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Prince Harry and the wardrobe malfunction - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Prince Harry and the wardrobe malfunction
Prince Charles needs to have a serious talk with his wayward son. Seriously. What a dumb-ass thing to do (for the one person left on Earth who doesn't know, Prince Harry went to a costume party as a Nazi and got his picture snapped), especially when you have good reason to know that people are going to be taking pictures of you.

But that's a family matter.

Folks, it was a costume party, not a march through Skokie or a neo-Hitler-Youth rally. It was a horrendous idea for a costume, but it was a costume. If he were just wandering around on the street saying "Sieg Heil" to random folks, I'd see the vast international uproar, and particularly a huge uproar in Britain, which would (rightly) see him as allying with a regime that tried to, you know, wipe them out. That would border on treason. But it was a costume party. Apparently a badly thought out and poorly-themed one, but easily chalked up under, "G-d, people do stupid things sometimes." But of course, Harry decked a reporter awhile back. After what the press did to his mother, I'm thinking, "Go, Harry." But that's got to be rankling, so the first major gaffe, boom.

It has, as I understand it, been used as a basis to attack the royalty from. Oh, dear. Prince Harry did something stupid. Wipe them out, all of them. :eyeroll:
39 comments or Leave a comment
liwy From: liwy Date: January 18th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
And here I was thinking I wouldn't be seeing anymore posts on the whole affair...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, but no issue is closed until I've had my say, silly. ;) It was either that or a hyper-serious post about a documentary I watched about the French Revolution.
liwy From: liwy Date: January 18th, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really? Post it!
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: January 18th, 2005 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 18th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel sorry for him to be honest. I mean, troubled is not the word if he seriously thinks he can get away with something like that without it causing a rumpus. But I really wish our media could find something else to talk about. This morning we had someone on making a serious suggestion that it should be illegal to display a swastika throughout the whole of Europe (rather than just in Germany which I understand is currently the case).

*insert rant about freedom of speech and education rather than censorship being the route to civilised behaviour here (although I have to say that under the circs I can understand why the Germans might have chosen to ban it)*

I really don't know how I'm going to watch the news for the next few months. If it's not Prince Harry it's the start of the election campaign with the consequent ass-hattery and spin that seems to be inextricably linked to it. I'll be lucky if my head hasn't exploded by May (sigh).
ashtur From: ashtur Date: January 18th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
That does raise an interseting (and more serious) contrast between Europe and the USA.

In Europe, no one would have blinked an eye about a performer flashing a bare breast (for just an instant) as happened here last year, that created a first tier frenzy.

On the other hand, in Germany already, and perhaps soon across the EU, all Nazi signs and symbols are banned but for "artistic or historical" purposes.

On our side of the pond, while many people would be more than a tad upset if one of the Bush twins started going around in brownshirts and jackboots, any thought of banning that sort of thing would be thrown out the door within seconds...

Interesting contrasts
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 18th, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Completely. And there are many others to be drawn too, such as the prevailing attitudes to capital punishment and personal taxation. Interesting that we are not always as similar as we seem on the surface.

On the Nazi symbol point though I'm pretty sure that nothing will come of it thank heavens. Although I did hear a very alarming statistic on Radio 4 yesterday where some poll or other had found that 45% of Brits had never heard of Auschwitz. If there was ever an argument that we need to improve the teaching of history in this country that has to be it!
ashtur From: ashtur Date: January 18th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hopefully, you don't have the substratum we have over here of people trying to actively "disprove" the Holocaust, that it didn't happen, or wasn't as severe, et al.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 18th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sadly we do, but they're not as vocal as they are over on your side of the Atlantic. I think there's more day to day connections with the reality of what happened still in living memory here in my grandmother's generation, which makes it quite difficult to spin it as something it wasn't.
ashtur From: ashtur Date: January 18th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm connected enough as is. One of my members here was in one of the groups from Patton's army that opened one of the camps up... suffice it to say that he has very, very little patience with those who deny it.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 18th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
That must have been a truly traumatic experience for him. Really, I don't know how seemingly intelligent people can hear the personal testimony of people like that gentleman and still conclude that the Holocaust wasn't an utterly terrible thing. I don't understand how some peoples brains are wired up I think.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
My godfather's wife's father was in the camps. When Germany reunited, he was convinced that they'd make a move to re-establish the Reich within ten years. There are so many survivors who came here... we're extremely connected to the camps, even if nothing else about WWII sinks in.

