Monday, 23 March 2009

Jade Goody's Social Influence

Will your epitaph read 'I made a difference'? This certainly seems to be the case for Jade Goody, and the way she achieved this brings home the way modern media touches and influences us.

The very fact that I'm writing and posting something about somebody I had never met means that the phenomenon that was Jade is clear evidence of her social impact. There is a difficulty I have with this though, and that is reconciling my knowledge of Jade Goody the celebrity and my total lack of knowledge of her as a person. Whilst she had the most laudable of motives for allowing us to follow her I felt that on those occasions where I caught her picture on TV or in the papers I was pretty voyeuristic.

Normally most of us are only confronted with the real effects of serious illness and bereavement when it affects someone we know well. Usually this is a private affair and something we are shielded from until it is unavoidable. Jade Goody has revealed the ravages of an often unspoken illness to millions of people she never knew and introduced many of us to the realities of our mortality. She has also revealed the power of a mother's love and doggedness of the human spirit.

In the end Jade Goody showed us our humanity. Despite the power of celebrity, despite the experience of the 'always on society' none of these things can ever really defend us against a 24/7 360 degree multi-media world. We are in the end just ordinary people with a given amount of time, some of whom find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. We all have our traits we all have our weaknesses, its just that people like Jade Goody take the chance of placing themselves before us, showing us their good and their bad for our entertainment.

To think that this isn't 'our' good and 'our 'bad is gullibility

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