Reflecting on Jade Goody

I don’t comment on current events all that often, as I’ve said before I rarely feel that I’ll be adding anything new or particularly insightful so I consider it best to avoid the topic altogether.

That and I can usually see both sides of every story so can find it hard to find a position for myself.

The recent death of Jade Goody is one of those examples. I’m not particularly interested in her as a person, but what does both intrigue and disgust me is the way mass media has treated the past few months of her life. Granted she’s allowed open access and welcomed them in but, from where I’m sitting, surely there was a point where someone, somewhere, must’ve thought “ok, this is enough”.

Apparently not though. I’ve read a few blog posts about her, opinion pieces that add little to my understanding of either her or the perception of what she ‘stands for’ – which is a bit rich I think, given that I doubt she ever considered the fact that she was representing anything other than herself at any point in time, more power to her for that.

So I’ll simply quote the best blog post I have read on this topic, and let you go and make up your own minds, although I’m sure you already have.

My impression was of someone who didn’t know all the answers – or indeed, many of the questions – but wasn’t going to let that get in the way of having a good time and making something of herself. Who loved life, even if she didn’t quite understand it.

Clearly others saw a different reflection: someone ugly, stupid, small-minded, who thought very little of themself and took delight in venting their frustration on a weaker member of society in the most ugly, bestial way possible. Kill the pig, cut her throat, spill her blood. Put her head on a pole, teach others to fear and revile her.

From The Queen of East Angular, over at Hydragenic.

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Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

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1 comment

My feeling is that when the media takes a position that this or that person is worthy of attention or is important, the public have the right or even the duty to ask “Are they?”

I know there are lots of arguments that one can ignore the media hype. I find that difficult because it’s in my nature to take in information. I like buying magazines randomly; given that liking, in order to identify a magazine I want to buy I notice others I don’t want to.

I dislike a situation where someone gets a place in the London Marathon on account of being famous for being famous, and then doesn’t even bother training, while there are people who don’t get a place who have trained for months and years. I dislike the message this is sending out, the idea that you can get fame and money by…what?

And yes, I can’t change that it does happen, It’s like when people cite Richard Branson as someone who has no qualifications as reason for not getting qualifications, irrespective of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands others without qualifications who just aren’t Richard Branson.

I think it is a given that we have a ‘celebrity culture’ and we have had for centuries, despite what people say about it being a modern invention. What I find puzzling is that most people I know who are interested in celebrities (the majority) are actually most interested in achievers in their field of interest, and get bored/lose track of which commodity is the latest creature of the media machine, often the result of PR and lazy ‘journalists’ working together to create a story from nothing.

None of this is directly the fault of Jade Goody but just because she is in the public eye doesn’t mean that the public has to like her, any more than Royalty, footballers or pop stars. But for every action there is a reaction.

If some ‘celeb’ features every few weeks on the inside pages, most people ignore them. If they are daily on the front pages, people take notice, and react. I think it’s a similar story for mainstream news.

Some journalists (and their readers) have been muttering away for years about the perverse incentives created by huge city bonuses but most of the public have ignored this, until recently when it’s front page news and everyone has an opinion.

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