- Category: Family
- Written by Jim Dee
From today's AFP wire :
"They are the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that still exists, it's ridiculous, they don't need to be put to a vote," Egypt's antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass was quoted as saying in local newspapers. [my emphasis]
Apparently, the Egyptians have their collective panties in a bunch over some meaningless contest to update the Seven Wonders of the World. Well, I couldn't care less about that (the contest, not the wonders). What did catch my eye, though, was the sentence, above.
Why, do you suppose, the writer (one Alain Navarro) selected the word "supremo" to describe Mr. Hawass? There can be only a few explanations: First, this could actually be Mr. Hawass' title -- in which case, you'd expect at least some capitalization as a sign of respect, right? I mean, sure, some journalist style guides (the Associated Press, for example, if I recall correctly) recommend lower-casing generic business titles ( e.g., I'm a marketing director, not a Marketing Director). But, for "important" people (and, here again, I'm directly disregarding Messrs. Strunk & White by inserting quotations around "important"), you'd still capitalize. Thus, for example, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; not secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
You might scoff at the notion, btw, that "supremo" is Hawass' legitimate title. However, I once reported to a Potentate. (Search my blog for that term, or maybe for "mason" to read the tale.) So, believe me, Supremo isn't such a stretch.
The only other explanation I can come up with is that our author (this alleged "Alain Navarro") had tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Hey, I don't blame the guy. For one, he sounds French, and the French are supposed to be rude by nature. (Not that I really believe that, of course.) But, can't you just see the dude sitting in his little verandah balcony, sipping some mind-bendingly strong Turkish import, sucking on a molasses, fruit pulp and hash-blend hookah, and just typing his little ass off, laughing to himself the whole time? " ... Egypt's antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass was quoted as saying ... "
He's probably all, like, buddy-buddy with his bureau chief, too -- knowing and quietly expanding the limits of what he can get away with story to story. Today it's supremo, tomorrow, it's Egyptian Antiquities Kingpin. That fucker'll push his luck one day, though. Or not ...
Philippe: 'ello, Alain?
Alain: Oui, Philippe! [*coughs*] ... 'ow are you today? 'ow're things at ze bureau?
Philippe: Shipshape, mon ami, trAÂ¨s bien. But, ahhh ...
Philippe: It's zhuust zat, ahhhh ... well ... I need to verify un petit dAÂ©tail.
Alain: Oui ...
Philippe: Last week, you referred to Mr. Zahi Hawass as Egypt's antiquities supremo ...
Alain: Oui, oui ...
Philippe: ... but in your latest filing you 'ave 'eem listed as Egypt antiquities ... um, let me see ... [*rifles papers*] yes, here it is ... top banana. Now, eh ... .
Alain: [*covers receiver, tokes shisha, laughs to himself*]
Philippe: Now, Alain ...
Alain: [*innocently*] Oui?
Philippe: You convinced me on supremo, Alain. You fought me on it, but I believed you, owing to zis enigmatic Arab culture, zis Egyptian mysteries fascination, zis ...
Alain: Oui, oui ...
Philippe: But, Alain, I cannot print zis !
Alain: [*feigning surprise*] Non?
Philippe: Alain, you cannot expect me to believe ...
Alain: Oui, oui ... avancement, mon ami. 'e was ... promoted!
Philippe: But, top banana?
Alain: It's, you see, pardon... [*covers receiver; to waitress: ze honey blend, s'il vous plait * ] ... a cultural reference. Ze banana is a sign of Egyptian heritage. Ze fruit originated right here in zis country.
Alain: Oui, little known fact.
Philippe: 'ave you verified zis?
Alain: Oui, sur WikipAÂ©dia.
Philippe: [*pause*] C'est bon!
Alain: [*now relaxed*] Outside of ze country, perhaps, zis phrase is no more zan a common joke. But 'ere, ze fruit is revered, Philippe.
Philippe: L'Egypte, L'Afrique, banane.... Who knew?!
Alain: Just doing my job, Philippe.
Philippe: Merci, Alain. [*hangs up*]
Alain: [*to self*] Non, je ne regrette rien.
Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On January 26, 2007, wrote:
That was one supremo post.