Sadder, wiser?

Not only does Big Brother raise important issues of medical ethics, it also offers a sad commentary on the death of Paula Yates. There is a sickness that afflicts modern society in the form of the craving for celebrity: the inhabitants of the Big Brother house willingly exposed themselves to the virus for the sake of their 15 minutes of fame. Ms Yates's exposure was of a longer duration and less voluntary. Not only has she had to struggle with the kind of challenges that would have reduced almost anyone to despair, she has had her personal drama played out on the public stage in a way that can only have intensified the psychological strain - even if she did not intend to take her own life - to breaking point.

Not only does Big Brother raise important issues of medical ethics, it also offers a sad commentary on the death of Paula Yates. There is a sickness that afflicts modern society in the form of the craving for celebrity: the inhabitants of the Big Brother house willingly exposed themselves to the virus for the sake of their 15 minutes of fame. Ms Yates's exposure was of a longer duration and less voluntary. Not only has she had to struggle with the kind of challenges that would have reduced almost anyone to despair, she has had her personal drama played out on the public stage in a way that can only have intensified the psychological strain - even if she did not intend to take her own life - to breaking point.

It is too much to hope that Ms Yates's death, and the tragedy of her children's loss, will prompt a national change of heart. But if it prompts a pause for thought about the dangers of the cult of celebrity, some wisdom may be gained by it.

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