If you challenged us, my brother and I could probably go an entire day speaking only in movie quotes. Scratch that; we could probably go an entire day using quotes from The Simpsons alone, then carry out the rest of the week with movie quotes. Judging by the amount of facebook status updates I see, I can safely say that my brother and I are not alone in our love for contextual repetition.
So why do we love these zingy one-liners? What makes us want to use them so often? Here’s my theory:
Americans have a history of shared culture. Our culture is young (only a mere 300 years old) and was founded on the mixing of other cultures. We’ve all been taught that our Nation is a “mixing-pot” or a “salad bowl” of many different races, religions, customs etc. It is because of this youthful compilation of cultures that we have very few aspects of our culture that are original to America. Sure, we have jazz music and hip-hop, Apple technology and space innovation, but the majority of what makes us us can be traced back to other countries.
Because of our savvy ability to mix and match social structures and because of our lack of originality, we take one of the few things we have in common, the entertaining media that surrounds us, and insert them into our conversations. Movie and T.V. lines serve as sparks that hope to ignite a flame of continued small talk.
Like the good Catholics, however, small talk will never suffice. Our spirituality doesn’t allow us to settle for just a mere flame in our relationships; it seeks the warmth of the eternal bonfire: God. Since He is the One who set the universe into motion, His is the first Quote that reverberates through us. Our actions, both big and small, are only echoes of His living Word.
That’s why we love quoting movies and T.V. shows so much, because when we repeat them, we succumb to our lack of originality and our longing to be accepted by that which unites us. But these common quotes are merely catalysts that ignite a larger, more profound wick that God has embedded into our hearts.
If we allow the fire to travel its proper course, the end result will change from a repeated phrase of no significance to the beautiful poetry of the Creator of the World. Indeed, being united to God is the only way to be truly original. How wonderful it is to co-author the greatest story ever told with Him.