“Winnie-the-Pooh is not just a reference to a fictional bear, but to a national concept of a childhood Eden – an identifiable woodland in which stuffed animals, belonging to an archetypal nursery, roam in gentle complacency.”My immediate reaction, reading the headline, was "You've Gotta Be Kidding!" The Brits have long refused the Greek government's requests (or maybe even demands) that the Brits return the Elgin marbles to Greece, which were stolen from Greece long ago. The insult was increased recently when the British Museum agreed to loan the marbles to, of all countries, Russia.
And, the editorial went on to note, “It is obvious then that Winnie-the-Pooh, whatever else he is, is not an American.”
How could they have an article on this without mentioning the Elgin marbles?
I can't put up links to the online version I read (that is a facsimile of the newspaper) because you need a password to get in. So I googled for a copy of the article and found it at McClatchy DC.
But this article had a whole paragraph on the irony of this request:
Still, there is irony in the Times’ position, as the arguments are a mirror image of a case made recently for why the British Museum, and not Athens, was the rightful resting place for the so-called Elgin Marbles, statues that used to adorn the Parthenon but were transferred to Britain in the early years of the 19th century. Greece has wanted the statues back for 200 years, almost as long as they’ve been gone, and the arguments are the same: They weren’t sold by the Greeks but plundered by occupiers, who gave them to the British ambassador, Lord Elgin; a special museum has been built for their return, and the statues are much more than simply works of art but symbols of the greatness that was Greece.So does someone in the ADN editing room think that Alaskans are only interested in a stuffed teddy bear, but not the theft of cultural treasures? That the hypocrisy of wanting Winnie the Pooh while rejecting Greek claims would be lost on Alaskans?
This is Alaska where Alaska Native tribes are still working to repatriate artifacts taken from them.
Or perhaps there's even more to the story that wasn't reported in the original McClatchy article. Was the Times editorial a satire of the Brits' refusal to return the Elgin Marbles? Or of the Greeks demands to get back the Marbles?
I did try to read the original London Times editorial. What I found looked more like an article than an editorial, and when I finally found a way to get around The Times block on seeing the whole article, the quote was not from that article. I finally found my way to the original editorial. I do think it is a satire - hopefully on the British refusal to return the Elgin Marbles. It ends:
So today enlightened Americans who can imagine what it would be like if the original Moby Dick were to be displayed in, say, a Chinese museum, will surely want to join us in calling for the return of Pooh. They understand that for English people it would be almost as good as a balloon.
Maybe one of our British readers can fill us in on this story.