Monday, January 12, 2009

I Only Meant The Bad Ones

Normally I don't really give a crap about Britain's royal family but this made me laugh:

Videos purportedly shot by Britain's Prince Harry and including offensive language prompted an official apology Saturday from the prince and the royal family.

Prince Harry apologized when video surfaced of him making offensive comments while on military duty in 2006.

According to the British-based News of the World, which released the videos on its Web site, the videos show British soldiers while a voice presumed to be Harry's calls one solider a "Paki," and in another clip tells soldier wearing a cloth on his head that he looks "like a raghead."

...The royal family said the 'paki' term was a nickname for a friend in his platoon.

"There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend," the St. James's Palace statement said.

The second video was filmed after arriving in Cyprus, according to News of the World, and shows a British soldier with a cloth over his head.

A voice, which the News of the World claims to be Harry's, is heard saying, "(explicative) me, you look like a raghead."

In response to that comment, St. James's Palace said, "Prince Harry used the term 'raghead' to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgent."

That's smooth. Just as a reminder, here's the Urban Dictionary's definition of the term:

The rag being a turban and the head being that of a middle eastern or far eastern male. Although not all middle eastern or far eastern people wear turbans the term raghead is used in any case. It's the same as calling an Iraqi a Paki. See alse: towelhead, sand nigger, Paki, camel jockey, oil nigger.
OK, the "Paki" thing I can see. The guy's a buddy and they're in the military: almost everybody picks up a nickname and I don't think anybody expects them all to be politically correct. I'm not saying that some people won't or shouldn't find this offensive, just that it's not that bad considering the circumstances and the parties involved.

But "raghead"? Come on dude, that's just plain racist; after you were photographed dressed as a Nazi at a British "colonial and native" party a few years back you really need to be a little less tone-deaf. But my favorite part of this story is the official explanation: he "used the term 'raghead' to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgent." That's awesome. Yeah, I used a blatantly racist term that encompasses all Middle Eastern guys but I only meant the bad ones. The American equivalent would be like one of Bush's daughters being recorded saying one of her friends looked like a "nigger" and the official White House statement saying that she only used the word to refer to gang bangers who commit drive-by shootings. Who the hell would buy that?

This story brings to light a phenomenon I've always found interesting about the military during times of war: the condoned usage of racism towards your enemies. Let's face it, racism is principally about hate and I assume that it makes it somewhat easier to kill another human being if you hate them on some level. In past wars American and British troops have used words like "gooks," "Nips," "Japs," "Krauts," or "Huns" to help dehumanize their opponents. When you combine this history with the fact that the majority of enlisted men come from lower economic and education levels it comes as no great surprise that troops are still defining their enemies in this way even after we've entered the 21st century.

If the royal family was going to be honest, they would just say, "Look, everybody lets some stupid racist shit slip sometimes and when you're fighting against a people whose skin color, culture, religious beliefs and values are for the most part fairly alien from your own this kind of thing is just going to happen sometimes." But they're not going to be honest because that would entail openly discussing the ugly side of military culture and wartime practices and Western societies don't like to do that because it makes it that much harder to wage war with the support of their citizenry. War is ugly, and your government and our allies would rather the average person not know just how ugly.


Anonymous said...

JBW, I can only speak for myself as a South-east asian. I am not offended, especially considering the context in which it was used.

My apologies for not responding to comments on Americanpower lately, as I have been completely turned off by the over blown bigotry and hypocrisy on that site.

At the expense of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I ask: Is this American power, pseudo-academic being payed off by the IDF to write this bullshit?

Maybe you have some answers :)?


JBW said...

CS, Don over at AP is like most neocons/theocons: he's not happy unless he has some perceived threat/persecution to rail against and for some reason that I can't figure out he's taken the Israeli-Palestinian fight very personally (although if he were getting paid it would explain much). Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

CS, I can certainly understand not commenting at AmericanPowerMad. I try not to do so myself. DD mentioned at some point that he is a former Democrat. And, like a former drunk or a David Horowitz, there is no one more zealous than the convert. I would assume he is not a paid agent. Maybe he is auditioning for a job at AIPAC, if the professor thing doesn't work out.

I do like reading it to see how far he can go with the smears of his enemies. He really seems to be draining all the pejorative out of his insults, though. When you are referring to Obama as a Stalinist and then people (a majority even) see Obama favorably it minimizes the evil of Stalin, at least to my mind. Or calling newshoggers, neo-totalitarians, a few days ago. Just because he disagrees with someone they become totalitarian. And screw the meaningless "neo" on the front of it.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

You guys are too hard on "The Nutty Professor." The poor guy works hard finding bullshit to cut and paste to his blog. Now is the time for understanding and brotherhood you bunch of ragheads.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I could be wrong because I am, of course, pro-defeat.

