NY Times – US left hung up on UK’s ‘colonial arrogance’

The New  York Times has been evoking squeals of outrage for its provocatively unsympathetic coverage of the Queen’s death, blaming her for the sins of Empire. Within hours after her death the NY Times kicked off its coverage with a Harvard academic saying readers should not ‘romanticise her era’  because the Queen ‘helped obscure a bloody history of de-colonisation whose proportions and legacies have yet to be adequately acknowledged’.

 Another US academic in a tweet said ‘the chief monarch of a thieving, raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.’ And managed to blame the Queen for the post-independence Nigerian civil war.

  It would have to be said that the immediate aftermath of a notable death is always a tricky affair. After Ted Kennedy died and the USA was having a ‘Diana’ moment of profound respect, I pulled the ceiling down on my head by suggesting that the Chappaquiddick affair and the Mary Jo Kopechne death hardly merited the adulation. Equally I remember David Starkey, the historian, valiantly standing at the gates of Buckingham Palace in the hours after Diana’s death making himself unpopular by suggesting she had damaged the monarchy and was hustled off. Even after 9/11 there was disquiet in the US that not everyone in the UK shared their profound grief and insisted on raising questions about the downside of US Middle East policy.

  Getting the balance right of respect-for-the-dead versus the truth-of-their-life always wobbles in the early days. Robert Maxwell was lauded to the heavens for 24 hours until it started to creep out that he had been a corrupt monster.

  What intrigues me is the left-wing critics obsession with the Empire which died sixty/seventy years ago, whose atrocities are well publicised in the UK and is given almost no thought by 95% of the UK population, who now accept the UK’s diminished status in the world.  The NY Times aired another academic when Liz Truss became Prime Minister, suggesting she was ‘still in thrall to the Empire’.

   They are living in the same time warp as the Iranians who still treat the UK as ‘the Great Satan’ who caused them grief decades back.

  This isn’t too astrological but I was delighted to find a piece in a Nigerian journalistic website giving a considered response to the ‘painful death’ tweeter: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/554416-uju-anya-and-the-dangers-of-deliberate-half-education-by-tope-fasua.html

‘The history of the world could as well be written as the history of plunders, from one society to another. Every nation on earth was formed by a group of oppressors, plunderers, enslavers, conquerors, whether from within or without. Before the British – led by the English monarchy – made their foray into the furthest limits of the earth, they too had been raped and plundered by the Romans, the Scandinavians (Huns), the Saxons, the Normans (Normandy, France), and a few more.’

‘The persecuted and oppressed British, who fled the monarchy to the New World or today’s United States of America, what did they do to the owners of the land there? Total decimation, using a combination of diseases and guns. Today, aboriginal Americans are in some places herded into colonies still. They were wiped out with small-pox and bullets for trying to protect their land and sovereignty. It is perhaps the worst ever carnage perpetuated in all of humanity. If [US critics] feels so bad about the English monarchy, their skin should crawl for earning salaries and living in the USA. The USA genocide was carried out mainly by the ‘oppressed’ from Britain.’

  The NY Times also suggested, shock horror, that the funeral would be paid for by the taxpayer – which appears to amount to about five pence a head. And the cost of the Royals annually is less than a quarter of the amount that Americans pay for their President to be transported around the world in Air Force One. And a tenth of the £1.2 billion they pay for ‘operations’ at the White House. It’s not that there are not legitimate questions to be asked about Royal finances, opaqueness over wills, inheritance tax etc but the fixation on the UK’s slide towards bankruptcy while the Royals apparently do a Marie Antoinette is bizarre.

   To drag a miniscule amount of astrology in – the New York Times, 18 September 1851, and the present Editor Joseph Khan,  19 August 1964, both have Mars in Cancer which sits conjunct the UK Midheaven and in opposition to the Capricorn Sun – which is a competitive interface, argumentative and abrasive. In Khan’s case doubly so since his Mars is pumped up to full passion by Venus close by. As a Wall Street Journal reporter in 1997 he wrote a flattering and complimentary pro-Chinese piece about the handover. There is some suspicion he is trying to drum up trade in that part of the world by beating down on the ‘Great Satan’ of the UK which disappeared before he was born.

