‘Weird Al’: English Teacher of the Year? 1


“Weird Al” Yankovic, king of pop-song parodies, has done more for the English language this week than some teachers do in a year. 

To promote his latest album, Mandatory Fun — which contains parodies of Pharrell’s “Happy” (“Tacky”), Lorde’s “Royals” (“Foil”) and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” (“Handy”) — “Weird Al” is in the midst of releasing eight videos in eight days. On Tuesday, he issued the best of the bunch so far, “Word Crimes,” a clever take on Robin Thicke’s controversial “Blurred Lines” that incorporates quick grammar lessons, video wordplay and a chorus hook that’s way better than the original.

“Weird Al” has created his own little TED talk with this video, and it’s no surprise it’s gone viral (#wordcrimes #Yankovic). This deserves to be seen by every middle school, high school and college student in the country. And it should be shown at company meetings and shared among employees.

Check out some of these lyrical gems:

If you can’t write in the proper way / If you don’t know how to conjugate / Maybe you flunked that class, and maybe now you find / The people mock you online.

Just keep in mind that be, see, are, you / Are words, not letters / Get it together, use your spell-checker.

You finished second grade, I hope you can tell / If you’re doing good or doing well / Better figure out the difference / Irony is not coincidence.

We even covered this one in our first installment of “Grammar Points”:

I hate these word crimes / Like “I could care less” / That means you do care, at least a little / Don’t be a moron / You’d better slow down and use the right pronoun / Show the world you’re no clown.

Then there’s this one, which must be seen to be fully enjoyed:

And I thought that you’d gotten it through your skull / ‘Bout what’s figurative and what’s literal / Oh, but just now you said / You “literally couldn’t get out of bed” / That really makes me want to literally / Smack a crowbar upside your stupid head.

How can you argue with that?


About Michael Popke

Michael Popke owns Two Lakes Media Group and is an award-winning journalist with 25 years of experience in print/digital media as a newspaper reporter, B-to-B magazine/online newsletter editor, social media content generator, freelance writer, book editor and music critic.


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