Jade's claim to fame - and her reason for being in the Celebrity version of Big Brother - was that she was in Series 3 of the regular show. For some reason, her ignorance and idiocy was found to be endearing and, through subsequent appearences and endorcements, she netted herself a cool £8 million despite a complete lack of ability at anything other than being a carbon-based bipedal lifeform (just).
One of her other housemates (alongside Face from the A-Team, and Jermaine Jackson whom Jade asked if his Mum is white) was Shilpa Shetty (above), a beautiful, intelligent and dignified Bollywood filmstar. In the last few days, there has been something akin to mass hysteria as Jade ganged up on Shilpa with the help of two other odious macro-celebrity cretins called Danielle and Jo. Although I'm not too sure why this happened as I've not been following this series as it was, until now, boring, Jade had been seen F-ing and blinding at Shilpa and calling her a loser. Behind her back, the girls were mocking her Indian accent and wishing she'd fuck off home. Jade for her part referred to her 'Shilpa Poppadom' and told her to go back to the slums.
Suddenly Tony Blair was being asked his opinion. It was front page news in the tabloids and lead story on the news. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell denounced "Racism... as entertainment". Effigies of Channel 4 producers were burnt in Bombay.
While I have long thought that women are simply better than men in almost all regards (except maybe ship-building and darts), their one flaw has to be the habit of some to morph seemlessly into merciless assassins (think The Terminator with perfume) against those they take a disliking to. It's no accident that these three insecure women, Jade Goody, ex-Miss Great Britain nonebrity Danielle Lloyd (Claim to fame: Shagging a footballer), and Jo O'Meara, who once sang someone else's songs in some brief manufactured band, feel deeply threatened in the presence of a naturally beautiful and intelligent woman who has never felt the need, unlike them, to burp, or shout about her sex life in order to get male attention. The fact that this soon became about class which infuriates the British (Shetty comes from a privileged background that has employed servants) and, moreover, basic racism, the story was rocket-propelled into the news to the delight of the Big Brother producers, even if their main sponsor, the Carphone Warehouse, hung up on their business relationship.
There are many facets to this I find interesting. Firstly, there's the nature of celebrity where 'we' (re: the media zeitgeist) can make someone a millionaire just for being themselves. The fickle downside to this is that we can just as easily destroy them. Jade was originally portrayed as a loveable working class heroine a few years ago, a little ditzy, but with a heart of gold. Now that heart has been found to be largely full of race hate or at least, jealousy, she's outta here (although never dismiss a 'Jade Goes To India' TV special).
Then there's the spinoff debates on the other side of the world, with Indians discussing the problems they have with their own racism, and the injustices of the caste system.
Finally, there's the issue of racism itself. I think everyone has a seed of racism in them, providing we define it as judging people solely on race, and even then, I'd add a few qualifiers. For example, if I were walking down a street towards a group of young black men, I would be on my guard more than if it were a group of little old ladies. To clarify further, these young black men would have to be fairly rowdy and in hoods. Men in suits wouldn't bother me much at all. Does that therefore make me a racist? Although I don't hate or fear them for being black, I would be wary in case they were racist against whites and I found myself on the wrong end of a boot.
Futhermore, Madame Arcati raises an excellent point in that Shilpa claimed she wouldn't marry a white man and would like to settle down with an Asian man instead. While I don't find that racist (although I do find my hopes dashed), a simple role reversal would have me spitting blood if Jane Goody said she wouldn't marry an Asian. I guess that's what comes of being part of a multi-cultural society, to dismiss another part of it would be wrong. Shilpa, for her part, lives in India among Indians so her statement - to me at least - seem less racist and more practical. And fortunately for her, no-one went on to ask if she'd marry a Muslim, or even someone outside her own caste.
Back to the original situation, Shetty has shown phenomenal dignity by not retaliating with likeminded comments or even resorting to swearing back. She should win the Big Brother contest on that alone, and not take to heart comments made by a gimp who came 4th in a 100 worst Britons poll. And she was up against some pretty stiff competition.
As for Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara, they are unlikely to be afforded the protection of a crowd ban like Jade was when they're inevitably voted out. I hope they can take the screeches of a baying crowd. It is, after all, a small price to pay for them being ignorant racist twats.
Realising they've totally fucked up their careers though, well perhaps that'll learn 'em.