The coverage surrounding the imminent death of Jade Goody has sparked reactions that range from praise to disgust.

Diagnosed in 2008 with pancreatic cancer, Goody, who rose to fame on the UK Big Brother series, has been given just weeks to live her life out in the public eye.

In what may be one of the most voyeuristic decisions made to date, Goody has brought the term "celebreality" to a whole new level.

Much like "The Truman Show" her life is the plot and we are her viewers - except that Truman chose to escape while Goody runs towards the spotlight.

"Although her story may have created greater awareness about cancer, it has further eroded the boundaries between the public and the private in our infotainment-driven media world," says Dr. Daya Thussu, a professor of International Communication at the University of Westminster.

Her presence in the media is unavoidable, as her fate often makes headlines.

The stories are often greeted with sympathy or on the opposite end of the spectrum, the quick page turn - just another celebrity gossip story.

Either way, everyone has something to say about the matter, bringing about the unavoidable conclusion: death sells.

Deadly infatuations

Ingrained in our history is the fascination with the dying.

In ancient Rome, death was the pinnacle of entertainment. Spectators would fill arenas to watch gladiators fight to death with each other or animals.

We humans have come a long way from those times... or have we?

The success of movies like "Gladiator" and the possible return of the "mock" gladiators to the Colosseum in 2009 suggest otherwise.

Though none of these new gladiator revivals involve actual fatalities, we still love the idea of being entertained by death.

Fatal Romance

Before Goody received the tragic news of her illness, musicians had long since been cashing in on the motif of death.

In the new millennium, bands like My Chemical Romance have taken the reins to cash in on our insatiable curiosity of the dying.

Mainly attracting the disenchanted youths of the emo culture, their 2006 release "The Black Parade" milks death for all its worth.

The album conceives the character of "The Patient", a young man about to die in the cancer ward.

Our protagonist leaves this earth, but we are given a glimpse of all his most important memories.

His exit comes in the form of his fondest memory, a parade his father took him to as a child.

However, "we'll carry on," becomes the answer, leaving it to the listener to take away what they may of the album.

The melodrama instantly connected with its audience and the concept album went on to produce several hits worldwide, and went double platinum in the UK.

Any final words?

In 2009, Goody has become the new "patient".

While her untimely death is tragic, especially for her family and children, she has become an inspiration in her own right.

After her diagnosis, the number of cervical cancer screenings has increased in the UK.

It may be too late for Goody, but the hype surrounding her life may spare someone else. Also any money made from publicity will be given to her children.

However, some are still left uneasy by the situation.

As Dr. Thussu notes, her story helped sell some more newspapers "with a little help from the likes of Mr. Max Clifford."

Should death be played out in the media and the arts?

We have to look inward for that answer.

Photo by Andrew Otto
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Goody: death sells

By: Raquel Villanueva