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Samizdata quote of the day

How do you feel about the palace hearing you speak your truth today?

“Your truth”. That phrase slipped off Oprah’s tongue with such ease during her interview with Meghan and Harry. But on this apparently simple construction hangs a question that has divided us with an explosion of animosity: how many truths can there be?

With the new world once again pitted against the old, I find myself reminded of the words of another Royal confidante, those of Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “To thine own self be true,” he advised his son. This sentiment seems to encapsulate so much of what is philosophically at stake in this interview, with the Prince and the Princess expressing “their truth”, a truth that was as much a function of the need to be true to who they are, as it was a reference to objective reality.

Put aside for one moment the on-going debate about their claims concerning Royal racism, for it seems to me that there is a troubling tension between two meanings of truth going on here: being true to yourself, something we have come to call authenticity, and truth as an empirical statement of fact.

Giles Fraser

28 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • APL

    Anything Megan Windsor nee Markle or come to that, ‘Oprah’, says -> /dev/null

  • Mr Ed

    That an old Leftie like Giles Fraser still accepts, on my reading, that there is objective truth shows that there is some hope and also how far things have fallen in the media babble that he feels the need to say it.

    It also suggests to me that the Left in the USA are far more removed from reality than the Left in the UK.

  • It also suggests to me that the Left in the USA are far more removed from reality than the Left in the UK.

    Sure, but the left in the UK haven’t been in power since Gordon Brown was winkled out of 10 Downing Street in May of 2010. Not saying that the Tories aren’t awful, just in different ways than Labour and the rest of the left (SNP included).

    The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn was at least as frightening and toxic as the Democrats in the US, they just never got into power, so they were confined to their own separate pool of toxicity instead of being able to spread that among the populace at large via the legislative process.

    The SNP in Scotland are at least as toxic as the American left, but again, it’s a small pool that is kept separated from the majority of the UK.

    As for “subjective truth”, that’s just a bullshit line pushed by liars when they get caught out.

  • Stonyground

    I don’t know, this one seems to be pretty much away with the fairies.

    “Men should be banned from being outdoors after 6pm to ‘make women a lot safer’ after the abduction and suspected murder of Sarah Everard in London, a Green Party peer has suggested.

    Baroness Jones made the comment in a discussion in the House of Lords during a debate on domestic violence.”

  • Rob

    Sure, but the left in the UK haven’t been in power

    Well, they haven’t been in Downing Street, anyway.

  • Arkus

    Sure, but the left in the UK haven’t been in power
    Well, they haven’t been in Downing Street, anyway.

    Ahem….. I beg to differ. The left have remained in power in Britain since 1997

  • Flubber

    Absolutely. It was the tories who introduced all the trannie bollocks with no debate or consultation.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Well, it seems clear to me that Prince Harry hates his father very deeply. Watch again that moment when he says Charles stopped taking his calls. Harry’s eyes are so narrow they could be covered with a single penny. If this were the 14th century, he would be in France right now, plotting his revenge, doggedly raising an army, ready to sail back to England to seize the throne, violently torture Piers Morgan, and place the entire editorial staff of the Daily Mail in a gibbet. Alas, the 14th century is over, so Harry’s revenge is an over-bathroomed mansion in Beverly Hills and a maximum-damage television spectacular.

    An absolute corker from Will Lloyd.

    Harry is likely to be ghosted by Meghan in a few years, as when he gets the family trust. The kids will be in kindergarten, Meghan has got her Hollywood slots and Harry is getting balder, probably developing a drinking problem and packing on the pounds.

    All very sad.

  • Since punctuality has been called “the politeness of princes”, and both punctuality and politeness have been declared racist within the last year, wokeness was bound to assert that royalty is racist. Just imagine how much politeness Megan must have been subjected to since her marriage! There was probably some expectation of punctuality, too!! 🙂

    Wokeness can believe (indeed, demands we all believe) that a mixed-race woman can be a wealthy and famous actress, then marry a white man and be welcomed into the highest family in the land, and yet all this but demonstrates the racist oppression she still groans under. Her truth indeed!!! – though I suppose we could hardly deny that the loudness of her ‘groaning’ is an all-too-objective fact.

    On the bright side, compared to the problem posed by Wallis Simpson, and the good luck involved in our having George VI, not Edward VIII, on the throne by the time WWII came along, this is peanuts. The Queen, who was ten years old when the abdication crisis erupted, can reflect that, as regards the ability of marrying-the-wrong-woman to impact the crown, she has seen far worse.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Mr Ed:

    It also suggests to me that the Left in the USA are far more removed from reality than the Left in the UK.

    This looks like too sweeping a statement.
    After all, it is only one British ‘old leftie’ who claimed that there is such a thing as objective truth — and he is an old leftie.
    There is also the fact that ‘lefties’ do tend to be more dogmatic than ‘us’ when convenient, e.g. on the reality of climate change.
    Try telling them that your truth is that the climate is not changing!

