Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Regal "shut Up" Becomes a Cult Ringtone

A diplomatic spat has become an unlikely cult hit and turned into a popular ringtone and social meme. Last week, at a conference of Spanish speaking countries, the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago de Chile, King Juan Carlos I of Spain pointed his finger at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and asked him, "Por qué no te callas?" (Why don't you shut up?). Despite organizers turning off Chávez's microphone, he had continued interrupting the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, while the latter was defending his predecessor and political opponent, José María Aznar, after Chávez had referred to Aznar as a fascist.

The comment "por qué no te callas?" has gone on to become a cult slogan and can be heard ringing out from mobile phones from Miami to Caracas - as well as appearing on t-shirts, and as a greeting amongst teens. The repost was particularly insulting as it used the familiar "you" which should only be used amongst close friends as opposed to the formal "you" which would have been more polite between the two men.

A domain name - porquenotecallas.com is selling for a sizeable sum on eBay, having reached US$4,600 at time of writing - doubtless the owner will use it to sell ringtones and accessories.

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