  The NY Times, labouring as most media with falling circulation, in its case especially after Trump’s exit, is facing substantial problems in the near future. Tr Neptune is undermining the Virgo Sun this year on and off till early 2024, not good for morale or finances. The Solar Arc Saturn is in a discouraging, enthusiasm-squashing conjunction to the Jupiter. Then from March 2023 with Pluto’s entry into Aquarius there follows a monumentally tough four years as tr Pluto squares Pluto, then Saturn and Uranus – pulling painfully away from the past and into a period of intense turmoil and forced change.   

42 thoughts on “NY Times – US left hung up on UK’s ‘colonial arrogance’

  1. I read The New York Times, but I stay away from their “woke” editorial stance. As an American, I can say that these news editorials don’t always represent what most Americans think or feel. Many editorials in New York Times, along with many other news media publications, have implied that most Americans are “indifferent” to Queen Elizabeth II’s death or that many Americans hold resentment towards the British Monarchy. That simply isn’t the case.

    I, along with most of my friends (regardless of their political or ideological stance) were following the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death as well as the news regarding her funeral and accession of King Charles III. We all cared. We all watched her funeral from BBC live-streaming. We were all talking about it. Plus, my friends and I were even discussing planning a “Coronation Party” for King Charles III when that even takes place (likely next year).

    And it’s not just my friends and I who cared; everywhere I go (here in Jacksonville, Florida), people are still talking about Queen Elizabeth II and how disappointed they are that she’s no longer with us.

    Queen Elizabeth II was the first (and only) British Monarch to ever visit my state of Florida – she came here in 1991. Charlie Crist and Val Demings both tweeted out their condolences after Elizabeth’s passing.

    Charlie Crist wrote: “The first British monarch to visit Florida and a singular figure in world history, Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for her lifetime of public service and her devotion to duty. My thoughts are with the Royal family, the United Kingdom, and all who admired the Queen.”

    And Val Demings wrote: “Today we celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II who reigned with style, grace, and strength. We all admired her and when she spoke, we listened. In her own words: “The true measure of our actions is how long the good in them lasts.”

    Even many of the young, Generation Z people here were talking about the Queen – they were just as interested in her and her life as people my age and other.

    And as for that obnoxious Nigerian academic who tweeted out those disparaging remarks about Queen Elizabeth II, she also doesn’t appear to accurately represent her community. We have a large immigrant community here in Florida – I met people from Ghana, Nigeria, Dominica, Saint Lucia, the Bahamas, and Guyana in my city and they held no animosity towards Queen Elizabeth II or King Charles. Many of them even told me they had friends or family who got to see the Queen when she traveled to their nations (and they were jealous because they wanted to see her too).

    Anyway, there are millions of Americans (like myself) who have great admiration for Queen Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor. These editorialists are delusional to assume otherwise.

  2. How would they feel if we ripped apart Kennedy or something? They are so jealous of the moderate loving country the UK is as seen by the well behaved crowds farewelling the Queen.

  3. The outpouring of grief at the time of Princess Diana’s death was astrological. Also the 19th looked like an emotional day, even before we knew of the Queens death.