I suspect we have more Holocaust deniers just because we have more of any flaky fringe movement. Total freedom of religion has produced some delightfully whacky varations that make me smile when I realize that we are just so religiously creative, but it's also opened the door to a lot of dangerous ideological groups. Closing the door on them would be closing the door on too much that's good, but man alive, they creep me out.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 18th, 2005 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well that's my lack of knowledge about what happened in the US showing itself then. My bad.
mincot From: mincot Date: January 18th, 2005 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
In a small town in Corpus Christi I knew three people with numbers on their arms. Please. If there were that many people in semi-rural south Texas in the early 60's, then trust me, that atrocity happened. Grr.

As for the Prince--well, I think the issue is as much his judgment as it is other things--the timing of his little costume (Which he got wrong, by the way--he put the swastika backwards so that it took on its original symbolic meaning rather than its Nazi one; also, the Afrika Korps' uniforms did not include a swastika armband) was atrocious, for one thing, and his willingness to wear it in public is another. Plus the whole atmosphere of the party is problematic--a party celebrating colonialism? Please. That's as bad as the sorority My Lai drinking party that went on at UT when I was a grad student--and not one of those sorority bowheads could understand why botht he Vietnamese community and the Vietnam vets were upset with them. Like it or not, Harry is more circumcribed in what he can get away with that someone who is not in the public eye and is not a political and cultural representative. Yes, he's only 20; yes, it was just a costume party. BUT.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 19th, 2005 10:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I completely agree with you on the judgement thing - it's a serious issue and something he should be thoroughly ashamed of. I just feel sorry for the kind of upbringing he must have had to behave in that way.
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: January 18th, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect we have more Holocaust deniers just because we have more of any flaky fringe movement

I suspect it's also because of our greater distance from the historical sites.
I mean, someone in continental Europe, who can easily see lands torn up by the tanks/soldiers or may go on field trips/vacations to the sites of the camps, will find the realities of that history far more immediate than somebody who has no such tangible artifacts close at hand.

There's so much distance that it's easier to deny what one hasn't seen. [Is that making any sense?]
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 18th, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, that's hard to say, as we in the US still have people flying the flags of the Confederacy (the South during the American Civil War over slavery.)
There's even one state that has it as part of their state flag. This symbol is still popular despite massive protest by people of all races in this country. I doubt I go a day without seeing one on a car as a window or bumper sticker, and I live in the northern US.

Well, despite his name, THIS Harry is pretty stupid.
hughroe From: hughroe Date: January 18th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
My uncle was one of those who shot their way into Dachau, he tended to get a bit 'forceful' with deniers.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I feel horrible for him, too. I actually feel bad for the royal family quite frequently.

I heard about the banning issue. We've run into it with the Confederate flag from time to time. The Skokie march I mentioned was in 1977, when the ACLU defended the rights of Nazis to march in a parade. And I recall, on a smaller level, a boy in my fifth grade class making swastikas out of paper clips and being reprimanded very strongly by the teacher. On the whole, while I understand the emotional underpinning, the ideological act of banning it would have a very bad effect.

Glad to know election-time ass-hattery in the press is a universal phenomenon. ;P
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: January 18th, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually feel bad for the royal family quite frequently.

I know. It's knid of embarrassing sometimes given that they are supposed to represent my country :/

Glad to know election-time ass-hattery in the press is a universal phenomenon. ;P

Oh yes. Look forward to head exploding posts of doom on a journal near you :P
zoepaleologa From: zoepaleologa Date: January 18th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, but then we British taxpayers fund this bunch of inbred clowns to the tune of several millions via the Civil List.

