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Goody two shoes: to live and die in the public eye

Is Jade Goody putting fame to good effect?

Published on February 24th 2009.

Goody two shoes: to live and die in the public eye
Yes: - 46%
No: - 54%

Jade Goody is a woman who has achieved a great deal of money, fame and publicity by being a sideshow freak: a Bermondsey girl caged in a tabloid fairground. She's done this for so long it's difficult now to even remember how and why the former dental nurse became so famous.

She first appeared on series three of Big Brother and memorably asked fellow house mates if 'East Angular' was a country in Europe and if 'Rio de Janeiro' was a person. After being evicted, she then did what all BB contestants try to do and milked her five minutes of fame in every glossy going. But it lasted much longer than five minutes.

There is something about the car crash of Goody’s life that has gripped tabloid land whether readers are interested or not. We've had the rows, the drinking bouts, the babies, the fitness video, the beauty salon, the documentary, the perfume (deliciously named Shhh!). Then with Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 she got into trouble for bullying Indian actress Shilpa Shetty.

Goody's publicist, Max Clifford of course, came to the rescue. Goody apologised for her actions before appearing on the Indian version of Big Brother in 2008. She was by now a walking joke, a Great British embarrassment.

However, it was live – live – in India that she was told she had cervical cancer. Earlier this month she announced it was terminal. Bang – instantly the tabloids changed tack. Goody went from idiot clown to tragic mum (not mother, 'mum', more like wot we speak).

The charities loved it as much as the tabloids. A celebrity victim means more attention, more funds, more resources, more terrifying ad campaigns.

And this was a good thing surely? As reported in Confidential's article on cervical cancer last week Cancer Research has reported an extra 30,000 clicks on their website since news of Goody's cancer went public. Goody is now beyond good mum level and into the realm of ‘example to us all’. More women are checking themselves out.

Definitely a result then.

Well yes, but something sticks in the gullet here. What about all the people in the same position as Goody who won’t have the same attention poured on them by the tabloids, who won’t make that money, who haven’t been such a public mess most of their lives? We can have every sympathy for the individual – a young death is always tragic – but if we look behind the bare fact of this illness it doesn't look too savoury.

The endgame for Goody is to die publicly for the sake of her two sons. She’ll gather in £700,000 for her wedding photographs in OK! Magazine and £100,000 from Living TV for a documentary. There will be other cash to collect as well.

Can't complain about that, it's all for the kids. But it doesn’t end there of course.

Part of the contradictions of living a life in tabloid land means that anything goes. Eventually those sons will be fair game. There’s only the story in this type of journalism. Nothing else matters, just the story. There is no moral equivalence.

As Goody's kids grow older money will change hands to describe how they’re getting on, column inches will fill with gentle words written in a simpering and affectionate tone.

But once the boys have become young adults any misdemeanor will be jumped on and their mother’s ‘worthy’ death paraded before them to make them feel utterly worthless and ashamed. Lord, you can’t help feeling those kids haven’t got a chance.

But that’s not for now is it? Goody’s raised awareness of cervical cancer.

Now it’s time for tears (especially crocodile tears from the journalists who’ve previously mocked her). Now it’s time to let the lady die in peace with blanket coverage whilst we all watch - even if we don’t want to. Thus will end a totally tabloid life. What a strange saga it's been.

So what do you think? Is Jade Goody putting her fame to good effect by her very public illness and death? Vote yes or no on the home page.

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41 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2009.

I think she should be ashamed of herself. Don't get me wrong, I think it is an awful thing that is happening to her but others in her situation would use the illness to raise money for charities to help others i.e the wonderful Linda McCartney. she caims to be doing this to raise money for her sons; well, lets face it, they are not exactly on the breadline in the first place what with the money Jade must already have plus their father is doing ok. She has shown her greed from the moment she came on screen and she is showing this greed right up until the bitter end. If you really want to do some good, Jade, put some of that money back into the organisations who have supported you during your illness and into those charities who can help others. She is just showing how she will do anything just for the money and the fame.

missfleaFebruary 24th 2009.

