If you haven’t seen “Weird Al’s” newest video yet (and I’ll forgive you, it was only released yesterday), you owe it to yourself to watch “Word Crimes“, one of eight videos he’s dropping this week in celebration of his latest album, Mandatory Fun. I dare say it’s the quintessential realization of every Grammar Nazi, English Nerd, and K-12 teacher’s pet peeves when it comes to mastering the English language in written form. Sure, it comes a bit late to be parodying Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines“, but as usual, when Al spoofs a song, he does it with a level of detail and musical perfection that it’s often difficult to distinguish it from the original….if you aren’t paying attention to the lyrics that is.
I was never one to harp on grammar when I was in the classroom. I had the luxury of never having to teach it, and while many of my colleagues would likely call me out for being one of those lazy teachers that just doesn’t understand the importance of all teachers reinforcing good grammar, I took a different tact. I wanted my students to write poetically, in a flowing prose that had more force of emotion and structure rather than perfect grammar. In other words; I wanted my students to write as lyrically as “Weird Al” has here in one of his best parodies I’ve seen in a long time.
And I’m not the only one that took notice. The internet exploded yesterday with tweets, Google+ posts, and my Facebook feed was flooded with links sharing the video from all the geeky people in my life (teachers or not):
Weird Al's music video for "Word Crimes" will make grammar nerds swoon http://t.co/NkS5LOrQhU
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 15, 2014
Weird Al shows off his big dictionary in the "Blurred Lines" parody "Word Crimes": http://t.co/S0SI2TxVL7
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) July 15, 2014
— Mashable (@mashable) July 16, 2014
Yes, indeed, it’s a good week to be a “Weird Al” fan or someone who has a particular penchant for perfect grammar. I’m not sure how relevant or effective this would be to show your struggling English students; for sure, it’s memorable in that typical “Weird Al” sort of way, “Hey, remember that hilarious parody that Weird Al made about grammar last year, it was awesome!” Beyond the humor and the entertainment value, I wonder if this would serve as a great video challenge for teachers of media and video production. Could you task your students with creating a parody video on par with this? Perhaps as a partnership with the fine arts department at your school? Sure, it would be a rather larger undertaking, but I’d love to see a classroom tackle creating something like this as project. Any takers?