Curse of the mummy knickknack

May 01, 2007|by ALAN SOKOL


A couple weeks ago, I went to Philadelphia to scope out the King Tut exhibit at The Franklin Institute Science Museum. While it was quite interesting learning how Tut tried and nearly succeeded at changing the law of the land, one thing struck me as out of place: tissues coming out of the nose of the young king's face.

No, I'm not talking about an old way to blow your nose. I'm talking about commercialization. I thought King Tut, an ancient Egyptian monarch, was supposed to be a great ruler, not a tissue box, bookmark, chocolate dispenser or any of those outrageous things I found at the museum gift shop.

In fact, I wonder if most of those were meant to be sold in a shop at all. It's as if gift shops have this mystical ability to envelop passersby to draw them to their untimely doom. Or rather, to their wallet's doom.


Here's an example: At the end of the King Tut tour, you go down a single hallway with one doorway at the end, and on the other side of that doorway is a gift shop with the aforementioned items.

Talk about location. If you can't find a good street to sell your goods at, just stick your store where people can't avoid you.

Well, I didn't mind walking through so much as when I looked at the prices of some of the useless items. Fifteen dollars for a dull 2-inch wooden cat sculpture? No, I was not tempted.

But some sucker will be, and why? Because it has to do with King Tut! It seems that as long as any old product or knickknack is related to someone significant, then it has value and will sell like hotcakes.

Following that logic, I'd bet my dinner that if someone came up with and started selling a David Beckham action figure with knee-jerk action (wife Posh Spice included absolutely FREE if you order within the next 15 minutes), it would be a big hit.

Regardless of what you think of commercialism and shopping, if you go to the Tut exhibit in Philly, try to break free of the wallet-destroying curse of the Egyptian mummy. Just pass through without making a purchase. It'd make the king happy knowing that you aren't buying things that mock his visage.

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