You sound like petulant, jealous little children - 'ooh, she's getting loads of dosh and we're not'. The girl's dying, she's doing her best to secure her kids' futures within a very short space of time. She's panicing but she's doing the best she can. How would you cope if you were given a few weeks to live? I think she's extremely brave and will miss her unique brand of honesty and integrity. And, let's face it, those boys would be fair game to the press whatever she did so don't lay that on her. If she's managed to get more girls going for smear tests, then she's done a great thing and let's leave it at that. I, for one, am extremely sad she won't be around for much longer.

emma graceFebruary 24th 2009.

I just think it's amazing how fickle people are. All these "fans" that are coming out of the woodwork...were they her fans before all this hit the headlines? Doubt it.

beeFebruary 24th 2009.

I've never been a fan of brand 'Jade Goody' but milking the tabloids is how she earns her living so good on her for raking it in it while she can. @Anonymous, don't forget, 'wonderful' Linda McCartney had her millionaire husband to support her and her family but Jade is her boys' sole breadwinner. And @ManCon, no need to be quite so pessimistic!!

AnonFebruary 24th 2009.

As well as raising awareness of cervical cancer, Jade's very public journey towards an untimely death has had another positive impact on the media - it's got them talking about death and palliative care for once. How many people even knew what palliative care was until the last week or so? It's the care of the dying - not just pain relief but also many other aspects of care, whether in a hospice, hospital or at home. One very important element of palliative care is the spiritual support people and their families receive. For every Jade, Freddy and Bobby there are other young mothers and children out there being supported on a daily basis.And thanks to Jade The Sun ran a great piece explaining all this last week as well as posting a link to the Help the Hospices hospice finder because sadly, most of us will need to access this kind of care whether for ourselves or for a loved one at some point in our lives. And you know what - hospice and palliative care is so woefully underfunded yet it remains free for anyone and everyone who needs it, paid for by the generosity of the public who climb mountains, jump out of planes, shake tins, shave heads, hold raffles, bake cakes and do whatever they need to do to ensure that wonderful places like our own St Ann's Hospice can keep going and make sure that everyone - and not just those in the public eye - gets the support they need as they choose to die in the way that they want to, not in the way that strangers and the media dictate that they should die. We're far too scared to have an open and honset debate about death in this country yet there is no more certain fact of life than death. By dying as she has lived, in the public eye, Jade is not only doing what is right for her and what she believes is right for her own sons, she is also forcing the media and each and every one of us to consider our own immortality. If, by doing so, we can all learn more and raise the debate about the vital work done by the hospice and palliative care community then maybe, just maybe more funding will become available to ensure that everyone has the right to die as they choose with the support that they need to the very end - and way beyond for their families and friends.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2009.

I don't normally rant, and Im not a particular fan of Jade's but I feel so strongly about some of the public opinion on this. What on earth makes people think they have the right to have a say on how Jade lives out her final days? Who the hell are we to judge her!! Its ridiculous, just let her do whatever she wants to do in her last moments - bottom line is she is not hurting anyone.

j the elFebruary 24th 2009.

whats brown and sits un-eaten in the corner?her easter egg.

deltaFebruary 24th 2009.

I think there could be nothing harder than looking in your childs innocent eyes and saying goodbye and knowing you will never see them again as a mum I would find that more traumatic than dying. I think good luck to her we all have our own ways of hobbling.

Simon CentralFebruary 24th 2009.

No matter how much money I received as a result, I would much rather my mum spent her last days with me, rather than wasting any of it on another Max Clifford circus. I don't think she's making morally wrong decisions or anything, I just think she's panicking to the point where she's putting trivial things above what really matters.

MagjoFebruary 24th 2009.

Leave her to get on with the end of her life in whichever way she chooses. It is non of our business and no one is forced to listen, watch or read about her. I say God bless her and her boys,

emma graceFebruary 24th 2009.

I've tried to remain oblivious to all this as I find it quite distasteful and, quite frankly, nothing to do with anyone but her family. I've not watched the tv programme or read any articles (apart from this one obviously). But from what I have heard I do feel she's got her priorities totally wrong. I understand she wants to make money for the children, but surely if you're told you've only got a few weeks to live, you'd put everything else to one side (including planning your dream wedding) and devote 100% of your time to your children???

emma graceFebruary 24th 2009.

