Sunday, January 16, 2005

Roger L. Simon on Prince Harry's Nazi Fancy Dress

MOSCOW--Roger L. Simon: Mystery Novelist and Screenwriter has some interesting thoughts on the British Royal Family's latest embarrassment. We were in England when Prince Harry's Nazi costume photo came out in the Sun with the headline "Heil Harry". The BBC soon had Professor David Cesarani (full disclosure, I met him many years ago when researching my film "Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?") on the air to explain that it was Rommel's Afrika Corps costume, not an SS outfit, so not that bad. Interesting and true to an extent, but still...

Here's what Simon says:
I think, until quite recently, I was one of those Jews who leaned to not making a fuss when young idiots like Prince Harry displayed an insensitivity (putting it mildly) to my co-religionists. No more. The epidemic is spreading again and I can only nod my head when tabloids like the Daily News refer to him as "Heil Harry." It's time for the Royal Family, everyone's favorite tourist attraction, to go.

The British have changed Royal Families before, from Tudor to Orange to Windsor. Pretty clear the Windsors have reached the end of the line, I agree with Simon. Perhaps the English might start posting "Help Wanted" ads for new royals on

This Nazi Harry thing is symptomatic of the problem with England: now a apparently nation of lager louts, football hooligans and Royal Nazi dress-up party boys, it seems.

The same day the Prince Harry story broke, the Daily Mail had a photo layout of middle-class lads and lassies dead drunk on their faces or vomiting like the star of "Team America World Police." And a big profile of the latest show at the Royal Court Theatre--an exhibitionist who invited men from the audience to peform a live sex act with him in Sloane Square on opening night, then went out and did it in front of the remains of the audience. The writer pointed out that the Royal Court theatre has a big government subsidy from the Arts Council, and National Lottery, so it was British Taxpayer's Dollars At Work. We went through this kind of thing in the USA in the 1990s--how stale, stupid, and pathetic.

Plus the big TV show is "Desperate Housewives." Yuck.

The only redeeming sign was a poster announcing that Trafalgar Square would become Red Square on January 15th, with a Russian Winter Festival. We flew back to Moscow that day, back in a country that at least still takes culture seriously. On the TV news we watched Ken Livingstone and the Russian Army Chorus (formerly the Red Army Chorus), singing national songs. All the TV channels carried it here, and all the Russian anchors seemed very proud...