Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Littlejohn reacts to the tsunami: 'the Japanese people are militantly racist'

You know that when Richard Littlejohn begins one of his columns sounding as if he's being sincere and caring, it won't last long:

No one with a shred of humanity can fail to be moved by some of the pictures coming out of Japan, whether an elderly woman being rescued from the rubble or frightened, bewildered schoolchildren waiting in vain for parents who will never return.

The devastation is on a biblical scale. Comparisons have been drawn with the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


Despite filling our homes with Japanese electronics and our garages with cars made by Nissan and Toyota, despite the vivid images on TV and assorted social networks, it remains a faraway country of which we know little and understand less.

Anyone who has visited or worked in Japan will tell you it is like landing on another planet. Beyond the baseball caps and Western clothes, the Japanese people have a distinct culture of their own, which is entirely alien to our own values. They are militantly racist and in the past have been capable of great cruelty.

Clearly Littlejohn was so moved by the devastation, when he came to write about it a week or so later, he thought he'd label the whole country as not just racist but 'militantly racist' and then mention the war. 'Shred of humanity' indeed. (In the online version, the subs have even included a picture of two emaciated prisoners of war.)

Of course, when Top Gear got into trouble recently for calling Mexicans 'lazy, feckless and flatulent' the Mail called this a 'slur' and an 'insult' and churned out six (very similar) articles about it within five days.

And the Mail leapt on another 'diplomatic incident' caused by a BBC programme, when QI made some jokes about a man who had survived the atmoic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The programme had caused a 'furore', 'insulted' one man and been 'Quite Insensitive'.

So, if the BBC makes jokes about all Mexicans or one Japanese man, it's an 'insult'.

If a Mail columnist says with a straight face that the 'Japanese people' - presumably all 125 million of them - are 'militantly racist', then that's, apparently, acceptable. To the Mail, it's 'powerful and provocative'.

He drags into this column his wife's dead grandfather, who had suffered as a POW and:

would never have joined a minute’s silence for Japan...Were he alive today, he would have remained doggedly in his seat if requested to stand in silent tribute to the dead of Japan.

Which may or may not be true - since he's dead, we'll never know. Yet when some people remain seated when asked to stand in tribute to one person who is alive, the Mail gets angry.

Littlejohn uses his wife's grandfather as a way to rant about when we should pay tribute:

I often wonder what our fathers and grandfathers would have made of modern Britain’s ghastly cult of sentimentality and vicarious grief. Ever since the hysteria surrounding the death of Lady Di, when half of the nation seemed to take leave of its senses, a section of the population seizes any excuse for a sobfest.

Showing ‘respect’ has become institutionalised. Before every one of the weekend’s Premier League football matches, for instance, fans were forced to stand and observe a minute’s silence for Japan. Why?

Why? Because over 9,000 human beings were killed and over 13,000 are missing, perhaps? But to him, a minute's silence for those people is 'any excuse for a sobfest' and part of a 'ghastly cult of sentimentality'?

'Showing ‘respect’ has become institutionalised.' How awful.

And 'forced'? More likely they were asked to, and thought it an appropriate thing to do.

Littlejohn explains:

I have no objection to honouring the dead in public, if the occasion or sense of loss warrants it.

For example?

At White Hart Lane we’ve recently said goodbye to some of the stars of Spurs’ double-winning side from the Sixties. There was genuine sadness over the loss of men many in the crowd had known personally. But how many of the hundreds of thousands of supporters corralled into grieving for Japan could even point to that country on a map?

So silent tribute to a few footballers is 'warranted'. But for tens of thousands of victims of a natural disaster? excuse for a self-indulgent display of cost-free compassion.

He really doesn't seem to be able to grasp that people might feel 'genuine sadness' over the deaths of those we may not know personally.

