But It Stopped Short, Never To Go Again, When The Old Man Died?

Chris Lightfoot did many valuable things in his life, but one that was particularly treasured here at the Virtual Stoa was the Melanie Phillips Naziometer. It was a bit of code that reported on the number of times the word “Nazi”, “Nazis” or “Nazism” appeared on the front page of Melanie Phillips’ blog, so we wouldn’t have to do a manual count ourselves every day. (It rarely recorded a score of zero, though it did from time to time.)

When Chris died, the Naziometer stopped working, as it was on the server that he had running at home. Unlike my grandfather’s clock, however, I’m glad to report that the Naziometer has started going again, having been revived by Chris’s friends over at Mythic Beasts. It lives over here, and it’s also now been reinstalled on this page on the blog’s sidebar as a permanent tribute, now redesignated the Chris Lightfoot Memorial Naziometer (a label which will help to distinguish it from all the other Naziometers that there might be out there).

It’s currently reporting a somewhat low score of Three, though we might note that a manual check reveals three uses of “genocide” — one of which is particularly tasteful — and two of the verb “islamise” — but only one reference to Britain “ever more eagerly stretching out its neck for the cultural knife”, which I particularly like.

10 Comments


  1. Love it. Absolutely love it!
    A fitting tribute indeed.

    Quote | Posted 8 March, 2007, 8:38 pm

  2. Bonus content in the comments: it really is quite something to read that the signatories of the Independent Jewish Voices initiative — who include a number of my colleagues and people I admire, such as Donald Sassoon, Jane Caplan, Jerry Cohen, Larry Dreyfus, Stephen Fry, Steven Lukes and Avi Shlaim — are “Jews for Genocide” who are “never out of the media with their revolting rants against Israel”, who intend “to silence others” and who, blissfully, are a “Jewish fifth column for Arab and Muslim terror” that “is now doing serious damage to the struggle for survival not just by Israel but by the west in general.” I had no idea.

    Quote | Posted 8 March, 2007, 10:23 pm

  3. Thank you – repairing the naziometer is probably the most useful thing I’ll do this month. I can let you know that the naziometer also keeps a secret count of nazi names: it searchers for any of
    “Hitler Goebbels Himmler Goering Bormann Hess Speer” and tallies those up, and then mostly keeps the result to itself. Maybe Chris has a super secret V2.0 naziometer in the works. We’ll never know.

    Quote | Posted 9 March, 2007, 12:28 am

  4. Very nice.
    Reading MP’s comments, as quoted here, made me want to rush out (figuratively speaking) and sign on to IJV – though, given that the IJV seems to be a specifically British body (they declare themselves ‘Jews in Britain’), and that the in Britain part no longer applies here, I don’t think I will, after all.

    Quote | Posted 9 March, 2007, 6:14 am

  5. James — So many thanks, again. When the Naziometer fell to a then all-time-low of Five in June 2006, I wrote to Chris to point out that there had been ten posts in a row that hadn’t used the word, and he wrote back to point out that two of those ten were entitled “Goebbels corner”, which he thought should count for something. So that may be where the interest in counting the names of Nazis comes from.

    Quote | Posted 9 March, 2007, 8:18 am

  6. Incredible post.

    A few days ago I had no idea who Chris Lightfoot was, now I feel indebted to the man’s genius and sense of humour and even sad that he’s gone. It’s posts like this that make me so glad I started reading this blog.

    That Grandfather Clock wikipedia link is fascinating. Particularly the suggestion that the name comes from the song. That’s next week’s “small talk” sorted out then.

    Quote | Posted 9 March, 2007, 9:00 am

  7. Any chance of taking the raw data from the Naziometer and turning it into a graph showing the mentions of Nazi over time?

    Quote | Posted 10 March, 2007, 9:02 pm

  8. Just checked it and there is a Nazi count of just one. Curiously my own blog has a swastika count of two at the moment, so I am clearly way to the right of Phillips.

    Quote | Posted 23 March, 2007, 12:51 am

  9. Is the code available anywhere? Perhaps the Naziometer could be expanded to include counts of other Naziobilia (like Goebbels, swastika etc) to ensure that any euphemisms and sneak attempts by Phillips to Nazify posts under the radar.

    Quote | Posted 23 March, 2007, 8:11 am

  10. Oops – should have read James’ comment before posting :)

    Quote | Posted 23 March, 2007, 8:15 am

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