Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Page 105: Your hands are trembling

When I encounter something surprising, I invariably remark “Inconceivable!” in the style of Vizzini from The Princess Bride. When someone insults me—hopefully in fun—I reply with Jack Sparrow’s “But you have heard of me!” When extremely frustrated and throwing things is a real possibility, I’ll say “Hulk smash!” And whenever I hear someone say “I’ll be careful,” I can’t resist blurting out, “You’ll be dead!” from the Star Wars cantina scene: the more serious the “careful” remark is, the funnier the retort is (to me, at least).

Conversations with my friends invariably involve quotes and references to movies, TV shows, and song lyrics. It’s probably the same with you and your friends. It is a normal part of interaction, an affirmation of the shared experiences that bond us with our friends. 

That such one-liners are touchstones of popular culture demonstrates the incredible influence of movies and the other sources from which such “memes” derive. I wanted to make that part of Destiny Jones’ repertoire (as far as “fair use” would allow). Their inclusion in The Billionth Monkey is therefore not just a reflection of how real people talk, but a tribute to things which have a big place in the hearts of millions, myself included. Additionally, writing a commentary on pop culture by liberally salting in pop culture references is very meta.

Take, for instance, the scene on page 105 of The Billionth Monkey. As Destiny Jones implies by calling Belanger “Princess Leia,” she recognizes his remark to be an unintended quotation from The Empire Strikes Back. If you can’t immediately picture the scene I’m talking about—inconceivable!—here’s the relevant snippet:


Technical note: I would have preferred to embed the official video from StarWars.com, but for some reason Blogger won't allow it in an iframe. If the above video gets removed from YouTube someday, here's a link to the video at StarWars.com. And if all else fails, here's a still image from the scene to jog your memory:


But Destiny doesn’t stop there. She follows Star Wars up with The Princess Bride by adding, “As you wish.”

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