  4. Give me the NY Times over the Daily Mail anytime. To the British, anyone who exposes painful facts is called a leftist – its their defence mechanism.
    The British have always been extremely proud of their old days and still treat previous colonies with patronising arrogance. A fine example of this is Barbados. When they started doing business with China the British media had the audacity to suggest that they were just trading masters which is an extremely disrespectful thing to say to a sovereign country – but it reveals a lot.
    About the empire being gone long ago, well, that’s not entirely true. It was only in 1993 that the Welsh Language act established that ‘in the course of public business and the administration of justice, so far as is reasonably practicable, the Welsh and English languages are to be treated on the basis of equality.’ Suppressing a nation’s right to speak their language is classic imperial textbook.
    The reality is that unfortunately, the British can’t force everyone to mourn their Queen. The fact is that the UK still can’t get over the fact that the US, basically their “child” became more powerful and relevant in the world and can say as it is, straight away to their faces with no fear and no deference. While the Daily Mail, unapologetically racist, divisive and lacking in academic intellect is the best selling paper in the UK, the NY Times really and truly hold space to proper discussions that would not be possible in this ever so sensitive tiny island. Free Speech at its best.

    • I agree with much of this.
      As a UK resident I subscribe online and find it more useful than its domestics rivals. One of its virtues is that it keeps a strict line between facts and opinion. It also has good factual reporters.
      The Mail is an odd paper which has a lot stuff on food, celebrities, health, sport but then with an intolerant political view which infects everything else. It has backed many of the wrong causes Brexit, Boris, Empire etc and seems to me to be the UK version of Fox News.

    • Excuse me but the Daily Mail is in no way comparable, as the DM is tabloid.
      If you wanted to make an honest comparison you could have chosen the Guardian or The Times.

  5. “What intrigues me is the left-wing critics obsession with the Empire which died sixty/seventy years ago, whose atrocities are well publicised in the UK and is given almost no thought by 95% of the UK population, who now accept the UK’s diminished status in the world.”

    All nation’s peoples whitewash and/or forget their past when the story doesn’t cast them in a better light. The Empire may have died but the destruction and devastation is still present. Apologies without action are useless.

  6. I personally never really liked Diana. I felt that she was a loose cannon that harmed the UK, however I cannot begin to explain the outpourings of grief I felt at her death. The mind boggles!

  7. Please take a look at the New York Times’ coverage of Adolph Hitler’s so-called Final Solution – the plan to exterminate all Jews living in Europe.

    According to Journalism Professor Laura Leff of Northeastern University, “No American newspaper was better positioned to highlight the Holocaust than the Times, and no American newspaper so influenced public discourse by its failure to do so.”

    Enough said….

  8. I’m glad you adressed this, thank you.
    I have had huge reservations for a number of years about their reporting.
    And personally, I was interviewed at a pro EU rally in London by a NYT reporter.
    They then misquoted me in the article and said I burst into tears!? Really pissed me
    off especially given it had my name. I wrote to the editor but got no response.

  9. Thank you for all of your great posts, Marjorie! I unsubscribed from the NYT because I got tired of their unsufferable articles. Once they labled me, a White American woman, a Karen, I’d had enough. Funny, they really resisted me closing my account. I had to close the account so they would stop charging me. Thanks

    • I did the same thing, and had the same problem. Bari Weiss left and started her own thing “Common Sense” which is actually pretty good. She used to run the Editorial page and got fed up. I will no longer subscribe to them – NY Times. It is a closed Ivey League culture. They write for themselves.

  10. A very balanced and interesting post. Thank you Marjorie.
    I absolutely agree with an earlier commentator that we get the most balanced and pertinent news from your posts.

  11. Your article about the New York Times was the most balanced reporting I’ve encountered on that subject – thank you, Ms. Orr!

    Also, I think I’ll get my news from your site, and no longer bother with mainstream media-sources, as I know I’ll always learn something from your reporting!

  12. I just searched the times – Queen Elizabeth Death – there were articles ( not OPINIONS ) ON Princess Anne – Prince William and the transition for King Charles along with a full obituary from the nytimes obituary “Her personal behavior, unlike that of most of her family, was beyond reproach, never tainted by even the remotest hint of scandal. Elizabeth offered her subjects a mirror of the high moral standards that many might aspire to but most generally fail to attain” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/08/world/europe/queen-elizabeth-dead.html

    The Times has opinion writers – recently there had been PRO Life – and also PRO CHOICE to name a few – so people can read different views. The writers mentioned are the opinion ones – not the editorial or stance of the times.
    If one looks at the Dalilymail or sun – well no words for those -very one sided/

    The Queen’s death as brought up – the history of Great Britain – both good and bad – and that is ok –

  13. My colleague is from Nigeria. I asked her about the nasty comments and she said her mum loves/loved the Queen and everything to do with her houses and castles.

