Thursday, 26 March 2009

Jade Goody

I don’t have much to say on the subject, I don’t wish death on anyone, and while I have a great many opinions on a great many things that lead up to her death, the death itself can and should, in a sense, only be viewed for what it is – just another person dying of cancer. Don’t romanticise it, just as you don’t care about millions of other people around the world dying for any other reason whatsoever, there’s no reason to care anymore about another pair of young children losing their mother due to unfortunate circumstances. I didn’t see a flood of messages popping up on Facebook for Natasha Richardson, whose young children have been left similarly motherless.

What I find most depressing and disturbing about the whole situation, was how eager people were to view all the gory details. I’m not casting any opinion on a young mother trying to make as much money as she can to pass on to her children before she dies, I have no problem with that. But I found it a little strange how so many people were so eager to lap up every ‘unseen photo’, ‘deathbed interview’ and every other piece of information – medical or otherwise. All the people who had issues with Dr Gunter von Hagens and his Bodyworlds exhibit being morbid and grotesque, seemed to have little issue with watching all the gory details of a woman dying from cancer. All the people who thought that seeing a human being die on TV had no problem following the steady decline of another person through images, interviews and screenshots.

Now we know what happens when a media created entity dies. The popular line going around is ‘She died in the media like she lived in the media.’ But I have to question the eagerness of everyone else to watch that death. We now know how voyeuristic our society has become. We now know that even death, even in the most (allegedly) tastefully done manner, is ripe for being dissected, analysed, chewed over, photographed and turned into little more than tabloid fodder. How far our news media has come.

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