He uses this to launch into a slightly strange attack on the Premier League:

Like most monsters, the Premier League has a sickening streak of sentimentality. Barely a week passes without yet another minute’s silence before kick-off...Of course, there is a commercial incentive here for the Premier League. No doubt the Japanese TV rights are up for renegotiation soon.

But there were silences before last weekend's Six Nations rugby games. And before football games elsewhere so this isn't just a Premier League, or even just a British, thing.

Then comes a paragraph of such mind-numbing nonsense, it's little wonder Littlejohn has a reputation for being less than rigorous with his research:

But why Japan and not, say, those massacred in Rwanda or starved to death by Mugabe in Zimbabwe? I don’t remember a minute’s silence for Haiti, although I may be mistaken. I’m sure we didn’t have a minute’s silence for our earthquake-hit Commonwealth cousins in Christchurch, New Zealand, before the Milan game. Maybe we did.

Firstly, it takes some nerve for him to invoke 'those massacred in Rwanda' when he said about the genocide there:

'Does anyone really give a monkey's about what happens in Rwanda? If the Mbongo tribe wants to wipe out the Mbingo tribe then as far as I am concerned that is entirely a matter for them.'

But look at the rest of that paragraph.

'I don't remember...although I may be mistaken.'

'I'm sure we didn't...Maybe we did'.

It really is quality journalism, isn't it?

A very quick use of Google would have proved there were minute silences for the victims of both the Haiti and New Zealand earthquakes in various places. He may be right about the Milan game, but there were silences at other sporting events for New Zealand, including at the Six Nations rugby, the cricket World Cup and at football matches.

Of course, had he bothered to find out about those silences, his argument of 'why a silence for the militant racists and not our Commonwealth cousins?' would have fallen apart.

He adds:

Do you think the Japanese held a silent tribute for the victims of the London Transport bombings in 2005? Me neither.

Well, in response to those terrorist attacks, the then Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, issued a statement saying:

I would also like to extend my deepest sympathy to the victims of the attacks.

On top of that:

At around noon on July 8 on behalf of Prime Minister Koizumi currently visiting the United Kingdom, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda visited the British Embassy in Tokyo to express the sympathy of the Government of Japan for those who were sacrificed in a series of explosions in London.

At the Embassy Mr. Hosoda expressed the deep condolences of the Government of Japan to the Government of the U.K.

Moreover, according to the American Government, the response to Hurricane Katrina was that:

Japan has pledged more than $1.5 million in private donations. The government of Japan has donated $200,000 in cash to the American Red Cross and some $800,000 in relief supplies -- from blankets to generators -- already are arriving to aid the most needy.

That's those 'militantly racist' 'alien values' in action.

According to figures on Wikipedia, 77% of the Japanese population is between 0 and 64 years of age so wouldn't have been born until after the war ended. And Littlejohn claims that he believes that:

It is wrong to visit the sins of previous generations on their modern descendants, although that doesn’t prevent the British Left constantly trying to make us feel guilty for centuries-old grievances, from the slave trade to the Irish potato famine.

And yet here he is, faced with the 'biblical-scale' devastation of the recent tsunami, dragging up decades-old grievances about the actions of some Japanese people. If he thinks it's wrong the visit the sins of previous generations, why mention the war at all?


  1. Brilliant.

    Although Littlejohn's whole career has been dedicated to giving voice to twats everywhere.

  2. Wow, great post - you've totally taken Littlejohn apart here. I have an inkling that you may be interested in #StopMailads, a campaign targeting advertisers in reaction to this very column.

    Also, is a proxy you can use to link to the Daily Mail to deprive it of visitor stats and advertising revenue.

  3. Great piece. Way more research than Littlejohn has ever done, or possibly deserves.

  4. Well done, nice piece-by-piece breakdown of the hypocrisy, inaccuracy and downright bigotry of Littlejohn's latest bowel movement.

  5. A few people have picked up on this appalling piece, but this has to be the best systematic picking apart I've seen. Great use of links and ocunter-argument.

