Two years is a long time in (pickled) politics

Back in April 2007, the BBC was preparing to invite Jade Goody to appear on a program called “You can’t fire me – I’m famous!” a few months after her eviction from the Celebrity Big Brother house. (I can barely believe I’m typing these words. Anyway…)

Sunny was not best pleased:

What kind of a message is the BBC giving out? That you can be an obnoxious, racist bully on television (and society) but if you pull in the ratings then you can find salvation through our wonderful public service broadcaster. I have a hunch they dreamed up the show after trying to find a way to get Jade Goody back on their screens.

Not only is this the epitome of trash TV, but it is insulting to ethnic minorities that our public service broadcaster is trying to help Jade Goody get her ‘media career’ back on track despite her behaviour. Isn’t this going to simply legitimise casual racism and bullying?

Jade Goody, pbuh, had called Shilpa Shetty, Bollywood star, “Shilpa Poppadom” and mimicked her Indian accent. For what it’s worth, I thought Goody’s behaviour was unacceptable at the time.

Mehdi Hasan, senior editor (politics) at the New Statesman, is quoted using the slur “kaffar” to refer to non-believers and described them as “cattle” and “people of low intelligence”.

Sunny doesn’t feel quite the same about Hasan’s behaviour as he did about Jade’s and, just as importantly, about their respective fan clubs and paymasters.

Mehdi Hasan. Jade Goody. But wait! I’ve forgotten ***context***. Well…

  • one is an Oxford graduate who has spent virtually all his professional life working in the media and who now is part of the editorial staff at one of Britain’s oldest political magazines with a proud liberal, progressive heritage; a person writing and commentating from a position of no small influence.
  • the other was a working-class young lady of low intellect dragged up by her bootstraps with as much ability to shape the debate about race and social cohesion as Paris Hilton.

One is excoriated for her offence, the other is given a pass.

Do you see the ***context*** yet? Can you at least smell it?