American satirical songwriter 'Weird Al' Yankovic is back with his retake on Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. Avoiding an attack on the oft-interpreted misogynism of the original, 'Word Crimes' instead has a pop at bad grammar and spelling. But how right, or wrong, is he?
WHEN we first heard this song, WriteStuff rejoiced in the fact that one of the foremost parody singer-songwriters of recent times had taken umbrage with the bad grammar and spelling seen so often in social media, daily conversation and electronic communications. On second listening we tried to figure was 'Weird Al' Yankovic genuinely outraged, or was he in fact ridiculing the pedants; and we at WriteStuff are nothing if not pedantic when it comes to grammar.
Deciding on the former, we had a closer look at Word Crimes. He hits the nail firmly on the head with, "I literally couldn't get out of bed". Literally means 'exactly', so unless you had been nailed, crucifix-style, to your bed, or had been bitten by a black mamba and were suffering paralysis, you probably just found it difficult to get out bed. Ten out of ten Al.
There is no 'x' in espresso; it is undeniable. But 'Doing good' is not necessarily wrong, it's just a slightly different idiom than 'Doing well'. And Al's claim that you should 'Always say to whom' is bordering on linguistic fundamentalism. Rhyming fantastic, sarcastic and spastic is tasteless, and in fairness Yankovic apologised on hearing how it was considered a highly-offensive slur. All in all Word Crimes is a funny song - unlikely to be used in the classroom - but Yankovic is essentially preaching to the converted. But if a single person finally realises the difference between speaking figuratively and speaking literally, then something good as been accomplished.