it is that JG has done to be able to take up the attention offered her... no one comes out of this well.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that JG's gain is at anybody's expense. The media circus is there for those who wish to enter the Big Top; maybe we need to turn our backs as it parades through town; but it is as easy as that to ignore. What offends is our own fascination with what we despise.

jay said...

Messalina - sorry, I got your name wrong. :(

No, it's not my fascination. I haven't watched any.

What I know is from one news broadcast, which gave me the bones of the story, and from what people have let me know - and believe me, I didn't go looking. Nor did I go looking for John Diamond's story. Trust me, I'd have done anything to avoid knowing about that one! But when the media is obsessed with these things, and as JJ says, often at the expense of more relevant news, it is difficult to escape. Impossible, unless you choose to isolate yourself completely from all news - and even then if you're out and about in the shops and public places you will get to hear some bits and pieces.

To me, people suffering and dying is a very personal thing. And if it is made this public, a lot of vulnerable people are going to hear a damn sight more than they want to know, and more than is good for their peace of mind. To me, that does seem like the few obtaining catharsis at the expense of the many. It is, to be sure, only my opinion, but I'm entitled to it. ;)

J.J said...

Fire Byrd - knowing of your own experiences I couldn't help but think of you too over this. It is hard to look away from this terrible story - much as we may wish to.

Reidski - if I can put it down here you may be spared some of it face to face.

Steve - exactly so re Diana. In many ways I think the two of them are two sides of the same coin, both living and eventually dying in full public glare, and everyone of us apparently believing we knew just who the two of them were. Coming soon - next mass out pouring of grief for a media creation.

Moo - I woudl liek to think she would inspire young women to work harder at school so they don't leave as ignorant as JG - but I fear she inspires them to do the opposite. Don't bother with an eductaion - get on reality tele instead and then sell every sordid detail of your life to the tabloids, and get very rich. Yep - inspirational, but depressing.

Messalina - I certainly agree there is a class issue. For one thing I can't see someone like John Diamond being manipulated by the likes of Clifford. Too bright to have need of that. Jade's vulnerability and need to see herself with positive coverage in the media has been used to the nth degree to sell magazines and make money for others, and whilst she made it too - they didn't hesitate to knock her when she was down. Because she is so much in the public eye it is practically impossible not to form an opinion about her, and because the very thing that brought her to attention was her total lack of education, followed by her display in Celebrity BB which certainly reflected her up bringing, class is a fundamental part of the story. I feel sorry that she is dying, I felt sorry for John Diamond - but his story was avoidable - hers is not whether we like it or not. And as I said before the media aren't reporting this out of compassion but out of sheer naked greed for a story that (inexplicably in my opinion) sells.

Jay - I am so sorry to hear what you went through before. I do know how hard my friend finds this as I you say there must be so many more for whom it is all too close.

Lisa - No one at all. So right.

Messalina - I hate the fact that I wrote about it because of my own inability to ignore it.

Jay - I am sure it is Jade's way of coping with considerable 'encouragement' from Max (more money in the bank for me) Clifford, but it closes her eyes to the effect it has on others.

Anonymous said...

I never really understood who Jane Goody was (I'm in Canada) but I've noticed that she was in the news more and more, and now I understand why.

I have to agree with your views...

What a new low...


trousers said...

Excellent, thought-provoking post, the same with the comment thread.

It may be telling that I didn't even know who John Diamond was until I saw the comments here.

J.J said...

Hello Urban Daddy and thanks for visiting here. It is even more surreal that she has made the news in Canada!

Trousers - I am fairly sure lots of people would have missed the John Diamond story, but I wonder on which planet we would have to be living to miss the Jade one, given that Canad isn't far enough away to avoid it.

Karen said...

I too have tried to avoid it but it's difficult when it is all over the news and all the headlines of the newspapers are about her.

I don't like Jade Goody. I find her irritating. I liked her even less after the racist comments she made. I wondered what people saw in her to make her into such a "celebrity" for essentially sitting on her bum in a house for a few weeks.

I am sad that she is dying as she is young, especially as she is only a few years older than me. That someone can become so ill so quickly at our age is a terrifying thought. Also that she is leaving children behind is sad. However I will not be overcome with grief when she finally passes. I have not watched or read anything about her condition and do not intend to. If for some sick reason her funeral is televised I won't watch it.

Also re Diana I remember that Mother Theresa died shortly afterwards and there was hardly any coverage and surely she had done much more than Diana...

Word ver: hapsabl

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Sensitive post. I find even myself following the saga which tells you how skillfully the who thing has been literally sold.

J.J said...

Karen - I totally agree with everything you have said here.

Ken - Clifford is nothing if not an arch manipulator - impossible to avoid the story.