    Thing is though, subject matter aside, it seems to be getting easier and easier to tear into LJ, the quality of his argument / debate / discussion is just so poor. Luke

  6. Great piece MacGuffin.

    Pity to waste such a good bit of writing on such a hateful, talentless w*nker as Littlejohn though...

  7. Slightly off topic, but did the Mail ever put Haiti on its front page?

    It'd be interesting to consider just how the Daily Mail ranks foriegners in terms of whether their suffering in natural distasters is newsworthy. Haiti, clearly not, being black and all. Japan, yes. Westernized hats, but we'll also bring up WW2, alien values and racism.

    Interesting hierachy. p.s. someone should show Littlejohn photographs from the British-ran concentration camps during the Boer War. That was just over 100 years ago, does that count?

  8. Based on his own first sentence and then what follows, everyone can draw their own conclusions about what this piece demonstrates about Littlejohn's own shreds of humanity.

  9. I love one of the polls next to the article: "How young is too young for kids to have their own tv?" "Yes" or "No". I re-read it a couple of times, but I'm just more confused now after realising that's definitely what they've written!

  10. Thanks everyone for your kind remarks.

    Anonymous (10:50) - No, it didn't. The day after the Haiti earthquake, the Mail was the only national newspaper not to put it on the front page at all (even the Star found space for it) See:

    See also: and

  11. AS soon as I saw this piece in the Mail, I thought 'Shit, MacGuffin is going to blow a fuse over this one'.

    Your dissection is more restrained than I thought it would be...and as a consequence, it's the best piece I've ever read on this site. Very very good indeed.


    I've always thought that journalists should be licensed, like solicitors and financial advisors, and be subject to periodic fitness to practice checks. This one piece would have Littlejohn struck off for ever. It's an absolute disgrace.

  12. If you look at the mail there is a outpouring of hate about the article. (aside from the occasional person claiming "everyone is thinking it") which means RLJ is missing the normal attitude of his audience, perhaps he should have put in a reference to a religion other than christianity.

    All in all a despicable piece, and a very good one, thanks MacGuffin

  13. I'm surprised Littlejohn slates the Japanese for being militantly racist. I'd have thought he'd find that to be an admirable trait.

  14. Anonymous 10.42 - "ocunter-argumnet" is possibly the greatest typo I have ever seen. Well done sir/madam

  15. Yeah, thanks for this. Littlejohn's Japan article just got me beyond angry into gloom that he got money and an audience for this repellent stuff. Your response is meaured, thoughtful and necessary. This and the comments restore my faith that not everyone is such a vile, insular prick.

  16. Great article this could be another moir gate I reckon we should complain to the Japanese embassy and companies that sponsor the mail and get them to boycott it, then Littledick will be sacked

  17. Littlejohn accusing others of racism. I think my irony meter just exploded.

  18. Possibly one of the best posts ever on this blog. I will be using this page when I link other people to tabloid watch from now on!

    I urge people to do exactly as Anonymous (17:58) has suggested. Send this link to not only advertisers commonly found on the Littlejohn pages, but also to the Japanese Government, British Embassy in Tokyo as well as our own Foreign Secretary and some international aid agencies active in Japan too. They are sure to take notice and force the racist tosser to make a full and public apology. It won't get him sacked though, the Mail love him, all their narrow minded readers love him, but anything to dent his pride a little will be wonderful!

    What a shameful little man he is.

  19. Bravo. I just wish we could see him attempt to respond to such a systematic demolition of what little argument he had.

  20. This is the best analysis of the Littlejohn/Japan article I have read, by a long measure. Excellent post.

  21. Heartily agree with everyone else here, a great, great piece of dismantling, which should not only be forwarded to all those mentioned but also to the news editors of every media organisation and the heads of media departments in colleges and universities as a model for good practice.

  22. Excellent, calm, cool rebuttal. Can't help wondering if RLJ actually believes any of the bigoted tosh he writes. My hunch is that he is much worse than a racist fanatic - he's an extreme cynic who doesn't care that he peddles hate for cash.

