Littlejohn’s Need to Dehumanise

In December 2006 Richard Littlejohn wrote his now infamous piece on the murder of five Ipswich women who happened to work as prostitutes. He argued that in their field of work ‘death by strangulation is an occupational hazard’ and that:

in the scheme of things the deaths of these five women is no great loss.

They weren’t going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur. The only kind of missionary position they undertook was in the back seat of a car.

Littlejohn’s angry misogyny required him to pin all the blame on the female victims:

Frankly, I’m tired of the lame excuses about how they all fell victim to ruthless pimps who plied them with drugs. These women were on the streets because they wanted to be…

hese five women were on the streets because even the filthiest, most disreputable back-alley “sauna” above a kebab shop wouldn’t give them house room.

The men who used them were either too mean to fork out whatever a massage parlour charges, or simply weren’t fussy. Some men are actually turned on by disgusting, drug-addled street whores.

Littlejohn is always keen to tear away any sense that the people he writes about in such terms are human beings, which is why he so painfully and repetitively points out that these victims were not women or even human beings, but instead ‘disgusting, drug-addled street whores’. Littlejohn spends so much time and energy dehumanising his victims because it makes it easier for him to attack them, it is the direct result of his cowardly personality.

When the recent Bradford murders took place most people who are familiar with Littlejohn’s body of ‘writing’ fully expected a repeat, for repetition is as much a feature of Littlejohn’s columns as his wanton misogyny, homophobia and racism. We were not surprised, therefore, when he reprised the same theme in a short piece about the Bradford victims:

All these women lived wretched lives, selling sex on the streets to feed their drug and alcohol addictions…

They are described not as prostitutes, but as ‘women who worked as prostitutes’.

Again, what angers Littlejohn is that people he thinks to be outside humanity are treated with humanity, sympathy and dignity. Littlejohn does not care about the murders or the muderer (all of his invective is aimed at the victims, rather than the perpetrator), he is merely concerned that the ‘prostitutes’ should be labelled correctly as non-human scum and we should all stop what he labels the ‘hysteria’ of dealing with such murders in ‘reverential tones’. Littlejohn does not just dehumanise women, he also dehumanises men when it suits him. Today’s column on the Cumbria shootings is bizarre at best; he seems to be vaguely flailing to make some kind of political point in a situation that deserves no such opportunistic twisting from a tabloid hack.

He returns, once again, to the theme of what do we call people whom Littlejohn no longer considers human. This time it is the Police who have upset him, because they referred to Derrick Bird as ‘Mister':

I was surprised by the tone of the press conference given by Cumbria’s Deputy Chief Constable, Stuart Hyde, at tea-time on Wednesday, in which he kept referring to the man who had just killed 12 people and wounded another 25 as ‘Mister’ Bird.

He is upset that the Police still used the human ‘Mister’ to refer to Derrick Bird. 12 people are dead, 25 wounded and Littlejohn obsesses over the labelling of another dead person. I wonder quite what labels Littlejohn would have preferred the Police to have used, given that they are supposed to remain impartial and merely seek to establish what happened and who was to blame? Should they have referred to him as an ‘aminal’ or ‘psychopath’, terms which hardly seem suitable for a man who we know so little about and who had lived 99% of his life in quiet obscurity?

I can only imagine that the families of the five victims of this horrific event are grateful that none of the dead worked as prostitutes, otherwise they might be waking up to a Littlejohn column in which their loved-ones were referred to as ‘disgusting, drug-addled street whores’ and that they were – ‘in the scheme of things’ –  ‘no great loss’. I wonder why Littlejohn does not repeat some of his old arguments here, because I wonder just how many of the victims here were ‘going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur’?

Littlejohn would never dare repeat such arguments if the victims were in his eyes ‘innocent’, the prostitutes were dehumanised and abused because to Littlejohn their line of work removed any barriers to what he could and could not write – he reduced them to animals and wrote about them as such. Littlejohn splits people into those deserving sympathy and those that do not. It is something that Will Self commented on during their infamous Five Live radio spot together in which Nicky Campbell reads out Littlejohn’s description of John Prescott:

CAMPBELL: Is what you wrote about the man who called Two Jags, that’s a name you coined: “He’s a chimp, a pustulating boil of resentment and class hatred, a chippy, thin-skinned puffed up laughing stock, an ocean-going tub of lard, groaning with arrogance, ego, hypocrisy, and inferiority, he’s an inadequate, inarticulate embarrassment, a disgrace to Britain at home and abroad.” …Do you sometimes think that this is a human being you’re talking about?

LITTLEJOHN: Nah.

[laughter]

SELF: Well he doesn’t say he’s a human being, does he? He uses the classic form of demonisation which is to say he’s a chimp, in other words he’s bestial. So he’s actually dehumanised the subject of his abuse before he even moves on to piling on the pejoratives, and I think that’s very psychologically interesting, of course we’re all familiar with the kind of people who demonise other human beings by turning them into bestiary…we all know who does that.

