Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jade Goody - the final act.

Unbelievable. That's all I can say. I find it difficult to look at the whole thing objectively. But let me give it a try anyway.
There are two issues. One - Jade Goody herself, and two - the media. It is a well known fact that Jade's only claim to fame is her ability to act stupid in front of the camera. Now, whether she is really stupid or whether she nicely leveraged the public tendency to watch stupid TV shows is something that only she knows. In the latter case, I would say she is really smart.
As death stalks close on her heels, she chooses to raise money for her children by 'dying on camera.' How much money her children will actually get is a matter of speculation. But is money the only thing she is leaving back for her children. What about all the unncessary media exposure at this age? Would they be able to put it in perspective and respect her for what she is first and foremost for them? Their mother, that is.
As for media, I heard this debate on NDTV where Devika Bhojwani made a valid point - that Jade Gody is choosing this. Its not really an intrusion on her privacy by the media. She is right. But then, I am surprised by the media's rather hypocritical approach to this. The TV anchor kept asking the panelists whether the media had 'gone too far' this time around. Not too far back, our own Indian media could be so brazen and insensitive in interviewing Sabina Sehgal's husband even as she was facing terrorists' bullets in the Taj. Where were their sensibilities then? Would the media ever say no to anything? I doubt very much.
Electronic media is a Pandora's box. It has been opened and the blame cannot be pinned down on only one person. Take Youtube for example. It gives me access to some great videos. Just some days back I saw a clipping from the interview of legendary Pt. Kumar Gandharva. Its rare footage, and God knows why Doordarshan cant air it more often. Vallarie can watch some breathtaking Kathak performances on Youtube and learn. But that's not even 5% of all that is there on Youtube. Maybe 1%, I don't really know.
Today anyone can shoot anything on a cell phone and post it straight on Youtube for the world to see. A German madman can post his sinister plans on the net before going out and shooting teenagers in his school.
It really is the Pandora's box. Once opened, there is no way we can close it. We can only switch channels.
I said in the beginning that I find it difficult to look at the Jade Goody episode objectively. Maybe, just maybe, therein lies the success of her last camera appearance.

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