It’s a big week for fans of the Grammy-winning parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic, as his 14th and potentially final album has hit stores and digital retailers. (As if any week of Weird Al fandom isn’t a big one.) In promoting Mandatory Fun, his first release in three years, the viral-ready musician is putting out eight videos over eight days, starting with yesterday’s “Tacky”, the “Jack Black wearing a fanny pack” spoof of Pharrell’s “Happy.” Today, he went with another song that seemed like it would never leave radio stations, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” and he thankfully turned it from a rape-light song of submissiveness to a diatribe against numbskulls who fail to grasp this thing called the English language. It’s called “Word Crimes,” and it’s one of Weird Al’s greatest videos yet!
Seriously, I probably spend around 65% of my social media time internally banging my head at the rampant misuse of words and phrases, especially on the character-limited Twitter. And it’s even worse when seeing “its/it’s” errors and “who/whom” malfunctions in actual news stories and other publications. It’s like the video says, some of this foolish lexicon behavior is fine for a seven-year-old, but any self-respecting adult should have enough education to confidently put words into text documents without making their spellchecker suicidal.
While most Weird Al songs, like “Albuquerque” and “I Want a New Duck,” are fun and strangely timeless, they don’t really offer the brain much to chew on; but “Word Crimes” should be required daily viewing for all Americans. (What petition do I need to sign?) If nothing else is taken away from this video by the majority of those of watch it, let’s try to make it necessary to understand the very easy difference between irony and coincidence – if you heard this song on the same day that you bought a book about grammar, IT’S NOT IRONY! – and to stop using the word “literally” when it’s not needed. That kind of error figuratively makes smoke come out of my ears, but literally makes me want to pull people’s tongues out of their skulls. Dare to be stupid, sure, but know your limits.
Beyond the subject matter, this is a really well put together video. I’m not normally a fan of words taking over the screen in a music video, but it’s all delivered in such a smooth and pleasing way here, and in almost every kind of writing, typing and documenting situation I can imagine. Is there a Font Award we can give this thing? We can have this evil Microsoft Office Clippit present it.
Have you guys run out and bought Mandatory Fun yet? Tell us how you liked it, and stay tuned for more Weird Al videos over the next week.