Monday, March 23, 2009

Not a baddie, but not all Goody either

I hope I am not the only person who’s really tired of the overblown praise being heaped upon the late Jade Goody by people who ought to have other, far more important things to do – like Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for starters. Yes, it was tragic that she died so young, leaving behind two young children. But that sort of tragedy happens all the time, and – pardon me for saying this – to people who were doing a great deal more every single day in the way of helping other people, or making the world a better place, or indeed raising the profile of deadly diseases, than Jade Goody ever did voluntarily in her entire 27 years of existence! The fact that such people die unnoticed and uneulogised and, in many cases, unable to provide for their loved ones left behind, is one of the more unfair things this world has to offer.

Jade Goody was a celebrity – and an accidental one at that. She did nothing to make the thinking person see her as someone to be admired for her achievements, because other than making money by selling her life, she achieved nothing. All she did was make her life a reality show. That there were people who avidly watched her every move says nothing about Jade - other than the fact that her ridiculous antics sold tabloids and improved cheap TV ratings – and everything about the morbid prurience of her watchers. Sure, there are plenty of young people who see her as a role model merely because she managed to rise above her not-quite-ideal upbringing and become rich. While that is admirable in a shallow sort of way, the fact remains that, for most of her public life, she was best known for her stupidity than for any particular talent or ability or intelligence.

The tabloids are full of people who say that Jade should be praised for doing so much to raise the profile of cervical cancer among women and for helping save the lives of thousands of women who would otherwise not have had the smear test. I agree that she helped make the dangers of cervical cancer better known. But was it because she made the effort of campaigning for it, or raising money for research, or even donating money to cancer charities while she was healthy and normal? No way. It was through sheer bad luck (for her) that she managed this, basically by getting that particular form of cancer. If anybody should be thanked for raising the profile of cervical cancer, it should be the tabloids and TV channels, for giving her every hospital visit and every setback such unstinting and constant publicity!

Yes, I am glad that she thought about providing for her sons after her death. That is what a good mother would do. She was very lucky to be able to profit from her life and dying days, and leave the boys at least a good monetary legacy if nothing else. That is an opportunity that very few people have.

But a good mother would also have tried to provide a good role model for her children in the form of a decent father – which Jade’s husband, that appalling lout of a Jack Tweedy, is most certainly not and most likely never will be. I don’t know what their natural father, Jeff Brazier, does for a living and what sort of person he is (isn't it odd that he isnt having HIS every living moment documented by the tabloids! How are we ever to know more about him?), but I hope he’s a better human being than weedy Tweedy.

I sincerely hope that Jade's kids will grow up to be decent, good, well-adjusted human beings... but only time will tell if they can outgrow the abnormal lifestyle they’ve been used to from birth – that is to say, living in the constant glare of publicity with a mother who didn’t exactly shy away from having their every move telecast and/or published.

I have nothing against Jade Goody, honestly - she was no "baddie" while being a "Goody" if only in name. I thought she was a very pretty woman, actually. While she lived the high-profile life of a healthy, mindless celebrity, she didn’t really bother me – all I had to do to keep her out of my life was to ignore her reality TV shows... and that is what I did. I’m sorry that she had to die so young, sorry that her kids don’t have a mother now. It’s just that the fact that she’s suddenly being touted as the perfect mother and angelic do-gooder that rankles with me. There are far more deserving people who deserve to be commended thus.


Kamini said...

Again, Shyam, I am in total agreement with you here, for your balanced, extremely well-written piece. I can never understand what motivates these "reality" show types; I am quite sure, though, that the motives are anything but pure and generous. This woman has been called a saint, for heavens sake! Yes, my heart goes out to those children, who have now come down to real reality.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shayam, I've been a lurker here for a long time; this post made me surface!

You are spot on. This has been nagging me ever since the whole drama started.

I now have an irrational hatred towards Max Clifford as well!

Terri said...

It was quite annoying to hear my mother go on about "that paavum girl, what's her name? The one on that reality show?" and provide me with updates on her condition since we don't have a television (thank goodness!) I had no idea she even had a life before she insulted Shilpa Shetty and became famous in India.
By the way, if you live in India, it's equally annoying to read about Shilpa rushing to London to meet her friend before she died, and her sugar-coated obituary for Goody.

Pollux aka Paps said...

Attagirl Shyam, spot on, every word. You saved me a post.:-)

30in2005 said...

You said exactly what I was thinking but lack the words/ imagination to say!