  14. Thank you Marjorie, very well said. The NYT’s obsession with the British Empire is bewildering, and as Hugh points out, inaccurate in so many ways. It also ignores human history, and the darker side of human nature.
    America, too, has long enjoyed a form of cultural imperialism – from Hollywood movies to global corporations, there it is, shaping other nations and cultures, and not always respecting the people and environments it encounters either. We won’t mention the murky activities of the CIA in affecting other nations’ fates and futures……

    Interesting to see that both Mr Kahn and the NYT have Cancer/Capricorn Nodes. That seems to express ‘homeland security’, archetypal mother/father issues, and perhaps some kind of tension between the earthly powers and wealth of Capricorn, and the protective, self-protective, security-loving side of Cancer. As Dennis Elwell once pointed out, one of the iconic symbols of the USA is an enormous statue of a woman – the Statue of Liberty – embodying the idea of Cancer as sign of the mother.

    • Brilliant Jane, thanks for sharing that! I also loved this post, Marjorie. The blame for our bloody past lies with our human capacity for greed, ignorance, and hatred that we all share collectively. “We have met the enemy and he is us.” But I do believe our moral awareness is evolving and that is as true of the Royal Family as the rest of society. I think that King Charles III will continue to advocate for the environment and here in Canada we will see him doing his part for truth and reconciliation. The monarchy that people rail against is long gone and the secular events and celebrations that might replace the monarchy-centred ones are going to cost just as much. Maybe it’s just because I’m a Cancer Sun but I do find there is something deeply rewarding about keeping longstanding traditions alive. I am in no hurry for Canada to become a republic although sadly it may be inevitable as polls show the younger generation doesn’t see the value in the monarchy.

  15. Interesting piece but could have been furthered by looking at the group grief dynamic (and underlying astrology). Very interesting piece in The Guardian in recent days (by a psychologist) about why people queue (directly from the queuers themselves) and the real psychology/motivations around group participation in universal/global events. Interesting too the outrage at queue jumpers particularly targeted at the ‘This Morning’ presenters and the piety shown to those who queued like Beckham. Unfortunately it feels like the country has lost its head (maybe it’s a distraction) and is going to wake up on Tuesday morning and remember we still have very difficult problems facing us and no real leadership/hope on the horizon.

    • The funeral rites being conducted now are exactly the same as for King George VI right down to the 10 days official mourning. If you look up the film of that event you will see huge queues of people waiting to file through Westminster Hall in 1952 just as today. Britain was hardly prospering then either as large parts of London were bomb sites and a rationing was still in place. Go back further to 1936 and there were all night queues to see King George V lying in state. If the U.K. as country has lost its head then it has been doing so for a long time.

  16. Thanks Marjorie.
    Some very astute comments. I seem to remember David Frost in a satirical show in the 1960’s reading out the remaking parts of the British empire places like St Helena. Both the extreme right and left wing would like the illusion that the UK is a great power with an Empire. The reality is something different but the UK does have a soft power which we are wasting with Our Brexity illusions.
    Our historians often talk of the decline of the UK in the world but the last 70 years or so have seen the dissolution of the UK empire, and a general advance in health education and standard of living.
    Although a hereditary monarchy may not be the best it does offer stability. Presidents elsewhere offer a mixed picture. At the moment we have a short period of reflection whilst the outer planets are all retrospective. There looks to be a considerable amount of change yet to come for the UK in the next year or so but I hope politics will become boring again soon.

