Saturday, 7 February 2009

Oh Goody! Someone Has To Say This

Tragic Jade Goody is dying.

Her prognosis is poor and life expectancy miserably short - even as I write this with a knot in my stomach, the metastatic cells devouring Ms. Goody's cervix have spread to her liver and will doubtless travel elsewhere before her systems are hopelessly overwhelmed.

I cannot describe her (as the media so often does) as a star or even a celebrity. For several years she was the poster child for everything that's wrong with "C" list celebrity and even went so far as to wear her avowed ignorance as if it were a badge of honour.

Teenagers of both sexes admired and even worshipped her: until she largely fell out of favour by making a (fairly mild) racist attack on Indian actress, Shilpa Shetty in Big Brother.

Poor Jade is a flickering, misty reflection of all that's bad in today's society.

Her story is tragic in more ways than most of us can imagine and I despise the way that Max Clifford is spinning whatever he can from it: even if Jade is driving him. The popular press have made all manner of nods of support: as empty as they are meaningless. Jade being Jade is old news; Jade bald from chemo and dying from cancer is a brilliant: like UFO bullshit and speculation, it sells newspapers.

By contrast, a genuine star, Patrick Swayze is also dying of a particularly nasty (and rarely survived) pancreatic cancer. I've never been a fan, but we should recognise that Swayze has earned his stardom - over many years - in ways that Jade couldn't even dream of. Their fate is assured, but I will only mourn one of them.

"Jade" - the commodity, not the person - is a product of a failed education system, moronic media and cheap television. Jade's cancer is the direct product of a poor upbringing.

According to a report in the Sun, Jade was first treated for cervical cell dysplasia at the tender age of 16 - which is frankly pretty young considering the primary cause of this condition is HPV - the human papilloma virus - not to be confused with HIV which causes AIDS.

Stephen Green almost (but not quite) made a sensible argument when he wrote:
"There is a Biblical principle that we reap what we sow. It applies to nations as well as to individuals. What politicians sow, the people reap. When politicians sow evil, the people reap misery, and the poorest reap it the worst.

"Now we have the disaster of teenage infertility. Every government initiative, including the HPV vaccine, will increase it, but as all the targets revolve around pregnancy, no-one in power knows how many young people they are making sterile and nobody cares."
In this case, Jade is reaping the seeds - viruses, actually - that others have sewn. Green would be so pleased; I feel a little sick.

I don't know at what age Jade began having sexual intercourse - or the history of those she did have, but it's fair bet, it was pretty early on and at least one of those partners was carrying one or more of the 46 strains of HPV - and one of the several that causes cervical cancer.

Virgins don't get cervical cancer and women who remain "pure" until their late teens or early 20s are less likely to get it than those who start early. Although human animals become sexually capable from as young as nine [Gary Glitter must be so proud] the cervix isn't fully developed until much later on - its cellular structure becomes more disease-resistant with age.

Draw your own conclusions, but Jade's history of PV bleeding and the late diagnosis of this fairly aggressive tumour speak volumes. Clifford and co are playing the blame game but the real culprit is the sub-culture that Jade lived among and, let's be honest, a pretty crap family.

Some children and young women will be spared now - provided they're not unlucky enough to attend a Catholic school where its banned - many will now receive a vaccination against the most common variants of HPV.

(Somehow, this is also going to turn them into raving sex maniacs, according to the wafer munchers.)

An friend of mine may one day be facing a similar nightmare - for the same reasons. Like Jade, she lost her virginity at a tender age, has had a poor diet and was a regular smoker - all risk factors. She had pre-cancerous cells lasered away a couple of years ago and I wonder now what her future holds.


As the Mail glowers at the Internet hate sites popping up celebrating Jade's doom, it also carries a poignant piece from the woman who is credited with inflicting her on us all, in which she writes of our hideous appetite for scandal:
"Readers made it clear that they would sooner read about Jade's on-off romances than a Hollywood star giving an innocuous account of their latest film." - Jane Ennis.
Of course the newspapers have to make a profit, that's what they exist for, but this also demonstrates that in reality few of us have moved on from the days when our ancestors fed slaves to bears and lions in the collesum. It's not that different.

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