More on Jade Goody: who’s the bully now?

In my earlier post about the rise and fall of Jade Goody (of Celebrity Big Brother notoriety — it no longer much resembles fame), I reluctantly saluted her plucky resilience, the residual defiance that somehow still peeped out from behind the tearful contrition, even after she began to realise the magnitude of the calamity that had befallen her.  In the old days she was horribly coarse, aggressive and bad-tempered, but at least she was bouncy and flamboyant;  now she's utterly crushed.  Who is the bully now?  The media circus turned her from trailer-trash nonentity into rich and successful celebrity almost overnight, and now it has destroyed her.  I defy anyone who watches the short video-clips of Jade's interviews with the News of the World published today not to feel some compassion for this wretched girl.  Jade Goody, like many others, has been betrayed by the society which she grew up in and which has now turned on her.  She has never been helped to express herself, to understand her own feelings, to imagine the effect on others of what she says and the way she behaves, to control her temper, to channel her anger and frustrations into creative or constructive channels, or to gain any insight into the human condition from literature, music or art.  And now she feels the intolerable burden of what appears to her as the hatred of the whole world being dumped on her: rejection and condemnation by the bulk of the media that once profited from flaunting her celebrity, by self-appointed moralists on all five continents, by the pontificating professional anti-racism drum-beaters, even, incredibly, by a brace of political grandees of her own government.   Poor, poor kid.

Jade in tearsShe's probably ruined financially, too.  She has been forced to give to charity both the £50,000 she gets for having been in the Big Brother House and the same amount that she's been paid by the News of the World for the gut-wrenching interview she gave them yesterday, sobbing and bewildered.  She has lost the main money-spinner that she had got from her earlier fame, a wildly popular perfume with her name on it — it's been withdrawn from the shops.  The tabloids and talk-shows and phone-ins will roast her if she tries to sell interviews or articles for money that she's allowed to keep ("profiting from her racist bullying").  In her News of the Screws interviews (as the video clips testify) she appears completely broken, every trace of the old panache beaten out of her.  She says in one interview that she doesn't think any of her money will be left after this and that she won't be able to marry her boy-friend now.  Perhaps she'll bounce back eventually somehow, but as of this evening it doesn't look promising.  More likely the careless media and vox pop that created her have now definitively destroyed her.  Anything for a circulation boost or a spike in the viewing figures that brings in the advertisers, and the hell with the human casualties!

Not an edifying episode.

Update, late 23 January:  Five recent comments on this post, below, turned out to be from the same source, so I have put representative extracts from them into a single comment and deleted the rest.  The extracts are pretty horrifying, confirming some of the suspicions raised by Jade's behaviour and language on Celebrity Big Brother about the kind of quality of life (or lack of it) with which the English education system is equipping many of its products.  Of course we don't know the age of the author in question, nor even whether she, if she is really a she, is 'british' as claimed:  this kind of impoverished language, illiterate with traces of debased rap, is commonplace on American as well as British websites, blogs and forums, as we know.  Perhaps she'll grow out of it.

Meanwhile Jade Goody has reportedly accepted the imaginative invitation of the Indian Tourism Board to visit India as their guest and to see for herself what Indian people are like. She will apparently be accompanied on the visit by a television documentary camera team. It's hard to guess what impression Jade will make on her Indian hosts, and harder still to guess what impression the Indians will make on her. But I will risk a wild guess that the visit will demonstrate that whatever else she might be, and notwithstanding some of the things she undoubtedly said to and about Shilpa Shetty, Jade is not a racist — as some of the orchestrated comments below, all from the same source, seem to be trying to say, with varying degrees of success.  Wishful thinking, probably.

Brian 

18 Responses

  1. Baralbion says:

    This is a compassionate and refreshing  view. However, it gives rise to the question: How come society does not betray others of a similar background? How come, for that matter, did the system not fail many like me half a century ago? Yes, it's our old friend Nature v. Nurture.

    There is hope on the horizon. One of the AOL headlines today (not, I agree, the most reliable authority) is "Future of Celebrity Big Brother in Doubt". And in their members' poll (ditto) 58% think the show should be pulled.

