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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

I Love That ELO

There’s a kind of coarseness to making fun of things nowadays. I don’t mean that it’s all bathroom humor, although there’s plenty of that. I mean the humor is not sophisticated. To properly lampoon something, you have to first understand it — but you really have to have a little affection for the subject to mock it properly. The Internet, with its cut-and-paste immediacy, lends itself to instant parody, not much of it very good. If you visit the average blog where opinion is offered and comments are enabled, you’re almost immediately able to ken the Zeitgest there immediately and move on: Yes, I get it: You hate ______. A lot. But photoshopping a Hitler moustache onto milquetoast politicians isn’t a trenchant lampoon. It’s the visual equivalent of putting toilet paper in someone’s shrubs while they’re asleep. Not particularly brave, or funny.

Randy Newman has the cultivated talent to understand the subject intimately, and the twinkle in the eye that’s necessary to mock it properly. But I can see a little affection in there for it, too. That’s what makes it sublime.

2 Responses

  1. 1979. Dane County Coliseum. Everyone in my circle of friends went to that concert and talked about the friggin’ spaceship for two weeks afterward. I was not allowed to go to rock concerts then. Or wear Levi’s blue jeans. Cords were o.k.

    I love ELO, too, though.

  2. Me, I think Weird Al Yankovik is the best parodist around. But Randy has done some good stuff–“Short People” comes immediately to mind.

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