At the 17th Ibero-American Summit on Nov. 10, King Juan Carlos I of Spain told President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, "¿Por qué no te callas?"
There's been a lot of fallout over the last two weeks here in Spain over that incident. His Majesty had long been popular with most Spaniards. Chávez, by contrast, consistently ranks almost as low as George Bush in public opinion polls. At the summit, he was talking trash about Spain and continued to speak even though Spain's prime minister had the floor, so the King became a hero for telling him to stop.
Overnight, the recording of his Highness saying those five little words became a popular mobile phone ring tone. You can also buy them immortalized on a tee-shirt. You can listen to the words transformed into music mixes ranging from techno-beat to pasodoble. The auction price for the Internet domain porquenotecallas.com reached 10,000 euros.
One restaurant has even created a menu item called Por qué no te callas. The ingredients include two eggs (a reference to an item of male anatomy that represents courage) served up in an arrangement reproducing the Spanish flag.
It's the phrase of the year, along with "¡Viva el Rey!" Long live the King! Even if -- or maybe because -- he sometimes transgresses protocol.
P.S. To reference to the two most recent posts, I just heard Thanksgiving referred to in Spanish is Día del Paving. "Pavo" is Spanish for turkey, and what we do involves a turkey, thus it is the Day of el Paving. Hope you ate well.