    Brian writes:  Obviously no two children's exposure to the English, or even the Bermondsey, education system will be the same.  An inspired teacher, a school that encourages aspiration, an example set by a fellow-pupil, above all a family background that includes books, and parents who provide encouragement and respect for education and simply love — any or all of these may make all the difference to the outcome.  Similarly genetic make-up, character, health, will-power, energy levels, and the other products of 'nature' as distinct from 'nurture', will help to determine results.  Both Jade's parents were (and one still is) no-hopers and one doesn't need much skill in amateur psychology to guess that she has never had anyone whose admiration, respect and love she was motivated to try to earn by achievement.  Her role models have all almost certainly been disasters.  A good school or even an outstanding teacher might have rescued her, but that seems not to have happened.  No wonder the feeling that the whole world has suddenly begun to hate and despise her has broken her.  I doubt whether many children with her particular background would have succeeded in transcending it.  Jade thought she had done so, but it didn't last. 

    And incidentally I doubt whether she is a racist in any seriously meaningful sense, nor does she strike me as an inherently bad person.  But she might become both now. 

    If Channel 4 gives up Big Brother, we shan't have to keep being reminded of what's going on in the under-class that we have created (or allowed to evolve), and the tragic waste of human potential that it entails — which I agree will be a great relief all round. 

  2. Klo___// says:

     Ii feel realy s0ory f0or jade g0o0ody,, ii thiink that she treated shilpa badly and shiilpa was sliightly buliied in the h0use but not by jade al0one,, …

    ...we think jade is not racist..if shilpa said something to her she would not take it the wrong way because us british people dont take things racist..

    …we just like to point out that shilpa myt b doin this 2 gt attenion also i think that in the big bruv ouse people take wt ova people say da rong way…

    …We dont think jade is racist she said popadom its a bit like her say dani fish n chips they simply dont get on…

    Brian writes:  There have been five comments in this vein, all purporting to come from different people but in fact all sent from the same computer.  I have deleted the rest of them.  Or are they all an elaborate hoax?  U nevva no vese days, do U?

  3. Mr D Dibley says:

    What is Jade Goody famous for? Nothing in particular. If you were to ask Jade Goody what racism was, she would probably think it was a board game. What upsets me most about this episode in her dull existence is the fact it is the public that have given the ****** **** her celebrity. In a way we are to blame as much as she is. We have raised her to this level, a level in which she has a public voice. We need to start teaching our kids that famous people are people that have earned a right to their status. Why don't we care about doctors? Individuals advancing our lives for the better? People trying to save the planet? People protecting animals? People with a passion for their trades? Instead we'd rather make ***** like this rich by watching their miserable dull lives on our 44" flat screen idiots lantern. We should just take this rubbish off the air along with the other filth that follows the same lines. Then we wonder why our kids are the way they are. Anymore of this crap and slowly we will turn into a nation of shaved monkeys in shell suits.

    Brian writes:  I don't know what you imagine the hapless Jade Goody has done to justify this kind of abuse, couched in language which actually resembles hers.  (I have censored out some of the worst of it.)  Jade has repeatedly referred to 'racism' during her last days in the Big Brother house, and after her emergence from it, in ways that demonstrate her full understanding of its meaning.   Nor do I know what makes you believe that she has had a "dull existence":  if you believe that, either you can believe anything, or else you don't know anything about her.  You ask a question ("Why don't we care about doctors?") whose premise is so obviously false that there's no possible way to answer it: a perfect example of "begging the question" in its proper sense.  I'm not sure whom you have in mind when you say that "We should just take this rubbish off the air".  Who is 'we'?  If you dislike it so much, why don't you switch it off, or turn to another channel?  Describing it as 'filth' seems to me way over the top.  It's perfectly legitimate to regard it as distasteful, manipulative, cynical and/or exploitative, just as it's equally legitimate to see it as sometimes painful to watch, but nevertheless capable of providing insights into aspects of our society that raise important, searching questions demanding humane and constructive answers.  Bad-mouthing Jade Goody, who (as I have argued in my posts) is a victim, not a villain, risks aligning you with the bully-boys of the tabloids and the phone-ins who delight in kicking her now she's down.  I'm sure you wouldn't want to be lumped in with them!  (Well, fairly sure.)

  4. John Miles says:

    Anyone interested in this kind of thing might care to read about the vapourings allegedly uttered by one Lucy Buchanan on a Channel 4 reality show.

    She would seem to be a slightly posher version of Ms Goody – caring parents, Georgian Edinburgh home, public school, hobbies lacrosse and shooting.

    Read all about her in the online edition of Wednesday's Scotsman.

