Monday, 23 February 2009

The Redeeming of Miss Goody

On Sunday, as anyone resident in the United Kingdom will know, the reality TV star and terminal cancer victim, Jade Goody married her handsome, if troubled, younger lover Jack Tweed in a no-expenses spared ceremony and reception, with the setting provided by rock superstar Elton John and the gown donated free by Harrods owner Mohamed al Fayed.

With the national media crowding around, straining for the chance to catch a glimpse of the nation's latest favourite celebrity couple, the proceedings took place behind closed doors, this being due to the fact that the publication rights have been sold to OK Magazine and the "Living" TV channel, as the dying star seeks to earn enough money in her final months to support her two young sons, by a previous younger lover, after her death

In the course of what it seems will be a tragically short life, Jade Goody has, within her homeland, joined that tiny group of celebrities instantly known by a single Christian name. If you mention "Kate" a any number of possibilities spring to mind, Kate Winslet's Oscar triumph notwithstanding. However, mention "Jade" in Britain and everyone knows who you mean.

The degree to which this young woman's plight has touched the nation's heart is demonstrated not only the fact that her photograph no adorns on the front pages of even our more serious newspapers, but the Justice minister has seen fit to waive the 7:00 PM curfew requirements of her grooms parole conditions, enabling him to spend his wedding night with his new bride.

There is speculation that Jade may agree to allow her final moments to be filmed, in order to further secure her children's future, and if she does, the purchaser can be assured of a large and tearful audience for the end of what must be, by any standards, a truly bizarre life.

It is even more bizarre when one considers that it is only two short years since these same newspapers now gushing with praise for Jade's courage and paying a fortune for a single photograph of her, were indulging in a hate campaign targeted at the destruction of this same young woman, who, to a hack, they referred to as "Britain's most hated woman".

For it was then, in 2007, what that same media declared Jade guilty of one of the greatest crimes of our age.

Appearing on that year's Celebrity Big Brother, Jade, the then nineteen year old Jack Tweed, who, together with her mother, had accompanied Jade into the house, and two other young female contestants of a similar socio-economic background decided to take exception to a fourth female contestant, from a different socio-economic background, whom they apparently considered to be, false, "stuck-up" and altogether too pleased with herself.

As any fan of reality TV will know, this is not an uncommon occurrance in such an artificial and claustrophobic situation, where personal likes and dislikes become exaggerated in an environment which is uniquely conducive to conflict and the taking of sides. It was certainly not the first time that such a antagonism has arisen on Big Brother.

However, what made this conflict different in the eyes of the media, and the ever vigilant guardians of social cohesion, was that whilst Jade, Tweed and their two companions were white, the contestant whom they had taken against was the strikingly beautiful, but clearly rather pleased with herself, Bollywood star Shilpha Shetty.

To the media and assorted zealots this automatically meant that, rather than a conflict of characters or classes, the bickering took on an entirely different and more sinister element. To them, this was unquestionably racially motivated bullying, and as Jade was the most outspoken (and famous) of the four, she was viewed as racist in chief, as such she was singled out for special criticism.

Unaware of the controversy swirling outside "the house" which had now taken on international proportions, the bickering and bitcing continued, at one point descending into a shouting march, which was repeatedly re-broadcast over the following days, carefully edited to highlight Jade's role as victimiser and Shilpha as victim.

To the obvious irritation to the forces of multicultural purity there was a marked lack of racist language involved in the conflict, except from fellow contestant Jermaine Jackson, who referred to Jade and her friends as white trash, although he was immediately excused on account of being black. Muttered allegations were made that Jack Tweed had used a "word" in a conversation which had not been broadcast, but, despite 24 hour filming, footage never appeared, and it was eventually admitted that the word, although offensive, was not racist, in any event Jack Tweed was not a celebrity in his own right, he had no careeer to destroy and was, therefore, not the target the press were aiming at.

