Friday, March 20, 2009

Jade Goody - Why the hell do I care?

On the whole I would say following celebs is at best a meaningless distraction from everyday life. A symptom of our rampantly individualistic society where a few people are lauded for often dubious achievements. A fundamental part of a media system, whereby that which is important and relevant to our existence as human beings is relegated beneath the irrational worship of individuals. 


For some reason I find myself utterly captivated by Jade Goody's living death. Every other day I trawl the internet for more details of her suffering, I want to hear her last words and teary goodbyes. I have even been on The Sun's website. I knew I shouldn't but for some reason, I cared. 

Jade showed us death. A fact of life we are completely dominated by and spend most of our waking life ignoring. We may spend our more indulgent moments thinking about the moving speeches that will be given at our funeral, but we don't talk about death. Following  Goody's death  has forced us to face our own mortality; our obsession with her is an obsession with ourselves. It was also indicative of wider feelings of limitation and loss that we in the west are facing up to in the current economic climate. Jade Goody's whole life was one of bust boom and then bust. Perhaps it is stretching it to suggest that Jade Goody's death represents the inevitable collapse and unsustainability of freemarket economics. Then again, perhaps not. 

Jade Goody also taught us that Great Britain will not be seen to tolerate racism. I do not condone Jade's actions on Big Brother;however her consequent villification served only to place the guilt of the nation onto the head of one uncouth working class woman. We had to evict Jade Goody from the Big Brother house so we can be seen to care about racism, a convenient mask for reality. 

Our outrage at her outbursts demonstrated the great myth of multiculturalism; that racism is an abberrition, and exception to norms of behaivour that ought to be tackled in a brisk corrective manner. 

 'Some individuals are racist, this is because they are ignorant, we need to educate them to be not racist, like everyone else'. 

The reality is that some racism comes from a place of hatred rather than ignorance, and that Great Britain is inherently  unequal and racist. What Jade said on Big Brother was inevitable. Jade was not punished for her racism; she was punished for being too ignorant to succesfully hide her racist attitudes.Jade Goody provided an easy sacrificial lamb for the racism of a nation. The fact that she is working class and female made her demonization all the easier. 

Ultimately, Jade's easy rehabilitation by the media showed how shallow the public commitment to challenging racism really was.

Some people may have found her living death morbid or strange, but in many ways her openness made perfect sense.  Millions of us open up to the public online, Jade's living death was a logical extreme of the behaivour of millions. This morning her death felt like a relief, the one woman Truman Show has now finally ended. Jade's mediated omnipresence makes her death seem somehow unreal;dying in the public eye allowed Jade to clutch at the last remaining straws of immortality. 

I guess time will tell whether or not it worked.