Descartes, that was exactly my point in my first post...I would have defied you to find me one Jade Goody fan before all this and now look. She'll be nominated for a poshumous Nobel Prize next

rosieFebruary 24th 2009.

when John Diamond was(quite publicly)dying of cancer,he was applauded for his bravery.when Jade Goody does the same-albeit in a much more in-yer-face manner-it's distasteful.if Jade was a nice,well educated,middle class girl,would attitudes be different?

emma graceFebruary 24th 2009.

Rosie, I don't know about others but mine certainly wouldn't be. It's the hypocrisy of it that get's me. She's a proven racist but I've been told she was married by a Bishop? He's been convicted of a crime and is on a tag, but it was waived so that he could spend the wedding night with her? What sort of message does that send? There are thousands of people with terminal illnesses, and I'd just like to know exactly what Jade Goody's done to deserve this kind of preferential treatment?

GrahamFebruary 24th 2009.

Well, if her very public battle with cancer results in just one other young woman going for a screening to find she's caught something early enough that it can be easily treated before it develops into something a whole lot worse, then Jade Goody should be applauded. Fair play to her for fleecing 'OK' magazine readers etc to safeguard the future of her kids too. And, as long as it's the simpleton-types who read the tabloids and things like Heat, Hello or OK who are effectively paying for that then there's really no reason why i should mind...

lexilaFebruary 24th 2009.

I think Jade has done a good job of promoting awareness of a very serious issue but Im not being funny if i knew i was dying I would want to spend every second i had with my family! I wouldnt want my last few months or weeks with them to be recorded and be followed around with a camera crew! Im sure her kids will be fine we will probably be seeing them on the telly in a few years time! When they do look back in years to come what will they appreciate more the memories of their mother or their fancy cars?

esquiloFebruary 24th 2009.

I can't stand Jade Goody personally. More so for her effectively forcing Shilpa Shetty into being gracious and "forgiving" her heinous behaviour. But give her her due, she's made sure that her vile, imbecilic, violent husband and her er vile, imbecilic, violent mother can't get their rotten mitts on the dosh she's earned for her kids. She has at least tried to give them a reasonable chance in life. I won't mourn her, and hope that her passing signals (at least) the beginning of the end of the tabloid/sleb media's celebration of mediocrity, ignorance and rancid behaviour, but I'll give her a bit of respect for that.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2009.

if Jade is a bigot and a fame hunter then that's fine. What concerns me more is that a young woman with two young children is losing her life to a viscous cancer and yet the amount of compassion for her or her loved one's seems tiny compared to he amount of negative feeling. Yes Jade has said some things that are hurtful and that she should have thought twice about but I am sure that those she has upset would not wish her any harm or want her children without a mother. Her mortality is not in doubt so as a human being who like us all has made her mistakes i wish her and her family peace and hope the pain passes quickly leaving happy memories.

rosieFebruary 24th 2009.

Emma-Grace,the examples you give of J-G getting preferential treatment are a little misguided.Bishops themselves are not immune to being racist(a topical example being Richard Williamson).As for her hubby's curfew issue,many convicts- either in prison or on tags/community punishment-are allowed to visit dying relatives,attend funerals and the like.Think you're bang on about the hypocracy of it all,though.The same newspapers which slated her for her racism are now paying for pictures of her in her hospital bed.

TeeGeeFebruary 24th 2009.

What this really does or has done is shown up the real genuine caring people and highlighted the people who are quick to gudge and cant wait to criticise. Its really interesting and disgusting in some cases the conflicting views as it really shows people for what they are! Uncaring and uncompasionate. Its funny how a lot of ppl whove commtented "have never been interested in Jade Goody" or havent read or been keeping up with whats been going on in the media or news about her. So if thats a the case why are you interested enough to comment on this. Yes Jade has made mistakes in lfie, but who hasnt, should we all be punished like her. No because she chose to do it publicly thats all and yes that was her decsion and downfall at times but thats her decsion. I must add that I lost my mother to cancer and I was older than her boys but still a teenager. we didnt have too much time from finding out her fate that it had spread to her death but the trouble is until you are in that situation you dont know how you'd react... Jade is in a lot of pain and she wanted to marry - that was her one wish, her boys were a big part of that day also. She is planning a christening for them and is spending her final days at home with them until she is too ill to ber able to see them. When i understand she doenst want them to remember her like that so they will not see her in the final stages, she is doign her best under the circumstances. My mum didnt want a lot of close family and friends to see her at the end for the same reasons as she deteriorated so quickly. So I think people should think before they are too quick to judge as you dont actually know how youd handle it until you are in that situtaion, each person handles it differently too ie Linda Mccartney who was also a lot older than jade! God bless her I say!

cigpapersFebruary 24th 2009.