Yet, for all her famed lack of education or sophistication, for days Jade failed to utter a syllable which event the most committed UAF zealot could construe as racist. Then, at last, those crowding round the scaffold got what they had been waiting for, when, in an angry outburst, well out of Shilpha Shetty's hearing, Jade blurted out the "P" word. …uh? … no not THAT "P" word. In a moment of anger, Jade referred to Ms Shetty as "Shilpha Poppadom" and the forces of racial outrage exploded.

Across the nation, television screens were alive with people explaining how offensive this reference to a quick fried, flatbread, wafer was. Indeed, I recall seeing one particular Asian lady puffing out her ample bosom and asking in a decidedly Lady Bracknell like tone, "Would they call her Jade Fish and Chips?"

To which the obvious answer would be "probably not, but who'd give a toss if they did?", but in Britain in 2007, such an answer would be unthinkable.

As a result Jade became a pariah, her later tearful attempts to make amends were scorned, and she became the first Celebrity big Brother contestant who's departure from the house was filmed in silence, without the usual cheering or catcalling crowd, so fearful were the programme makers that the public reaction to her might actually be violent.

Now officially the most hated woman in Britain, a title previously only bestowed on child murderers and Margaret Thatcher, Jade's career was in ruins, and was hurting into that dark void where fallen stars, broken on the wheel of political correctness are consigned.

Having uttered the word "Poppadom", Jade was cast as a villain, guilty of an unforgivable sin. All but unemployable, her celebrity endorsement income drying up and the once thriving sales of her personal brand of perfume non-existent, Jade had to look overseas to earn a living for herself an her children, her every appearance dogged by recriminations and the ghost of Big Brother.

She was still walking the march of shame when, whilst appearing on the Mumbai version of Big Brother again with Shilpa Shetty in an attempt to show how non-racist she was, she received news of the positive cancer diagnosis which will eventually kill her. Again, as with so much in her life the news was relayed on live TV.

With the news of that diagnosis, Jade's career underwent its second major reversal, from scorned pariah one moment, she went to much loved national icon the next, with a far larger fan base even than she had before. As I said in an earlier article realities can change and Jade's reality again changed overnight, It seems certain that when, in the next few months she loses her battle against the ravaging disease which is rapidly overwhelming her, she will die as a larger
than life and well loved star.

Does the short life of Jade Goody tell us anything valuable about the world we now live in? A creature of the celebrity age, without any perceptible talent, she became rich and famous, merely by being herself, then it was being herself which all but destroyed her, before, by being physically destroyed herself, she has found some form of salvation.

And what of those who shrilly screamed for her ruin, who wanted her broken to make an example of her because she had dared to dislike someone whom society requires her to embrace. How do they feel now, watching her as she plays out her final scenes in the public spotlight, do they feel any qualms for what they tried to do to her? I doubt it.

Sadly, perhaps all it does teach us is that in the distorted and unnatural world we currently inhabit, when you are accused of racism, whether those claims have merit or not, it will take a death sentence to redeem you.



Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah

As a South African Expat I have stumbled on your site and been very interested to read your take on the situation and I do share some of your views. This last post though about Jade just propelled me to comment.

To me Jade's public death is also the death of the British culture. She represents for me all that is wrong with the UK today and I guess the reason she is so popular is because unfortunately there are a lot of Brits who can relate to her. Young, dumb, uneducated, unskilled and has kids she's trying to provide for.

In South Africa, the natives have a perfectly good reason for being the way they are, they were not allowed education and a means to better themselves. What excuse does Jade and her followers have?

Does it not worry you that Britain has to import skills so that there are benefits for people like Jade.

I have never bought an "OK" or "Hello" in my life so I don't know for the life of me what you guys see in her but what I have seen makes me believe that its her and her fans that will bring your empire down and not anyone with a higher melatonin content in their skin.


Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Hi Lilliput

Thanks for your comment, albeit I don't necessarily agree with all of it, and I am not sure that you appreciated what I was trying to say about Jade.