I'm not personally interested in the lack of intelligence shown by British royalty, however, a little bit of remembering the very old saw, "Noblesse Oblige" might not come in wrong. Royalty tends to be trained for the job from childhood. it would be nice to think some of the teaching has sunk in with young Harry by now.

And personally, I find the idea of anyone wearing Nazi insignia for fun most offensive. Royalty should know better - they are paid enough to.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: January 18th, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Had LJ been working, I would probably have posted on this myself last week after I walked by the CNN building and saw the story on the building's news ticker. I can understand why Britons are upset about this - as a member of the royal family, Harry does represent the nation, and this was embarrassing for the country. And when someone supported by the taxpayers does something so collosally stupid, it's going to raise hackles. But I don't understand why it generated quite so much attention here. A member of the British royal family is an idiot. That's not news.

Personally, I think some of the reason is the cheap use of the word "Nazi." The news media know that "Nazi" grabs our attention, sort of like "sex" does, and they use it to attract readers/viewers. Plus it gets used casually to mean "a harsh person," like the soup Nazi in that Seinfeld episode. I think overuse of the word belittles the very real horror the Nazis perpetrated, but apparently I'm in the minority here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, not at all. Phrases like "grammar Nazi" or "canon Nazi" or anything like that...


It gets press here because despite overthrowing British royal rule, we're still bizarrely obsessed with British royalty. It wouldn't be covered if it had been the Spanish royal family.

Plus, of course, they've got celeb status. We'd probably have seen it if it had been Hugh Grant, too.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: January 18th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It gets press here because despite overthrowing British royal rule, we're still bizarrely obsessed with British royalty.

True, and I don't really understand this either. I prefer to obsess about their literature. :)

Plus, of course, they've got celeb status.

That's true, and celebs have so much influence. Who knows - maybe some kids would be attracted to Neo-Naziism by seeing Harry in that uniform. A public outcry may be the only way to dampen such influence.
sophonax From: sophonax Date: January 18th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Someone posted an icon she'd made to grammar_whores a couple of weeks ago.

It was a picture of Hitler, with the caption "Grammar Nazi."

I'm as strict a prescriptivist grammarian as you'll find anywhere, but seeing that made want to go run and hide.

As for the whole "poor royals always getting watched by the press" thing, I've long thought that the most sensible thing to do for all of them would be to declare the monarchy out of existence. Peacefully, bloodlessly, go back to being private citizens. There'd still be lots of coverage of the family, of course, but their great-great-grandchildren would thank them, I'd bet.
zoepaleologa From: zoepaleologa Date: January 18th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
A member of the British royal family is an idiot. That's not news.

No, sadly, it's history. Repeating itself through the centuries (bit of a republican, here).
dreagoddess From: dreagoddess Date: January 19th, 2005 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)
We had a city council member in Dallas describe the mayor as "Hitler" because of what he perceived as a power grab. The Jewish mayor. Needless to say, HUGE outcry.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: January 20th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
People think they're so clever, but they don't respect the power words have. I'm so glad that gaffe came back to bite this person.
nymphgalatea From: nymphgalatea Date: January 18th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the thing most people are amazed at is that the boy is 20 years old, has attended probably about 18 WWII memorials, has talked to surviving British soldiers of that war in pursuit of his military career...and still thinks dressing up like a Nazi is a great idea.

He's roughly six months younger than me. I remember very vividly the 1995 celebrations of the 50-year anniversary of the end of the war. Every single school, be it comprehensive or private, did something to mark that day. Surely some of it must have penetrated?

There's also the fact that he must know that his actions will be scrutinised in the British press. He knows what happened to his mother, he's watched his brother attempt to deal with it...and he still thinks he can do something so monumentally stupid and get away with it?

Really, inbreeding has a lot to answer for.