All the best to Jade and her family from Tameside BNP.

cigpapersFebruary 24th 2009.

To esquilo : personally I find ****ty Shelpa pretty foul to be honest. Remember her tear stained " I don't even know what racism is " statement ? Then ****ty was caught out abusing African people for being monkeys!

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2009.

You have hit the nail on the head. What price DIGNITY??

Martin CleggFebruary 24th 2009.

Jade Goody ah yes. She's the typical demographic for BNP. Right educational background and all.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2009.

Having lost my cousin in the exact same circumstances, the coverage of Jade Goody not only brings back the pain me and my family have been through over the last five years but it also brings a new hope that this coverage will highlight the need to lower the age of screening to stop the needless woman dying to young.How on earth people can say Jade Goody should be ashmed of herself to me beggers belief.Yes she has made mistakes in the past and yes i will agree she has been fame hungry but no one deserves to be dealt the hand she has. This horrid disease takes no prisoners and is robbing a family of someone they hold dear regardless of what she may or may not have done. No one can say what they would or would not do in this situation. All she can do know is say her goodbye's and do as much as she can for her children before time runs out. If that means selling her wedding and doing TV interviews then so be it. At least she will die in the knowledge that she left them well cared for.My hope is that if her showing what this dreadful disease does makes only one woman go and get screened then her death will not be in vain.

ChippychapFebruary 24th 2009.

Wendy Richards may have played the archetypal rough-a#se but she has exhibited far more grace and humility in her final days here on Earth.As for Goody, are we really going to miss one more racist bigot?

cigpapersFebruary 24th 2009.

Why does every discussion on here end up being people ( you know who you are ) making snide comments about The BNP in general and Tameside Unit in particular? BTW got a Manchester Confidential social evening coming up in Tameside.

CleggFebruary 24th 2009.

I think it's because cigpapers this isn't your forum. You don't fit, you're not welcome. You've crashed a party that isn't full of your mates and you're the strange guy in the corner nursing a beer that nobody wants to talk to. Maybe you shouldn't come back.

cigpapersFebruary 24th 2009.

To Clegg: So shall I put you down as a maybe for the MC soiree in Tameside?

GordoFebruary 24th 2009.

Re Cigpapers. have non of you daft buggers realised that Cigpapers is winding you all up and is more than likely laughing his bollox of back in Chorlton? Henry Root springs to mind...

cigsfanFebruary 24th 2009.

I like cigpapers!

chocolatedropFebruary 24th 2009.

I dont think Jade was rasist! I agree with Cigpapers Shilpa Shi*y is foul, stuck up bollywooden princess, Jade is doin all she can, there have been many people who have lived out there final days in the public eye, because it highlights the need for more peolple to take action with thier own health, Jade is being called for this because she is already famous, and people love to hate her, if she could swap all her money to not have cancer Im sure she would! but thats not going to happen, so she is securing her sons future,

Cheryl LeeFebruary 24th 2009.

Isn't it laudable that Jade is going to "secure her kids future" with this vanity circus she has instigated around her demise? Think of the horrors that might have befallen them if she hadn't gone through with the campaign: forced into child prostitution, ekeing out a miserable existence in a third world slum, dodging mortars in a war zone. We're not to worry now, though, ladies and gentleman, they'll have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds instead of simply hundreds of thousands of pounds to ease them through the rest of their lives. Overcompensation with material resources will make up for the lack of nurture and decent parental role models, right?People get ill, people die, people leave others behind. Please don't elevate the suffering of this self-serving, dim-witted, bigoted, opinionated, morally bankrupt ethical vacuum above your own brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, colleagues and **** it, pets. Let's see this for what it is - a Max Clifford project to sell newspapers and an attention-grabbing final flourish to secure everlasting fame.

