Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Friday, January 14, 2005

Good for Prince Charles

Prince Charles has earned my respect for his position on son Prince Harry's immature costume choice as set out here .
Prince Charles is refusing to force Harry to visit Auschwitz or make a TV apology for his Nazi fancy dress stunt.

The Prince of Wales is angry that his son is being pilloried for what he regards as a silly but harmless prank and wants to shelter him from further bad publicity. But the outrage over 20-year-old Harry's decision to attend a party in a German soldier's uniform with a swastika armband continues to reverberate around the world.

Prince Harry acted like an idiot, as a lot of us did when we were 20 (or 25 or ...). He deserves a private, fatherly rebuke. A "dope slap" as they might say on Car Talk. But not much more. Think of your worst act of stupidity and imagine it being broadcast throughout the world. Enough.

Update: Let me reiterate - Prince Harry's immature choice of a costume was ignorant and certainly showed a lack of judgment. My point is that many, many young people make similar bad decisions as they grow up and they are dealt with as a family matter. My issue is with the demands for punishment from people who are outside his family - many of whom are not even "royal subjects" (like Americans) who still hop on the "Make Harry crawl to Auschwitz" bandwagon. Do these same people get a say in how your children are raised? Would you take a poll to find out what to do if your child wore a similar costume? Perhaps I am guilty of thinking like a father, but if Harry were my son we would have a serious chat about his thought process, anti-Semitism and together we would work out a plan of correction. If it included (a) an apology, (b) a trip to Auschwitz or the Holocast Museum or (c) something else, fine - my child got help from me in dealing with a serious life lesson.

Let's put this in context. Suppose Prince Harry had been photographed dressed as (or wearing clothing depicting) one of the following:
1. Joseph Stalin
2. Chairman Mao
3. Pol Pot
4. Togo
5. Idi Amin
6. Kim Jong-il or Kim il-Sung
7. Attila the Hun
8. Fidel Castro
9. Che
10. the battle flag of the Confederacy
11. Osama bin Laden
12. a knight from the Crusades
13. "Bush=Hitler"

Would the press reaction have been the same? Why not? Was Stalin not responsible for as many or more deaths as Hitler? How many Chinese died for Mao's vision of the future? The Japanese Empire once enslaved millions. the Kims have allowed millions (?) of the North Korean people to starve to death. Fidel Castro is a ruthless dictator and Che helped put him in power. The Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery and oppression to millions of Americans. The "Crusader" is offensive to Middle Eastern Muslims...and so on.

In short, any of these choices would be offensive to someone. Not all of them would have gotten the same media coverage. But, as a father, they would have all received the same reaction from me. And I hope from Prince Charles.

Update2: I now see that the Diplomads have plowed some of the same ground as my first update concerning the "what if he had worn..." issue. Well, great minds...

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