Saturday, February 24, 2007

Truth in parody


So today I was trying to explain to nine-year-old Alex what parody was, and brought in guest lecturer Weird Al Yankovic.

We watched quite a few of his videos on YouTube, including the one above which I think cuts at the heart of our crappy eBay obsessed culture. I'd not seen this one before and thought I'd post it for my readers to enjoy.

There were others we watched as well, like parodies of Michael Jackson's Beat It and Bad, redone by Weird Al as Eat It and Fat.

To put them in context, I showed her the original Jackson videos. We were in the middle of watching Beat It when she turned to me and said, "Michael Jackson used to be black?"

"Uh, yeah," I repled, realizing that I should have warned her. She's only nine and the glimpses of him she's caught on television have always been post nose jobs, hair extensions and skin-bleachings.

"Well, he looks white now," she said.

"Well, that's because he had surgery and changed his skin color. And then he did other stuff later, like putting a ferris wheel in his back yard and having weird sleepover parties, but I'll tell you about that when you're older."

"How much older?"

"About 36,"I replied.

Alex looked back at the screen. "I think he looked better when he was black. He shouldn't have messed himself up like that."

"Hmmm. Here it is," I said. I had the dictionary now and was pointing to the word "parody." We often read definitions together to help her remember them.

I read the definitions aloud: "Parody - 1 : a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule 2 : a feeble or ridiculous imitation"

And there we had two examples of the word, Weird Al's songs for the first and Michael Jackson for the second.

Two lessons in one. Bonus. Thanks, guys.

7 comments:

sammyray said...

LOL cute post.

Weird Al has a magic about him. He writes clever little ditties without resorting to foul language and situations.

I really fucking admire that.

thimscool said...

No shit, Sammy Ray!

Hey Morgan, what's black and white and comes in small cans?

Morgan said...

Hmmmm...Black and white and comes in small cans?

I give up. What?

And I agree with both of you about Weird Al, although I do have to confess that I also like Eminem, who is a dirty little bastard.

thimscool said...

Michael Jackson.

Morgan said...

HA!!! That's one I've not heard. Here are my three favorite MJ jokes:

Q: What do Michael Jackson and an xbox have in common?
A: Both get turned on by kids

Q: What do Michael Jackson and Santa Claus have in common?
A: They both leave little boys' rooms with empty sacks.

Q: What do Michael Jackson and Dr. Spock have in common?
A: They both know how to rear a child.

Jana said...

In my box of stuff from WAY BACK WHEN I have an LP of Michael Jackson when he was black, had a nose and real hair. I have shown that to my daughter whose from the post Pepsi explosion era and never knew Michael then...someday I think that thing might be worth some money!! Another one your daughter might enjoy is THRILLER, that was before the crotch grabbing era began, (his..I mean), guess he'd be grabbing others way before then.. =-) ewwww on the jokes too.

Morgan said...

Jana,
We watched "Thriller" on YouTube. She loves horror movies so she thought it was great. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Vincent Price's part in that video. His little monologue when the zombies were emerging from the graveyard just made that video!

And jokes about Michael and his sleepovers aside, I've always thought he was very talented. I guess freakishness sometimes goes hand in hand with brilliance, kind of like madness.