Van Zan said...

Harry was just talking as soldiers do. Harmless.

In a different league as Admiral William Halsey, one of our great heroes, having "kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs" painted on the side of his ship and exhortations to his crew that they would castrate all the men and have all the females spayed when they got to Japan.

I don't buy the indignant defense of "oh well it was wartime y'know!" either... Halsey called the Japanese "animals" - post-war - in his memoirs.
Wartime is not an excuse. It's not okay to vent all hate if it helps you 'win'. It's a time when honor matters more than ever, because that's what prevents war-crimes, that's what keeps the cause just. Some of these "animals" were fighting for America in Europe while their families languished in internment camps.

Tangential to that...

It would have been illegal for a Japanese American, and other Asian groups, to marry a white person in California prior to 1948. There were specific laws to prohibit it (that had nothing to do with the war).

MY marriage would have been illegal.

Given the recent controversy over Proposition 8, it's an interesting perspective on minority rights too.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...


People on the lower end of the economic level who work for their money are not the dregs of society. I think that able-bodied people who prefer not to work though work is available are the dregs of society, however, because it shows a character issue to fail to work for one's income if one is able and the work is available.

Obviously, an unemployed person who wants work does not have a character issue. But the people who are employed in low-paying jobs are equal in character to those who work at the highest level paying job. That's what I was always taught at least. Education and income level has nothing to do with character, imo, and it seems like you attribute character issues to low income and little education. Wealthy well educated people are equally capable of racism... and perhaps are more prone to classism??

As a side note, I have to wonder if Governor Palin offends people's class bigotry and so they just couldn't accept her as a leader. The level contempt for her was incredible to me - as if she didn't "know her place" and people are still trying ot "put her in her place". What is her place?? And why?? Because many Americans believe a working and middle class individual void of a Harvard/Yale education is capable by character and intelligence and hard work to be our nation's leader. I just wonder how pervasive attitudes towards classism are. I recall professors at university repeatedly stating that the working and middle class who didn't attend college were the "uneducated ignorant" and a lot of contempt was heaped upon them. I think it creates ideas that are inaccurate, myself.

I wonder how pervasive classism is in today's culture.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

"When fascism comes to America it will be draped in a flag and carrying a Harvard degree." Grace Explosion.

How bout that??

Anonymous said...

Palin's social class didn't offend people, her minute brain power did. Getting all folksy with "you betchas" and "joe six packs" isn't what we want out of our leaders. Mental horsepower is. Does that require a Harvard degree? Hell no. Is Barack smarter than Sarah? Based on what I've seen, read and heard, HELL YES.

Which brings me to a point I've wanted to make for a while:

Grace, you claim Barry O is the 666 beast. While I disagree, I do think it's interesting to note that those who are often tagged with this label are done so because they have the ability to make zealots like you believe the world could unite behind such a leader. But why would they unite? Because such a leader is dumb? Not charismatic? Has bad ideas? No, I think it would be the opposite. People like to give Barry the anti-Christ tag because they see exactly all the positive things he's helping bring about, and the only argument left is to say "he's the devil." Therefore, it's a bit of a compliment, especially once you realize he's just a man.

JBW said...

VZ, from what I understand the precedent for the California courts overturning the ruling against gay marriage last year was from the original anti-miscegenation laws from back in the day.

Grace, I never said that folks from lower income and education levels are the "dregs of society" or have "less character" than those who make more money and are better educated. Just that they can be less progressive publicly on matters of race, especially within the ranks of our military. I assume that rich people are just as capable of being racist, they're just less outspoken in public circles.

And I don't recall anyone from the Obama campaign talking shit about Palin because of her working-class background. As BD says, it was her lack of ability and curiosity about the rest of the world they pointed to.

However, I do recall the McCain campaign on many occasions talking shit about Obama because he earned himself a world-class Ivy league education. Andrew Sullivan summed up McCain's blatantly hypocritical use of classism thusly:

"McCain was a child of immense privilege, a son and grandson of admirals, given a prized education at the Naval Academy which he threw away - a performance he now touts in his favor. He dumped his first wife in favor of a fantastically wealthy heiress. He has had more money for a longer time than Obama has ever dreamed of. Obama, meanwhile, grew up on food stamps, was reared by a single mother and grandparents and by dint of sheer talent and hard work got to be the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. He was given very little and made the most of it; McCain was given so much and began his life, as he concedes, by taking it all for granted."

