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LOL…it’s kinda funny that the notoriously bigoted British tabloids are blasting UK star Jade Goody for her racist comments toward Shilpa Shetty. The Sun has labeled Ms. Goody “the face of hate,” claims Goody will need 24-hour security once she leaves Celebrity Big Brother, and is urging its readers to vote Goody out in tonight’s eviction:

HERE’S your chance to prove Britain is not a nation of racists by voting Jade Goody out of the Celebrity Big Brother house. (…) The Sun is urging readers to show the world we will not stand for vile bullying by giving Jade the boot on these Channel 4 numbers. C4 is to donate ALL proceeds from the crunch phone vote to charity – following pressure from The Sun.

Oh heavens. The Sun – always looking out for the little guy. Seriously, how can the Sun criticize Jade for being a “vile bully” when some of the vilest bullies in the UK are Sun reporters?

The Daily Mail‘s readers seem to have split opinions about the whole affair, with some expressing outrage at Jade (“I hope Jade, Danielle and Jo all come out and their ‘careers’ collapse; they are a disgusting advert for young women in this day and age.”), some showing cynicism toward Channel 4 (“The last 2 days have been completely staged. It is blatantly obvious that Shilpa, Jade, and Danielle have been spoken to. BB is simple [sic] trying to keep viewers waiting for the next installment and ratings up.”), and others just wanting everyone to shut up about it (“Nice to see that at a time when the economy seems to be on the brink of disaster, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is abroad commenting on trashy TV shows.”).

The BBC has gotten some reaction from a few Indian citizens. One woman thinks that Jade and the others are simply jealous of the beautiful Shilpa:

There is an element of racism in some of the remarks, but I think it’s only on the surface. That was the easiest way to hurt her. But the real reason is very simple: she is a strong competition, she has a better chance to win, and they want her out.

Simon over at No Rock & Roll Fun adds some much needed perspective to the brouhaha:

Very little of the coverage and debate seems able to define itself clearly: are people objecting to the program, or are they objecting to the behavior of Goody, that woman out of Zoo and Jo O’Meara? Isn’t this the first time that Big Brother has actually done what it told us it wanted to, and really shown us what British society is really like? Channel 4 could argue, should they wish, that the program isn’t endorsing the behavior and that there is a public interest in showing the way some people might behave when they’re not appearing in anti-bullying campaigns. Of course, to do that, the network would have to admit that there’s something nasty at the base of the bullying – but then it would have to explain why it hadn’t followed the rules of the program and put a stop to it.

So have the media simply been taken in by an elaborate marketing ploy orchestrated by Channel 4 to save a flagging series? Will Jade Goody’s career be destroyed, or will the controversy keep her in the headlines, setting herself up for a comeback down the line? It wouldn’t be the first time the media have fallen prey to a PR campaign. Mark Lawson, in a wonderful piece in The Guardian, says this is not the case:

While their comments were probably made more inflammatory by editing juxtapositions, the stupid hatred of these white women for a brown one was real enough. Put a hidden camera in pubs and clubs most nights and you would pick up similar footage, quiet racists saying things to friends that they would never voice to surveys or TV reporters. The humiliation game-show, quite unexpectedly, has performed a journalistic service.

Yes, the ordeal has been eye-opening, exposing a British society that has as much, if not more, discomfort with issues of race than the United States do.

In other news:

  • Photos of the Richard Hammond crash have been released.(BBC)
  • When The Independent asked why he’s huge in America but unknown in Britain, John Mayer responded by dissing European musical tastes. “I’m sure you could ask them or Robbie Williams the same thing about why they are not successful in America. The American singer-songwriter is to Europe the way Europe’s dance music is to America. I don’t know why. There’s a certain lack of gimmickry to what I do that makes people in England go: ‘Where’s the thing?’ I’m not an icon. Not even in America. I’m a good music provider, and I’m fine with that. I’m a quality music manufacturer.”

  • An interview with the super-sexy Nigerian-British actor, David Oyelowo, best known for his role on MI-5. (The Independent)
  • Meet one of BAFTA’s rising stars, Ben Whislaw, who appeared in the movie, Perfume. (Empire)
  • She just landed in the U.S., but has Victoria Beckham already signed a $10 million accessories deal here in the States?(Mirror)
  • Can David Beckham succeed where Pélé failed?
  • Becks’ $250 million deal is causing tension with his LA Galaxy teammates. (BBC)
  • John Barrowman wears a kilt the true Scot way–with nothing on underneath.
  • Will Robbie Williams perform a sexy striptease at Elton John‘s 60th birthday party?
  • Has Sienna Miller picked up Scarlett Johansson‘s leftovers? (Mirror)
  • A little bit of Kanye with a dollop of Coldplay. Sounds like a hot mess to me. (Dot Music)
  • Björk is collaborating with Antony & The Johnsons – as well as Timbaland – for her new album.(NME)
  • Arctic Monkeys says that their recording studio, Miloco Studio, is “haunted” by the spirit of “a young girl.”(NME)
  • Nearly a year after being dropped by Rough Trade, Babyshambles have signed with Parlophone.(BBC)
  • The Guardian‘s Alexis Petridis gives four stars to the new album from Damon Albarn‘s new supergroup, The Good, the Bad, and the Queen. The band also features Tony Allen and The Clash‘s Paul Simonon. Petridis say Albarn may have lost the battle to the Gallagher brothers back in the Oasis vs. Blur days, but he’s won the war. “To think Albarn was once compared unfavorably to Liam Gallagher. These days, that seems a bit like comparing David Bowie to Les Gray of Mud.”
  • Pickard of the pops: The Guardian‘s Anna Pickard reviews music videos. This week, The Klaxons.
  • The umpteenth interview with Sacha Baron Cohen. This time he chats about his Cambridge dissertation on Jewish-black relations and – again – the hardships of being Borat.(Guardian)
  • The Tate Modern in London will hold a June exhibition on Salvador Dalí‘s films.(Guardian)
  • Helen Mirren has been named a “Great Briton” by Morgan Stanley. Also: Pacino as Dalí?(Guardian)
  • The most-watched programs in the UK since 2000, compiled by Off the Telly.
  • James Christopher of The Times prefers Toby Jones‘ performance as Truman Capote to Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s Oscar-winning one. “The magic of Infamous is the realization that this Capote is warped by a different set of demons. Jones is crippled by a conscience missing in Hoffman’s calculated performance. His jail cell visits and impulsive kisses with Daniel Craig‘s frightened Perry are electric. The unexpected result is that this Capote yields riches beyond anything Hoffman could offer.”
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.