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Monthly arts column

I know it was a month or so ago, but Jade Goody was back on Big Brother, this time as a celebrity. A few words later and we all knew about it.

Eleanor Margesson

When James wrote those famous words about the effect that a little tiny tongue might have, could he ever have envisaged a world in which a few insulting little words could be broadcast around the world and commented on instantly and publicly by politicians, journalists, not to mention many ordinary people. When Channel 4 broadcast the moment that Jade Goody called Shilpa Shetty, her fellow Celebrity Big Brother housemate, ‘Shilpa Poppadom’, it seemed as though everybody knew something about it, particularly if they hadn’t seen it on TV. In fact, those who had seen it on TV were the ones who found it difficult to separate out the acceptable shocking behaviour from the unacceptable and were consequently a bit flummoxed as to what they were meant to be appalled by. It was a ‘media event’, at which everybody wished to be present. The little tiny tongue had indeed worked its evil and created a massive forest fire of controversy.