When I was in college back in the early 1990s, I became enamored of the movie ‘Penn & Teller Get Killed’, a strange shaggy dog story of a movie that ends up being exactly what it says on the label, but that showcases the loud-but-somehow-thoughtful vibe that the verbose half of said magic team did so well.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I modeled some of my own behavior of Penn’s schtick (and I even did the fingernail thing for a while until I discovered that it was a personal tribute for him, and also people in Kansas don’t get references, ever), though I never achieved quite the right balance.  Mostly, I was just loud, unlike now when I am so quiet and reserved in my interactions.  Indeed, if I were the type of person who believed in role models, I’d say that Penn would make an excellent one, which leads us to today’s aspirational query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) even tried to emulate Penn’s signature ponytail, but my hair never moved from the growing out phase into the growing down phase, asking: Who is your personal pop culture idol?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. My pop culture idols/heroes are a strange bunch.

    Mick Foley, Weird Al and Jackie Chan are among the real people pop culture idols I have. Fictional character idols include pretty much any Green Lantern, Spider-Man and Grimlock.

    Most of my idols inspire me to give more than I’ve got, to never give up, to be proud of who I am and to be stubborn as hell. I’ve been sick since I was 4 years old and diagnosed with Leukemia, told I wouldn’t live to see age 11. Here I am 34 years old (so I either beat the odds or look pretty good for a dead chick), and while my health isn’t exactly getting any better, I refuse to simply give up just because things are difficult. Some of my idols also inspire me to try to find the best of a bad situation. Even when I’m in excruciating pain or hospitalized and barely coherent, I still try to keep a smile on my face and make others laugh.

  2. Alan Alda is a big one for me, just because he’s always seemed to be a really thoughtful guy, the fact that I was raised on M*A*S*H probably didn’t hurt that one. There’s a game that’s fun to play when you’re around me I like to call “Was that genuinely clever or is she quoting Hawkeye?”
    Ze Frank is another one, you may not be familiar with him but he was one of the early vloggers.

    As far as fictional characters go, She-Hulk and Storm.

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