You may have noticed that poor Jade Goody has been in the news recently. If the Sun is your daily paper of choice, in fact, she more-or-less has been the news, having featured on six of their last seven front pages. Where, in the middle of such a media storm, might an interested party find some sanity?
Well, I’ve been flicking through Wikipedia’s article on Jade Goody, and—more importantly—through its edit history, and my sense is that in its own way this rolling, lurching document is all the guide you’ll ever need to the whole business. It’s an amazing microcosm of all the attitudes, facts and opinions out there: a dynamic record that switches several times a day between gloating, sympathy, irrelevance and a concern for the finest details of fact that puts the coverage of even the most august print journals to shame.
As far as this this particular human drama is concerned, in fact, Wikipedia and its edit history together form a resource that’s more informative, mature, entertaining, sporadically surreal and yet representative overall than anything you’ll find almost anywhere else. To give you a sample of its finely blended flavours, here are some sample comments I’ve extracted from the article’s edit history over the last few months, in sequence, from past to present:
Actually her PhD is in Transformational Hermeutics. Appropriate, really, isn’t it?
added people of Caribbean descent (said ref confirms her paternal grandfather was a negro from the W Indies)
Replaced content with ‘is a repulsive, vile cow.’
radical hysterectomy rather than simple hysterectomy
by all means mention the mother, but being a lesbian or crack addict (as you recently added) is not relevant to Jades biography
Rv in the interests of rehabilitation and Jimbo’s views on “basic human dignity”, remove unnecesary bollocks. It may be true, but we don’t have to report it
added astounding – ‘a level of ignorance’ is an understatement – everyone is ignorant of some things
until we know that she has legally changed her name (and have a source for it), it should stay as Goody not Tweed
Listen I am experienced in this sort of thing. Legally her name is now Jade Tweed.
No, we DO NOT know what her name is until it is confirmed. Until then, it has to stay as Goody
this should not be deleted
yes it should, no decent article has this rubbish
corrected wording: it read as though she might survive, which is impossible; what is uncertain is how many days / weeks / months she will live
added that her sons were Christened as well as her
remove, the sun is not a reliable source for such BLP issues, and quite frankly, this is getting disgusting. WP:BLP makes it quite clear we must respect human dignity
Reverted good faith edits by Taopman; We’re not having a daily fucking countdown
removing vandalism, have some respect please
Perhaps most interestingly, though, for all the richness of this (entirely transparent and fully recorded) behind-the-scenes banter, in its overarching dedication to facts rather than opinions, the article itself is ultimately touching in a way that few professional commentators have managed:
On 5 March 2009, Jade Goody requested to be christened from her bed at the Royal Marsden Hospital; on 7 March she and her sons were christened. Clifford confirmed that this would be Goody’s last public appearance, and that she had already said her goodbyes to her family.