…and then, as if that wasn’t enough, a co-worker said to me, when I declined a donut sitting in the break-room, that I should have it because it was only “wafer-thin”.
In the span of under three hours, I had encountered three separate references to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
(NOTE: For those of you playing Python Bingo, the Gutters comic is riffing on the Black Knight duel scene from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the license plate (“Crunchy Frog”) comes from a skit from the television programme Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and the “wafer-thin” line comes from the movie Monty Python and The Meaning of Life.)
All this referencing in one day reminded me of a ceditra entry that I wrote on January 1 of this year in response to the following question from the book Know It All by Marsha Kranes, Fred Worth, and Steve Temerius.
QUESTION # 0095
What is the origin of the expression “Cowabunga” – the war cry of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
It was the greeting exchanged by Buffalo Bob Smith and Chief Thunderthud on the TV show Howdy Doody
This answer genuinely took me by surprise. I was ready to guess that the war cry came from the surfing sub-culture and I was partly right. The full answer from the book mentions how the term went from Howdy Doody to the Gidget television show and movies – so I would have been partly right.
I know “Cowabunga” can’t be the first instance of an item of pop culture migrating from one generation to another. With a little research I’m sure I can uncover more, but this phenomenon could be a recent (and by “recent”, I mean starting around the 1980s) event as the creators of culture – starting around the 1980s – began to take references from the past and incorporate them.
Douglas Coupland, in his book Generation X, uses the term obscurism to define the practice of using obscure references to past and present culture to show one’s superiority over another. Because if you know that Archibald Leach was Cary Grant’s real name, this gives you a leg up to laugh knowingly when John Cleese’s character in A Fish Called Wanda is named Archie Leach.
I fear today’s popular culture has gone too far to the extreme with referencing. How much can one sub-reference before a tear opens up in the space-time continuum.
Back to March and all I can say is “Cuidado, llamas!”