January 13, 2009

I guess I”€™m supposed to be shocked and dismayed by the clips, released this weekend, of Prince Harry using some rather mild racial language and generally acting like a buffoon while his First Mechanized Brigade’s tours Iraq. But for some reason I wasn”€™t much offended at all. 

Sure, it’s best not to call a member of your own brigade “€œour little Paki friend,”€ nor should a royal heir be spending his time, as they say, taking the mickey out of the Queen. Still, the prince was engaged in exactly the kind of clowning around that one would expect of a healthy young man of 24. (Just put the bloody camera away, Harry”€”this kind of thing seems hilarious at the time but always ends up in disaster.)  

See for yourself:

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But fear not! Even if this Takimag editor doesn”€™t see what all the fuss is about, the national Equity and Human Rights commission is on the case. And the Ministry of Defense has launched a formal inquiry and released the following earnest public announcement: “€œThis sort of language is not acceptable in a modern army.”€ I for one want the people charged with defending my country to be a bunch of mean, surly, cut-throat sons of bitches, but then I”€™ve always been out of step with the protocols of a “€œmodern army”€ in which the deadly use of force is reserved for “€œhumanitarian intervention,”€ “€œpeace keeping,”€ and making sure Afghan women receive an undergraduate education. Perhaps some more taxpayer funded diversity training in the schools will result from the “€œPaki”€ imbroglio? All we can say for sure is that, in the words of Brendan O”€™Neill, “€œthe old elite and its outdated manners (as personified by the Royal Family) has been well and truly usurped by a new elite and its new-fangled manners (as personified by quangos issuing guidelines on what words we may and may not use these days). 

The scandal surrounding the tape is also rather fascinating in terms of what it reveals about the Anglosphere we”€™re in”€”whose most noticeable attributes are hypersensitivity and utter vulgarity.  

The most scintillating scandals of our age are of the “€œsex tape”€ variety”€”videos that don”€™t so much offer a key-hole glimpse of public figures in flagrante delicto as display celebs performing erotica before the camera (with whole thing meant for private consumption, of course.) With the advent of streaming video on the Internet, these videos have proliferated to the point that particularly slutty and shameless starlettes make them and leak them to the press themselves in an attempt get their “€œ15 minutes.”€ (This genre achieved some mark of distinction when Saved By the Bell‘s Dustin “€œScreech”€ Diamond attempted to revive his career with such a gambit.)

Harry’s video is tangentially connected to the “€œsex tape”€ genre in that it doesn”€™t show the racist prince caught unawares but actually performing“€”first narrating a mockumentary of his mates lounging around lazily and then taking part in a comedy sketch in which he sends up his commanders and the queen. 

But if there’s a genre to which Harry “€œhate tape”€ unequivocally belongs, it is that of the “€œPC scandal”€”€”that is, a “€œscandal”€ in which the media gins up some outrage at a public’s figures apparent insensitivity. When your average American or British tabloid reader encounters these “€œshocking revelations”€ on the cover of his favorite paper, he’s usually left with a vague, creeping sense that he should feel some sort of vexation as a public duty to the multiculti regime”€””€œThat’s really horrible! … I guess.”€  

The most recent PC scandal occurred when Max Mosely, chief of Formula One racing, was filmed”€”with a bra-cam no less!”€”doing some S&M at the London brothel. News of the World broke this one as well, and when it was reported, the London journalists wagged their fingers not so much at Mosley’s hiring of prostitutes”€”no, this is acceptable in liberated London”€”Mosely’s real crime was to take part in a sex scenario that the journalists described as Nazi-fied”€”or at least, Mosely had the girls scold him auf Deutsch, and as everyone knows, German is the official language of intolerance. The whole thing seems to derive from the post-“€˜68 British schools”€™ inordinate obsession with instructing youth on the racist wickedness of Germany and the Third Reich”€””€œHitler = Bad”€ being about the only moral absolute tolerated in Cool Britannia.

Harry, of course, got himself embroiled in a similar scandal a couple of years ago when he attended a Halloween party dressed as a Wehrmacht soldier and donning a Swastika armband. Halloween would seem the perfect occasion to indulge in bad taste, and I”€™ve certainly been to parties at which people dressed up as worse. I also seriously doubt there would have been such a brouhaha in the media had Harry gone as Lenin or Chairman Mao”€”and dressing up as Trotsky or Castro would have earned him commendation in the press!

Harry’s real faux pas was his wearing of a NSDAP armband along with his Wehrmacht desert uniform”€”which in the German army was strictly verboten. If the utterly mediocre new action flick Valkyrie does any good it will be to instill in the public mind that hardly anyone in the elite military caste was a brown-shirt thug and that a man like Count von Stauffenberg could be fiercely anti-Nazi while at the same time meet his executioners proudly shouting, “€œLong Live Sacred Germany!”€ 

One of my favorite PC scandals over here in the States occurred last year when The Enquirer revealed a tape in which Duane “€œDog”€ Chapman, star of A&E’s “€œBounty Hunter”€ reality show, used the N-word. Ironically, the tape was taken from a voicemail to his son in which Dog warned him not to bring his new black girlfriend to the set of the show because, %E


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