Kids these days

Duchess: Prince ‘deserves a break’

I’m busy with work and a special project for MO, but a reader forwarded me this link and I wanted to quick comment.

Although I don’t believe for one second that Prince Harry’s choice of a Nazi costume really meant anything more than he’s a little short of wisdom (like most 20-year-olds), there’s no doubt that it was the wrong thing to do.

Few words conjure up images of real-world evil more strongly than ‘Nazi’ does. The world (East, West, and in between) paid a dear price to rid the world of the Nazi government, and to treat such things lightly is more than a little insulting to those that suffered at their hands or sacrificed so much to fight them.

Prince Harry was just plain wrong. And if his costume was 250% overboard, he should go 500% overboard to apologize.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said it was “inexcusable for a member of the royal family to do that” and called Harry’s action “a disgrace to England.”

“I think he should join the British delegation that is going to 60th anniversary of the liberation of (the concentration camp) Auschwitz,” he told CNN.

“He should be part of delegation and stand in silence. And that would transmit to world that he gets it.”

While I think that “disgrace to England” might be taking it a bit far, I think the idea of joining that delegation to Auschwitz is a good idea.

What I don’t understand is what would possess someone to WANT to wear that costume, anyway. I enjoyed playing CLOSE COMBAT 3, but I couldn’t bring myself to even play as the Germans in a computer game. Someone has to be the bad guys when you wargame, but there’s something particularly distasteful in my mind about playing the Germans in World War 2.

I’m also reminded of a story about the American premier of DAS BOOT, the German-made mega-movie about a WW2 U-Boat crew. The movie opens with a title card that says something to the effect of “During the Second World War, 40,000 men served on German U-Boats. 30,000 of them never made it home.” The audience STOOD AND CHEERED.

But I didn’t always get it, either.

Some time ago, in fact I was probably about 20 years old at the time, I was working as a grocery clerk and discussing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK with the baggers on my lane. We were discussing the story that Tom Sellek had tried out for the part before taking the MAGNUM P.I. job, and what that might have meant to the Indiana Jones movies. One of them commented that it would have been hard to cheer for Sellek in the same way we cheer for Harrison Ford. Then one of the others said that he had also tried out for the part, but had decided to become a grocery bagger instead. I then foolishly quipped “Well, if you had taken the part, by the end of the movie I not only wouldn’t have been cheering for you, I’d probably be rooting for the Nazis.”

Have you seen in movies and television how everything stops and goes totally silent, all eyes on the offender, when someone says something really stupid? That’s exactly what happened to me. And I deserved it.

I don’t think there’s anything funny about wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party. Even if I did, I’d have the sense to realize that no one else would. I just don’t know why you’d even want to do such a thing.

Attila the Hun? Okay. Napoleon? Okay. Mao? Not only okay, but probably required in certain circles within this country. KKK? Not bloody likely.

Why some and not others? I don’t know. And you probably wouldn’t agree with me on the list in any event.

But a Nazi? With the swastika and everything?

People are going to be pretty hard on Prince Harry, but that’s okay. He’ll live.


  1. if he plays this right, he’ll get enough experience points to gain a level and add a Wisdom stat point. [/sarcasm]

  2. Maybe it will help the British people realize the Monarchy is an expensive anachronism it should drop, or at least not pay a dime to. (And, take back some land.) Germany terrorized England with V-2 rockets, and, had it been successful, the young man who would have been a Prince would be seeing that armband on police in the streets today. Just as JfK will never live down his anti-war activity, so the Prince will never escape that image EVER. But, as long as the British people remain enamored with the Royal Family, it would not keep him from being King should the three (isn’t it?) in front of him pass on. I knew there was a good reason we declared our independence. ;-)

  3. Maybe us brits should get Jacko and all those other other Hollywood stars, or maybe all those serial killers you have. You yanks sure love killing each other. Cheers

  4. Brittain is well ahead of us in terms of serial killers. Remember Jack the Ripper? Anyway, comparing a member of the Royal Family and a successor to the throne to a wacko Hollywood type is ludicrous. In America, only Democrats consider Hollywood ‘the heart of America’ (remember who said that during the campaign?) I haven’t checked the crime stats, but there are plenty of reports of crime (some using guns) on BBS, the headlines of which I check daily. It appears crime is getting worse there. It is dropping in most US cities. The big difference is you don’t allow good people (or even police — or has that changed now?) the tools they need to defend themselves. At least we’re standing together in the war in Iraq, which I believe will ULTIMATELY have a postive end result. Bottoms Up! Whiskey for my men, and beer for my horses.

  5. Sam: That’s fairly funny. I remember always being confused about what the difference between ‘intelligence’ and ‘wisdom’ was in D&D. I guess I wasn’t wise enough to realize what wisdom was. (Not that I consider myself particularly wise now. It’s just that I realize that such a thing as ‘wisdom’ exists.)

  6. Generally speaking, intelligence in the game is a mneasure of collating knowledge and skills. Wisdom is ability to use knowledge and skills appropriately. So Prince Harry knew it was objectionable, but did it anyway.

  7. What the hell are you all so friggin suprised about. He is a Prince for christs sake. A prince is accountable to none but the King or queen. What are you going to do take away his princedom?

  8. Wow. I can’t believe all the comments this is getting. Tim: I don’t suggest doing anything to him other than point out his obvious lack of respect and common sense. If he wants to do stupid things he should expect to have them pointed out. Since he’s a public figure, the pointing out will be in the public eye. Sam: Yeah. I always knew the book definitions. I just didn’t really *get* it at the time. Wisdom was what allowed your cleric to get extra spells. For some reason or another. Union Jack: I don’t personally think Prince Harry’s choice of costume reflects poorly upon the nation or upon the monarchy. I simply think it’s bad behavior by someone in the public eye who should have known better. I see it in the same light as when a movie star or professional athlete behaves badly. A quarterback getting pulled over for drunk driving doesn’t mean that his team is evil or that football is a bad sport. (I also don’t mean to equate the British royalty with movie stars or professional atheletes…I merely equate the ‘celebrity status’ that they hold.)