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Culture

Jade Goody - a view to a death in the papers

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2009-02-27

Jade Goody, totally obscure before appearing on reality TV show Big Brother, has terminal cancer. Her anticipated demise will be followed by the entire British public, for whom Jade's progress has become a national obsession.

She's famous, it seems, just because she's famous. That's just the way it is sometimes with British tabloid celebrities.

Jade Goody, 27, sprang into the British public eye after appearing in the reality TV show Big Brother in 2002.

Her startling lack of general knowledge - she didn't know whether East Anglia was in the UK (she called it East Angular) - made her an object of hysterical derision in the tabloid press.

But she stayed in the Big Brother house just long enough for the media to realise they were on to a winner with this extraordinary character.

 

Since then, she has launched her own perfume, published an autobiography, outraged millions by making racist remarks about fellow contestant Shilpa Shetty on "Celebrity Big Brother" and made a fortune by just being herself.

And now the British public is going to watch this mother of two young boys die.

 

Cancer

 

The cervical cancer she was diagnosed with last year has spread and is now terminal.

 

"I've lived in front of the cameras. And maybe I'll die in front of them," the star told the News of the World newspaper last week.
  
"I know some people don't like what I'm doing but at this point I really don't care what other people think. Now, it's about what I want."
 
On Sunday Feb. 22 she married boyfriend Jack Tweed - who was wearing an electronic tag as he was out of prison on bail - and sold the picture rights to OK! Magazine for a reported £700,000.

Jade, her life and her impending death are now a preoccupation of every major UK newspaper.

 

Gordon Brown

Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has put his word in, saying of her "tragic" predicament: "Everyone who suffers cancer has the thoughts of me, and I think the whole country, over what they've got to go through."

Justine Picardie, writing for The Times and whose sister published a book about her own fight against cancer, insists Jade Goody has every right to die in the public eye.

Left-leaning broadsheet The Observer's columnist Victoria Coren wrote that she had "discovered it is healthy to be fascinated by dying".

A bemused Stephen Glover, for The Independent, admitted that "The Sun and Daily Mirror claim 12 million readers a day between them, amounting to about a quarter of the adult population of this country. They would not carry pictures of the poor woman day after day if they were not reasonably certain that their readers wanted them. Many millions of people like reading about Jade," adding that she is "utterly normal".

The Daily Mail revealed that Jade is now "ready to go to heaven" and Daily Express columnist Julia Hartley-Brewer praises the fact that millions more young women will have cervical smears as a result of the media coverage.

Typically, the Sun, its sister paper the News Of The World and its rival the Daily Mirror have lavished page after page on Jade's wedding, and will be following her progress closely until the bitter end.

The Daily Star announced Jade is pinning her hopes on a spiritual healer, and at the bottom of the pile, the Sunday Sport revealed that one fan has had Jade's face tattooed on his back.
 

Date created : 2009-02-24

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