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Tag, You’re Racist! Is Weird Al Yankovic’s “Word Crimes” Guilty?

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Weird Al’s Tagged:“What do you think of Weird Al’s parody of ‘Blurred Lines,’ ‘Word Crimes’. (sic) Because I think it’s not much better. It more or less replaces the misogyny in the original with ableism, classism, and potentially racism.” original-plastic @Tumbler

Racist Al? Yup,the PC dorkbags ride again, seeing Weird Al as racist. What do you think? Here are some lyrics:

I hate these word crimes
Like I could care less
That means you do care…

…better figure out the difference
Irony is not coincidence
And I thought that you’d gotten it through your skull
What’s figurative and what’s literal
Oh but, just now, you said
You literally couldn’t get out of bed

OSU Prof Lauren Squires Judges:  “…many linguists are having a hard time laughing with Word Crimes: to do so feels like complicity in an ongoing project of linguistic discrimination that intersects with class, race, and other kinds of discrimination.”Lauren Squires

Lucy Ferriss Responds:  “In reading Lauren Squires’s post, for instance, I found myself twice wanting to correct her use of different than to different from…Weird Al’s video has become a safe setting for thousands of viewers. It’s not a teaching tool or a stance. It’s a catch-all, a grab bag of nonstandard bits and pieces that people both use and find themselves uncomfortable with.” – Lucy Ferriss

Tag, Who’s Racist?  Playing the game of Tag, You’re Racist means you play ping-pong racism, seeking slander on every page, twisting semantics, trivializing real racism, and fueling rather than eliminating a serious social problem.  OK, Lauren, sure, you make a few semi-valid points, but you’re not thinking efficiently. Al’s no linguist, yet he’s writing a parody. So let’s ask, who harms the dialogue?

Verdict on Weird Al:  Funny shit!

Verdict on Lauren Squires:  Lauren, you’re tagged as guilty for perpetuating racism.

Related:  Weird Al Yankovic Is Calling out Celebrity in “Lame Claim to Fame”
How Much Clemency for Word Crimes?
What are the Worst Word Crimes? – The Independent
Weird Al Is Tired of Your Word Crimes – Slate
Word Crimes is Literally the Greatest English Lesson Ever – Salon

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Written by Caleb Powell

August 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

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