Friday, July 21, 2006

Royal Dontopedalogy

"Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science I have practiced for a good many years." Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

More so than any other member of the royal family, Prince Philip has perfected the art of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. He has even coined the word 'dontopedalogy' (putting the foot in the mouth) for some of his more well reporterd gaffes. From the inane to the politically incorrect, to the borderline racist, I present just a few of Prince Philip's more memorable sayings*:

"British women can't cook" (1966)

On a visit to Australia in 1992, when asked if he'd like to stroke a koala, Australia's national symbol, he said: "No, I might get some ghastly disease."

In Kenya, when offered a gift by a woman in native dress: "You ARE a woman, aren't you?" (1984)

"Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world." (in 1991, in Thailand, after accepting a conservation award)

"We didn't have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking 'Are you all right? Are you sure you don't have a ghastly problem?' You just got on with it." (commenting in 1995 on modern stress counselling for servicemen)

To pupils at Queen Anne's School in Berkshire, who wear blood-red uniforms, in 1998: "It makes you all look like Dracula's daughters."

Still throwing spears? (Question put to an Australian Aborigine during a visit in March 2002)

"If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?" (in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting)

"Bloody silly fool!" (in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who failed to recognise him)

"If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it." (at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting)

"It looks as if it was put in by an Indian." (in 1999, referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh)

Speaking to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, he asked: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?".

And no list is complete without the most famous of them:

During a state visit to China in 1986, he famously told a group of British students: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed".

© Marilyn Braun 2006

*For more information on royal dontopedalogy, see the book: Duke of Hazard - The wit and wisdom of Prince Philip.


Othmar Vohringer said...

With great interest I read your post and found it amusing.
I always liked his R.H. Prince Philip for exactly that reason. In a new world order misguided by political correctness where we are no more free to speak the truth and name things the way they are and where we should be considerate of everybody’s feelings, he is a refreshing personality that doesn’t give a “flying fart” about PC.

With some of his statements, such as his remark to a firearm ban and the remark about “…counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun…” I can fully identify. I too think it is just disgusting how every firearm crime is shamelessly used to support laws to take away peoples means of self defense, not only firearms. I also find it an absolute travesty how much power and influence psychology, or as I called, the fake science created to give people excuses for their strange behavior and absolve them of any responsibility for their actions.

With the remark about the eating habits of the Guangdong people (Cantonese) "If it has got four legs and it is not a chair,…” The prince may have received a huge applause. In fact this is a favorite saying of the Guangdong people and one that I was told many times by the Chinese people when I lived in Guandong Province. They are proud of all the many foods they eat and made their cuisine world famous.

Marilyn Braun said...

Hello Othmar!

How wonderful to hear from you!! :)

I do agree that some of his comments have been very on the mark. I recently watched a program on a royal tour of Canada that the Queen and Prince Philip took in the late sixties, and there were a lot of protests about it. Prince Philip went on tv to say that the couple weren't in Canada for their health and they could find better ways to occupy their time, which is true and probably not what people wanted to hear at the time.

Nowadays it seems that everything is almost too "PC", so yes it is refreshing when someone comes along and points out what people don't necessarily want to hear.

But at the same time, while there are people who applaud what he says or don't take offence to it (I read the Chinese people weren't even remotely offended by the "slitty eyes" comment) there are others who are (or at least the press makes it out to be a big deal). And coming from his rather "rarified" existence, he may not understand and be oblivious to the impact of what he has said.

Overall I think he's a good person who doesn't mean any harm as it were and the book that these quotes have come from was compiled more in tribute to him than to take him to task. Once he's gone we probably won't see his like again any time soon, that's for sure!