Monday, January 22, 2007

Curse of the Jade Scorpwned

A little late in the day, naturally, I thought I’d wade into the Jade affair. I haven’t watched much of it, but why should that stop me adding my tuppence-worth (note to commissioning editors, that is not an invoice). This is the story of how one young lady from Elephant and Castle made it as a star on Big Brother before – in a frankly quite brilliant move – returning on Celebrity Big Brother. What finer accolade than to return to the scene of your ennoblement, clad in your celebrity ermine robes? Of course it could only be downhill from there.

The papers have been focusing to a large extent on whether or not Jade and her two dim cohorts’ bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa is racist or not. Many commentators have suggested that class differences were more at play – which I would tend to agree with. Other people have reasonably pointed out that racist bullying is a lot like what they have been up to, whether or not the racism is explicit. But I would say that bullying is a big tent and a lot of racism fits snugly under it.

Racism is a thorny topic at the best of times and the reaction to Celebrity Big Brother just goes to show how potent even an accusation of racism is. I would have thought it was enough for them to be horrible bullies, but apparently they must be lanced with the hot blade of multiculturalism.

And what an outpouring of hatred towards Jade! I mean, come on! You’d almost think all these journalists turning out copy after copy of bile and venom had never liked her in the first place and were only forced belatedly to endure her because she was so genuinely popular with the general public. And you’d be right. But to read Tony Parsons going on about her as a fat, ugly pig with no talent or intelligence (Tony fucking Parsons!) is to wonder why fattism or povertyism or just general working-classism isn’t as much of a taboo as racism.

Jade is by no means stupid, despite her greviously uneducated gaffs, but from the minute I saw her I liked her. She is as genuine as they come, which means not 100% but quite a bit higher than most. And she is a survivor – her life story reads like the sort of thing that happens to Charles Bronson before he goes on the rampage. Now its taken another dramatic turn.

If there’s one good thing to come out of this, it’s that Russell Brand wrote a half-decent article in the Guardian. Alas I can’t link to it because the Guardian seem to be embarrassed about paying him and he doesn’t feature on their website in their list of writers, despite his weekly column. But it agreed with me wholeheartedly, only wasn’t as funny.