Brought up by drug-addicted parents in a poor neighborhood of London, she was transformed by the glare of reality television into a multi-million-dollar product whom the public was urged to celebrate, especially after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, Mr. Parkinson noted.To generations of outsiders the image of Great Britain was captured in films like Goodbye, Mr Chips and the Brideshead Revisited miniseries. Dignified, well educated men and women, often reserved to the point of being aloof. Everyone had been to one of the great public schools, then Oxbridge. They governed a third of the earth's surface with a detached, albeit often farsighted paternalism. Over the skies of Southern England in 1940 a few hundred men, many of them toffs, flew Hurricanes and Spitfires while wearing neckties and using cricketing metaphors. Much of this was myth, a skillful exaggeration of a Britain that never really was but many assumed should be. If the quintessential American was the businessmen, so the quintessential Englishman was an aristocrat. Unlike the continent, being a peer of the realm was a sign of genuine social distinction. Pre-revolutionary France was full of thousands of minor members of the nobility who lived little better than the peasants over whom them held often only a nominal lordship. In Britain only a few hundred were genuine aristocrats, though younger siblings were given courtesy titles. The law of primogeniture, much maligned by egalitarians, created a class of aristocrats without real titles and little money.
"Jade Goody has her own place in the history of television and, while it's significant, it's nothing to be proud of," he wrote in the Radio Times.
"When we clear the media smokescreen from around her death what we're left with is a woman who came to represent all that's paltry and wretched about Britain today. She was ... barely educated, ignorant and puerile. Then she was projected to celebrity by Big Brother and from that point on became a media chattel to be manipulated and exploited till the day she died."
What made Ms. Goody stand out in her reality-TV appearances was her shocking ignorance of her country's geography, her naked and drunken exploits and her racist bullying of an Indian housemate.
The class system, however, was unjust, denying men of talent the relatively unobstructed rise that they could obtain in the colonies or the United States. It's unlikely that Andrew Carnegie would have become the great success in Britain that he became in Pennsylvania. Injustice breeds resentment, especially among the talented and ambitious. That resentment found its outlet in politics, especially in the New Jerusalem promised by the socialists. Had this hatred of the aristocracy simply been directed toward the economic sphere, the wrecking of great fortunes through the workings of the inheritance tax, the damage would have been contained to there. The Jacobin spirit which moved these men could not stop there. They found that while taxation had destroyed the fortunes, ruined great family manors and embarrassed more than a few heirs to the continent - back when the pound was much stronger than today - it could not destroy the lure of the aristocracy. Many of these jacobins were also republicans, but few dared attack the monarchy openly. So much easier to subvert it and the peerage.
However impoverished many great families became, the lure of a title was strong. The middle classes, while mocking the idleness of their social superiors, wanted to adopt the manners and customs of the elite. Britain was an aspirational culture. While the vast majority of men and women were necessarily absorbed in the daily struggle for life, the aristocracy was able to focus on cultivating the softer elements of civilization. Manner of dress, manner of speech, the revised code of chivalry, a conception of honour. These things trickled down. It was pointless, reasoned the jacobins, to economically destroy the aristocracy if its spirit lived on and grew. The culture of aspiration was replaced with the culture of degradation. In America a similar phenomenon was seen among the blacks. To aspire to a higher standard of living and behaviour was labeled as "acting white." During the Second World War Greer Garson became one of the English speaking world's biggest stars. Playing middle class housewives, Garson spoke the received pronunciation and was seen as the exemplar of English womanhood. She was a lady, though from a comparatively modest background. The middle classes had aspired and achieved. In the 1960s the descendants of the Minivers began to aspire down. In three generations we have sunk from Mrs Miniver to Jade Goody. The schools, which once taught classics, behaviour, mathematics and history are now focused on:
A new report on the primary school curriculum in England and Wales encourages educators to place more emphasis on technology than on traditional subjects.Plutarch or Twittering? Mrs Miniver or what Americans call white trash? Does Britain aspire up or down? Is there an up or down?
According to its recommendations, students would not necessarily have to learn about the Victorian era or the Second World War - teachers could choose two "key periods" of British history - but learning skills such as blogging, podcasting and Twittering would take a central role.