Like any petty tyrant Littlejohn always targets the disenfranchised; ignoring the big issues and instead focuses on cowardly personal attacks. Littlejohn rarely engages in any form of debate – which is wise, considering how both Self and Hari so easily revealed to be an intellectually vacant coward during their encounters – and prefers to smear the dead. When you read any Littlejohn column spend a minute looking at how he dehumanises his targets, stripping any sense that it is a real person that he is writing about. Watch how Binyam Mohammed becomes the ‘Binman’, Peter Mandelson becomes ‘Mandy’ or ‘screaming Lord Mandy’ and so forth. There is a method behind Littlejohn’s incessant need for phonetically spelling names or concepts (‘yuman rites’, ‘elf ‘n’ safety’ etc), it is to make them sound less real, more ridiculous and above all, more deserving of his wrath.
At no point is his dehumanisation clearer and more offensive than when he vilifies the dead, rather like another group of people we all know about and should really have learnt a huge lesson from.

50 thoughts on “Littlejohn’s Need to Dehumanise

  1. I have commented on Littlesense’s piece today. In order to do so I had to register. I chose “mailiscrap” as my password. Just call me Guevara.

  2. This makes me so sad and angry, I can’t even express it. The deaths of five women – sorry, “drug-addled whores” – are no great loss? I would like to say that Littlejohn himself would be no great loss, except that would reduce me to his level. I’m glad there are people like you to read and tear apart this horrible stuff, so I don’t have to.

  3. Self really does tear Littlejohn apart, you can really see why Littlejohn prefers to attack the dead from the safety of his gated mansion.

    That he is paid over £800,000 a year says an awful lot about why journalism is so terrible.

  4. brilliant, brilliant piece. the fact that news outlets still refer to the women as ‘prostitutes’ rather than women makes me furious, but littlejohn takes it to the extreme.
    as you say, it becomes all about who he views as innocent and those he sees as guilty (people who don’t look exactly like him shall we say) are undeserving, unhuman. the self-littlejohn row was fantastic.

    how can he write those things about women who have been murdered? how can he? doesn’t he understand that by treating these women as sub-human, he is no better than the killer? that mentally he is conceiving these women in the same way? one of the massive massive problems in our society is violence against women. when we perceive of women/humans as objects it becomes very easy to harm them, to kill them. and that is what he is doing.

  5. Thank you so much for reminding us once again of the Self/Littlejohn scrap. When Titchydick dies, preferably in great agony, I will take great delight in spraypainting “Does it turn into Tolstoy at page 205?” on his gravestone.

  6. Excellent post – although I do think you should proof read it. Surely ‘considering how both Self and Hari so easily revealed to be an intellectually vacant coward’ should have a ‘him’ in there somewhere?

  7. A good read on a vile man.
    I think you might be giving RL a little too much credit though.
    “There is a method behind Littlejohn’s incessant need for phonetically spelling names or concepts (‘yuman rites’, ‘elf ‘n’ safety’ etc), it is to make them sound less real, more ridiculous and above all, more deserving of his wrath.” Nah, he’s just a bitter, twisted, misogynistic, racist, narrow minded, bigoted numskull.

  8. Agreed. I doubt he puts that much thought into his articles.

    Could I also add my horror and disgust at this ‘infamous’piece on the Ipswitch murders having been to young to read it the first time round. How awful that I must now grow up and learn that there are people who still hold such poisoness views…

  9. Littlejohn’s article about the Ipswich killing is beyond contempt. It’s ironic really – the fact that an article like this was published in a widely read, daily newspaper shows that far from political correctness ‘going mad’ it hasn’t gone far enough…
    I should probably declare my own personal interest in this story here. I am a recovered heroin addict and for six months, I worked on the streets as a prostitute. I was also in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a much older man, who forced me into working on the streets.
    I’ve been clean for over four years now, I volunteer with a local drug charity, I’m in a settled relationship and have two sons who are both happy and healthy.
    Littlejohn’s article makes me supremely angry on so many levels I’m not really sure where to begin. There were a lot of things going on in my life that paved the way into addiction, domestic abuse and prostitution – by normal standards my life has been anything but cushy. But compared to a lot of the other girls I met out on the streets, I’ve had it easy. Nearly every other girl I knew had been bought up in care, and had experienced sexual and physical abuse from childhood. Most of them were in violent relationships.
    I know a lot of women experience horrendous abuse and don’t succumb to addiction. But is it really right to judge those who do?
    I’ve always thought it funny that child abusers and peadophiles are among Littlejohn’s favourite targets when he has so little sympathy towards the victims of child abuse.

    I’m going to stop here – I’m finding it very difficult to say what I want to say with any eloquence because of my personal feelings/experience. I guess I just want to echo another commenter’s sentiments – you wouldn’t be such a great loss to the world yourself Mr Littlejohn.

  10. I saw a brilliant stand-up comedy bit on Littlejohn, describing him as “A cunt. NOT somebody who works as a cunt.”

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