Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Spokesperson For A Generation
Now in his 70’s he’s reached that glorious age where you think, “oh bugger it, I’ll just say whatever the hell I like and the consequences and fall out be-damned”.
I’d almost be envious except that – at just over half his age – I appear to have reached that wonderful state already.
Up until now I’ve steered clear of commenting on Jade Goody’s death because I figured my opinions wouldn’t be particularly helpful or palatable for all they’ve been passionately held. I bit my lip when the news channels gave up the whole of Mothering Sunday to eulogize Jade’s passing. I bit my lip at the comparisons with Princess Diana (WTF?)! And I ripped my tongue out by its root when live footage of Jade’s funeral cortege actually made it live onto CNN.
I mean fer Chrissake!
Her death was sad because she was so young but did she really warrant the ridiculous media circus that fogged / dogged the whole event like a miasmic melodrama?
Parky’s recent outburst encapsulates my sentiments exactly. To quote him:
"Jade Goody has her own place in the history of television and, while it's significant, it's nothing to be proud of. Her death is as sad as the death of any young person, but it's not the passing of a martyr or a saint or, God help us, Princess Di. When we clear the media smoke screen from around her death, what we're left with is a woman who came to represent all that's paltry and wretched about Britain today. She was brought up on a sink estate, as a child came to know drugs and crime, was barely educated, ignorant and puerile. Then she was projected to celebrity by Big Brother and became a media chattel to be exploited until the day she died."
Spot on, Parky. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
I never liked Jade’s media persona and though I would never have wished death upon her I do frown at her status of celebrity. It was not deserved. It was not earnt.
There are many who will no doubt see Jade Goody as a source of inspiration. Proof that even with the worst start in life you can still “make it big”.
Unfortunately I fear the lesson our young people will take from the Jade phenomenon is that you don’t need any kind of talent or hard work to become a celebrity, that somehow being a celebrity wipes the slate clean, forgives every ugly misdemeanor and glosses over every personality defect.
Essentially you can hit the big time without lifting a ruddy finger.
Well that ain’t a lesson I want my kids to learn.
I realize I’m elitist (and proud of it) but I do sincerely believe that celebrity – like any kind of status – should be earnt and earnt by hard work, dedication and a sincere and enduring sense of vocation. I want my celebrities to be famous and lauded for things that I could not possibly do. I want them to be special and amazing.
Not famous for being gobby, uncouth and adhering to the worst of all stereotypes. Or for displaying their “kebab” on live television. Or, worst of all, showcasing their voluminous and depressing ignorance like it was something to be proud of.
I feel heart sorry for Jade’s sons. Heart sorry. That Jade, in the end, mercilessly used the media to extract every last drop of money from the ridiculous furore for the future well-being of those poor little boys is something I can completely understand and even approve of.
But the mawkish deifying of Jade Goody that the press is currently indulging in is unforgivable, shallow, insincere and just plain bad journalism.
It serves nobody. Nobody at all.
Least of all Jade’s children.