Volume 15, Number 22
March 31, 2009

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This Week

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The Snowberries of Autumn

müge tekinMoney, Money, Money!

It wasn't so long ago that I heard of Jade Goody. And now, while I'm writing this, I have no idea about what will happen to her in the next week. But, according to doctors, each day the 27-year-old woman nears the end of her battle with cervical cancer.

The public has been amused with Goody since she was a contestant on Big Brother, a British reality television series. She made a fool of herself claiming that she thought Sherlock Holmes invented the toilet, Saddam Hussein was a boxer and that Portugal was in Spain. Her mother, a former crack addict, who lost an arm in a motorbike accident after her divorce, brought her up. Her father served time in prison for robbery and died from a drug overdose. Throughout her life she teetered dangerously from one extreme to another, until she eventually achieved overnight celebrity status.

I am not here to criticize her, although I believe it might have been her extraordinary behavior during the show that opened a door for her. The media has captured every step of her suffering, including her chemotherapy-induced baldness and breathing from an oxygen mask. Although it seems so disturbing, Goody is the one demanding the attention of the media, just as before. This time, though, the reason is not to be a celebrity, but a more innocent one. She is determined to use her remaining time on earth to make life easier for her two young sons, aged four and five. I think it is a respected but also a deeply moving motivation. The children are also aware of the tragedy and have poignantly made Mother's Day cards for her.

Here is how The Sun, the UK's best-selling newspaper, once mercilessly branded as a vile, pig-ignorant, racist bully. The Sun added that it trusted she would "slither back under the rock from where she came." But now, only 2 years later, it is paying her skillful publicist a small fortune to get exclusive access to Ms. Goody. This time she is being referred to as "brave Jade" or the "tragic mum of two." Most probably, the money The Sun is making off her is the reason behind the change in tone.

Nevertheless, perhaps not so much condemnation should go to The Sun since Jade’s life style has been totally chaotic and attracts attention. Disturbingly, OK! magazine has already released a tribute issue charting her life even though she has not yet lost her fight against cancer. The front cover of the issue carries the phrases 'In Loving Memory' and 'Jade Goody 1981-2009'. I think the press has been showing a shameless display of greed. Does money buy everything?  Perhaps, the answer is 'yes' for some.  However, it is certain that OK! is stealing happiness from those two innocent children. It is an issue to discuss: How will her children feel when they are much more aware of the situation?

It seems that one good thing has emerged from all of this nonsense. Since she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last August, tens of thousands of British women have been requesting smear tests.

PS: Now my first lines are so meaningless since, today, as I write this post script, March 22, Jane Goody went to be a star up in the sky, as her sons say. My heartfelt condolences go out to Jade's family.

Müge Tekin (IE/III)

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