Jade Goody

There are two sides to the Jade Goody argument.

One is that the ever increasing coverage of her fight against cancer raises awareness of the disease and allows her to make sure her sons are looked after financially once she dies.

The other is that it's distasteful and crude to charter her journey to death.

At the risk of being boring and sitting on the fence - I'm neither one nor the other.

I have read the tabloid exclusives - when Jade shaved her head, when Jade learnt she'd weeks left to live and how she broke the news to her eldest child.

I don't go out of my way to read these articles but they are unavoidable, not least because a team of highly trained pr managers are drip feeding the details to a hungry public.

What I do fail to understand is where this appetite for information is coming from.

Jade Goody, who I'm sure is a lovely woman , has nonetheless done nothing to contribute to society.She is ,by her own admission,ignorant.

Her profile is strong, not because she forged a successful life as a TV star, but because controversy has followed her every appearance.

On paper Jade's life is not one of great excitement or interest. The majority of her press inches - and there have been many- have been written to make a mockery of her. She's an easy target who's weathered several headlines calling her, among other things, a fat pig and a racist.

The news of her cancer was broken to her while she appeared on an Indian version of Big Brother in which she was taking part to make amends for having sparked an international fallout in 2007, following the now infamous race row when she cleverly nicknamed Shilpa Shetty - Shilpa Poppadom.

She's a young woman who's managed to made money by allowing herself to become a puppet for Max Clifford and the press.

Every moment of Jade's life has been free to the highest bidder since she appeared in on Big Brother in 2002 - including these, the very last moments of her life.

But let's be honest here - this coverage isn't about raising cancer awareness or fund raising for other sufferers.

And for all of us who pick up a paper to see the latest picture of a dying woman, we're not doing it to boost the coffers for her children.

We're doing it out of a morbid fascination and obsession with other people. A fascination that is fed every day by paparazzi photographers grabbing candid shots of people we don't know. A fascination that is fed by people like Jade who live their lives in a goldfish bowl because it pays, who allow the rest of us to feel better about ourselves because their gaffes are videoed and edited and replayed over and over and over again highlighting their lack of book learning and social awareness. People like Jade allow us to feel smug about our own lives.

We may not make as much money as Jade but we certainly aren't as openly uneducated and ill informed as she is. We would never be so crass as to put our kids on magazines or appear at the opening of an envelope- would we?

We can cluck sympathetically around the water coolers as much as we like but the reality is Jade Goody would be nothing more than a figure to poke fun at if she didn't have cancer.

It says a lot about human nature that it takes the certain death of a woman to elevate her from a joke to the position of person in the press.

And that's what she is. Not a fat pig but a real person with feelings and a heart and a family,  who is after all only trying to do the best with what she was given.
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Jade is a young woman who should have years with her babies. Her death is a tragedy.

When she's gone her funeral will undoubtedly attract cameras and celebrities but in two years time will people even remember what she died from? I doubt it - another tragedy.

We live in a disposable society. It's likely that Jade's death will in some way save her from the scrap heap of z list celebrities.

That too is a tragedy.







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