How a king becomes famous

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.


5 Responses

  1. When people can’t get Emperors like Ashoka and battle heroes like Alexander, they simply settle for what is available. Eagerly.

  2. Since the death of rhetoric, I think this passes for brilliant repartee.

  3. We Americans would have been just as supportive of our President as the Spainards are of their King, after our President was attacked at the U.N.

    Only trouble is that no official American stood up to Hugo-Hugo. American officials generally think we are the official global punching bag and can’t waste our time with trivial socialist retards.

  4. I think it’s both: Chavez is considered a blowhard even in places that “like” him. I haven’t seen the video, but try imaging it in the tone of Reagan’s “There you go again” and see if it resonates better for you.

    I don’t mean to equate the two quotes: I imagine Reagan taught his children that “shut up” is a bad thing to say to someone. But remember, the King of Spain had an awkward childhood.

  5. It’s selling in Venezuela, too. There are people there who are not enamored of their new dictator and love hearing someone tell him to shut up.

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