Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Prince Formerly Known as Nazi.


From Britain's daily tabloid, The Sun. Image taken from Reuters.
In the last week, the British media have been all astir over Prince Harry's wearing of a Nazi costume at a friend's fancy dress party. They have provoked replies such as the prince's promoting fascism, to people saying it was just a silly prank.

Here are excerpts from journalists all over the UK:

Aaron Barschak, for TheGuardian:

Bad taste, bad timing, bad prince ... these are the rotten epithets being hurled at a 20-year-old in tabloid stocks. I can guarantee that had anyone other than Prince Harry worn a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party, no one would have blinked an eye...
If a middle-class 20-year-old from the suburbs went to a birthday party dressed the same way, we would say, "He is so obviously trying to be outré and piss his parents off, it's laughable." But when Prince Harry does it, we're ready to put him on trial at Nuremberg. His legacy is that everybody is now going to go to fancy-dress parties dressed up in Afrika Korps uniform, trying to be Prince Harry."

David Aaronovitch, for The Observer (in essence, the same as TheGuardian):

He presumably thought it was a bit of a laugh rather than a political statement; funny Nazis and tapdancing Ku Klux Klanners seem to be an important element in successful musical comedy at the moment. And he also may have chosen the swastika symbol unconsciously precisely because it is transgressive. My psychoanalyst friend tells me that he hasn't yet seen a young male patient who, given a notepad, has failed at some point in their consultations to doodle a swastika. In its own way, it's a little like the Che T-shirt worn by many adolescents who haven't the slightest idea who Mr Guevara was.

...It doesn't really matter how materially privileged they are, they are still miserable and we connive at making them even unhappier. If that's how we get our jollies, then maybe we have more of the fascist in us than a prince who wears inappropriate fancy dress.

Andrew Gumbel, for The Los Angeles Times:

It's hardly news that a British royal has, once again, made a prize twit of himself. That seems to be the House of Windsor's lot. But this is in a whole different category. Even a 20-year-old (and particularly one in line to the throne) should know that the world is still colossally and understandably sensitive about the Nazis and their monstrous crimes.

Nigel Farndale, for The Sunday Telegraph:

It is literal-mindedness bordering on autism to assume he was in some way endorsing fascist views just because he wore a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party... That is like assuming a woman who wears a nun costume to a party must practice celibacy.