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.