    Allow me to make a more modest claim:
    If an Englishperson* complained about a specific racist incident, i’d be inclined to take her/him seriously.
    If an American, such as Meghan, complained about a racist incident, i’d assume bullshitting unless given evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

    * don’t know enough about Scotland, Wales, or Ireland.

  • llamas

    I have new handy-dandy additions to my decoder ring.

    ‘Your truth’ = ‘complete and utter bullshit from start to finish, every word, including “and” and “the” . . . .’

    ‘Your truth’ (when spoken to Oprah Winfrey) = the above definition, squared.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Snorri Godhi

    Another discussion point:
    This shows how much race (together with gender and LGBT+ status) has replaced class as the primary concern of the American “”left””.
    (The British “left” might not be far behind.)

    That Meghan, when a member of the Royal family, has been accused of bullying staff, is of little or no concern to them.
    To them, she is not so much of a Duchess and a celebrity: she is primarily a woman of color.

  • Bulldog Drummond

    Well, it seems clear to me that Prince Harry hates his father very deeply

    Why? What has he got against James Hewitt? 😜

  • That was harsh Bulldog, harsh 🤣

  • This shows how much race (together with gender and LGBT+ status) has replaced class as the primary concern of the American “”left””. (Snorri Godhi, March 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm)

    Au contraire, Snorri, this is class war. This is how class war is waged in the US today. You show you are in the elite, and that the lower class are revolting and deserve your oppression, by virtue-signalling wokeness.

  • Au contraire, Snorri, this is class war. This is how class war is waged in the US today. You show you are in the elite, and that the lower class are revolting and deserve your oppression, by virtue-signalling wokeness.

    Yup. Gotta agree with Niall. Princess Sparkles is just your average social climber, no different than the chorus girls who married the son of a duke back in the Victorian and Edwardian period.

    Just because Princess Sparkles frames this as a debate about race, colour and all the rest of the identitarian wokerati bollocks, doesn’t mean it is.

    Still, for all her pissing and moaning, what has she actually achieved? Sure, her money and celebrity status have been revived and enhanced by the cuckolding of a surplus-to-requirement former spare-to-the-throne, but it’s all so obviously cheap and tawdry. We all know the game their playing and we’ve seen it before, not perhaps the princes and palaces bit, but we’ve all had some rich-but-stupid acquaintance that’s married a gold digger.

    It’s not even the stuff of legends, just a tired replay of the Edward and Mrs. Simpson thing. At least Mrs. Simpson managed to bag herself an ACTUAL ruling monarch before his abdication, whereas Prince Harry has already bypassed by Prince William having secured the line of succession (his only ACTUAL job) with heirs to spare.

    So yes, it’s all still about class, even when they claim it’s something else. In fact, especially when they claim it’s about something else.

    As for Brenda, no doubt she’s saddened but unsurprised. I’m sure they all warned Harry before the marriage.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Au contraire, Snorri, this is class war. This is how class war is waged in the US today. You show you are in the elite, and that the lower class are revolting and deserve your oppression, by virtue-signalling wokeness.

    I strongly agree, with a slight but, i believe, important qualification.

    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the Establishment always needs a narrative to justify itself. (That is why military dictatorships do not tend to last for long: they can find no narrative.)

    In the US, the Nordic countries, and of course the Commie countries*, a central tenet of the narrative used to be that the Establishment represents the working class.

    But that was just a narrative, with the only purpose of legitimizing the Establishment.
    What has changed is the narrative: the new narrative is about race, women, LGBT+, and CAGW.
    But the new narrative is still about class — in the sense that it is still about legitimizing the Establishment.

    *Not so much in Britain and most of Western Europe, since the Establishment was/is Tory/Gaullist/Christian Democrat.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    If Me-me-me-meghan was speaking “her truth” does it not follow as a corollary that Piers Morgan was speaking “his truth”?

    Is his “lived experience” (however that differs from plain old un-prefixed “experience”) not just as valid as hers?

    Double standards at work again.

  • orthodoc

    I don’t doubt that someone of the Royal Family asked Her Duchyness what color the baby was going to be. They were afraid it was going to be a ginger.

  • Fraser Orr

    I was listening to some people in London being interviewed as to their feelings about the Sussex’s interview. One guy said: “It was too American for us Brits.” And to me, that guy hit the nail on the head.

  • Paul Marks

    To be fair to the billionaire “Oprah” who keeps going on about how oppressed she is because she is black…. there are philosophers who would have agreed with this subjective “your truth” stuff, this denial of OBJECTIVE truth.

    Not just the Frankfurt School Marxists, and the French Post Modernists – but the “Pragmatists” of the the United States. The Pragmatists have had vast influence with their denial of principle of objective truth and denial of objective right and wrong (the modern “Justice” system, and so on, is their monument).

    But I am not a follower of these philosophers so I am free to tell the truth – the objective truth.

    Meghan and Harry are liars.

  • Sam Duncan

    It’s not even the stuff of legends, just a tired replay of the Edward and Mrs. Simpson thing. At least Mrs. Simpson managed to bag herself an ACTUAL ruling monarch before his abdication, whereas Prince Harry has already bypassed by Prince William having secured the line of succession (his only ACTUAL job) with heirs to spare.

