For those of you from Tau Ceti, Jade Goody is a nonentity dying of cancer.
Jade Goody is getting married today. Very publicly.
I mean OK. Fine. I can understand her desire to make a few quid for her kids and all that and if she encourages parents to take up Gardasil for their daughters then some good comes from the awfulness of a 27 year old mother of two dying very horribly and very publicly.
But this was top story on BBC News 24. And it’s the details that get me. Her wedding dress was donated by Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed and has a specially tailored pouch for Ms Goody’s morphine. Do I need to know that? Max Clifford thinks that I do. For he is her publicist.
Now I have nothing per se against Max Clifford. He is undeniably very good at what he does. I first heard of him when he represented Michael Barrymore. He got Barrymore off the hook after a rather rococco incident at his Essex Mansion. For non-UK readers the short version was that following a drug-fuelled orgy at Barrymore’s gaff a dead body was found in his swimming pool with severe rectal injuries consistent with the chap having been anally raped with a broomhandle. It killed Mr Barrymore’s career as a family entertainer. Clifford managed to get Barrymore off the legal hook. God himself couldn’t resuscitate his TV career. If you can imagine Peewee Hermann raised to the power of Michael Jackson you are getting close.
Anyway, back to Jade Goody… I’m just finding the coverage surreally obscene. Clifford has actually been asked if he’s planning on selling the footage of the actual moment of her death. He isn’t but the fact that such a thing was even mooted is beyond rational comprehension.
And also weird. Just bizarre. Mainly because it has involved rewriting history. Because the history of Jade Goody is infinitely malleable and has been since she first shot to “celeb status” when on Big Brother she “got her kebab out”. Jade Goody is a quantum. The tabloids have vacillated between “Good ol’ Jade, sound as a pound cockney sparrow” and “Jade Goody, foul mouthed racist idiot who is denser than a neutron star and an utter slag”. Sometimes simultaneously. It is beyond rational comprehension. Jade Goody is famous for three things. Making an arse of herself on Channel Four’s Big Brother, making a racist arse of herself on Celebrity Big Brother (which she was only on because she made an arse of herself on Big Brother – this is getting absurdly self-referential and therefore non-linear) and dying of cervical cancer. What the hell does anyone make of that? Well a bundle of sponds if you’re Max Clifford. But I dunno. Which is why I am typing this drivel and not Max Clifford’s press releases and living high on the hog.
The dim bint on the BBC this morning said to Clifford something very odd. She said “Jade is getting her fairytale wedding”. OK. I can understand why Ms Goody wants to marry her boyf. Absolutely. But “fairytale”? OK. I can understand the pretence as far as Ms Goody and her friends and family are concerned. I really can. Life dealt her a truly lousy deck and I hope she has a marvellous day. But “fairytale”? They usually have a marriage towards the end and close with the line, “And they all lived happily ever after”. When you consider Jade Goody has eight weeks that is verging on sick. And of course Jack Tweed, the groom, is hardly Prince Charming. He is out on a tag after having done time for GBH for twatting a kid with a golfing racket. This is not a fairytale. This is a terminally ill woman marrying a lag on a tag. I’m not slagging her off for that. If she loves him and he loves her then it is fitting that her final weeks are within the bounds of marriage. And flogging the exclusive rights to LivingTV and Hello! is, I guess, OK (not them too?) to because that will provide for her sons but…
Whilst in principle there is nothing wrong with any of this it is still tackier than page 3 of the Sun in a builder’s outdoor convenience. But more than that it is utterly odd. The whole story elicits empathy for someone who’s life story is so utterly different from mine that I have none. I have sympathy. I cannot have empathy. Moreover my sympathy for Jade Goody is sincere. It is not based upon some ersatz Ricki Lake idea that I “share her pain”. I don’t. I can’t imagine her pain. I have absolutely no idea what she is going through. I wish “proper” journalists would show the humility to appreciate that they can’t either. But that is another way in which Jade Goody is quantum. She is the victim (by a certain reading) of a tabloid feeding-frenzy but (by a different but equally valid reading) those sharks have provided for her her dying wish – a lavish wedding (which I do not begrudge her) and a load of cash for her kids (which nobody could begrudge).
I have no idea what I think beyond that. Like those tabloids which have swung violently between Jade=Evil and Jade=Good I am beyond knowing anymore.
All I know is that Ms Goody is dying of a fucking horrible disease and that her death is strangely like her life.
I shall leave the last word to my wife:
“Finally they have made a snuff movie”.