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January 24, 2013 10:55 AM   Subscribe


 
"I could kill for an ice cream right now!"
posted by Jehan at 10:58 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Harry, and his brother, too. They seem like pretty decent, hard-working folks (naked photos notwithstanding).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:00 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I approve of the naked photos also. I would watch that man run for ice cream any day of the week.
posted by something something at 11:00 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


They seem like pretty decent, hard-working folks (nakedzi photos notwithstanding).
posted by DU at 11:03 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]




The monarch casually describing killing people in foreign lands, with an ethical sensitivity that would not be out of place in a kindergarden. No.

Overlaying the ice cream van sounds made me chuckle though.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:09 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


You had me for a second there kafziel.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:12 AM on January 24, 2013


I liked the Taliban's response.
“This statement is not even worth condemning. It is worse than that,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told London's Telegraph. “To describe the war in Afghanistan as a game demeans anyone—especially a prince, who is supposed to be made of better things.”

Mujahid continued: “It shows the lack of understanding, of knowledge. It shows they are unfamiliar with the situation and shows why they are losing. ... It’s not a game. It’s very, very real."
ie. you can't handle the truth.
posted by stbalbach at 11:13 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bangers and M*A*S*H
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's the guy running in the background that completely sells it.
posted by phaedon at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


True story - Harry got that Nazi uniform from the mum of the Technical Director of an aircraft engine company I used to work for. A little store front with normal suit rental in a South West England town that opens up out the back into a huge series of low-ceilinged rooms of old, musty and vastly varied uniforms and costumes of any description.

I rented a dinner suit from there at one point.
posted by Brockles at 11:18 AM on January 24, 2013


A Nazi dinner suit? /doctorevil
posted by louche mustachio at 11:23 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah Harry, the Squaddie's Prince.
posted by Bwithh at 11:27 AM on January 24, 2013


Good on ya for getting blood on your hands, princey.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2013


The monarch casually describing killing people in foreign lands

Well...he's "the monarch" only in the event of quite a few deaths...and failed pregnancies.

True story - Harry got that Nazi uniform from the mum of the Technical Director of an aircraft engine company I used to work for. A little store front with normal suit rental in a South West England town that opens up out the back into a huge series of low-ceilinged rooms of old, musty and vastly varied uniforms and costumes of any description.

You know, I think rather too much gets made of that incident. If I were a young prince of England choosing a costume to wear to a costume party, I don't know that I would immediately think that the Nazi costume was utterly off limits; and I could certainly see a kind of mordant black-humor in wearing the outfit. I mean, I'm sure if I thought "hey, do I want this all over the front pages tomorrow?" I'd put it back and reach for the next one, but at that age you really don't think much about what might happen later. No one thinks of fancy-dress costumes as ideological endorsements of the real-life counterparts until they're forced to do so by tut-tutting newspaper headlines.

If he's ever said or done anything to imply sympathy for the Nazi cause or for neo-Nazi groups or what have you then sure, screw him. But the simple act of donning that uniform seems to me pretty meaningless.
posted by yoink at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


A quick note on contemporary propaganda: on the same day that the original interview aired (with Harry's headline-grabbing admission of killing) the Ministry of Defence announced it would be cutting 5300 jobs.

So, yeah. Something something Harry something something. Pay no attention to the PR person behind the curtain.
posted by The River Ivel at 11:31 AM on January 24, 2013


The monarch casually describing killing people in foreign lands, with an ethical sensitivity that would not be out of place in a kindergarden. No.

The technology is chilling - from his vantage point, thanks to thermal imaging, Harry can see anything and anybody moving out there, and, with the press of a button, blow them away.

Which is fine, I guess, there's a war on (but watching some of the AC-130H footage on LiveLeak shows what it's like to track fleeing human beings with laser-guided precision) but I find it disgusting that Harry was so blase about taking human life.

This apparent lack of inner life makes me glad he is not next in line to the throne.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:32 AM on January 24, 2013


I expect we'll see a whole bunch of these soon with different audio.

I nominate this sound next.
posted by Kabanos at 11:32 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If he's ever said or done anything to imply sympathy for the Nazi cause or for neo-Nazi groups or what have you then sure, screw him. But the simple act of donning that uniform seems to me pretty meaningless.

