Pop Culture, Pitchers, and Preaching

If you've ever listened to me preach, you know I have quite an affinity for including pop culture references into my sermon. I do it rather deliberately. Sometimes it's just in passing, for a select few to enjoy for themselves. Even if they only catch one every couple of weeks, I think expecting the unexpected forces the listener to pay close attention to the message, not wanting to miss out on something. That's one of the reasons I enjoy people like Dennis Miller, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, who have the knack of making obscure, dated pop culture references. Sure, they don't always attract boisterous laughs, but they definitely pay-off when done well.

That takes me back to the Reds game I attended yesterday when young phenom Johnny Cueto pitched a masterful game. It was a miserable day so there weren't many people in the stands [unless the seats were covered by an overhang]. In the row next to us were three guys in their early twenties, and one of them was hoisting the only sign I spotted all afternoon. Written in Sharpie on a white board, the sign simply read, "CUETO LIVES!" I didn't think to much of it until today while reading up about things from the game. An obscure Reds blog noted the sign. Apparently it was an obscure pop-culture reference.

It goes back to the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger* film Total Recall. Directed by Paul Verhoeven [a member of the Jesus Seminar?], the academy award winning sci-fi movie [seriously] features Arnold as a secret agent who gets a mind swap and becomes a construction worker. As information about his previously life starts to reappear, the powers-that-be want him dead so he heads to Mars to discover more. While on Mars, his finds an underground resistance group headed by a sage named Kuato. Come to find out, Kuato isn't a guy, but someone's mutated stomach [looks like this if you're interested].** Hijynxs ensue, Kuato is killed, but so are the bad-guys and Arnold saves the day.***

Anyway, the rally cry on Mars for the resistance movement was "KUATO LIVES!" So the twenty-somethings brandishing the sign were making a Total Recall reference. In retrospect, I'm very impressed with the sign, especially considering those guys were probably toddlers when the movie was released.

So very creative pop-culture reference there. And now we see have a Schwarzenegger/Reds connection.

* I find it fascinating that of all the words that spell-check chooses to highlight, Schwarzenegger is not one of them. So his name is so much a part of American vernacular that people who design spell-check include it in their programming.

** Saturday Night Live did a spoof on Kuato that you can watch here.

*** As I wrote out that movie plot I kept thinking, "this movie won an Oscar?" I guess that's why the Academy Awards aren't as cool as they used to be.