Thursday, November 5, 2015

Parody. Popular. Powerful.
Many people enjoy music. People enjoy for many different reasons some for the beat, some for words, and some for simply overall pleasure to the ears. I find parodies very interesting because of how and why they are made. Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” is a very good example of a parody that has made it. In fact Weird Al is an artist that only does remixed parodies of already produced songs. Parodies usually are made to make fun of the situation. In this case I don’t think that Al was making fun of the situation just switching context to how white people are seen as not excepted in black communities. This is attempting to shed some light on the stereo type that the original song addressed. Chamillionaire’s “Ridin” was released in 2005 and the cache line was “try and catch me riding dirty” where the audience is the police. This song could be an anthem for today’s movement of #blacklivesmatter but since the song has had such a popular parody this cannot be the song to save the current issue.  For mere views on YouTube this is the case with Al’s version reaching 100 million and Chamillionaire’s version reaching only just over 80 million views. A rare case where the parody has surpassed the original.  Usually parodies don’t see as much light because simply they are parodies. Something not as popular. Weird Al though started his music career when intern
et hit sensations was not the way to see success. He did all his work through remixing and playing live and selling CDs to earn his keep. There were also not a lot of people doing what he was doing at his time so he had his niche marketing that he was addressing.
                There is a lot of social leveling that goes on here when the original song gets played. Most people think “oh it’s that Weird Al song!” not “hay its chamillionaire”.  Thus the Weird Al song has more familiarity and thus his message cuts through and surpasses the other message which is to shed light on the stereotype of officers pulling over and or questioning black people’s reasoning being what they are doing. A good topic to shed light on and is now in the news. White and Nerdy sadly sheds light on how nerdy white people can be and how okay and almost proud they are when they are called nerds. There is no real point to this song other than pure pleasure. To the original there was some meaning behind and a push for social change but since there was social leveling occurring this song was undermined and pushed aside.  

                Society needs to be careful of what we choose to make into parodies because the what if questions could start such as… What if the issue was addressed sooner? What if this current issue was not an issue today because it was fixed earlier? What if the riots and all the other bad things that have happened recently didn’t ever occur because Al didn’t make his version of the song? Parodies are popular and are also powerful.

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