2008 became the year when it was suddenly a bad thing to be elite; I wrote a rather lengthy post on this back in April that I was particularly proud of. The bottom line is: Obama ran on a platform of helping the lower and middle classes while McCain-Palin put all of their energy into simply trying to turn these same people against Obama. I also think that classism is a problem in America today. Palin cynically tried to take advantage of that in the last election and many on the right ate it up, present company included.

BD, tread carefully when discussing the 666 beast around Grace: that kind of crazy don't wash off so easily.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

On a serious note about Sarah Palin, she touted her husband being a union man and her part of a union family. I know Union when I see it. She was and is full of shit. Assholes like her and her husband only joined the Union because it was a condition of employment. They are scab wannabees. Makes me want to get my old trusty ax handle out of the closet.

Anonymous said...

Didn't we all went through a phase of life where we used racial slurs because we could. Some of us just hit it later than others.

JBW said...

Agreed one L, I was just commenting on the phenomenon within military culture.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...


That's just plain nasty to be so full of hate that you talk about ax murdering people. Evil. T101, can you get that under control and behave in a human manner towards fellow human beings who worked for everything they have.

JBW, Obama has had Muslim backing for years. He got into Harvard because Muslims pulled for him - and he's had financial backing and strings pulled for him for decades. He ended up in the White House because powers that be put him there. He's no Abe Lincoln. He's more a Manchurian but tries to channel Abe's visage as his mask. But those pulling the strings are not simple working folk. He will speak with Hamas, Ahmadinejab, and "retool the US image to the Muslim world" with a specific intent in mind. He's going to hand them the UN-USA on a platter. And heads will roll.

JBW said...

Grace, upon further thought what you're saying actually makes a lot of sense. I see now why God and Satan do the things they do and your explanation of how Obama got into power and where he'll lead this country is fair and reasoned and nothing like the rantings of a theocratic lunatic...Bwah, ha, ha, ha!!!

I'm sorry, I just couldn't keep that up any longer! Merely wanted to experience what it would feel like for a moment. Grace: you crazy, girl! And I noticed that you conveniently ignored everything I said about classism above.

See BD: magical fruit, evil snakes and Muslim conspiracies. Good luck reasoning with that.

Van Zan said...

Truth 101,

You jokingly meant "ax HANDLE", as in an object without a blade, used to inflict pain in violent confrontations with scab labor during Union protests in days of yore? Or am I wrong about that? Just curious.
You see... I don't see the words "murder" or "kill" anywhere in your related comment there.
So... I'm thinking maybe someone who cares absolutely not at all for facts, and prefers baseless moronic assumptions and wacky delusions instead... like someone we both have encountered here in the internet... might have completely invented the notion that you are advocating ax murder and thus - once again - falsely accused someone of evil intent... which is really funny because some of these self-same asshole morons post pictures on their blogs of people they want murdered... and assume political positions of me that I actually don't advance, and have never written anywhere, and all in all these asshole morons are, generally, not terribly bright...
Fair to say?

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

Yeah, when someone talks about picking up an ax in relation to going after people... they're not talking about attacking someone with an ax or anything. Course not.

So what did you REALLY mean, T101?? Something beneficent??

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...


I do think Obama himself was silent on the matter of Palin relative to class. The MSM and others are responsible for their own actions.

I appreciate your effort to clarify regarding your position relative to those who earn lower incomes. But you'd be amazed that we're all the same, really. Those who earn more money are more greatly tempted to pride and vanity in thinking themselves better than the poor on the basis of wealth. I think we're all tempted to the same things, and the wealthy are no less racist - but they may be more image conscious. I would think that makes them having greater powers of denial and narcissism. But I really do see them as the same, just thinking they're at a higher level, myself. I didn't want to comment earlier cause I didn't want to insult, unintentionally, with my pov, or argue.

I don't see elitism as valid. Sorry, I think it's self-delusion and we are all the same, basically... all subject to the same faults that we must constantly struggle against by grace and through calls to higher brotherly love in viewing one another as equals.


Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...


