Since the sad death of the Queen last week, says Lionel Shriver in The Spectator, “The New York Times simply hasn’t been able to control itself”. The “white Queen”, wrote one guest columnist, was a “living ghost of a system of rapacious and bloodthirsty extraction”. Not only that, wrote a Harvard historian, she “helped obscure a bloody history of decolonisation”. It seems you can’t win: “colonisation is evil; decolonisation is evil”. Then a Washington Post reporter got in on the act, demanding to know that if not now, then “when is the appropriate time to talk about the negative impact of colonialism?” That’s easy: “any time but now, you moron”.
It reminds me of the time, 21 years ago, when “naysaying outliers” in Britain didn’t wait for the “literal dust to settle” in downtown Manhattan before “proclaiming the US had asked for 9/11 and deserved every casualty”. Fortunately, as an American, I can assure you that dancing on Elizabeth II’s grave has not been a commonplace pastime in my country. Billboard tributes have gone up across the nation. “Most Americans are sad and nice.” As a loving foreigner I can’t entirely share “a Briton’s sense of unity in loss”. This is your country, “about which I feel strongly, and warmly”. It’s your traditional pomp and “soothing ceremonies”; your sadness, not mine. I lay no claim to it. If only The New York Times was able to muster the “restraint borne of common decency” and do the same.
👑🤔 The New York Times reported this week, with apparent surprise, that the Queen’s funeral would be paid for through taxation. The paper estimated that the state funeral would cost around £6m, claiming the “hefty price tag” would add to the financial woes currently faced by British families. “Let me fix the headline for you @nytimes,” wrote author Ben Judah on Twitter, “Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, which will involve elaborate processions, vigils and rituals, will cost 5p per household.”