That uniform was pretty meaningful for about 20 million people who died in Russia alone during the war.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:33 AM on January 24, 2013


If I were a young prince of England choosing a costume to wear to a costume party, I don't know that I would immediately think that the Nazi costume was utterly off limits...

Isn't that the complaint? People weren't mad because it got into the papers. They were made because he didn't immediately reject it as a bad idea.
posted by DU at 11:34 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I liked the Taliban's response.

I'll take "Sentences I did not expect to read today" for $2500, Alex.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:35 AM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Butler: Prince, the people are revolting!
Harry: (dons Nazi outfit) Indeed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


That uniform was pretty meaningful for about 20 million people who died in Russia alone during the war.

Right. And if he'd worn a Catholic Cardinal costume we could go on about the pain it caused those who suffered abuse at the hands of the Church (not to mention the shocking betrayal of the royal family's special role in relation to the Anglican Church); and if he'd worn a Genghis Khan costume we could talk in shocked tones about the callous disregard displayed for the millions of his victims, or the racist buffoonery of the costume (take your pick); and if he'd worn a "pukka Sahib" costume from the days of the Raj we could talk about how he's obviously nostalgic for the days of Britain's imperial rule and how horribly insensitive he was being to the millions upon millions of those oppressed under colonial rule etc. etc. etc.

Except that in doing that we're entirely inventing a notion that none of us subscribe to in our own personal lives--that to wear a costume at a Halloween party or fancy-dress party is to proclaim our approval and endorsement of everything done by and in the name of the figure we are imitating. We are also pretending that the publication of photos from a private event is exactly the same thing as deliberate public display--that wearing this costume to a private fancy-dress party is the same thing as, for example, showing up in Nazi uniform to his brother's wedding.

I find exactly the same kind of hypocritical posturing always happens entirely predictably when someone makes a private joke in a black-humor vein which inadvertently becomes public. In private conversation we all make those kinds of jokes (the "what does NASA stand for--Need Another Seven Astronauts" kind of thing) and we all know that they do not mean "yes, I really think the death of those seven astronauts is funny"--but as soon as they slip out of the private sphere into the public sphere we all get up on our high horses and say "how could anyone say anything so appallingly cruel???? My my my, where are my smelling salts!"
posted by yoink at 11:43 AM on January 24, 2013 [23 favorites]


... answering the very important question, "How does he have a Wii?"

That's a really random question to ask while he's sitting in a helicopter.
posted by jozxyqk at 11:48 AM on January 24, 2013


People weren't mad because it got into the papers.

My contention, though--and it is, of course, unprovable--is that the sole reason they were mad was because it got into the papers. When you see the prince dressed in a Nazi uniform on the front page of the paper of course you go "tsk tsk tsk, what was he thinking!" If you see a friend dressed in a Nazi uniform at a party and you know your friend and know that he's not in any way a Nazi sympathizer you might, at most, think "geez, you'd better change out of that before you go home!"

Again, in normal life we do not regard costumes at costume parties as endorsements of or attempts to literally embody the beings we are costumed as. If you go to a Halloween party dressed as the devil it does not mean that you are a satanist or that you worship evil.
posted by yoink at 11:50 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


For a young man who has been very well educated, especially in areas of protocol and diplomacy, to wear a Nazi uniform in a playful manner is appalling. Also, he surely lives somewhere where there are well-trained staff who might be expected to have a clue. The same with a prince to speak so casually about killing. For a helicopter pilot to talk about killing enemy combatants; why are people so surprised? War is, at its essence, about killing the other team. People in the military could not go to war if they didn't de-humanize and demonize the enemy. Some think rhis would be a very good thing, indeed. Of course these 2 young men are well liked; they are the sons of a beloved princess, they are as handsome as wealth and excellent health can make them, they wear the mantle of royalty. I do respect that Prince Harry has not only served in combat, but has insisted on doing so. Monarchy is so 19th century; do not want.
posted by theora55 at 11:52 AM on January 24, 2013


I'm surprised that he would be near any kind of combat. If you are the commanding officer and the queens grandson gets anything more serious than a hangnail, you're spending the rest of your career scrubbing toilets in Siberia.
posted by dr_dank at 11:53 AM on January 24, 2013


I don't understand news reporters who would casually ask a soldier sitting in a military helicopter - nevermind that he's a prince - how he urinates on long flights.