    I’m convinced that what she’s really angry about is that Harry isn’t as important as she thought he was.

  • Lee Moore

    how many truths can there be?

    I would venture “quite a lot.” No description of an aspect of reality can be described completely. There is too much of it. Try it with, say, the sinking of the Titanic. There are always more elements you could add, and if Person A chooses to emphasise this and Person B chooses to emphasize that, the descriptions can be quite different, but still both truthful.

    In this sense “your truth” is a perfectly valid concept – that part of reality that you choose to select for comment. And there are therefore lots of different truthful – ie consistent with reality – accounts that can be made of any particular happening.

    The (usually deliberate) mistake that postmodernists and their flock make, is to elide this fairly obvious point – that reality is too large to admit of one single canonical description even of a small part of it – into the obviously absurd notion that because we cannot point to one canonical version of the truth, we cannot point out falsity.

    But we can. We could take weeks reciting true statements about the sinking of the Ttanic, without coming near to draining the well. But it takes only seconds to make a statement about the sinking of the Titanic that is clearly and objectively false – eg that it sank in 1941.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Lee, I think that was very well put. And the objective reality is that the Sussex clan is one of the most privileged group of people in the history of the world. The idea that they are oppressed is noting short of ridiculous. People like Megan treat publicity like oxygen but when it isn’t perfectly aligned with her desire she is apoplectic as if she is entitled to hagiographical coverage. And of course the solution is simply the “racism” thing. It is like a rape accusation in college ten years ago. The accusation itself, entirely irrespective of its truth, is profoundly damaging. Those who, through the genetic lottery, can wield that card have a weapon against which there is no defense. There is of course real racism in the world and it should be called out, but some innocuous comment from a bumbling moron like jug ears does not come even close.

    One wonders why Oprah was chosen as the interviewer? Why not, for example, a British interviewer, since last I checked Harry was not a Prince of America, and she not a Duchess of California. The answer is obvious really. Oprah is the queen of this empty pap, and so they were guaranteed the aforementioned hagiography, and nary a challenging question in sight.

    From what I can see, from a distance, when Harry and Megan first got together the British people were utterly delighted. The fairy tale. The beautiful actress marries the handsome prince. I don’t remember anybody at all giving a hoot about her genetic background. The fact that they are bottoming out in the polls right now has nothing to do with her skin color, and everything to do with the fact that the British people have, rightly, concluded that she is a self involved, narcissistic bitch. And I think that is compounded by the fact that Harry is held in precious esteem by the British public, for whom the memory of a tiny boy walking behind his mother’s coffin is burned into their collective memories. I think there is a deep rooted resentment that this nasty piece of work has dragged down such a nice guy with her.

    When Wallace married David, the truth is David was a nasty piece of work to start with, and, although held in deference by the public, he was not held in esteem. To compare this tempest in a teapot to that cataclysm is hubris. It’ll blow over soon enough. It isn’t even the scandal of the century. Randy Andy is WAY worse, though Andy at least had the decency to slink off and STFU.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    “Randy Andy is WAY worse, though Andy at least had the decency to slink off and STFU.” (Fraser Orr – March 13, 2021 at 3:12 am)

    I’m not sure that was down to any sense of decency on his part. More likely the result of a blistering dressing-down and a reading-of-the-riot-act from his parents.

    As for Meghan, one can’t help but wonder why the only member of her family to attend her wedding was her mother. Much as men are traditionally supposed to have little liking for their ‘in-law’ clan, would not the absence of all the siblings, half-siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and associated hangers-on ring a little warning bell in the mind of the groom about the ability of his betrothed to maintain relationships?

  • Barracoder

    This is what happens when American chorus-line girls realise that being a princess is less tiaras and balls and more Tesco openings on Teeside and rainy speeches in Basildon.

    Hollywood got a “princess” and we lost a prince.

  • Even when Oprah did show viewers British headlines, several had been cynically edited, and in one case seemingly entirely fabricated.

    So says the Daily Mail (and also that Megan and Harry showed poor memory for some facts). The story describes the deceitful truncation of one of their own headlines as “the most egregious” of Oprah’s falsehoods – and though one might expect the Mail to say that anyway, I can see their point.

    However the most implausible headline, surely, was Oprah’s alleged Guardian headline, since if it actually happened it would mean that the Grauniad once reported a (non-woke) racist remark in a calm and indifferent manner (and, even less likely, that both its readers and twitter in general were so calm and indifferent about it that the Grauniad’s headline did not become a story in itself).

    As this is very much between Oprah and the newspapers, reporters, editors, etc., whose headlines have been invented or caricatured, presumably the usual royal rule never to sue for libel would not be involved. I wonder whether (assuming these are verified) this could go somewhere. Since we have hate speech laws here, and ‘anti-‘racist cancel culture besides, it should be easy to say that a false report of the making of racist statements could do harm. The lawyers on this blog will know better than I whether a case could be brought in UK law, or whether Oprah, while in the US, can rely on the woke-hated first amendment to protect her.