I do not wish to in any way, join in any of the Jade Goody 'bashing' which can be currently found on the internet. Personally I think anyone who can start up websites apparently celebrating the suffering and pain of another person is totally evil and I don't share any of those kinds of ugly views at all. However, I do want to raise a few questions and vent some of my thoughts on the situation which has quickly become one of the most reported on stories of the last few days.
Firstly, one of the coverage's most disturbing aspects is just how much the whole thing smacks with an almost incomprehensible level of unashamed fickleness, albeit largely a construction of the press. Jade Goody has managed to go from wicked witch to a 'princess-of-the-people' type persona in the space of a just few months. Universally abhorred after the comments made to Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother, Goody had pretty much exiled herself to escape the media coverage and the nationwide feeling of uneasiness towards her amazingly stupid and blasé attitude to racism when the news broke of her unfortunate diagnosis of cervical cancer.
With the deeply sad news that the cancer had spread to other parts of her body Goody was told she had only weeks to live and so understandably began thinking about her family, especially her young children. At this difficult time came some happiness for Jade when her boyfriend proposed to her - giving her the wedding she had been planning and presumably a more stable financial and custodial situation for the children.
Their marriage brings me to a point I would like to raise after the news broke yesterday, that Jack Straw has lifted Jack Tweed's (Goody's fiancé) curfew tomorrow night so he will able to spend his wedding night with his bride. Tweed has been in prison and is currently electronically tagged after assaulting a man with a golf club last year and has now been allowed to ignore the sentence placed on him so he can marry his sick fiancé. This would all sit a lot easier with me, as I think Goody probably deserves to be allowed to spend one night with her husband, if the same treatment could extended to everyone who also experiencing such exceptional circumstances.
But of course, it does not, nor ever will happen that way. I have a particular problem with this special treatment and the other 'perks' which Goody is receiving in exchange of her openness about her illness because I know of a family who went through a very similar experience to that of Goody's and yet received no perks or government intervention to make one young Mum's battle with cancer any easier. This family grew up knowing that Mum wasn't going to be around for long, and despite being constantly given only months to live this young woman fought on for a couple of years. Although not especially helped by her alcoholic husband, the family planned what the funeral would be like together and Mum picked out suits for her two young boys to wear. When she got very ill she spent as much time as possible as she could with everyone who was close to her and eventually passed away at home in quiet dignity. It really saddens me that Jade will not be doing the same with her family but instead seems to have her sights set on raising more cash.
I have a lot of sympathy for the so-called celebrity and understand that she is planning for her children's futures but why part of this master plan includes the documenting of her probably quick and incredibly painful decline for a television programme I can not even begin to comprehend. She claims she needs the money but I cannot help but question this point and wonder if this is more a case of Goody getting greedy.
Carol McGiffin gave her views earlier in the week, when the topic was being discussed on Loose Women - not a show I would normally look to for a serious insight into anything, but she actually made a very good point. Carol explained how she had to watch her own mother die from cancer and how terribly hard it was for everyone in the family and a process she would not wish to repeat. She was aghast at the thought of anyone wanting to view someone dying and questioned how she would feel if she knew her experience with her Mum had been recorded and the possibility was there of reliving the experience by watching it all on television - a possibility which will be a reality for the Goody children.
I also question who would really want to watch such a programme. Not wishing to seem hypocritical I am a fan of some the more 'gritty' documentaries aired on television, Channel 4's 'body shock' series for example, but I always find these tend to give incredibly powerful insights into humanity as a whole and are often uplifting stories of normal people coming through great adversity. A happy ending is unfortunately, not a possibility for Jade.