For the second year running, Celebrity Big Brother has become a major news story. Last year it was George Galloway wearing a leotard and showing everyone what a pussy he is. This year it’s about the alleged bullying (considered by many to be of a racist nature) of Indian contestant Shilpa Shetty by fellow ‘celebrity’ Jade Goody and her pack of baying bitches. It’s everywhere: it was the lead news item on the austere Radio 4, questions have been asked in the Commons, David Cameron has denounced the show, so too has Tony Blair. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, currently in India, has found himself fielding questions on issues of race in modern Britain (Shetty is a huge film star in her home country). Cue much soul searching in the media : ‘is there a problem with racism in this country?’, ‘what does this say about our attitudes to race?’, etc, etc.
To which the answers are: (1) no, not especially, no more than anywhere else in the world anyway and (2) it says that most people are intolerant of victimising someone because of their racial origin, or being derogatory about their race/nationality. So if anything, the whole grisly affair confirms that we do not like racists or bullies. And racist bullies are a real no-no. We Brits are famous for supporting the underdog, and I would not be surprised if Shetty wins. It seems certain that Goody will be evicted tonight, most likely to a chorus of boos. The bully shall be banished. Then perhaps the guilty introspection can end and we can all get on with our lives again.
Actually, the astonishing backlash against Jade Goody over the last week has served as something of a collective national ablution. At long last, perhaps we can be rid of this woman once and for all. The manner in which she shot to fame and fortune was little short of depressing: let’s be frank, it was for nothing more than being a colossal ignoramus on national television. Now it seems she has reached the end of the line, sacrificed by the very programme that created her. It’s an ending worthy of Shakespeare.