By Jennifer Lipman
October 27, 2010
In just a fortnight, photographs of two politicians dressed as Nazis have been leaked into the public domain.
“I have not done anything wrong,” complained Mike Gardner (who went to a party as Adolf Hitler), formerly the Conservative leader of Harrogate Borough Council, as his party deselected him.
Republican Congressional candidate Rich Iot was similarly dismayed when a snapshot of him in SS gear emerged. "I have been the victim of "distortions of the truth," he lamented.
In the age of Facebook et al, it would be impressive if anybody vaguely in or hoping to get into a position of power could keep a Nazi-inspired Kodak moment under wraps. Which is why more politicians should take the advice of Northwestern University dean, Burgell J. Howard to heart.
Following a debacle at the campus last year, when some comics decided it would be a stellar idea to “black up” to go trick or treating, Mr Howard has advised his students:
“If you are planning to dress-up for Halloween, or will be attending any social gatherings planned for that weekend, please ask yourself these questions before deciding upon your costume choice.
“… Wearing a funny costume? Is the humour based on "making fun" of real people, human traits or cultures?
“… Wearing a historical costume? If this costume is meant to be historical, does it further misinformation or historical and cultural inaccuracies?
“… Wearing a ‘cultural' costume? Does this costume reduce cultural differences to jokes or stereotypes?
“… Could someone take offence with your costume and why?”
Perhaps similar advice should be disseminated around Westminster?