Andy GeorgeFebruary 24th 2009.

Cheryl...go girl. Brilliant analysis. The whole thing is worthless and suspect.

houtiniFebruary 24th 2009.

Jade Goody is the the most compelling evidence yet for the existence of karma. I'm sure she'll have a fabulous time in hades enjoying pig ignorant, self indulgent drivellous conversations with all those other so-called "lovely people" that shortly before they died young were rightly vilified by the media as insufferable cretins. Am I the only one who hasn't LITERALLY said to myself about JG amongst innumerable others "Christ, why can't they just all get cancer and die?" Nice to see sometimes you can put in requests.

Beefy stewFebruary 24th 2009.

Houtini, what a deeply unpleasant person you are. I think I would prefer Goody's company to yours any day of the week.

AnonymousFebruary 24th 2009.

None of this is really about Jade Goody. There have always been people who will do pretty much anything if the price is right (in fact doesn't this include all of us to some degree?)So what if she is making a fortune out of money out of this illness? If it weren't for us - the ghoulish general public - there wouldn't BE a ton of money to be made.All of us, whether we a beside ourselves with sympathy, or cynically sneering at the whole affair, are the ones generating this circus with our continued, morbid interest.If you'll excuse the unfortunate metaphor: Jade is the symptom, not the disease.

CreeFebruary 24th 2009.

What I don't understand about all this is why the public feel that what Jade is doing is disgraceful and if so, then surely all of this publicity wouldn't make any money - but it clearly is! I think people are forgetting the fundamental reason that this girl is famous is because of the whole reality tv culture. Its her trade, its how she has made her money prior to all of this. The public are the reason why she is still known nationwide, some people love her, others hate her! This just further drives her fame. Look at the other long list of reality tv show stars - only ones who split the nations opinion are kept in the public eye (e.g.) Kerry Katona. Posed with Jade's dilemma I would ask anyone if they'd do anything they could for their children and if this was the only way you could make and have ever made any money would you stop simply because people disagreed?? If she didn't have children I think this situation would be very different. And as was evident from big brother, Jade isn't the most privileged from an academic point of view so why should she be criticised for wanting better for her children? As to raising awareness, a very close friend of mine was diagnosed at age 25 a few weeks ago, luckily it has been caught early - but would she have gone for a check up had Jade not been in the public eye?

BexFebruary 24th 2009.

shameful... I think this entire saga is appauling.. Millions of people are given the grim news every day that they face the most turbulent time of their lives... Jade Goody has been nothing but an irritant to society since her prominance in the biritsh media. I think this is disgusting - her sole intention is not to put cervical cancer in the spotlight, but to generate as much wealth as physically possible... As mentioned in the article, her sons must now prepare themselves for a shallow life of horrific press attention and pity...

Almost_AnonFebruary 24th 2009.

A few of points of reason that came from a conversation with a couple of doctors, just in case people have been carried away by the 'brave' Jade headlines in the red-tops.1) There is NO evidence of more women having smear tests - you think the NHS could turn around patient data that quickly? It will take 6 - 12 months to see if numbers have increased. All that has increased are hits on cervical cancer websites.2) Yes, we all know she is raising money for her sons. Very brave. Its not like they already have a multi-million pound estate and a millionaire father to support them. If Jade wanted to gain, say, £100k each for the best education her boys, then fair enough. But instead she is making sure there is millions in the bank so they never have to (heaven forbid) get a JOB. But to be fair, no-one in her family has ever had a full-time job, so it might be a family tradition. So...3) Maybe some of those millions should be given to cancer charities and hospices? I'm sure those nurses who have to put up with her tears, tantrums and moaning wouldn't mind a payrise for their hard work.4) Why is everyone suddenly hanging on every word of Max "don't forget I'm taking 10%" Clifford.5) Forgive me for saying this, but am I the only person in Manchester who thinks she might just 'miraculously' pull through?At the end of the day, i'm sorry she's got cancer. But I have hated Jade from day one. She embodies the "cool to be thick" aspect of British culture and I think she's a disgrace. Bring on Katona next..

ClareFebruary 24th 2009.

If I was dying, I would do anything to support my children's future. I would sell my body to medical science. She is doing what she thinks is right. A normal mother would want the best for her children's future too.

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