    Brian writes:  The full text of this story, described by John, reads suspiciously like a spoof.   We seem to be getting into a situation where nonentities who manage to get themselves onto a 'reality TV' programme compete with each other to utter ever more extravagantly incorrect remarks in order to make themselves famous.  Yesterday 'Shilpa Pappadom', today slavery, tomorrow perhaps a call to practise cannibalism? enjoy a spot of incest?  bring back hanging, drawing and quartering?  I merely offer these as suggestions for the next lucky contestants.  Regicide?  Where will it end?  Not — no, please not — Double your carbon emissions!  Last week a nonentity, next week — celebrity!!!  (Look out, Jade, you'll soon sound like a moderate and therefore a has-been.)

  5. Stan Cook says:

    Poor, poor girl.  Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner?  But that needs imagination and there’s less and less of it about these days it seems.

  6. polly says:

    my full sympathy and support is offred to Jade and her family, articulate she may not be, she is a modern girl with modern ideas we do not live in a society where people argue with intellectual words ,we say it as we find, and thats what Jade did in the house, she admits to not being very nice to her fellow housemate Shilpa ,and i do not think she is racist at all, Jade was not the only person to voice her strong opinion, if i could buy a bottle of her perfume i would , i would love to give Jade a big friendly hug and tell her everythng will be ok, i hope it would, the tabloids and certain politicians are getting involved to make themselves look good but in turn using Jade as a scapegoat and a tool to further their own reputations , also what i would like to know is why do you find no support offered to Jade she is being bullied by the very same people who are calling her a bully, and why are comments made from the "victim" not mentioned, no this is not what the UK is about . "freedom of speech" – that does not exist really does it?

    Brian writes:  Sadly, this comment really says it all.  I am afraid that whatever other qualities Jade might have, the possession of "modern ideas" just isn't one of them.  (And incidentally plenty of sympathy and understanding is being expressed for Jade, including in both my pieces about her on this blog.  Many commentators are agreed that she's more victim than villain.) 

  7. no 1 says:

    i think every 1 is makeing  somethink out of nothing jade is not a racist and i fell realy sorry 4 her it wouldnt be like this if shilpa was being racist to white people jade is just a normal person who some times speaks b 4 she finks im still a no 1 fan of jade and i hope she gets her life back on track x x x x x x x x

  8. ?dan1? says:

    i think jade wuz rongly accused she wuz nt racist in the big brother house and people just took her the rong way….

    also i think people should just leve jade alone and let her gt her life back on trace…

    i think she bullied shilpa bt wuz nt racist…

     

    …Lv dani

  9. Kelly says:

    I do not buy newspapers mainly because they tend to be negative and full of drama (which is what sells) but I have seen the recent new headlines of Jade and the interviews with Jade and even the interview with  Davina on Big Brother with horror.

    Jade is Jade, she is not well educated and comes from a background where different cultures are not talked about, she only has the language she knows how to use and that is what she uses to express herself. Yes, she was angry and aggressive, but I am sure most people reading the media have had experiences of being the same towards someone in their life, her experience just happened to be on live television.  I do not think she is racist she may not be aware that she was using bullying tactics but then she was bullied as a child too and sometimes bullied people become bullies as a matter of self defence.  She has learned from this.

    The media however.. sickens me.  No human being deserves this awful public thrashing.  Watching her self esteem crumble in front of the nation, people actually wanting her to say she hates herself over and over again.  Where are the psychotherapists in this? the BB made a killing in money from having Jade and her family on the show yet Jade is left a crushed person.  I feel the media should be ashamed of themselves and also the people who buy the papers too because it is those people that keep stories like this alive crushing the human spirit.

  10. luvin rory says:

    jade waz well out but shilpa waz bitchey 2 her so it is out of order

  11. janey says:

    Thank god,someone with some sence at last,the media are so horrid,i agree with everything you have said,Jade is Jade,she has had such a rotten upbringing,and she is good inside herself.  Please everyone leave her in peace,she has just learned a very hard lesson and who are we to judge,i am sure we have said things in temper,but we are more likely to do it in private were no-one can judge us.  To be honest i have read worse racial remarks in the newspapers every day.

  12. Kelly says:

    Does anyone know how to get in touch with Jade? it would be good for her to see the positive sharing here (well most of it) I tried her official site and no contact details.  It would be nice for her to see it just for her self esteem.