Mind you, there's also the lovely fact that this party had a "colonials and natives" theme. Some of his mates reportedly blacked up their faces and went as African tribesmen.
hughroe From: hughroe Date: January 18th, 2005 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
What I find as most interesting, is that there in London there ia a happening nightclub called the KGB, filled with Soviet memorabilia, and at one of the Tres Chic restaurants, the diners eat under the smiling face of Chairman Mao.
hughroe From: hughroe Date: January 18th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also in reply to myself, Harry was dressed as a member of the Afrika Korps, an organization that the British 8th Army, that fought against them, had high praise for. And who's leader, Erwin Rommel,
had a rather lauditory movie made about him, in England.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 18th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, since you more or less just repeated what I said (it was stupid, it's a family matter, etc), why would I delete your post? :)

I'm not defending his decision to wear it, which was so exquisitely stupid that it almost doesn't need to be mentioned. I just think that it doesn't go beyond stupidity, and certainly isn't a grand proof that it's the end of the British monarchy!
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: January 18th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is definitely being blown out of proportion. It was a bad decision on his part, but honestly not that important in the grand scheme of things.
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: January 18th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
The irony is, I doubt anyone would have gotten worked up if he dressed himself up as the Devil, OR if you want to disqualify potentially mythological creatures of evil and only go with historical ones, let's try a Roman centurion - The Romans did their fair share of culture dominance and wiping out of innocent populations as well.

If Prince Harry were really showing signs of being secret neo-Nazi, I would be extremely alarmed. As it was, it's a costume party. Perhaps it was a bad idea on his part, but people dress in all sorts of costumes for all sorts of reasons. And really, if one wants to dress up 'evil' I think a Nazi qualifies.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: January 19th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Any time the royals publicly screw up, there's yet another outcry to end the monarchy.

What would the tabloids of the world do without the British royal family? The Japanese royal family is boring. Nobody cares about the "bicycle" royalty of Scandinavia. The only whiff of scandal from that crew is the ex-party girl/single mom who married Norway's crown prince. The Spanish royal family is on the straight and narrow. The Windsors' only competitor is Monaco's royal family, and even Caroline's kids have yet to cause too much trouble.

Nope, we have to keep the Windsors right where they are.

Harry did the equivalent of a frat boy showing up at a reggae-themed kegger in blackface. It's tasteless, it's appalling, and you wonder how anyone with a brain in this day and age could do such a thing. The difference is, the frat boy leaves college, grows up, and everyone forgets about his stupidity. This will follow Harry to his grave and that is unfortunate for him. I don't think he's a Nazi, an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, or anything. He's an immature young man doing dumb things. Maybe boot camp at Sandhurst will straighten him out.
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: January 19th, 2005 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
In my opinion it was beyond just something "stupid". Stupid is getting drunk and letting the photographers take a picture of you passed out on the floor, not this.

I refuse to believe that this young man, who is the son of one of the most famous women in the world to ever be photographed, thought putting on that costume would not get the outcry it did but a simple "har har funny Harry!" Sorry I don't buy it, it's the same as if Mel Gibson's son went to a party as a KKK member, I'd feel the same way.

I'm glad he got the outcry he got about it because I seriously believe that some people are so sheltered that they just either don't know or think they are so "important" in the world that they can do what they want and get no backlash. I'm glad that I was proven wrong.
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: January 19th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh as for ending the british monarchy I hope they never do. I've always liked the British Royals because at least they are interesting.
danel4d From: danel4d Date: January 19th, 2005 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Worse than that - some idiots are using it as a basis to attack his - and my - entire generation, on the grounds that obviously none of us can really understand the horror of the Nazis, we ain't got no respect for the great heroes, when they were your age they were fighting and dying, reintroduce National Service, etc, etc.

Which is stupid on several grounds:
a) This is Harry's first major gaffe, compared to - how many again? - from his grandfather. I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that his claiming a poorly installed fusebox as being "put in by an Indian", or many of his other stupid and intolerant comments, reflected on his whole generation.

b) Need to learn more about the Nazis? We learn very little else! I recall a recent report pointing out that we perhaps over-focused on the Nazis in history classes, to the exclusion of everything else that had ever happened. It's understandable - WW2 was our finest hour, us standing alone against evil, none of that nasty imperialism business.

And some commentators have just been confused - it certainly doesn't mean that Harry is a Nazi, but merely that he thinks they're something funny, like an awful lot of newspaper editors. There's more than a little hypocrisy involved here, IMO.
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