I've written before about Jade off of Big Brother, and about Jade: My Autobiography, by Jade Goody, which is a book about Jade off of Big Brother written by Jade off of Big Brother. I feel slightly unclean in raising the subject again, but she infects the Zeitgeist to the extent that it's unavoidable. If I were writing this blog in the 14th century (apart from the fact that I'd be burned for sorcery) I'd feel obliged to raise the unpleasant fact of the Black Death. So it is with Jade. Sorry.
I come back to her because of a new survey that lists the books that Brits don't finish. All the usual suspects are in place: Ulysses; War and Peace; The Satanic Verses; big, important books that you feel you ought to read, but never quite get around to finishing. Or even start; one of the most disturbing findings from the poll is that 55% of respondents buy books for decoration, with no intention of reading them.
This becomes even more depressing when you realise that one of the unread books is the aforementioned Jade: My Autobiography. Now, I can see all sorts of reasons for not reading the book, and for not buying it in the first place. But, presuming you're the sort of person who might choose to acquire it, you're not likely to cast it aside with disgust, because you suddenly realise what a dreadful woman J.O.O.B.B. is. So there can be only two reasons for not pursuing it to its inevitably gripping conclusion. One is that you find it too intellectually taxing. The other is that you bought it simply as decoration; the implication being that it should be propped up between A Suitable Boy and A Brief History of Time, as a means of impressing the neighbours.
It's then that you remember that the people who purchase Jade: My Autobiography are, to some extent, an elite, in that they buy books at all, even if they only buy them to make other people feel inadequate. Which ties in with another story, about allegations of skulduggery in phone-in quizzes on TV. The big chinstroke for many commentators seems to be about the level of trust between producer and consumer, coupled with the suggestion that you've got to be pretty dumb to keep chucking money at these competitions, despite the production office mantra that the viewer isn't stupid. But wasn't the truth about the aptitudes of the sofa species (or at least the professionals' perception of those aptitudes) already apparent from the questions being asked? As Holy Moly reports, a researcher on This Morning (in its Richard and Judy incarnation) was tasked with setting the teasers for 'Mid-Day Money', and was advised that "What is the capital of France?" might be too challenging a conundrum for the target demographic. His facetious suggestion of "What colour is an orange?", however, was accepted with alacrity.
And before anybody says it, yes, I know. The capital of France is 'F'.