There's something wearying about writing a 'Littlejohn is a dick' blogpost. There's something about it that's like getting your bicycle wheel caught in a tramline. You know exactly where you're going to end up, and yet you try not to. You have to remind yourself that your hate has made him powerful; if people just ignored him and left him alone, he wouldn't be as popular as he undoubtedly is - if people like you didn't get so irritated by his wilfully ignorant, baseless repetitive drivel, he'd be simply thought of as a bad writer who makes bad jokes, occasionally popping up on Question Time to be an idiot then turning up on a Channel 4 documentary about how it's all the Left's fault for everything somehow, never really explained, but it is, and they hate the Jews as well, just look at them.
I tried to ignore his nonsense the other day, but I couldn't help it. At the time I said I thought it was just a bad joke rather than something despicable, and I do stick by that. However, what he's written today defending his column of earlier in the week is despicable, beyond any benefit of the doubt I might have given him before.
As ever, I won't link to him, as the thought of giving him just one page impression makes me queasy and have to stare at the carpet for a few minutes to make the sick feeling go away. But you should know this: it's a follow-up to his hilarious article, hilariously illustrated by the hilarious Gary, about how Jody McIntyre is like Andy off Little Britain. You know, because they're both in wheelchairs, then they're exactly the same person.
Today's effort attempts to explain his simplistic "one bloke in a wheelchair is exactly the same as another bloke in a wheelchair" riff by saying that it was considerably more nuanced than we might have given him credit for. The bloke in the wheelchair got out of his wheelchair and walked up some stairs! Aha! That means he's even more exactly the same as the 'faking it' character Andy than even Big Brain Littlejohn could have imagined when first he looked to the heavens for inspiration and started typing his chucklesome prose.
But I find that even more offensive than his original column. It shows a miserable understanding of people with disabilities in general, if that's what he's really saying - "look, this guy got out of his wheelchair and moved around under his own steam, therefore, he's just like Andy in Little Britain". The fuck? No-one was ever pretending or claiming that Jody McIntyre was paralysed or incapable of movement. I don't remember anyone saying that or writing it. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think people were arguing that Jody McIntyre shouldn't have been dragged out of his wheelchair and bundled away by police because he was physically incapable of walking. I don't think that was it at all; I really don't think that's the issue that people had with his treatment. People in wheelchairs aren't necessarily unable to walk or move around; it's just that doing so can present problems and issues that are fairly obvious for people who have cerebral palsy, which itself can mean people with a whole range of symptoms, and other conditions. I mean, is it too hard to understand? Let me know when it's too hard to understand, Richard, just put your hand up the moment that the complexity and nuance of real life gets a little bit too taxing for your chirpy black-and-white comedy persona, and we'll run you through it slowly, with a fucking blackboard and some directions and maybe some fucking pictures so you can actually get what the fuck is going on with things. I wouldn't want you to miss out on some vital understanding that the world is a rich, diverse and complicated place in which some people in wheelchairs can walk sometimes, or climb stairs, or something, but that doesn't mean they're not disabled, or that people who are disabled can only be thought of as having disabilities if they're a sack of blood and bones that can't do anything. I wouldn't want you to think that, because that would make you the kind of wilfully ignorant foreskin who wouldn't be able to grasp the most simple of concepts; I wouldn't want to think of you that way, Richard, I really wouldn't.
But it's symptomatic of a wider idea that people have when they think of disability in general. Laurie Penny has written articulately about it this week. The idea that disability is a fairly binary concept, that you're either incapable of doing anything at all, or you're faking it, that there's nothing in between, there's just the able and the disabled and a huge gulf in between, and that's that. That's the kind of hateful ineptitude, the kind of inability to think of things in terms of anything other than 0 or 1, that is driving the Government's desire to drag loads of people off incapacity benefits, because some of them must be faking it, we've got no evidence for that, but we just think they must be, because they must. It's that kind of attitude, the inability or unwillingness to think about how other people, people with disabilities or long-term conditions, must go about their daily lives, or how they get on.
Look. No-one wants to be thought of as 'disabled'. A lot of people with disabilities don't want to be thought of as being disabled, and that's entirely understandable. As someone with relatively minor mental health problems, I don't want to be thought of as anything except normal; I aspire to normality. But the truth is, some people do need assistance. And it's the mark of a decent society that we look out the most for the people who need to be looked out for, that's all, and do our best so that everyone can have a rich and full life unencumbered by whatever hand life might have dealt them. And if that means paying some taxes to do it, then good. People who need assistance need assistance. It's not asking a great deal and it doesn't make a huge difference to everyone else's life. In fact it makes all of our lives better as a result.
But no. Jody McIntyre is just like Andy out of Little Britain. He's in a wheelchair! Oh, some people were annoyed by that. Well, he got out of his wheelchair! Eh! Do you see?
Yes, I do see. I see that Littlejohn is a nasty polarising piece of shit who doesn't like slightly complicated things because they ruin his comfortable, cosy narrative. You could say that his kind of ignorance is a disability in itself, but I think on this one particular occasion the person in question is definitely faking it. He knows what he's doing, and it's a not a pleasant thing at all.
And there you are, the 'Littlejohn is a dick' blogpost. Just the kind of cliched rubbish you'd expect from me. Just the kind of thing I find myself doing time and time and time again. And does it change anything? No. Does it make anything better? No. Does it make him stop what he's doing? No. Does he even notice? Does he care? Does any of this criticism matter to him, in any sense other than to make him thing he's done his job and wound some people up? It's a mosquito bite on a brontosaurus's arsehole. But still. It's what I do.