Picture from Weird Al Throws The Book At Language Slackers

Weird Al Throws The Book At Language Slackers

I needed a good laugh this weekend and thanks to Weird Al Yankovic, I got it. Over the past week the King of Parody has been releasing a song a day. They are all fun to view but the one that truly captured my funny bone (and instilled a sense of guilt within me) is a clever tune titled Word Crimes. First, I admit guilt. I’m no language perfectionist and am frequently guilty of committing word crimes. Always under the barrel of a deadline I succumb to trusting my electronic assistant to underline and autocorrect the technical flaws within my prose to a reasonable level of quality. Yet, after viewing Weird Al’s music video, I recognized just how polluted our English has become. Using delightful animation (another interesting story) and deftly poking fun at the obnoxious and insanely popular original song Blurred Lines, Yankovic disses our use of apostrophes, quotes and nasty tendencies to swap words like “less” and “fewer”.

I have appreciated Weird Al’s work since the early days of his career. When my kids were young they discovered his Star Wars parody and were inspired to create their own send-up of the space epic. Later my oldest son found a VHS copy of Weird Al’s infamous feature film UHF (we will try and add a review to ParentPreviews.com soon). I’m not suggesting all of his material is suitable for family viewing, but I very much appreciate his ability to see below the surface of popular culture. Ironically (and this is no coincidence—you’ll get that joke after viewing Word Crimes) Mr. Yankovic is one of the most astute commentators on popular culture today. At first blush his music videos appear to be silly diversions, but after deeper analysis you may discover much deeper nuggets of critical commentary.

Thank you Weird Al for allowing us to laugh while we learn.

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