An invitation across the nation

Today whilst tweeting some tips from one of our fabulous instructors I noticed that Richard Littlejohn's name was trending.

Being one of many people who cannot stand this poor excuse for a bag of flesh I clicked the link to see what he'd said this time. Because of course I do not read The Daily Mail or The Sun because I have a brain and a conscience and I'm allergic to the idiots they employ to write for them (like Richard Littlejohn) - I read The Guardian instead.
After reading his latest article I felt it necessary to do a little retweeting from other readers

and chuck in my own twopennorth.

And then after my darling American friend Amanda (whose blog you should read, she is amazeballs) asked me who the ratfuck was, we had the following exchange:

From me
To Amanda
Subject: Richard Littlejohn

Ohhhhh even just saying his name makes me want to punch something.

Over here on our little island we have some newspapers written by journalists with integrity and talent and... you know... brains like The Guardian.
Then there are the piece of shit tabloids like The Daily Mail and The Sun which employ evil right-wing BNP columnists like Richard Littlejohn who is an absolutely disgusting excuse for a human being.
People like Charlie Brooker (who wrote Screenburn and now presents Screenwipe – he’s right up your street!) and Jeremy Clarkson (who writes for The Times and is the longest standing presenter of Top Gear) are both also grumpy, opinionated and often total vicious arseholes but by god do I love them.

Richard Littlejohn wants to be either Charlie Brooker or Jeremy Clarkson but he doesn’t understand that whereas they are also controversial when expressing both their humour and opinions, he is just a sick, racist, offensive, insensitive bastard.

His latest abomination: he wrote a column today about the disaster in Japan basically summing up that we shouldn’t be sympathetic towards them, or pray for them, or offer them support during this time of tragedy because they’re “far away”, “wealthier than us” and “were once at war with us”. He cited the example of his grandfather in law once being in a PoW camp!

I found this on Twitter which sums him up perfectly.

From Amanda
To Me
Subject Richard Littlejohn

While I'm not entirely familiar with this Richard Littlejohn character apart from what you've told me, I'm certain we have many similar characters here in the U.S.  I'm thinking of reactionaries like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter.  They're all right-wing conservative types, but for the purpose of this conversation they fit, since Littlejohn seems to be of their ilk.  The BNP seems similar to the Tea Party, very nationalist, subtly-to-overtly racist depending on who you talk to, and more concerned with "taking the country back" than moving anything forward.

The reaction Littlejohn had to the disaster in Japan is unfortunately shared by some here in the U.S., who are still bringing up the attack on Pear Harbor as a justifiable reason to ignore the many Japanese who find themselves in crisis.  Barring the fact that this was seventy damn years ago, you'd think people who are keeping score would put one tally on the side of the Japanese simply because the U.S. government shipped so many Japanese-Americans off to internment camps after the attack on Hawaii.  Of course those of us who aren't keeping score think this whole conversation is distasteful and unnecessary, and we're glad that our government seems to have based its response on compassion rather than paranoid grudges.

From Me
To Amanda
Subject Richard Littlejohn

Rush Limbaugh has definitely made it over here – as has Ann Coulter. I think you summed it up perfectly with “distasteful” and “unnecessary”

I think that we should learn from history but it’s in the past, it’s happened, we can’t change it, so let’s move on! Let’s forgive past mistakes and look to the future. Pay it forward and for god’s sake don’t judge the kids for the sins of the parents.

If everyone in a position to show compassion or to offer support to someone in need was all “no, I won’t help you because once upon a time someone in your country did something to someone in my country that was completely unrelated to either of us or this situation but... fuck you anyway”  then conflict would never be resolved.

I can understand having an issue with one specific person for a specific offense but tarring their peers with the same brush? NO! And holding grudges for ever? NO!

I wish that people were less ignorant, more tolerant and far more open minded as a species.
It shouldn’t be relevant what race, gender, age or sexual orientation someone is and it shouldn’t matter what their history is or politics are. If there is a tragedy, there is a tragedy and they deserve our compassion and support. I am not one to seek wisdom from religion and I know that you’re not either but one phrase is  echoing around my mind right now.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone

There’s a great scene in A Few Good Men where Keiffer Sutherland’s character says “I believe in God and his son Jesus Christ and because I do, I can say this: Private Santiago is dead, and that is a tragedy. But he is dead because he had no code. He is dead because he had no honour, and God was listening”. It makes me want to punch him in the face – that sentence should have ended with “Private Santiago is dead, and that is a tragedy.”

Why should people like Richard Littlejohn feel the need to trample on a man’s grave?

From Amanda
To Me
Subject Richard Littlejohn

It's hardly a new thing to separate Us from Them. It seems to be a thing humans are very good at doing, picking out what makes others different from us. But I also think we have the capacity to recognize that even if somebody believes in a different god (or no gods), comes from a different place, has a different set of reproductive organs, has a different skin color, or loves somebody of the same gender as themselves, we all want the same things: health, safety, happiness, and the chance to prosper. We want these things for ourselves, for our families, and for our friends.

The problem arises when we're convinced that our differences are more important than our common interests. To say that Republicans and Democrats can't get along, that men and women can't communicate, that black people are fundamentally different from white people, that Christians and atheists might as well be from different planets, that gay people and straight people have nothing in common... All of these notions are insulting, harmful, dishonest, and EVERYWHERE. It's how guys like Littlejohn can make such atrocious statements, and despite public outcry, convince some people that he has a point. Because to some people the victims of the earthquakes, tsunami, and possible radiation sickness are Japanese first and human beings second. And that is offensive to me on more levels than any words a reactionary media whore could come up with in an attempt to shock me.

From Me
To Amanda
Subject Richard Littlejohn

You’re so wise Baxter, like a miniature Buddha all covered with fur
I do so love you, Mandamoo for PRESIDENT!

From Amanda
To Me
Subject Richard Littlejohn

You know quoting Anchorman at me makes me want to hump your leg! You're so unfair, Leem!

So thank you for guestblogging today my darling. If only you and I both represented more people in our respective countries.

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: Dancing In The Street by David Bowie


temmahkrik said...

Thanks for letting me be serious! I thought for sure my first guest-blogging experience would involve a lot more leg-humping and a lot less reasonable conversation.

Etoile Filante said...

It was my pleasure :-)

Lucy B said...

This isn't so much a blog/guest blog as a conversation transcript, albeit an interesting one. I too am against right wing BNP-type bastards and those who belittle or dismiss the tragedy currently befalling Japan.
Something I always consider when speaking of Pearl Harbour is the theory/accusation that American government officials knew of the attack in advance, but purposefully did nothing because they knew it would garner support for entering the war (America does love a war).
The subsequent destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and how completely out of proportion and horrific that response was) is something that, according to news reports, Japanese children in Fukushima have been terrified to consider, given the state that the nuclear plant was in after the tsunami. They're taught about it in school in detail and were, reportedly, terrified of going outside lest they be radiated. These are children of 8 or 9 years old.
The pearl harbour death count was 2,350.
The Hiroshima/Nagasaki immediate death toll was 246,000.
That doesn't account for all those who died slowly over the following days, weeks and months from radiation, starvation, and the general collapse of those cities.
This has to be the best evidence of two wrongs not making a right, and also a compelling reason to sympathise with, support, pray for and do everything we can to help the Japanese following the recent disaster.
That's not even mentioning the relief teams they sent to New Zealand after their earthquake (which were subsequently recalled to try and help in their own country's hour of need).
It also goes without saying that people who generally refuse to give charity under any circumstances tend to be arseholes.