Monday, October 23, 2006

Taking Weird Al Seriously

Taking Weird Al Seriously

It's one thing to go platinum. Where do you go from there? Then Weird Al calls. - Chamillionaire, whose "Ridin' Dirty" was parodied by Weird Al Yankovic as "White And Nerdy"

As a self proclaimed geek I'm enjoying the pop culture moment of "White And Nerdy," Weird Al Yankovic's first bona fide top ten single (even his seminal work "Eat It" stalled at Number Twelve).

Back in college speech I specialized in what we called "After Dinner Speaking" - an essentially humourous speech which was supposed to make some actual serious point. Kind of like a Dennis Miller rant. Some did it better than others. This time, Weird Al pulls it off, and "White And Nerdy" is more immediate and relevant than anything he's made in ages:

The video touches, lightly but deftly, on the demographic paradox at the heart of hip-hop: the suburban white kid as the core audience of the culture's most commodified example of urban black cool...

Even better, he does it in a way that's true to his own ubergeek persona - for who could possible be more white and nerdy than Weird Al? I'm amazed he doesn't include himself in his litany of geek obsessions:

I could sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong
I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on
I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon

Shoppin' online for deals on some writable media
I edit Wikipedia
I memorized "Holy Grail" really well
I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL
I got a business doin' web sites
When my friends need some code, who do they call?
I do HTML for 'em all

I have met the parody and he is me. Have I become the Onion's Larry "Don't Come Crying To Me When You Need Someone Who Speaks Elvish" Groznic?

There are many more facts I could contribute, such as the Dr. Demento Society's yearly Christmas re-release of material from Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes, which often includes an unreleased track from Mr. Yankovic's vaults, such as "Pacman," "It's Still Billy Joel To Me," or the demos for "I Love Rocky Road." In an ideal world, an entry on "Weird Al" might remark on the subtleties of "Happy Birthday," which can only be found on the extremely rare 1981 Placebo EP release of "Another One Rides The Bus," but I certainly no longer believe this world to be ideal.

Does blogging about Weird Al make you even more white and nerdy than Weird Al?

No comments: