Something about Harry

by Yule Heibel on January 15, 2005

Struck by some kind of viral or bacterial infection — which is horrid enough to remind me of my 1998 near-death encounter with pneumonia — I still feel compelled to heave the old laptop literally onto my lap, because how can I let this story pass? By now everyone has read about not-so-charming-prince Harry and his swastika armband, right? Do you know that last year he went to the same birthday party with the same awful, “only an upper-class twit of the year could think of this” theme: “Native and Colonial”? My son said that last year either Harry or some others were dressed as Zulu “warriors.” Charming, I’m sure (not!). Like, what kind of thick-brick-of-a-brain party theme is that, anyway? Doesn’t it just invite “offensive” costumes, along the lines of having a party with the theme, say, “Alcatraz and Abu Ghraib”? The people holding and attending the party don’t give a damn about “approved” themes or fitting in with the vanilla values of the middle-of-the-road class, or of the press, which just loves to tut-tut-tut. They are the upper-class twits of the year having a good time, and that means you ordinary blokes can just p-off. Harry’s costume actually expressed their world-view perfectly: “we are the Herrenrasse [Master race].” Perhaps drunken-sod-ass Harry has a hidden genius after all: for symbolic semiology of the visual kind. Next, consider this: any Joe-off-the-street “commoner” could easily wear the Afrika-Korps costume with its tacked-on swastika armband — the costume shop that rented the outfit to Harry has rented this item many times to many others. The shop even has a costume of an SS-officer; apparently, Harry originally wanted to rent that one, but it was too small. The average commoner has the freedom of expression to be an idiot, to be in bad taste, to dress as he wants. But somehow, we don’t want to allow that Harry has that freedom. Why not? Simply because he was born into a position, which he’s now supposed to “uphold” and “represent”? Hmmm, in other words, doesn’t this prove beyond a doubt, however, that if one is going to uphold the principle of freedom of expression, one should oppose the continuation of any inherited positions, since being born into one can result in the most egregious restrictions of one’s individual freedom? Is the press, with its saccharine outrage, in actual fact strengthening and defending royal institution here, even as it piously wrings its collective hands that Harry’s exploit is perhaps one more symptom of the monarchy’s demise? I think the monarchy should be abolished, and Harry should be allowed to act (within the law) like the asshole he clearly is. (If one wants to see how Harry’s blunder can be used to fan the flames of support for the monarchy, see this article: a poll indicates most Britons disapprove of Harry’s behaviour. They like his goody-two-shoes brother better, because he has learned not to make the error of exercising his free speech in public. But what is free speech if it can’t be public? I have to conclude that too many Britons are brainwashed. Harry would probably say, “But I am a prince, therefore I get to do what I want.” (Remember, he’s reputed to be not so bright.) He could argue that in choosing to behave as he wants, he is actually embodying royal prerogative in the fullest sense of the term. In other words, Harry is using his “privilege” to act like a pig (and it seems Fergie, his aunt, is defending this), while the press is using the royal privilege as a stick with which to beat him. It’s kind of funny, actually, because both of them exhibit a fine disregard for the underlying notion of free speech which should apply equally to all: low- and high-born, regardless of gender or race. What’s not funny, however, and what really amounts to a gross disregard of free speech is this: in the wake of the “Heil Harry” incident, German political leaders (on both the left and the right) have proposed to the European Parliament that the German ban on all outward symbols and insignia referring to the Nazi period should be extended to all of Europe. (I.e., displaying the swastika is illegal in Germany, and the Germans now want to have that ban legal in the rest of Europe.) I hate the Nazis and all they stood for, and I hate the Neo-Nazis perhaps even more because they’re certifiable cretins who willfully ignore anything that would enlighten their dark and shrunken brainmass, but I can’t imagine that such a sweeping restriction on free speech makes any sense whatsoever. Get rid of the monarchy: that would be more effective. Finally, I have an idea for a costume that Harry should have worn instead — he would have saved himself some of the present flak: He should have dressed as his prospective potential father-in-law, Charles Davy, who is a Zimbabwean mafioso of the worst sort, a man who has made a career out of sucking up to the psychopath Robert Mugabe, a man who charges rich bastards $30,000 for a three-week jaunt on his “farm” where they can “legally” (ol’ Bobby M. says it’s ok) shoot endangered big game, like elephants and lions. Now that costume would have been a sartorial statement worth reporting.


Kate S. January 23, 2005 at 4:34 pm

Wow, Yule, of all the reading I did on this subject, you are the only one that defended his right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and of course you are right: if we are to truly embrace this idealogy, we have to let the kids have their fun. Even the Neo Nazis, scum of the Earth that the little, mis-guided bottom feeders are.

I saw it as a prank. I don’t think Harry has any aspirations to the SS. It was a joke! But look at the powerful effect it had, parting the seas of humanity … and I secretly think that’s what the little prince had in mind, all along.

He’s obviously stuck in that frustating mode of dashed hopes and realizations that he will never be King, he will never be as smart or as handsome or as liked or as embraced as his bigger brother, yet he can never escape his destiny and just go off to live a reasonably normal lifestyle in relative obscurity. He will forever be trapped, for the rest of his life, inside a fishbowl, the world (and tabloids) watching his every move. So, of course, this stunt was planned for an intended audience! He’s pissed off! He’s tired of this role, already. He’s reached his saturation point.

That realization of a lifetime of no privacy and being expected to “act like royalty” at all times would certainly piss me off enough to want to wear a swastika armband to a party, while getting pissed out of my mind.

Good post, Yule. Uh … where is everybody?

Yule Heibel January 23, 2005 at 5:14 pm

Yes, I sure wouldn’t want to be born into such a situation. There was an article in a Scottish paper, wherein a Labour pol basically said, “let ’em keep doing this, more rope, and eventually we can get rid of the monarchy.” That would probably be the best thing.

Re. where is everybody: trying to ease into January, maybe? I’ve been sick with a bug that attacked the respiratory system, so I dunno. I bet some people are shovelling snow right now!

Anonymous January 24, 2005 at 9:47 am

Hey Yule. Rest up, get better. Stay warm, spring’s coming. But right now, it’s even cold down here in Atl. Ga.

Yeah, down here in the states, we are very gingerly easing into Jan. and 2005 with Mr. Mandate and yet another war. You know, we’ve had the war against (some) drugs, the war against (some) terrorists, and now we have the war against (some) tyrants. At least we’re getting down to Orwellian cases now. They’ve all tended this way, but now it can be said — Tyranny is Freedom.

Anyway, Re: Heil Harry, what a bizarre age — everything is magnified and nothing makes sense.

Kate S. January 24, 2005 at 2:07 pm

Lol-ing @ Bruce. 🙂 “Tyranny is Freedom.” lolololol

“Strange weather we’re having.” (The Cowardly Lion)

Yule Heibel January 27, 2005 at 3:03 am

I’ll second Kate, Bruce! Tyranny is freedom — ouch! Man, that would be really funny if it weren’t becoming so “true” in an Orwellian sort of way.

Here’s a correlate for “Tyranny is Freedom”: PAX AMERICANA. Oh, and merging of departments is good, isn’t it? Like, merging defense and intelligence? Hmmm? How do you spell police state?

Anonymous August 25, 2005 at 1:43 pm

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