Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Fourth Pillar

Jade Goody: 1981-2009

So, Jade Goody is dead. Well, excuse me for sounding callous and uncaring, but so f@*king what?! She lived her life in front of the cameras, using the media to create a franchise out of herself and, barring a short stint in celebrity wilderness as punishment for showing her true colours, made a lot of money out of it for herself. Fine.

She said she wanted to chart her death as a means of raising awareness and in order to provide for her sons' welfare: both very worthy motives, but what made her think she was qualified to force us to hear every detail of this horrifyingly tragic process - a process which happens to millions of people worldwide and never gets as much coverage unless it happens to hit someone in the public eye? Goody's idea of raising awareness was by having noted lying slimeball Max Clifford as her publicist (who, of course, never got a cut of the profits, and supposedly did it for the love of his client), and allowing cameras to cover her last moments with her family and those close to her? How much of the money she raised went to cancer charities, organisations which spend a large amount of their budgets on awareness campaigns? I honestly can't say, since I was so sickened by the whole media circus I chose to ignore it as much as I could.

Unfortunately, this was made increasingly difficult, the closer Ms Goody careered to her death. Reports of her every move were posted everywhere in British media websites, and when the moment finally came journalists were on hand, presumably having been on standby ready to tell the whole world and his wife about what her last words were.

I expect some readers will be thinking "oh, this is far too cynical - the poor woman was doing her best to ensure her sons had a good future, and other young women would get checked out earlier." Quite right: I am very cynical, but not so much of Jade's motives, but rather of those who were probably thanking Allah above for afflicting such a contentious tabloid figure with the illness. One only needs to read the columns, blogs, obituaries and random comments to see how much the discussion has centred on the woman, rather than the illness itself; and if I were one of her sons, I'm not sure I'd want to be known as son of "Jade Goody, the Big Brother contestant who was everywhere for half a decade, was ignorant and racist for a bit, said sorry, then died of cancer".

All of a sudden, Jade has become a tragic figure, hailed as "brave", "courageous" and "daring" for dealing with her death in such a way, sometimes by the same people who derided her for not knowing basic UK geography and who Saddam Hussein was, and looking like a fat, ignorant working-class pig. This girl, who was once a sign of Britain's decline is now the Best of British, flying the flag for all those suffering women who didn't have the money or "influence" to raise awareness. If Jade was "brave", what, exactly, were these other women?

My best friend has lost three family members to cancer, one of whom was her father. An acquaintance of mine, here in Spain, is now dying of cancer. Excuse me if I seem a little angry at the thought of this woman being lauded as some sort of champion, since the truth is she has done nothing for fellow cancer sufferes nor the fight against the illness, but spent her last moments cashing in on her life, as she had been doing ever since she first hit the British television screens. People are still suffering, some are lucky enough to survive, others not so lucky. The only real way to combat cancer is to support charities which fund research and promote healthy lifestyles.

Click here for a link to Cancer Research UK's website; or here for Marie Curie Cancer Care.


  1. "Jade Goody, the Big Brother contestant who was everywhere for half a decade, was ignorant and racist for a bit, said sorry, then died of cancer."