Monday, 22 January 2007

You said it, mate

Jackasses Led By Ostriches

To condemn Jade Goody for being a racist bigot is like condemning Adolf Hitler for being a bad painter.

The accusation monumentally misses the point, which is that the unanswerable and deeply depressing case against Jade Goody is that she is Jade Goody.

England made her. She is the end product of the comp school she went to, the neighbourhoods she grew up in, the trash magazines and newspapers she reads (if she can read), the trash TV she watches (and appears on), the trash DVDs she rents, the trash talk radio shows she tunes in to, the trash clothes and trinkets she buys, the rubbish food she eats, the rubbish friends she cultivates, the rip-off clubs she patronises, the rip-off minicabs she takes home after an evening spent sipping a disgusting green drink with two glace cherries on a toothpick and a paper umbrella.

And her mother came too.

Jade, in short, is a victim, a sucker, a patsy, an ideal candidate for that brave new Blair world of all-day pubs, ASBOs, super-casinos, and the promise of sink schools where illiterates in baseball caps can simmer their lives away up to the age of 18 when they can join their friends on the human slagheap.

Sir Christopher Wren (famous architect, Jade, an architect being a geezer what designs buildings) has as his inscription in St Paul's Cathedral: "If you would seek his monument, look around." If you would seek a monument to Controlled New Labour, look at Jade Goody.

As for the charge of racism, I have heard worse.

Jade's outburst against the Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, it seems to me, is based less on the fact that she is Indian (or a 'Paki', as Jade's equally thick boyfriend would allegedly have it) than that she is middle-class, educated, talented and beautiful - all the things that our ambassadress of the underclass is not.

Had the utterly English Kate Middleton been rash enough to set foot in the House of Horror she would presumably have got the same treatment.

But what interests me is the reaction of our politicians - Blair, Brown, Straw and Co. - to the ensuing uproar (and incidentally I place little value on the opinions of the hordes who called in to protest against the programme. They seem to be treating life itself as an extension of a Big Brother vote).

To a politician, they stuck scrupulously to the racism issue. The fact that this unpleasant interlude exposes equally to the world the deficiencies of our education system, the paucity of our moral values, the poverty of our culture, seems to have eluded them entirely. A nation of jackasses led by ostriches.

Meanwhile, as Jade is given a massive thumbs-down, thus signalling the end of her second 15 minutes of fame, her fortune begins to trickle through her podgy fingers.

The 'up to' £8million she is supposed to be worth is drying up, as her own stupidity sabotages a lucrative career.

Even so, the message Jade Goody leaves to an upcoming generation is that you don't have to do anything, you don't have to be anything, you don't have to know anything, you don't have to learn anything, to become a celebrity - a word you probably can't even spell.

Jade's world - and welcome to it. And proof, to reverse one of Oscar's better-known aphorisms, that we are all looking at the stars - but some of us are in the gutter.

Keith Waterhouse
I agree with this almost 100%. There's just one slight problem - Jade Goody is a child of the Conservative era. She was born, grew up and was educated when Margaret Thatcher and John Major were running the country.

While Conservative rule saw a decline in standards that were simply a continuation of the already poor comprehensive system of education, the decline accelerated through the 80s and 90s. I know, I was there too.

I don't see New Labour actually slowing down that decline, let alone stopping it or even improving things like they said they would.