Thought you’d enjoy this little bit of news out of Spain:
When the Spanish king Juan Carlos turned to Hugo Chavez and said to him, a touch irritably, “Why don’t you shut up?”, little did he know that his breach of diplomatic protocol would become a smash hit across the country.
Were the king to claim image rights over his less-than-diplomatic outburst, he could find himself a nice little earner, as those five famous words have become a multi-million euro business, selling ringtones, mugs, T-shirts and websites.
An estimated 500,000 people have already downloaded the ringtone, generating around €1.5m (£1m), but many companies have circumvented any potential problems over rights by using an actor’s voice instead of the king’s.
Over 700 videos have appeared on YouTube, with parodies ranging from a Benny Hill sketch to a Nike advert featuring the Brazilian star Ronaldinho, which ends: “Juan do it. Just shut up.”
I can’t tell from the article whether the words are so famous because a king was rude, or because someone stood up to an increasingly scary dictator. Sadly, I suspect the former. Let me know if you have information pointing to other reasons for the quotation’s popularity.