  17. Thank you Marjorie, a most interesting article. The NYT has been on the receiving end of much criticism from its readership I understand for its belligerent stance on a number of issues. It ran an advertisement castigating J. K. Rowling for instance, depicting a person who ‘imagines Harry Potter without its creator’. Its view of Britain is ludicrous parody of Dickens’ poverty-stricken London, with ragged children gathering around braziers to keep warm.

    The Spectator (I read journals across the political spectrum in order to avoid dwelling in my own echo chamber) said in a recent piece, “The New York Times is going down a dangerous road: an excessive identification with the subjective feelings of its readers — indeed their very sense of who they are. That’s dodgy enough when it comes to fiction, but for independent, objective journalism it is potentially ruinous.”

  18. I look back to my younger self and my response to Diana’s death was not something I’m particularly proud of. Nothing terrible just a few misplaced words to a neighbour and acquaintances along the lines of “Why on earth are so many people getting griefstricken over someone they never met?” plus commentary of how she played the victim.

    Now I feel the answer to where the line between highlighting their flaws and being respectful is, is actually quite easy. That’s what the period of mourning is about. Be respectful until the funeral is over, give it a few more days then if you still feel it’s relevant begin to throw up your opposition.

    • An irrelevant story but one which has always amused me. Many many years ago an uncle in the family died and my aunt, a deeply Christian lady, refused to be sad at his funeral. She said he had made her life a misery for so many years she was glad he was gone. I thought – good for her. There is a fine line between hypocrisy and honesty.
      Like you I was astonished by the reaction at Diana’s death which felt quite manic and unstable. But there’s no way of arguing with those caught up in crowd madness so sometimes the less said immediately the better.

      • Diana. Here in the US, it was women who gushed/grieved over the courtship, wedding and death/funeral. Men just went oh well. She had this aura for women that men never seemed to feel.

        Elizabeth was respectful of all during her reign and that has been nearly universally reciprocated. (there’s always a naysayer though). She came to power after the English imperial reign was decimated and disappearing quickly.


  19. The Queen’s death is dredging up a lot of darkness from our subconscious. What’s interesting to note, despite the positive or negative commentary on her reign, is that people are starting to question the necessity for monarchies and totalitarian government structures in society. We still have Kings, Queen’s and Princesses that rule over the rest of society while in physical reality we have advanced passed these times. We have created cell phones, self driving cars, 3D printers, the Internet, WiFi, to name a few. The last piece that will manifest is the creation of new government structures that will put us in a New World. That is the Age of Aquarius.

    Questioning these institutions is a major step for the collective and signals we are about to enter new times where the people will come into power.

    As astrology denotes, Charles will be the last ruling King. William and Kate’s children will not want to be Kings and Queens so the end of these times is certainly ahead.

      • In Aotearoa NZ there is little current talk of becoming a republic instead of continuing with the monarchy. One reason is that our founding document – the Treaty of Waitangi – is a treaty between Maori and the Crown. It is essential to improving power relationships – a long way to go, but improving. Secondly anyone who looks at America’s fragility with a recent president, can have no wish to be a republic. I hope the British monarchy has many more years of stability.

    • Thanks for this, Marjorie. I have long refused to subscribe to the invariably sanctimonious New York Times because of its extremely skewed coverage. Despite its reputation as “left-wing” it’s actually pretty pro-Republican, boosting their policies and politicians including George W. Bush and Trump while excoriating figures like Hillary Clinton. Give me The Washington Post any day (and I do subscribe) or The Atlantic for fair coverage.

      This is no surprise.

      While I felt very sorry about Diana’s death, I’ve also felt extremely sorry for Charles who was pushed into marriage with a wildly unsuitable woman whose nonstop drama probably would have damaged the monarchy further had the marriage endured.