Add to that, the hand gestures and casual explanation given by said soldier, knowing fully that he was being video-taped. Nevermind that he's a prince!

Is it just an American prudish thing?
posted by jillithd at 11:53 AM on January 24, 2013


I'm surprised that he would be near any kind of combat.

For one, I quite like the tradition of the royals doing active military duty. It's a token, but there's real risk there. My father (English) still speaks proudly of the Queen remaining in London during the blitz. I don't think anyone would be treated any differently should harm come to Harry or any other royal in the service.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:56 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


How you pee while piloting a military aircraft is serious business!
posted by vespabelle at 11:59 AM on January 24, 2013


I'm not sure what to make of any of this.

On the one hand... He is not of a different blueprint than any other human. The stupid things he's done (naked parties, Nazi Uniform, smoking various substances) are things that most idiot adolescents and young adults may or may not have done during that phase of their life where they're finding themselves and their limits. [Check that, I don't think many go through that "carelessly wear a Nazi uniform" phase, aside from millions of Germans, decades ago.] And if you look at what he says about killing Taliban in combat, well, that's what we sent thousands of our best to do, whether we like it or not. He's just in the unfortunate circumstance where scrutiny and public observation follows him like a shadow. His errors are held up before the public and condemned. That makes the typical and widely ignored error of the common folk seem much more noteworthy when he transgresses.

On the other hand... Past even a young age of, say, 8 or 10, he should know that this is part of the gig and there's always a tradeoff. Yes, I as a commoner get to do stupid stuff and it's not front page news unless it's REALLY stupid. But I don't get trips to far off lands on the UK's dime. I have to earn a living, I have to pay for my shelter, I had to pay for my modest wedding, and I need health insurance. There's always a tradeoff, and if he's this old and still doesn't understand that he's exceptional and that comes with responsibility, then the pedigree isn't as refined as I would expect. He should have the brains to know "I'm being watched by millions of people who support my standard of living, so maybe I should do otherwise, or hang out with equally scrutinized people when I do these things, so it stays quiet."

He's also in the unenviable position of being a ginger, but that's a different discussion altogether...
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:05 PM on January 24, 2013


Except that in doing that we're entirely inventing a notion that none of us subscribe to in our own personal lives--that to wear a costume at a Halloween party or fancy-dress party is to proclaim our approval and endorsement of everything done by and in the name of the figure we are imitating.

I don't entirely think that's the cross people crucify Harry on. Nobody thinks he endorses Nazism. I think the illusion we have invented is that we would like these young princes - who are at the top of society through no act of their own - to act as if they have some class. To not coast. To not cash in on the comical plight of the masses for their personal amusement. Great power comes with great responsibility, blah blah.

Frankly, historians have written books about these people. I don't think it's hypocritical to think of someone of his caliber in society as an outright buffoon.
posted by phaedon at 12:08 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If he'd worn a Dracula costume, would we be talking about the historical evils perpetrated by Vlad Tepes, or the psychosexual predatorialism of the vampire myth?

It's a goddamn costume, worn to an event where people wear costumes of specifically scary and evil things. Let it the fuck go.
posted by kafziel at 12:17 PM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I did not want to laugh at this but here we are.
posted by Kitteh at 12:17 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean, I'd let it go, if his entire attendance in Afghanistan didn't seem like an image-rehabilitating publicity stunt.
posted by phaedon at 12:20 PM on January 24, 2013


He's also in the unenviable position of being a ginger, but that's a different discussion altogether...

Gingers born on September 15th are, by default, cool cats so Harry is fine by me.
posted by Wordshore at 12:23 PM on January 24, 2013


If he'd worn a Dracula costume, would we be talking about the historical evils perpetrated by Vlad Tepes, or the psychosexual predatorialism of the vampire myth?

Nope. In that scenario, we'd be living in a fantastic alternate universe where we wouldn't be in Afghanistan, let alone using a complicit press to whitewash a royal's dirty linens.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'd let it go, if his entire attendance in Afghanistan didn't seem like a image-rehabilitating publicity stunt.

