Name the seven wonders of the world. Go ahead . . .

The pyramids of Egypt are the only wonder of the ancient world still with us, so don’t feel bad if you’re not coming up with: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon . . . actually, you should have got that one . . . a statue of Zeus, Temple of Artemis, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and a lighthouse at Alexandria.

Some folks with a website are taking votes to settle on a new seven wonders for the world. The press release I came across from new7wonders.com boasts a crew of experts and professors operating through a non-profit Swiss foundation. And they promise to put a portion of their proceeds toward the restoration of world treasures. Wonderful. Except for a few things worth wondering about.

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You can buy $2 certificates from the website commemorating your choice of new wonders. Fair enough. It’s small change and if you’ve got room above your knick-knack shelf, by all means frame those certificates and display them with pride.

Ninja charges to your cell phone bill, however, are not so amusing. The website encourages voting by phone, and mentions in fine print that premiums may be billed to your account when updates are sent to keep you abreast of how the voting is going. How nice.

The experts and scholars on the staff seem to have been either smoking crack or accepting payoffs when they included a few of the candidates on their list of 21 potential new wonders for the world.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the options. And a castle. Jesus spreading his arms over Rio. Wonders of the world? Uh, no.
Easter Island statues? Yes.

The Sydney opera house? It’s cool, I’ll give you that, Australia. Maybe the judges are factoring in that Australians tolerate opera. I don’t know. But I’m going to go with not a wonder.

I’m sure some people could manage to consider Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and say, ‘Nah, the Statue of Liberty, now there’s a wonder.’ These same people, I would wager, support their troops via more than one bumper sticker and may not see any disconnect between Lady Liberty inviting the tired and hungry of the world while a border fence goes up on the other end of the country to keep out the tired and hungry.

The Great Wall of China – now there’s a border fence. Maybe even a wonder.

I understand the U.S. wanting to have a claim to one of the new seven. It’d look great on brochures. But unless the topic is natural wonders and you want to nominate the Grand Canyon and friends, I’m afraid North America might just have to confess being light in the wonders of the world department.

The pyramids are also a questionable candidate. Don’t you think, if you were a Swiss foundation determining wonders of the world, you might just include the pyramids automatically, considering, you know, being an original wonder of the world and all. Ah, but you might miss out on the sale of commemorative pyramid certificates.

The new wonders will be announced 7/07/07. In the meantime, check your cell phone bill for updates.

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