    • Brits have long questioned the need for a monarchy. We chopped off the head of Charles I and set up a republic. We kicked out James II when he tried to overrule Parliament. You should see the political satire directed at the Hanovers, its really merciless, especially George IV. Victoria spawned a republican movement all by herself, and George V had to do some mighty fast shoe shuffling to avoid going the same way as the Russian and German monarchies post WW1. That is why constitutional monarchy has evolved and has lasted with the support of the people. Yes, it may come to an end in time, all things change. But not because we haven’t questioned the need for monarchy in a very conscious, aware, rebellious, argumentative and sometimes violent way. It’s precisely because we have done that many times before that’s its still here today.

  20. A very pertinent piece Marjorie.

    I have long thought that the people most desperate to cling to the memory of the British Empire are in fact its modern critics. The funeral rites for the late Queen may seem like Ruritanian imperial fantasies but in fact most of the ritual sites from Holyrood, St Giles cathedral, Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey and finally St George’s chapel date back to the Middle Ages and have nothing to do with the later Empire. People tend to look through history from the wrong end of the telescope and therefore forget that the Crown has existed for over a 1000 years and that over that period the Kings of England ruled parts of France like Bordeaux far longer than most of Britain’s later imperial colonies.

  21. I think a lot of those who’ve spoken with such hatred of the queen after her death (Carnegie Mellon’s Uju Anya: “the chief monarch of a thieving, raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating”) could actually learn a lesson or two on grace from her. After the 9/11 attacks, in a show of solidarity, the Queen played the Star-Spangled Banner to pay homage to the lives lost. It’s worth remembering that the anthem is actually about the Americans crushing the Brits in Baltimore at the end of that colonial relationship – the same relationship now declared by many American president’s as “very special”. To that regard, even Obama has nothing but nice things to say about the Queen herself even though Kenya, his ancestral homeland, was once also British colony. Relationships can be repaired – just look at Germany, Japan, and Canada.

    Finally, most academics and economists now agree that Capitalism is the new colonialism so I suspect in another 100 years, demands for apologies from America and its wealthy benefactors (including Uju Anya) for resource-hoarding will be the next righteous cause-du-jour

    • Great point, Ava, about capitalism! It’s important to know the truth about the past so that we don’t make the same mistakes and of course it can be part of the healing process for groups that have traditionally been oppressed like our Indigenous peoples. But our main focus should be on the mistakes we are making now because they are the only ones we can really do something about. And we’d better hurry up or we’ll destroy ourselves and take the rest of the planet with us.

    • @ Ava,

      I agree with every word you said. Our world seems to be headed into a perpetual state of “victimhood” where now everyone feels the need to have some grievance over something.

      It’s been my contention that not everyone who takes refuge in victimhood or who jumps onto the “ally / savior” bandwagon is doing so for altruistic reasons.

      For many, there can be a sense of power in victimhood – because when they’re viewed as “the victim,” others feel inhibited from excoriating them or disagreeing with them. As a result, those who express outrage over “injustice” (even if it’s an exaggeration), those who may disagree tend to hold their tongue.

      People who attribute the British Empire’s faults with Queen Elizabeth II are basically cherry-picking with history.

  22. Thankyou Marjorie for pointing out that GB has been invaded and its people enslaved in the past.
    Our country is not perfect but whose is?
    It has looked after me and my family given us health care, education and prospects.
    I love my country and all its diversity. I admired my queen and respect my king.

    • @ Barbara Findlay,

      You made some excellent points. As an American, I certainly don’t sugarcoat the atrocities my nation has been responsible for. However, I also try not to generalize at the same time – I remind myself of the good things the U.S. has done as well.

      You are right, what nation doesn’t have its faults? I can’t think of a single one.

      I too admire the Queen Elizabeth II and now King Charles III. I think Elizabeth deeply cared about her people and the people of the Commonwealth. I think Charles does too. I do believe Charles will do his best as King.

  23. Thank you Marjorie. Your observations are always well considered and often thought provoking but this in particular is an outstanding incisive commentary on the USA, the U.K. and beyond, past and present.In a few well-chosen words, you have encapsulated so much and articulated it so beautifully.

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