- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Royal idiot

“Prince Harry probably didn’t think very hard about his costume before he wore it to the ‘Colonial and Native’ fancy dress party he attended [Jan. 8]. But after an enterprising fellow guest snapped a picture of him sporting the Nazi uniform of an Afrika Korps soldier — complete with swastika — he’s had to think about it quite a bit. …

“Harry has already run afoul of the media several times in incidents ranging from soft drugs and drinking to brawling with a photographer last October. An op-ed in the Independent summed up the recent fiasco in simple terms: ‘Harry is a playboy prince who loves to drink, party and hang out with a bunch of wastrels.’ …

“Thus, the fact that Harry made an idiot of himself came as no surprise, but the Nazi regalia was truly shocking.”

Ed Finn, writing on “A Royal Fhrer,” Friday in Slate at www.slate.com

Hollywood wedge

“Hollywood royalty wishes to maintain an adversarial relationship with its fan base. Many stars sought fame and fortune to escape their bourgeois upbringings. By fetishizing the poor and oppressed, and in honoring Fidel [Castro]’s revolution, this substantive celebrity subgroup advocates an unachievable egalitarian ideal while creating a wedge between themselves and their fellow countrymen in the wretched middle class.

“It goes without saying that Leo DiCaprio would rather be seen in Havana than caught dead at Wal-Mart. …

“It is a very emotional situation from a very emotional group of people. These are not the type of people you would want next to you in a bunker during war. That said: These are the people more than some of us don’t mind watching partially nude on pay cable. So we must somehow learn to live with one another again. …

“Conservatives exist in the closet in Hollywood because they know the nature of hiring out here. People hire people they are comfortable with. And most liberals in Hollywood detest conservatives.”

Andrew Breitbart, co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted,” interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez, Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Artistic engineer

“Leonardo [da Vinci] accepted the Aristotelian theory that all motion begins with an impetus. But Leonardo swiftly saw that the theory must be wrong: things didn’t go far enough fast enough. … He never resolved this problem … because he didn’t have the math for it, but he never stopped searching for a resolution. …

“This constant search for basic, rhyming, organic form meant that when he looked at a heart blossoming into its network of veins he saw, and sketched alongside it, a seed germinating into shoots; studying the curls on a beautiful woman’s head he thought in terms of the swirling motion of a turbulent flow of water … and, studying the swirling tendrils of a sea anemone, he turns them into something as dressed up and willed as a fashionable woman’s hairdo. He even doodled churches that resembled the forms of shells and flowers. …

“He is the first artist since antiquity to put aside the tone of anxious flunkydom and set the patrons out to pursue him. …

“Leonardo presented himself, and was accepted, as an engineer above all. The contempt that he showed for painters was made up for by the respect that he showed architects and engineers. … He was always going somewhere to consult on fortifications, or rerouting a river, or reinstalling the foundations of a church.”

Adam Gopnik, writing on “Renaissance Man,” in the Jan. 17 issue of the New Yorker

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