"His entire attendance" is part of his military career, which is a longstanding tradition for superfluous second sons of monarchs and monarchs-to-be. Also, the "rehabilitating" his image needed was from actions at his pre-deployment party, which is like saying that someone's wedding is part of his apology to his wife for having a stripper at his bachelor party.
posted by Etrigan at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If he'd worn a Dracula costume, would we be talking about the historical evils perpetrated by Vlad Tepes

If my family was still receiving reparations from the Tepes government for war crimes, yes.
posted by elizardbits at 12:28 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]




Monarchy is so 19th century; do not want.

Actually I do want. They give very good value for money. For a total of 67p per year per citizen (fig. for 2007) GB has not just a Monarch but an entire extended family that works surprisingly hard. They recognize the good deeds of average folk. They meet with diplomats and heads of states, as well as religious leaders. They raise money for charity. They promote British business. They supply fabulous pageantry to lure tourists. And they elevate the status of GB around the world. The Queen is a well loved and well recognized figure head and I believe GB is better regarded by foreign nations because of her decades in service to the nation.

Think how nice it would be to have someone who remains the same while Presidents come and go. Who stays above politics and merely serves to unite the entire country. Perhaps if we had a King or Queen it would remind us that we are all Americans and not Republicans vs. Democrats.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:51 PM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


"His entire attendance" is part of his military career, which is a longstanding tradition for superfluous second sons of monarchs and monarchs-to-be.

I stand corrected. Perhaps trouncing around in a Santa Claus hat with braids for an interview, and explaining to a reporter how he pees in a helicopter, is just a sign of the times - a reflection of the silliness of the war, not entirely of his own doing. An effort to relate to the masses.

Still I wouldn't be against building a statue of him in Trafalgar with Nelson's finger up his ass.
posted by phaedon at 12:51 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


This apparent lack of inner life makes me glad he is not next in line to the throne.

One can only expect so much from the son of James Hewitt...........

The side-by-side pictures are quite something.
posted by ambient2 at 12:53 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


In private conversation we all make those kinds of jokes

No, we "all" don't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:55 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Queen is a well loved and well recognized figure head and I believe GB is better regarded by foreign nations because of her decades in service to the nation.

Think how nice it would be to have someone who remains the same while Presidents come and go.


You're advocating dynastic succession barely four years after our last one showed how to get it done?
posted by Etrigan at 12:55 PM on January 24, 2013


I'm not advocating anything. An American Monarchy is an utter fantasy and impossible at this point. I might day dream about it, but the time for it was 236 years ago. Perhaps if George Washington had been crowned...

As to the specter of George Bush being King for life. If we are talking about an inherited Monarchy, he would not be King because his father is still alive. Also, he would not be the same person if he had been raised to one day take the throne. If you are talking about him making himself King, you are the one living in a fantasy world.

The Queen has set the bar for being a Constitutional Monarch very high. She has been incredibly active in her Queenly duties while presenting a very regal appearance. She is always guarded in her speech so as not to give offense to anyone. She keeps her opinions to herself but remains cheerful and calm. She spends a large part of her year watching presentations, listening to speeches, meeting people she has never met before and will never meet again-- in short, tedious activities that would bore me to tears. It will be interesting to see how the next generation lives up to her standards.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:15 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Secret Life of Gravy:Think how nice it would be to have someone who remains the same while Presidents come and go. Who stays above politics and merely serves to unite the entire country

And also: She keeps her opinions to herself but remains cheerful and calm.

Sorry, but the idea that the monarch and her offspring are either above politics or serve to unite the country is bunk.

Take Prince Charles' letters to government ministers – the release of which has been blocked by the current Attorney General, on the grounds that, what do you know, they contain his deepest political thoughts and opinions. I'd be very surprised if his ma hasn't written her fair share of the same in the past. Or is still doing so: witness her moaning to the previous government about its inability to either arrest or deport radical cleric Abu Hamza. These are serious constitutional issues for a country in which the monarchy is supposed to be a mere figurehead, and completely disengaged from the everyday business of politics.

As for serving to unite the entire country, there are large numbers of people in the UK – in Scotland, England, Wales and most especially Northern Ireland – who would strongly disagree with that statement, to put it mildly. Given its history, its symbolism and its current figureheads, it's pretty much impossible for the British monarchy to be apolitical at this point in time, or, I think, for the forseeable future.
posted by Len at 1:23 PM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy: She is always guarded in her speech so as not to give offense to anyone.