  13. Lizi_bee says:

    To be honest, Im a big fan of Jades, and although she was very wrong in how she expressed her feelings against Shilpa, shes not a racist and I dont think an intentional bully.

    Im disgusted that the main people to blame for this ‘channel 4’ have got away it seems to be scott free, why was this not stopped the minute any unwelcome remarks were made in the house, why were people not told, not only Jade but the others also involved. They shouldve been pulled aside and told the behaviour was unacceptable, they would have realised then just how much harm they were potentially doing. Instead channel 4 let them all, Jade mainly go on and humiliate herself and pretty much ruin her life in full broadcast of the public eye.

    If the country/jade haters arent bullying her now what the hell would you call it, its outrageous that people are getting pleasure from her discomfort, Shilpa in the house even said she didnt feel it racist so why was such a big deal made of it, it seems to me that a lot of mixed race people seem to walk round with chips on their shoulders and any slight wrong word or anything will be pounced on, this day and age kids are made at schools to have ‘dress days’  to accomodate other races and religions, when the hell do you see people having ‘white days’, exactly you bloody dont do you, why not???? if its ok for others to be respected why shouldnt we be….

    Enough is enough leave her alone to get on with her life and family, shes done nothing that more in this world wouldnt do, its just channel 4 have made a complete show of hilighting her inparticular, they should be struck off for allowing it to be viewed it its classed as that bad!!!!!!!!! not forgetting to add that they then had the last few contestants reinact the silly row, whos stupid idea was that when they knew it caused such an uproar that it had already!!!

    I love her and always will, come back Jade, your not a bad person, theres plenty worse out there. x x

     

  14. Seb says:

    "I defy anyone who watches the short video-clips of Jade's interviews with the News of the World published today not to feel some compassion for this wretched girl." I defy you.

    Brian writes:  No, I was defying you!  But if, in response to my challenge, you watched that clip (I'm surprised that it's still available, by the way) and still felt not the smallest twinge of compassion for this psychologically wrecked young woman, then I can only conclude that it says nothing about her…. 

  15. english says:

    I JUST CANNOT BELIEVE THAT MY OWN PEOPLE [ENGLISH] COULD NOT SEEWHAT WAS REALLY GOING ON,I DO NOT THINK THAT JADE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO IS IGNORANT IT LOOKS LIKE EVERY ONE WHO JUMPED ON THE HATE JADE WAGON ARE MORE THAN IGNORANT.COME ON NOW IT WAS JUST A ROW WHERE IS YOUR LOYALTY WHAT EVER OUR CLASS THERE IS NO NEED TO ABUSE HER LIKE THIS .THINK THINK SHE WAS USED AS AN  [ESCAPE GOAT ] AS SHE UNWITTINGLY SAID WHEN THERE PLANS WENT HORRIBLY WRONG .  ANYWAY I AM PRAYING THAT JADE AND HER CHILDREN ARE BEING KEPT SAFE AND ALWAYS BE SAFE. WAKE UP WAKE UP ENGLAND YOU KNOW WE HAVE ALL HAD A ROW SOMETIME OR OTHER I KNOW I HAVE EVEN WORSE THAN JADES ROW THAT IS FOR SURE. WE SHOULD REMEMBER HE WHO THROWS THE FIRST STONE. [WHO DID ]?OR DID,NT YOU WATCH THE SHOW BEFORE YOU JUMPED ON THE WAGON. WELL I WATCHED IT  OVER AND OVER AND JADE DEFINATELY IS NOT DESERVING THIS DEPLORABLE TREATMENT.HOLD YOUR HEAD UP JADE GET BETTER LOVE MAYBE EVENTUALLY EVRYONE WILL REALISE WHY YOU WERE LED LIKE A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER .

    Brian writes:  I don't think this kind of comment, like most of its predecessors, really does Jade much of a favour, especially in relation to an original post (above) which was generally sympathetic to her.  I hope too that future contributors of comments will bear in mind that writing IN CAPITAL LETTERS is the equivalent of SHOUTING: please keep your voice down along with your font cases.   

  16. gran says:

    Jade,

    Why not try to get on a worthwhile reality show such as "Dancing on Ice" ? It’s time to prove something to yourself and critics.

  17. Annmarie says:

    I feel enough is enough jade said she was sorry she is not a bad person she deserves a second chance i hope she gets one and can get her life back on track i am still a fan of jade and would like to see her back on our screens soon

  18. ty says:

    Jade is really rotten for treating people in such a disgusting manner

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