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Costume Gone Awry

Being the Anglophile that I am, I couldn't help but notice Prince Harry in the news this week. He was invited to a Bad Taste Ball, where he had been told no pictures would be taken, but his Nazi soldier costume was in such bad taste that it got the whole world riled up. Apparently someone took the picture on their camera phone and then sold it to the tabloids. Why he would be so stupid as to choose that costume is beyond me, especially given the fact that there is going to be a Holocaust memorial in London later this month, but despite my Holocaust and World War II classes this past year, I wasn't horrified. It was after all a costume. When I went to the Court TV Open Court message boards, there were two long threads about Harry's insensitivity. I ended up defending my generation because people seem to think we don't "get" the Holocaust. Oh we get it all right, in very small doses in history class. Much of my generation probably doesn't know that the six million Jews killed were only half of the total dead by genocide. As such, I'm not surprised by the Prince's act, as his pot incident and night club fight have shown him to not have the world's best judgment.

I was very surprised by the actions taken following the release of the offending photo. Both Princes Harry and William are being sent to tour Auschwitz to try to realize the gravity of the situation. William is being sent because while he was at the Bad Taste Ball in a leopard suit, he knew of Harry's costume and didn't try to change his mind. However, a trip to middle-of-nowhere Poland isn't the end of the story. Now the European Union is considering banning swastikas all across Europe. Well, I can see how they may want to do this, but I think it a bit extreme. Plus, if they ban swastikas, US Congress may just well decide that banning the Confederate battle flag is a good idea, but that is another entry entirely. And then there is the fact that while the Nazis may have perverted it, a swastika that isn't on a tilted axis is a Buddhist symbol for peace. So, technically you'd be getting into a religious freedom arguments. Anyway, it's late and I'm rambling, but I believe that princely stupidity has been blown way out of proportion.