Yes, I do view life as having a primary metaphysical component of the battle of good and evil. I define God as wholly good, Satan as wholly evil - and man under the influence of one or the other... acting by one spirit or by the other Spirit. That's how I view life and reality. I see Obama as evil having denied God and ultimate evil as having claimed to be God as a messiah. To me, that's fully satanic and evil and deceptive and subtle, etc... which is why he qualifies for suspicion as the 666 beast of Revelation as he rises to power and seeks to become a world leader while claiming to be God. That's the bottom-line of why I suspect him... and other things appear to be "lining up" in timing, world events, allegiances, etc. Yep, that's my logic... and I can understand why a person who doesn't believe in God, Satan, or the apocalypse would not see validity in my line of reasoning. But a logical line of reasoning based on the premises I've described, to me, clearly exists.

Time will tell. I don't think we can trust our own judgment because we are subject to deception and false assumption. We're human. That I'll grant. Always have to "leave room" for human error, imo, but I definitely am going to believe he's the 666 beast unless time and history revealed and unfolded proves me wrong. (I'll pass on betting, but thanks for the offer of your worldly possessions in case there are no worldly possessions left. lol)


JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Good God Almighty Grace! You don't have a problem with the gun I own but God forbid I wield my trusty old ax handle in the face of scabs and other miscreants. And Van Zan is right. For a Jesus freak you sure like to tell some whoppers Baby. You're Jesus Freakin me out.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

Ummmm... T101... it's really wrong for you to talk about doing violence. And when you talk about getting an ax - most people are going to think about an axe with a blade. You didn't say "ax handle"... you said "ax".

You're justifying yourself and you're not realizing it's wrong to threaten violence.... or say things about physically attacking Sarah Palin.

It's wrong to talk about attacking her physically... and if anyone wants to justify that... that's beyond "partisan". I mean, how can you try to justify that?? Why not admit it's wrong apologize and say you're not for violently attacking women?? Even when they hold a political position you don't agree with - and have union backgrounds. Who are you to determine who has a real "right" to say they belonged to unions?? My dad belonged to unions. Not everyone who belongs to unions has to agree to be a leftist.

I just think you're making excuses for something extreme you said - and there is no excuse. When excuses end, that's when real apologies begin... real change... in recognition.

No, no violence and no threats of violence against Governor Palin in ax-wielding are appropriate. That you and others would try to justify it is inexcusable, imo.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...


You certainly are neither a gentleman nor a scholar. And you have the added disgusting trait as to be proud of yourself in your poor manners and hateful character. A better person would be ashamed of themselves for speaking as you speak. You justify stating a physical attack on Governor Palin... and you speak straight out of the gutter. When I ask God to bring judgment on mass murderers making it very clear I'm not calling for any physical attack - you intentionally try to twist things because you lack any moral standing or character. You're despicable in your speech and behavior. And you don't have the sense to be ashamed of yourself - and are actually believing you're somehow "elite". You're appalling, actually, as a human being.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

"Makes me want to get my old trusty ax handle out of the closet."
I cut and pasted that for you Grace. Please note the word "handle." And please refrain from saying you want Barack Obama to burn in hell. Then changing that to only burn for a thousand years because everyone will be going to Heaven after that. It offends me that you want the next President to burn for any period of time. I don't want George W. to burn. I just want him to go away. And just so you know Grace Baby; I never had to actually use my ax handle. Standing firm with arms folded, ax handle in hand and a menacing Union stare was enough to keep the scabs and knee breakers on the other side of the picket lines. And just so you know this, I fought for pay equity for the women in my bargaining unit above all else. I have and two wonderful daughters. This guy doesn't take the abuse and exploitation of women lying down girlfriend. So knock off your pathetic attempt to be a Rove Jr. It's neither funny or fooling anybody.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...
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JBW said...

Alright, Grace: enough. Everyone here is tired of hearing about axes vs. axe handles. Nobody's going to attack Sarah Palin so just let it go. This is the kind of thing I was talking about.

repsac3 said...

Oh my... I see I've been missing all the fun.

I think I know why, though... I tried to add this place to one of those blogger "My blog list" sidebars (at a parody blog I just created -- American Nihilist, in case any of you want to be co-authors, or anything, seeing as how pretty much all of you are nihilists like me) -- and I was informed that this blog has no feed...

Is that intentional, or just some strange happenstance? Might it be something that one can fix in the settings, perhaps?

I have nothing to say about the paki raghead prince, and Grace makes my brain hurt this early in the morn, so I think I'll just end here.

JBW said...

Hey repsac3, thanks for stopping in. I'm pretty sure I fixed the feed problem if you'd like to try it again.

repsac3 said...

The feed is fixed, and you are now being watched on the list of nihilists, postmodernists, and wild-eyed denialists... (like you even care...)

If you wish to share your words & images over there, I need only your e-mail address to make you a co-author. (Positions are open to all who're on Santa Donald's naughty list...)