Prince Philip, on the other hand ...
posted by Len at 1:28 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Take Prince Charles' letters

Prince Charles is not the Queen. And I know all about Prince Philip.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:34 PM on January 24, 2013


If he'd worn a Dracula costume, would we be talking about the historical evils perpetrated by Vlad Tepes, or the psychosexual predatorialism of the vampire myth?

You know that WW2 is still in living memory, right?
posted by ersatz at 1:36 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy: Prince Charles is not the Queen.

Yes, I know, which is why I included the link to the Queen's comments about Abu Hamza. It's shockingly inappropriate for her to be making comments like that about an ongoing criminal investigation/case.

And barring the Queen outliving her son, he'll be King at some point within the next two or three decades; given his track record, I don't see him shying away from continuing to express his political opinions after he's crowned.
posted by Len at 1:38 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well certainly not in Harry's living memory. I mean, bear in mind that to Harry the Second World War was ancient history.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2013


The Queen has set the bar for being a Constitutional Monarch very high.

Well, yeah. That's kind of my point. Remember that England is two monarchs away from the guy who didn't want the job and may have actually liked the Nazis. Elizabeth isn't the example of why you should have a monarch any more than Drew Brees is an example of why you should always draft your quarterback from Purdue.
posted by Etrigan at 1:39 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's shockingly inappropriate for her to be making comments like that about an ongoing criminal investigation/case.

I think you are so easily shocked because it is so out of character for her.

We (well provided I am still alive) will see what sort of King Charles is once he is crowned; he might surprise you. I have heard he wants to move out of Buckingham Palace and turn it into a museum. Which leads me to wonder where he will conduct business, hold state dinners, and the summer garden parties, etc. Buckingham Palace is a very useful place.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:42 PM on January 24, 2013


Well, yeah. That's kind of my point. Remember that England is two monarchs away from the guy who didn't want the job and may have actually liked the Nazis

Yes, I understand, and Charles and/or William may turn out to be tone deaf assholes like Philip, but I seriously doubt it. The difference between Edward VIII and QEII is the difference between a Monarchy that was seldom seen and rarely in the public eye and one that is on public show every waking moment. Elizabeth has modernized the Monarchy because she has had to-- I think she is well aware that the family business could be closed down at any moment if the public sentiment runs against her and that is why she has been so careful about her public persona to an almost pathological degree ( I understand she doesn't even dare have a favorite color.)

My point is that any modern Monarch is going to have to contend with the same handicap-- recording devices wielded by amateurs at every turn, TV news 24 hours a day, a public aware of every penny that is given to her, staff ready to sell the dirt for a price. She is living in a fishbowl filled with borrowed water and she knows better than to make waves.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:52 PM on January 24, 2013


My point is that any modern Monarch is going to have to contend with the same handicap-- recording devices wielded by amateurs at every turn, TV news 24 hours a day, a public aware of every penny that is given to her, staff ready to sell the dirt for a price. She is living in a fishbowl filled with borrowed water and she knows better than to make waves.

There are plenty of counterexamples of people who live in that fishbowl and aren't as good at navigating it as Elizabeth. If nurture beat nature, then nearly any monarch would be good at it.
posted by Etrigan at 1:56 PM on January 24, 2013


Secret Life of Gravy: I think you are so easily shocked because it is so out of character for her.

On the contrary, I'm not shocked at all, I'm just surprised that it actually got reported. Again, I see this as a serious breach of protocol for someone who is supposed to be a constitutional monarch, above the process of politics. Granted, Brenda's not exactly demanding his head on a pike, but she was literally asking the Home Secretary why he can't get rid of a meddlesome priest.

