Jade Goody's disarming honesty
I'm not at all sure whether the argument that Jade Goody has forced people to think about cancer is anything but a smokescreen.
While it can't be a bad thing that more women will have smear tests, the interest in her untimely death says more about celebrity culture in this country than it does about anything else. The Sun alone has devoted the first nine pages of Monday's paper to her, not to mention a 16-page pull out.
She was of course, the product of a reality television show, but she was an unusual celebrity beyond that too. She had an ability to be utterly open about everything. Once she became a "celebrity", this was even more the case.
Where other celebrities hold a line between that which is public and private, with manufactured answers and a public face, with Jade, her most private thoughts, whether sensible or not, just trotted out of her mouth. For that, the media has loathed her, laughed at her but now, finally, they love her.
The sadness at the heart of her story as a celebrity is that she really wanted to be loved - and that only really came as she lay dying. Her willingness to acknowledge she wasn't clever, in the conventional sense, disarmed people. But what amazed me about her was her willingness to try and redeem herself in others' eyes, while all the time giving an impression of not caring a jot what people thought of her.
Why else would she go to India and take part in their version of Big Brother after being roundly condemned for her racial epithets against fellow contestant Shilpa Shetty? Okay, that was a media opportunity too. But she endeared herself to people. Among the tributes has been one from Ms Shetty.
Through sheer force of personality and chutzpah, she turned out to be a canny businesswoman. And, given the value we place on money in our culture, that too has been applauded.
The bile spewed by her detractors on internet messageboards over the last 24 hours is a reaction to that life lived in public. So soon after her death it seems unedifying, to say the least.
But, perhaps we no longer have any space between that which is public and that which is private. When social networking websites prompt us to live our lives in the open, Jade Goody has been a powerful symbol of our times.