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Weird Al Yankovic’s New Video: Genius, Or Just Getting Crotchety?

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I’ll own it. I can be a bit of a grammar nazi. (Notice that reads “small-n” nazi, not “big-N” Nazi — and already we have an example of the subtleties of language.)

However, comma, in comparison to Weird Al Yankovic, I am a teenager speed-texting her friend with a juicy piece of gossip while driving 20 miles over the speed limit to get to Forever 21 before the mall closes.

And, really, if there is any one thing that would drive a grammar nazi off the cliff of calm and critical contention and into the ravine of rabid and raving response, it’s texting, isn’t it?

Even though most of us, young and old, have full-blooded QWERTY keyboards, we don’t use half of them. Punctuation marks are now facial features. Dashes are noses, open and close parentheses are moody mouths, and we really don’t use semicolons for anything other than winking; though you can still find a few in the grammatical wild.

But Weird Al takes the criticism of lazy language to another level in his brilliant new parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines“.

Weird Al’s version? “Word Crimes”. In it, Al uses his ability to turn a phrase to shine a bright light on our grammatical goofiness. The animation is first-rate and the lyrics are, as usual, something you want to listen to five times just to be sure you caught everything.

That said, is it me or is Weird Al sounding a little crotchety in this video? His lyrics are always entertaining and hilarious, but in this song he’s never sounded preachier. And older.

Of course, now the kids are skipping written language altogether and just using Snapchat, which is just another way to say, “Screw the written word, we’re bringing back hieroglyphics!”

If you’re half the grammarian Weird Al is, this is the stuff that could send you over that cliff.

Maybe it’s just me, the guy with two teenage daughters who is worn down by the dogged belief that if I text them in complete sentences something will soak in. Maybe I’m jealous of their ability to send 30 texts to their friends in the time it takes me to type out those sentences.

Or maybe Weird Al is right.

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