Friday, October 20, 2006

The Geek Bard.

Maybe it's just because I'm white and nerdy, but I thought this paean to Weird Al qualified as pretty great. A Youtube perusal of his work shows that the spoofs still play pretty well, and the article argues that Weird Al actually has larger cultural significance than just silliness. Says the article:
Weird Al's essential service is to point out that, from the perspective of the middle-class suburban lifeworld, pop culture itself is weird. This is the paradox of Weird Al's weirdness: He's actually Normal Al, a common-sensical, conservative force. He's Everyman trapped on Neverland Ranch, exposing as many stylistic excesses and false profundities as he can.
If Weird Al's role is to force us to turn a critical eye on our pop culture, maybe his videos should be part of every high school curriculum just to provide a little counterpoint to our teens' bubblegum fantasies. Though they might want to leave my favorite of Weird Al's little ditties--his spoof of Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues--out of that particular curriculum, seeing as Joe Average Teen is probably a little more in touch with Chamillionaire and Justin Timberlake than with Mumbling Bob.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Changing Headlines

Watching headlines change on the New York Times home page can be pretty revealing. Unfortunately, the Times doesn't provide a mechanism for readers to track changes to headlines or articles (at least not that I know of). Here's an interesting modification that I caught today. A couple hours ago, the headline for this article was something to the effect of "Google Acquired YouTube for $1.6B." The headline now reads "Google Is Said to Set Sights on YouTube." Perhaps the editors were a little too quick to pull the trigger? There's nothing like getting the scoop, is there?