How to Make Friends (the Easy Way)

I was at the library and picked up a book by Prince Charles, Harmony. The first part of the fly-leaf states, "For the last thirty years, The Prince of Wales has been known around the world as one of the vocal and forceful advocates of the environment." The fly-leaf goes on to discuss how Prince Charles has a plan to restore balance and bring us all back into harmony with the earth.

I burst out laughing.

Now, I have nothing against Prince Charles. In fact, between him and Princess Diana, I've always found him slightly less annoying (yes, I know she is dead, and yes, I'm sorry she is) although Alex Jennings' portrayal of him in The Queen is almost too spot-on.

I laughed because, like Princess Diana, Prince Charles has discovered that the easiest way to instantly win unqualified/uncritical support is to pick a cause that people will not or cannot debate. There's probably a logical fallacy in here somewhere, the opposite of the ad hominem attack, something like, "The virtue of the cause automatically lends virtue to the individual even if the individual is a self-interested basket-case."

I personally think Princess Diana, with far less left-brained consideration than Prince Charles, did precisely this when she was alive. I've always found Fergie as Avon/Weight Watchers spokesperson less off-putting than Diana's use of the spotlight to satisfy her deep and incessant need for approval and love (at least, Charles ultimately only needed Camilla; Diana needed the whole world). 

You might say, and I won't argue (much) that, hey, at least she was doing something. But that something  put her beyond reproach when, really, she behaved pretty badly on multiple occasions. And as far as I know, Christopher Hitchens is one of the few journalists who ever dared to criticize Princess Diana.

Prince Charles is now demonstrating that he learned Diana's lessons very, very, very well: Become the kind of environmentalist who wants to save the earth from untold threats--ergo, gain prestige and an automatic exception from in-depth criticism.

Of course, Al Gore learned it first.

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