THE PRINCE'S NO CLOTHES
This last few days I've found myself asking the question where did our species go wrong?
It's a complicated question. For starters, there are a hell of a lot of things wrong with us and to isolate one is a bit silly. But there has been a rumble about naked photos of a young prince (and a prince is just a man), the possibly intellectually-challenged Prince Harry, and heads have been shaken and all sorts of comments have been made. The man, we have been told, is an idiot.
In my opinion the first absurdity is the existence of royal princes at all. The burden placed on their shoulders is almost certainly a contravention of their human rights, I would have thought. I know that in nature many species have an order with a grizzled old timer at the top, but we've hopefully progressed a tad beyond the Orang-utan stage, and anyway we measure too man people as possible heirs to a throne that some argue should never be.
But in this country we haven't actually progress very far. We still have our dynastic leader and they have children upon whose shoulders absurd expectation is piled, especially when they're often too young to cope with it.
Take this Prince Harry's dad. He knew he was heir to the throne and hence a very important person as soon as he was old enough to understand anything. One day, he knew, he would be the figurehead of a nation. He knew that upon the flourish of his pen great things might happen. He was going to be King. And he knew that before his mother became queen in 1952. And he still knows that. At an age when many have retired or are looking forward to retirement pretty soon, he's waiting for his time to come.
But his son Prince Harry is second in line after that dad. He's in no-man's land, a man who may, if something goes wrong with his older brother, be King. He's in the same position as his grandfather was in when that man's brother abdicated the throne in favour of his love for a woman â€“ and every man must surely have the right to love the woman of his own personal choice even if that woman is a divorcee! So Prince Harry is in a weird place.
A second area where our species has gone wrong is our attitude to nudity. A naked man is not ugly or threatening or foul: he's just a man who's naked and in terms of aesthetics nowhere near as attractive as a naked woman â€“ and even women agree with that. But I suspect that it's improper for a man to be seen naked because he has no control over his wedding tackle, and that equipment might give his emotions away from time to time. You must know what I mean by that. No man wants to be seen in an aroused state, so it's best covered up altogether, and if he's to cover up, so must she.
Of course, religion has grabbed hold of the notion of nudity and condemned it over the years. For some reason that I've never fathomed most religions see carnal activity and the bits of the body involved in it as particularly sinful. My own theory is that sex might be seen, by the poor, undernourished and overworked, as a preferable alternative to various gods and thus best suppressed by their betters under threat of hell-fire and such horrors.
So there's a whole mish-mash of mess over nudity, and if a young prince bears all it causes both shock and horror. It's a good thing that other primates don't hold similar opinions! There wouldn't be enough cloth to go round!
Go to any art gallery, though, and you can admire a whole host of nudes, mainly female though not exclusively so. They're trapped and static and hence acceptable. In my life-time the only nudes permissible on the stage had to be in a static tableaux. It's a darned good job that attitudes have changed there, because it was all so artificial.
But a pleasing portrait of a female in the altogether, skilfully painted and glorious under the sun, is a wonder to behold. It's not that we hate nudity as a species, it's that we find male nudity a bit uncomfortable. It's the the various dimensions that the male organ can unwittingly adopt if it's owner, for no better reason that boredom, gets a certain kind of thought.
So back to the prince. He was in a hotel room with friends of his own, and he was naked.
What he should be doing, rather than sniff at the outrage the publication of pictures has caused, is look at his friendship group and give some of them the sack. In our society, in any society, it's wrong to slip private photographs into the sleazy public arena. Friends don't do that.
His grandmother, now an old lady, has been a real treasure all her days. But I sometimes wonder, has she been a truly happy treasure? Has she had a group of genuine friends? And has Harry got a group of genuine friends? Or is he surrounded by pretentious gits after making a quick buck if he slips his pants off and waves his willy about in front of them? It's worth a thought.
And where, for goodness' sake, did out species go wrong?
Â© Peter Rogerson 25.08.12