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Friday, April 23rd, 2010
He came to power at age 9. Under the wing of powerful handlers, he overturned the changes of his father’s regime and restored the state religion. He died 10 years later after a mysterious accident that strongly suggests he had outlived his usefulness to his advisers.
In the 3,000 year reign of Egyptian royalty, the pharaoh Tutankhamun was a minor-if-intriguing figure.
Yet this weekend, after a much-hyped national tour, King Tut rides back into New York as one of the most celebrated figures of the Ancient World—right up there on the list with Jesus, Moses, Caesar, Cleopatra, Alexander, and Socrates. And unlike most of them, the tadpole pharaoh didn’t have the Bible, Shakespeare, or Plato to sing his praises. He was the Boy King of the greatest empire on Earth and all he got was one lousy Steve Martin song to show for it.
What explains the ongoing Cult of Tut? “King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” (which runs through January 2011) is one of three Tut shows in New York this spring. There is also a spate of “landmark” television shows, “limited edition” $2,000 necklaces, and “miraculous scientific discoveries.” Why is it that Tutapalooza feels like one of those aging hippie reunion tours that always seems to be on its “farewell leg” yet never goes away?
In short, King Tut: How’d you get so funky?
The answer, inevitably, is greed, power, and a few very clever benefactors. King Tut may have been a puppet, but he’s had extremely deft puppeteers.
Read the rest of piece in The Daily Beast here.