As for her son, so maybe he wants to turn Buckingham Palace into a museum, bully for him. I suppose he might even deign to let people in for free. I'm more concerned about his bending the ear of government ministers on his topic du jour. Indeed, the whole rationale for Dominic Grieve refusing to release his letters is that they're political in nature:
"Much of the correspondence does indeed reflect the Prince of Wales's most deeply held personal views and beliefs. The letters in this case are in many cases particularly frank ... Disclosure of the correspondence could damage the Prince of Wales's ability to perform his duties when he becomes king. It is a matter of the highest importance within our constitutional framework that the monarch is a politically neutral figure able to engage in confidence with the government of the day, whatever its political colour."
In other words, these letters are full of Charles' political ramblings, such as they are, and since, when he becomes King, he's not supposed to have political opinions, we must block the release of these letters in which he states them, in order to continue the pretence that he has no political opinions. It's bullshit, and dangerous bullshit at that.
posted by Len at 1:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the derspiegel article on the controversy they highlighted the prince claiming that his expertise at video games transferred directly to his expertise as a killing machine of real fleshy humans.
posted by bukvich at 1:59 PM on January 24, 2013


There are plenty of counterexamples of people who live in that fishbowl and aren't as good at navigating it as Elizabeth.

We are arguing at cross purposes. You contend that there are other people who don't live up to her standards. I contend that we do not know how these people will act if and when they are Monarchs themselves. In order to save the Monarchy they may have to become very different people.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:01 PM on January 24, 2013


You contend that there are other people who don't live up to her standards. I contend that we do not know how these people will act if and when they are Monarchs themselves.

Further to my contention is the idea that one of the features of a monarchy is that you don't get to pick the monarch. Every now and then, just by the law of averages, you get an idiot heir. The idea that anyone can just decide to not be an idiot, even for self-preservation, runs fairly counter to the sum total of human experience.
posted by Etrigan at 2:05 PM on January 24, 2013


when he becomes King, he's not supposed to have political opinions, we must block the release of these letters in which he states them, in order to continue the pretence that he has no political opinions. It's bullshit, and dangerous bullshit at that.

Charles (and Elizabeth) are allowed to have political opinions, but they are not allowed to use their position to enforce them - they remain politically neutral if they don't dictate the direction and don't favour one political party over the other. This doesn't extrapolate that they must hold no known expression of their opinion to parliament at all. They act for the country as a whole, they are not a pointless figurehead entirely without power* (although largely they are).

I think the Royal Family are perfectly entitled to their opinions. And to voice them in the appropriate (ie mostly private) settings. To suggest that they are not allowed to have any political opinions is nonsensical and impossible. With their every move and word analysed so, it'd be very very hard (I'd suggest impossible) to remain entirely neutral. It wouldn't be the first time that a government has acted in a manner that has annoyed and angered the Queen, nor for it to be known, but Elizabeth doesn't interfere for the large part. It's not a completely sterile political environment but the skill in her position is stating what she means and thinks to the Government and yet still representing the country when she disagrees with the details.

*While they have no direct control over government it'd be relatively easy to drift opinion politically or publicly by favouring or not favouring different countries and slighting others and the same with issues or political parties/decisions. But, by and large, they don't. If they disagree with something, they do so behind closed doors, which is as it should be.
posted by Brockles at 2:14 PM on January 24, 2013


Brockles: Charles (and Elizabeth) are allowed to have political opinions, but they are not allowed to use their position to enforce them - they remain politically neutral if they don't dictate the direction and don't favour one political party over the other. This doesn't extrapolate that they must hold no known expression of their opinion to parliament at all. They act for the country as a whole, they are not a pointless figurehead entirely without power* (although largely they are).

I think the Royal Family are perfectly entitled to their opinions. And to voice them in the appropriate (ie mostly private) settings. To suggest that they are not allowed to have any political opinions is nonsensical and impossible


Yeah, I'll agree with some of that. I should have phrased what I said rather more precisely: yes, they're entitled to their opinions as private people, and to express them in private. But in their role as monarch, they should absolutely just shut the fuck up. A monarch stating an opinion on subject [X] to a PM, a Home Secretary, a Foreign Sec., or any other government minister, is by virtue of simply opening their mouth to them using their position to attempt to persuade (even if they're not successful).

I mean, if I had my druthers, I'd ship them all off to a council estate in Bracknell and give them the standard state pension (so long as they've kept their NI contributions up to date, that is). In the absence of that, if we're going to have a monarchy, it ought to be completely detached from politics.
posted by Len at 2:30 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can respect your dislike of the Royal Family, no matter how much I disagree, but BRACKNELL?

Come on now. They're not monsters. Some perspective, please.
posted by Brockles at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


if we're going to have a monarchy, it ought to be completely detached from politics.

