Pop-Culture Takeover: Leon Panetta

The new face of pop culture.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes in pop culture it seems like the same obscure reference just keeps coming up again and again for no reason at all? My conspiracy/paranoia reached an all time high when last year there was an egregiously frequent mention of money bag paint splatter. I didn’t even know it was a thing until it was in the movie 30 Minutes or Less and on episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. What?

For this installment of all of my pop culture is trying to kill me, I was introduced to a man named Leon Panetta. His name was brought to my attention by my favorite podcaster Julie Klausner on How Was Your Week. In her episode titled “Leon Pancetta” (yes you do see what she did there!) she mentioned James Gandolfini playing the real life Leon Panetta in the movie Zero Dark Thirty which I have not yet seen. Apparently, he says some things and I couldn’t care less. You can count this as one mention or two, but either way, it’s just the beginning.

Except I do care. Because then I was watching the devastating documentary The Invisible War about rape in the military and just before the credits, up pops Mr. Panetta to briefly denounce rape. I was taken aback. Shocked even. I think I said out loud, “I know him!” He seems like a good person to bring into that documentary, you know, being the CIA Director and all, but his only contribution was one sentence that didn’t really add anything to the debate except to make Mr. Panetta all the more ubiquitous.

I was about to contact some people and make some phone calls after seeing this, but decided it was just a coincidence. He’s in two things about politics. Big whoop. So as we speak I’m watching an episode of The Mindy Project. Mindy thinks her apartment is being robbed, but it turns out it’s just her little brother Rishi. Silly Mindy. She asks how he got in. He responds, “Your landlord let me in. You know a well spoken Indian gets in anywhere he wants. I once got myself on the field at a Redskins game and I met Leon Panetta.” He just casually drops it as if everyone knows who Leon Panetta is, which of course by this point we all do! And he says it as if it’s cool. Because suddenly it is! And why a Redskins game? RISHI IS FROM BOSTON!!!!!

It’s a conspiracy. I’m on to you Leon Panetta. Except, since you were the Director of the CIA and now you’re the Secretary of Defense, it’s probably safe to say you were on to me long ago. Well played, sir.

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