World of Bile

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Friday, April 03, 2009

A movie about the life of Jade Goody?

Hello Mark (et al)

Hope you're well. I'm writing this Friday afternoon after work whilst savouring a beer. Won't be going out tonight as I've been busy of late, need an early night and need to recharge. Some slightly worrying news: the gym I work at part time (I won't name it here) has gone into administration, had to close two stores and arrange emergency funding (wtf?!!). Received a voicemail from the operations manager, a really nice guy called John assuring me my job was safe and nothing had changed. Working in the public sector four days a week, I feel relatively secure. However my colleagues are rightfully spooked.. and I can really understand why. We're safe.. but for how long??? As the economy deteriorates further - will I be out on my ear?

Anyway, my fellow office drones had a heavy social night Thursday. Most came shambolling in this morning looking like extras out of 'Dawn of the Dead': y'know, pallid, jerky movements and moaning slightly. Can't overindulge on a schoolnight myself now - it's effort enough to lie in bed mewling whilst I sweat it off. Getting into the office with a hangover takes more willpower than I have nowadays..

A Ciao review for you. Inspired by this:


For someone to die during the prime of their life is a tragedy. Hundreds of people suffer from terminal illness every year, affect countless loved ones who care for them and are bereaved afterwards. My sympathy would especially go out to all the children who have prematurely lost a parent, it must be a tremendous psychological torment one could not remotely imagine.

Took a while chewing over what I felt was wrong with all the news coverage of Jade Goody in the last year. I found seeing her bald bonce shining out from countless magazine covers distasteful and wasn’t exactly sure why. Initially I thought it was Goody herself: touting herself out as her condition deteriorated, expression her hopes and fears and even appearing on her own television show on Living TV. ‘This is unseemly’ I thought: most people deal with these issues privately, my grandmother carried on looking after her mother up till the end, she just dealt with it. Kylie Minouge had a brush with cancer in 2006, appearing gaunt but smiling in the papers. She was praised to the skies in the papers for being “brave”, but we heard little about what went on. The argument that Jade Goody focused people’s attention on cancer is correct, as other public figures have. However, to elevate her because of this misses the point: the likes of Jane Tomlinson tirelessly promoted cancer charities and was an inspiration to millions. Was Ms Goody such an inspiration in her warts and all final tabloid revelations? The point of her public efforts for Tomlinson was to get a message across, and hopefully save lives. The condition itself was an intimate matter and we admired her for getting on with it. My own personal reservoir of goodwill wasn’t as deep for Miss Goody, just as she had during healthier times, she sucked at the media teat when life wasn’t running to plan. A wonderful luxury to have, that. Getting married? Exclusive rights to ‘Hello’ magazine and 200k in the bank. First Child? How about one of those magazine covers where you smilingly ‘present’ your little one to the world for a fee. Tormented by the horrors of former drug use? Air your dirty laundry and make your bank balance a little fatter. We’d always wanted a piece of her life before and whilst she was unwell it was no different.

However, the fact her face has been everywhere in the last couple of years is not her fault. Nor is the fact that the media plan to elevate her further in death, either. Her 15 minutes of fame fell into her lap and she did well to stay in the fickle public eye being as unremarkable as she was. Other 'reality stars' sank without a trace but Goody remained in the public eye for several years, a lifetime in our fickle cultural consciousness. Goody made some downright stupid and offensive comments to prove that she was an ordinary woman, yet she continued to be plastered all over the tabs and the magazines. It the final days her exploits were absolutely undignified, but what would you expect from someone who lived their life in the glare of public attention. Squeezing every penny out of her public appeal could be seen as avarice, but also as a mother’s final efforts to provide for her children. Personally I think it was a little bit of both… How it will affect them in the years to come is a different issue. Their mother has been public property for all their lives and has polarised public opinion unlike pretty much any public figure – surely this will have lasting repercussions for them too??

A movie ‘celebrating’ (ahem) her life is an expected progression of this, along with the planned Bermondsey statue and The Sun newspaper’s ‘Jade’s Rose’. When public figures pass away before their time they get a free pass to adoration (Princess Diana, JFK) or notoriety (Jim Robinson) so Jade Goody will be no different. However, if such a film comes to pass it will be a barometer of how obsessed with triviality we have become. Throughout history we have been infatuated with the Great and the Good; put up statues and created other lasting memorials to commemorate their deeds. When a materialistic girl with minimal distinguishing qualities from South East London gets the same ‘hero’ treatment – how does that reflect on us culturally as a people? Do we have so few significant people left that we are looking to commemorate the life of a ‘reality TV’ star? I think it’s a sad state of affairs if we do.. What next – will she be studied in school????

I could see that happening eventually, too..


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