Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Harry the Nazi" and Communist Chic

Andrew Stuttaford asks a question regarding the Prince Harry the Nazi story of particular interest to your humble correspondent: would there have been a similar controversy if Hal had gone in Soviet, as opposed to National Socialist, attire?

Would there, indeed?

The Fox, Halloween 2003

A more casual Lenin, seen with a pre-icepick Trotsky

As for Hal: it would obviously be somewhat hypocritical of me to criticize his choice in costumes. For my part, I went disguised as Lenin for Halloween because I wanted to go as something genuinely scary - and what could be scarier than the man whose murderous ideology lead to the death of tens of millions? (Well, there's probably some scarier stuff, but nothing I could pull off on my limited budget.) It was also kind of a piece of conservative performance art, since I assumed (correctly, it turned out) that people (and by people I mean Yale grad students, who are, I think, a sort of people) who would have been aghast if I'd gone costumed as Hitler or Goering would be amused and enthusiastic at my Lenin. Not all mass murderers, it seems, are equal.

Remembering that Harry's great-grandfather was one of the leaders in the fight to defeat the Nazis, I can't help but wonder if, say, the descendants of Scipio Africanus went parading around costumed as Hannibal Barca, even in the darkest days of the corruption of republican Rome. Or whether Edward VII paraded around the dance halls and brothels of late 19th century London attired as Old Boney. (Actually, he probably did, that degenerate.)