the 50 cultural references you must know to understand me

Dr. Robert R. Cargill, falconer.

Dr. Robert R. Cargill, falconer. On the grounds of Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo, Ireland.

i was lecturing at ucla today and made some pop culture references in an attempt to relate the ideas and concepts from antiquity to modern times. and, as any lecturer will tell you, while my favorite movies and bands remain the same over time, the students get younger each year, and their favorite bands and music become much more modern (and increasingly obscure. and not as good). thus, while some of the cultural examples i use as examples in lectures may have at one time ‘killed’ or perfectly conveyed the meaning of a profound point, others have become lost to time, at least in the minds of my students.

thus, as a public service to my students, i have put together a list of cultural references to which i find myself regularly referring. in order to fully understand me, get most of my jokes, comprehend all of my anecdotal textual allusions, know who i’m quoting, and catch all of my deadpan comments, i hereby offer the following list of the greatest and most influential quotes, movies, literature, people,activities, and historical events of all time. (these are presented in alphabetical order, and i reserve the right to add to or change this list as i remember more influential items.)

  1. airplane
  2. anchorman
  3. apple/mac
  4. aramaic targumim
  5. archaeology
  6. austin powers (trilogy)
  7. beavis and butthead
  8. billy madison
  9. blogging
  10. boston red sox
  11. casablanca
  12. colbert report
  13. contact
  14. damien rice
  15. dumb and dumber
  16. espn sportscenter anchors’ one-liners
  17. facebook
  18. fail blog
  19. falconry
  20. flight of the conchords
  21. forrest gump
  22. fresno
  23. funny king james bible quotations
  24. happy gilmore
  25. hebrew
  26. hunting
  27. i’m gonna git you sucka
  28. indiana jones (raiders trilogy)
  29. jethro tull
  30. lost
  31. lyle lovett
  32. monty python’s search of the holy grail
  33. more cowbell (watch)
  34. naked gun (trilogy)
  35. primus
  36. shawshank redemption
  37. smashing pumpkins
  38. snl jeopardy parodies
  39. so i married an axe murderer
  40. spinal tap
  41. star wars (original trilogy)
  42. the big lebowski
  43. the dollars/man with no name trilogy
  44. the onion
  45. the princess bride
  46. the west wing
  47. tombstone
  48. wait wait…don’t tell me!
  49. willy wonka and the chocolate factory
  50. zoolander

what is your list? if you create one, please link to it in the comments below. -bc

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    8 Responses

    1. Best blog entry ever….makes me want to create a similar list for my own classroom. You rock Bob.

    2. thanx jeff!! i want to see your list. post it in the comments when you’re done. i’ll want to read it!! -bc

    3. OK some pretty embarrassing ones here but here goes!

      16 Candles
      80s new wave/pop
      Austin Powers (all 3, too!)
      Beavis and Butt-head (Southpark doesn’t compare)
      Best in Show
      Breakfast Club
      Bring it On
      Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
      Chris Farley Show (“Remember when you were in the Beatles? That was awesome.”)
      Clueless
      Female Trouble
      Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
      Hairspray (original and musical)
      Halloween (original, of course!)
      Heathers
      Just Say Julie
      L.A. Story
      Little Darlings
      Little House on the Prairie (I know! Haha)
      Miss Firecracker
      Muriel’s Wedding
      Office Space
      Pee-wee Herman in general
      Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
      Pee-wee’s Playhouse
      Polyester
      Princess Bride (“anybody want a peanut?”)
      Pulp Fiction
      Rocky Horror
      Roseanne
      Say Anything
      Sex and the City
      Sinead O’Connor
      Sound of Music
      Spinal Tap
      Square Pegs
      Strangers with Candy
      The Last American Virgin
      The Man with Two Brains
      Waiting for Guffman (“‘ello, ow are oo?”)
      Zoolander (eugoogalizer!)

    4. 1. Star Wars Trilogy
      2. Beasty Boys
      3. 90210
      4. Santa Cruz
      4. AVP
      5. MC Hammer
      6. GT Bikes
      7. Commodore 64
      8. Xbox
      9. Indiana Jones Trilogy
      10. GI Joe
      11. Real World
      12. Ronal Reagan
      13. The Federalist Papers
      14. Halo trilogy
      15. Call of Duty Modern warfare
      16. James Bond
      17. ER
      18. Chuck
      19. Lost
      20. Dave Mathews Band
      21. Run DMC
      22. Star Trek
      23. Battle Star Galactica
      24. Wind (movie 1992 about America’s Cup)
      25. Rad (the movie)
      26. Christian Brothers High School
      27. Beavis and Butthead
      28. Young Republicans
      29. Joseph Smith
      30. Sony WEGA
      31. 24
      32. Bush Quayle ’92
      33. Burton
      34. Zoolander
      35. Dirt bikes ( I ride red)
      36. Facebook
      37. The Constitution
      38. American Idle
      39. LR3
      40. Big Wednesday
      50. Contract with America

    5. love it mike! rad the movie is killin’ me. :)

    6. How very very fascinating… but FACEBOOK???

      and then, I LOOOOOVE Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson, you go boy… skating away, on the thin ice…

    7. [...] pen is not infallible. If you haven’t read Life of Pi, then you should. Bob Cargill writes of 50 cultural references one should know to understand him. Life of Pi should be on every theologian’s need-to-know-to-know-me cultural reference lists. [...]

    8. OK, so anyone who loves the Red Sox can’t be all bad. But I am greatly distressed by the absence of anything Walker Percy on this list. Of my top 50, at least 9 would be Walker Percy-
      Love in the Ruins
      The Moviegoer
      Lancelot
      The Second Coming
      Lost in the Cosmos, especially ‘The Last Phil Donahue Show’
      Message in the Bottle
      Conversations with Walker Percy, especially ‘Questions they never asked me so I asked them myself’
      The Thanatos Syndrome
      The Last Gentleman

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