Jade Goody was yesterday evicted from the Big Brother House with 82 percent of the public vote. That means that nearly one in five people voted to evict Shilpa Shetty.
They made up. Jade told Shilpa that she hadn’t meant to be racist and Shilpa accepted the explanation. But soon after her first apology, Jade called her “Shilpa Poppadum” behind her back, was called to account in the Diary Room, and had to make her apologies all over again. Once more Shilpa accepted the apology, but hinted to Jade that many Indian people wouldn’t have liked the comment at all. Jade spent half and hour crying in the diary room with regret at her previous behaviour, as if it had all suddenly sunk in.
Cailleach’s comment in the comments box of my previous article on this likened the bullying to what goes on in a school playground, and it strikes me that the protagonists were indeed behaving like children, and that playgrounds are full of such behaviour on a daily basis, and that newspapers don’t spend much time getting mad about it (although the same papers that criticise Jade do get mad about, for example, the number of immigrants entering the country and the money being shelled out to welcome seekers of political asylum, and...well, you get the idea).
David Aaronovitch makes some telling points in his This Trash Makes You Feel Righteous – Get Real article in The Times. I don’t agree with everything he says, and there is a hint of self-righteousness about it too (unavoidable in a debate like this, I guess), and I think Big Brother has the right to instigate debate as much as any art form, but his case makes me think. An excerpt:
"Mrs Poppadum? We’d never say that behind anyone’s back, would we? It’s not us, it’s her. She’s the racist, sling her out. The Sun headline yesterday, accompanied by six horrible pics of Jade (whom the paper monstered last time around, as well) was “Evict the face of hate”. The irony was that the page itself was the face of hate. A columnist condemned Jade’s hate speech. “She shrieks racist obscenities, her piggy eyes bulging as she struts round the house like a demented toad.” And that, presumably, is just what Our Lord would have written if He were a columnist.
"BB satisfies our taste for cruelty. But what is so odd is that to discuss real things we have to make them unreal first, and then describe them as reality. Maybe we’ll understand better when art catches up with this moment, and we all troop off, replete with salience, to see the tragic Jade Goody — the Opera."