  23. In addition to all the points made above, I wonder what football team the cloaca supports, since he makes the claim that Spurs fans are all so thick they can't point to Japan on a map...

  24. i have no interest in defending a vile piece in a vile publication by a vile man... but he's not wrong about the odd glee 'we' seem to take in showing how respectful we are with minutes silences, at least when it comes to whatever is in the news. these silences at football matches are so commonplace they are nothing more than administration. it may seem peverse, but actually is more appropriate for spurs fans to remember two dead footballers than thousands of dead japanese... because it is the connection, the affection and the memories that give the silence some meaning.

    i was in the crowd at nottingham forest when the silence was held to remember brian clough. it was emotional, powerful and beautiful... and there was barely a dry eye in the stadium. he was part of our club and part of our lives.

    the contrast between this and those silences held for people unconnected is immense.

    we should remember and respect all those who die... whether they are headline news or not... but without a human connection these formalised public displays of respect are exercises in box ticking and it makes no more sense to hold one in a football stadium than it does to hold one in a supermarket.

  25. Noodle makes a very valid point, the giving of silence may be worthless (okay maybe a strong word) to the individuals giving it. But to those receiving it, it is a different matter.

    "At around noon on July 8 on behalf of Prime Minister Koizumi currently visiting the United Kingdom, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda visited the British Embassy in Tokyo to express the sympathy of the Government of Japan for those who were sacrificed in a series of explosions in London.

    At the Embassy Mr. Hosoda expressed the deep condolences of the Government of Japan to the Government of the U.K."

    Actually made me very happy, its nice to see that others consider and pay attention to the pain of our country. So I think that we should keep both, the emotional insular and the external respect.


  26. Well said Noodle, you have encapsulated the validity behind the one part of Littlejohn's nonsense that holds any weight. Overt outpourings of grief for celebrities and enforced silences for distant disconnected disasters are somewhat distasteful to say the least. He is right to bring up the Di debacle too as it was the germ of the now fashionable miasma of faux concern.

    As for the rest of it it's the usual Littlejohn column. What he says surprises me in no way whatsoever. What does surprise is how many still fall for it and express such indignant outrage.

    He is baiting you people, don't you get it?

    Oh well he's very successful at it anyway; in this case a good hour or two of research and a carefully crafted blog condemnation being the exact response he is hoping for. Hats off to Littlejohn.

    I hope the delightful irony of such successful journalistic intent being the subject of a blog post on bad journalism isn't lost to everybody, especially the comments moderator...

  27. With regard to Ben's comment about Spurs fans you should be aware they hate San Antonio's basketball team in Florida.(Soulboy, Mailwatch)

  28. Anonymous, 17.19: Baiting he may be, and it is to a large extent a no-win situation - but if no one responded, he wouldn't disappear and the Mail wouldn't pull his column: he'd just have his usual army of sycophants desperate to be told things are the way they think they are even when they're not lapping it up and having every warped opinion reinforced without challenge. Putting up blog posts dismantling his arguments and posts on his comments threads doing the same may be futile in one sense, but in another sense they're a vital thorn in his side and the side of all his supporters. It's a reminder to them that it *is* bullshit, and nasty bullshit at that, and that many people see right through it. They can choose not to believe it, but they can't wholly ignore it - especially when he's shown to be an outright liar.

    In the internet age of blogs and twitter, the Mail is slowly but surely becoming known to be as much of a joke paper as the Express, and that's because of the slow chipping away at their output and the credibility of their columnists. Take the recent implosion of Peter Hitchens on another blog, where he resorted to throwing a strop and running away when his argument was dismantled. It's no wonder Littlejohn hates Twitter so much - it's a tool that can reach far more people than him to expose him for the lying, nasty piece of work he is.

  29. Excellent article, the guy really is a prize prick.

  30. you may like this bit of satire on littlejohn


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