I din't think that is correct, though. I think they're good as a moderating influence - pulling people away from the more radical and crazy political schemes to some extent. I think they would have value and importance in that regard. Fortunately we've not had to deal with a radical Monarch or a particularly radical government but I think that is something on the back burner that is what the Monarchy should be there to encourage balance.

That does rather rely on decent education and upbringing (especially morally) for the Royal Family but they've done pretty much ok for the most part, it has to be said.
posted by Brockles at 2:48 PM on January 24, 2013


...third in line to the throne...
Nah, fourth, the succession now goes:

Charles III
William V
Fetus VII
Henry VIIII

Also, it is a shame that Harry's great grandfather* isn't around, as old George could tell him a lot about the war, about the Nazis, and about what wonderful people they were I mean, what awful awful beastly people they were...never liked them, no never...not like his brother, that fascist bootlicker...no, I mean...can we start again?

*Assuming he's actually Charles' son, which of course there isn't a single doubt about, so lordy knows why I mentioned it!
posted by Jehan at 2:49 PM on January 24, 2013


Hey, does anyone have any strong opinions on ice cream truck tunes?
posted by phaedon at 2:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, don't get me started on "Turkey in the Straw," which was written by goddamn blackface minstrels.
posted by Etrigan at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's an ice cream truck that sometimes cruises around my neighborhood blaring the Tetris theme song. I approve.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2013


Hey, does anyone have any strong opinions on ice cream truck tunes?

This being Metafilter, who doesn't?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:42 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, the Tetris theme song is actually a Russian folk song.
posted by gilrain at 3:44 PM on January 24, 2013


He's fleein' the interview!
posted by mediated self at 3:46 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If a Prince who is currently serving in the military can't talk casually about killing, then who can?

I think people have some funny ideas (Disneyfied?) about what an aristocrat is.
posted by Catch at 4:35 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the price of being born into incredible wealth and celebrity is that you're held up to a slightly higher standard, I'm kind of okay with that. Your family has the resources to teach you right and to not do stupid stuff.

And despite the memetic crash and burn of the "This is my culture, not a costume," campaign, I'm also okay with judging people for racist or insensitive costumes. And racist or insensitive jokes. And I expect military personnel to be professional in the discussion of the execution of their jobs because I don't kill people for a living and I still am expected to be professional in the discussion of my job.

But isn't the British monarchy really just around to fill the pages of The Sun and other tabloids anyway? Do they really serve any other purpose these days?
posted by Skwirl at 8:21 PM on January 24, 2013


But isn't the British monarchy really just around to fill the pages of The Sun and other tabloids anyway? Do they really serve any other purpose these days?
To line their own pockets. Their forebear William of Normandy had to kill 100,000 folk so he could steal England, and by god their going to squeeze it for every penny.
posted by Jehan at 9:01 PM on January 24, 2013


>If he'd worn a Dracula costume, would we be talking about the historical evils perpetrated by Vlad Tepes, or the psychosexual predatorialism of the vampire myth?

You know that WW2 is still in living memory, right?


I was wondering if maybe the difference between my point of view and yoink's point of view is age - I was born in 1971, and my relatives served in the war on both sides, as a matter of fact. One of my grandfathers wore the Nazi uniform, and the terrible panic and flight through Pomerania, for example, is not just something out of a history book. I'm sure a lot of MeFites have similar family histories.

I don't think it is correct to compare the Nazi uniform with Genghis Khan or Vlad the Impaler. Nazism was a very unique ideology that was focused on death and murder, although I do recognize that some folks regard the Holocaust as just another holocaust, so perhaps it really is a different point of view entirely.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with my father when I was a teen, who was born at the start of the war, where I said I thought Hitler would someday just become another historical figure, much like other historical figures, and my father seemed pretty shocked by that.

So there is that generational disconnect. Maybe people these days (MeFites tend to be younger than me) have reached that stage where WWII is just another tragedy, similar to Genghis Khan or Napolean or whatever.

Still, I think what made me angry the most about the Nazi uniform thing, though, was that it demonstrated the utter amorality, arrogance and detachment the very rich can have for anyone and everything else.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:51 PM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, Jesus Christ...
posted by creeky at 10:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu:utter amorality, arrogance and detachment the very rich can have for anyone and everything else

Can I suggest that perhaps it's not the very rich so much as the very young? I mean, being rich does help with things like consequences, a word Harry only understands because they taught Latin at his school, but young people do idiotic things, make tasteless jokes, and commit terrible crimes because they're young, inexperienced, and impulsive. This is on council estates as well as the Bullingdon/Skull-and-Crossbones set.

