World Wonders

July 12, 2007

I’m sure you’ve heard that there is a new complement of world wonders.  The  new Seven Wonders of the World are:

  1. the Great Wall of China;
  2. the pyramids of Chichen Itza;
  3. Petra;
  4. the Taj Mahal;
  5. Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio;
  6. the Colosseum; and
  7. Machu Picchu.

These new wonders were chosen by a global internet-based vote.  People from around the world could vote for wonders near and far–this is why a relatively new statue of Jesus Christ stands among relatively ancient architectural wonders.  Jesus can obviously win an election, as long as he doesn’t speak or move.

The only remaining wonder of the old Seven Wonders are the pyramids at Giza.  The Egyptian minister in charge of antiquities, Zahi “Sour Grapes” Hawass, said that the new competition had no value, and then he said this:

“THE MASSES DO NOT WRITE HISTORY.”

What’s shocking about this statement is not its content–it is undoubtedly true–but rather that Mr. Hawass said it with no irony.  He means it, he supports it, he revels in the patrician comfort of these words.

Of course, this means that history is not actually a faithful record of the past (as the foolish masses assume).  Instead it is the carefully scripted and coercive “memory” of the powerful.

What better metaphor for this than the pyramids themselves, like fascist monuments rising from the desert.

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4 Responses to “World Wonders”

  1. Kryna Says:

    It is interesting. If I were a place/thing, I don’t think I would even want to be mentioned as one of the seven wonders. It would be a lot to live up too…..good think I don’t have to think about that! 🙂 Great post!

  2. pollyannasunshine Says:

    I hadn’t actually heard about this, since I have been basically a hermit and on a severely restrictive news diet recently. But I am delighted to hear of it and find your analysis quite persuasive and perceptive. Thanks for posting!

  3. Little Mary Says:

    oh my, he said that with pride. if only the masses wrote history…


  4. Interesting–when I heard about this, I thought how the competition reflected the opinions of people with money, education, and access enough to vote on the Internet. Not the masses at all.


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