Personally I don't blame Jade, or people like her for what is happening to Britain. I am certainly not a fan, but one has to acknowledge that she became very wealthy on the basis of very little.

All nations have people of differing levels of ability, and Britain is certainly not alone in producing our share of the unskilled.

However,I also do not agree that we have needed to import skills, we have imported many people, but the skills were here already, we have merely not made use of them, largely because we have spent the last forty years indoctrinating our children rather than educating them.

As I said on the Green Arrow the other day, we have been importing immigrant "skills" at unprecedented levels, and now face the greatest economic crisis in a century.

As to your parting comment, people of a darker skin may well destroy Britain, that is after all part if the purpose of their importation.

Where women like Jade (although not Jade herself) are assisting in the process is when they indulge in interracial sex and produce children. That is, of course, one of the greatest threats to any culture or ethnicity, you only have to go on a search for the original Caribbean islanders to realise that!!


Dr.D said...

Sarah, this whole thing with Jade Goody reflects the very low state of culture in Britain, I think. They condemned her foolishly, and now they are fascinated to watch her die. That is just plain sick!

You mentioned the possibility of filming her actual death as a means to raise more money. What a horrible thought! Who but a monster would pay to watch someone die? Only people with psychological deformity would indulge in such a thing! And yet, I don't doubt for a moment that what you said is true.

That anybody can take seriously what happens on Big Brother is simply too stupid for words. No wonder the UK is being over run with immigrants if people are paying attention to foolishness like this!

Lilliput said...

Hi Sarah

Thanks for putting my comment up and for your answer.

I can only speak from 7 years personal experience where myself and other qualified (Drs, Accountants, Nurses, OT's, Physios, Social Workers, Teachers etc) South Africans and Australians walk into jobs straight off the plane and wonder where the locals are?

You are putting all immigrants in one group but that is very misleading and not in the best interests of your country.

But things are changing and now now with the global credit crunch - there are no jobs for anyone to walk into so we will have to see what happens.

As for mixed race procreation, I wonder if thats just the evolutionary path of homosapiens - where the genes combine and the most successfull will win and that will increase the overall viability of the human race.

I guess its an interesting topic to think about.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

That might be true, if you consider becoming mules is the best evolutionary path for horses to take!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah

I just heard this from a friend yesterday as I don't really watch BB but apparently Jade told every she couldn't possibly be racist because she is mixed race herself. Her Dad is in faxt mixed race. I have googled a bit and found that this is apparently true.

Does that change the way you feel about her?


Ps - A mule is a bad example because they cant breed. This isn't the case with mixed race people at all now is it?

Revolution Harry said...

The one thing I'll never forget is that the very week that the media descended on Jade Goody in their 'racist' frenzy was the week that 'Undercover Mosque was broadcast on Channel 4. Not a murmur in the press about the hatred and intolerance on display in that programme. Instead we had to witness the poorly educated Jade being crucified. Words failed me then and they still do now.

Sarah Maid of Albion said...

Hi Liliput

Yes I was aware that Jade was from a mixed race background, and no it does not change what I "think" about her.

Again you have misunderstood the point I was seeking to make, seemingly not very well.

I am not a fan or a critic of Jade Goody, I have sympathy for her plight, but I am not particularly interested in her per se.

What the article was intended to do was fickle and hypocritical behaviour of the public.

It is not who claimed that Jade's comments were "racist".

The fact that Jade had Caribbean blood was raised in her defence at the height of the Celebrity Big Brother uproar, but nobody game a damn, in fact it was ignored my the media they had their metanarrative, and that was all they cared about.

Jade "looked" white, she was on one side with white people, whereas on the other side was an Asian woman who looked Asian.

That was all that the media required to fuel their outrage about racism.

The British media, long ago gave up bothering with such inconsequential trivia as the truth, when they have an agenda to spin.

Your comment about mules is noted, I shall respond more fully about that later.