Everyone is real to someone, we hope, and death is a sadness of those attached, but in the media world there is another representational view: Anglican vicar Giles Fraser wrote that Jade Goody shares with the previous Pope a lesson in how to die well; I think she and all that generated around her represents something rather more depressing.
A person dies who makes the lead item in the news, someone who holds a mirror up to this country. She has an iconic name - Goody - think of The Goodies and that nice bunch of busy comedians solving nothing in particular in the 1970s. Her mother has a name that indicates an inability to spell - Jackiey.
What this newly departed has represented is the mass of people growing up in this country who somehow go to school (or not) and who manage to learn very little despite clocking up so many hours in its environs. In a twist of values, Channel 4 decided to embody this absence of achievement in its desire to have an idiot member in each Big Brother house, and as a result nearly sunk the channel. A celebrity arose for no more than celebrity's sake, whose iconic ignorance was later paraded on a celebrity version of the same thing, that meant she ran for cover, still noticed, and so to try and atone for her error did the same thing again abroad. And when life and death showed itself to be so close, and life as transient as it can be, she is said to have had a good death by, well, doing it all again in terms of her own Big Brother hospitalisation and the rest.
Was there something of real value shown in the drama of the end: the devotion to offspring perhaps in a final effort of money making on the basis of nothing? Take a smear test, perhaps.
So here is indeed an icon of the times. Nothing achieved in our education system; a broken home of drugs and prison as one of a mass inside concentrated housing, her own last thing marriage to someone else not quite on two feet, and a kind of continuous vacant smile all through that of equally vacant cheering crowds as an expression of "love".
Did I watch these Big Brothers? Guilty. Actually I didn't watch the one in which Channel 4 started rocking from side to side and realised just how far a once noble, experimental, channel had fallen, as I kept seeing these reports on Channel 4 News, and boy was the channel in trouble (I also ignored the one/s with Gorgeous George Galloway and Germaine Greer). But yes, viewing the world of Mu, or nothing, I did (until recently) watch those apparent ordinary people interacting, and their arising little narratives, more in live snippets than summary programmes, with a look on Digital Spy for some sort of overview. Rebecca Shiner was interesting, whose saintly appearance after, I think, a food fight I used for a cartoon of the Virgin Mary. But blow on this and so little was left because, of course, these people were having to sustain an act if they wanted fame. Though I can remember so few of them.
Recently I referred to David Dickinson. Now he, in such contrast, is the Real Deal. He shows knowledge of his field, and extensively, and he is a senior partner of the world of antiques and such dealers. But he also can present a front that handles its presentation. This is so different from Jade Goody, who represented failure, a sort of Blair's Britain of bugger all, and turned it into making money, about which we have discovered recently was also about bugger all. Oh, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made a statement about her death. Death to the bugger all economy; watch it come back later. Oh and his minister in charge of the dole - he's a bit busy at the moment - was in receipt of expenses on his parents' house while his department prosecuted people fiddling extra pennies as a means to get by.
Digital Spy says that the last series of Big Brother on Channel 4 (ever - viewers got bored when it couldn't be controversial) will be dedicated to Jade Goody. So presumably there will be a statue of her in the garden around which the final bunch can entertain us by chucking water at each other in states of undress. What a Goody idea.