Saturday, February 21, 2009

today : A woman of no importance

It has to be said : Jade Goody is an imbecile and a racist.

The fact that the poor girl is dying of cancer deserves our sympathy. Wishing death on someone or delighting in the suffering of others is abhorrent. But to respond to the news of her impending demise with an 'outpouring' is hypocritical and rather ghastly.

I don't wish it in a personal way but to celebrate the life of someone whose contribution to society is effectively zero is a flashing neon sign of our times. Jade rose to prominence for doing nothing. In fact for much of her time in the spotlight she has been a figure of ridicule in the very press who are now fawning and cooing over her. It's a clear demonstration of how ghoulish and appalling parts of our culture have become.

In many ways, her story could not have been scripted any better if the media did it themselves. It now has everything they delight in: controversy, redemption, illness and death.

When Mark Frith was touting his memoir last year, the man who was a key player in the acceleration of 'celebrity culture' said that he quit editing Heat magazine because of the increasing expectations of negativity and prurience in the face of tragedy and pain. The media began to revel in the travails of people like Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse. Basically, the joke wasn't funny anymore. And the story of Jade is the perfect illustration of this. A dim girl who is sucked in by the lure of fame, who shows little or no decorum, who reveals herself as a crass and cruel bully, whose 'life' is a series of contrivances invented by reality TV producers. Jade is the epitome of the nothingness of modern celebrity. With nothing else to contribute her fifteen minutes of fame were going to run out at some point. Eventually she was bound to be eaten up by the cancer of media attention, even if she hadn't got cancer for real.

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