Also, on a minor tangent, the start of this Hardcore History podcast touches on Mongols vs Nazis.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:29 AM on January 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


(also, the tune from our local ice cream van when I was a wean was the U.S. national anthem, and to this day when I hear it I associate it first with a ten pee mix-up and a bottle of ginger and then all the American stuff)
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:35 AM on January 25, 2013


...third in line to the throne...
Nah, fourth, the succession now goes:

Charles III
William V
Fetus VII
Henry VIIII


He'll be third until the foetus is born, unless something drastic to UK law has happened. Also, it took me way too long to figure out what VIIII meant.

The UK certainly seems to do better with women monarchs; I am glad they have agreed the foetus will be in the line regardless of gender.
posted by saucysault at 2:20 AM on January 25, 2013


Well certainly not in Harry's living memory. I mean, bear in mind that to Harry the Second World War was ancient history.

>I was wondering if maybe the difference between my point of view and yoink's point of view is age - I was born in 1971, and my relatives served in the war on both sides, as a matter of fact.

I don't know. I mean obviously it's in the past, but it is also in the living memory of his grandmother and the veterans who march on Remembrance Day in front of him.
posted by ersatz at 4:14 AM on January 25, 2013



But isn't the British monarchy really just around to fill the pages of The Sun and other tabloids anyway? Do they really serve any other purpose these days?


They are the centre of a vast network of privilege and power that suffuses through this country quite invisibly to most. This family lies under all the lords and ladies, baronets and manors, land titles and imprimaturs and thousands of society clingers-on. The really interesting question to me is not whether they should be permitted to continue (no), but what would happen to certain swathes of the UK if they were removed?
posted by forgetful snow at 4:40 AM on January 25, 2013


One can only expect so much from the son of James Hewitt...........


Prince Harry is a Spencer whose long-nosed looks come from his father's side.

Diana hadn't even met James Hewitt when Harry was conceived.
posted by Summer at 5:38 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


In before this gets paired up with Gangnam Style.
posted by Twain Device at 8:04 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's IX.

I know you're probably joking, but I can't let it go.
posted by Catch at 12:31 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was wondering if maybe the difference between my point of view and yoink's point of view is age - I was born in 1971, and my relatives served in the war on both sides, as a matter of fact. One of my grandfathers wore the Nazi uniform, and the terrible panic and flight through Pomerania, for example, is not just something out of a history book. I'm sure a lot of MeFites have similar family histories.

Age is probably a part of it, although I think in the opposite direction to what you seem to suggest. I'm quite a bit older than you and consequently closer to a time when there was more of a distinction made between "the Holocaust" and "World War II" (that is, no one in the 50s or 60s thought of WWII as being a war fought over the holocaust--which is certainly what Hollywood has turned it into) and when there was less of a sense of the war itself as a "sacred" subject. We all read WWII comic books, we all played Allied soldiers vs. German soldiers after school. We all made models of WWII airplanes and knew weird arcana about WWII military equipment. Sure the Germans were the "bad guys," but far more in the sense that they had been on the wrong team in the big sporting match than in any sense that they were all and universally dedicated to an unnameable and unthinkable evil. It's unimaginable, for example, that someone could try to make a remake of Hogan's Heroes nowadays--it would be seen as unbelievably crass; but it was a huge primetime success in the late 60s. Going to a fancy dress party as, say, Colonel Klink in 1968 would have caused not a single raised eyebrow--because no one could possibly imagine that this would somehow be readable as support for genocide.

Of course, this is not true of Harry and his generation, but I dare say he actually has more rather than less of a sense of connection to the history of WWII as a more or less historically "normal" war between England and Germany than the average child of his generation (given his family's particular role and position in the history of that conflict)--a history which would make his choice of that costume an obvious piece of black humor: "look, I'm wearing the uniform of our most famous historic enemies--ha ha ha!" To try to read this as some kind of proxy endorsement of Jewish genocide is just ridiculous.
posted by yoink at 2:49 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


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