Can Weird Al Yankovic Save The World?
When it comes to trying to educate and prepare Americans for the imminent collapse of society as we know it, the task is certainly not going to be accomplished with a “Peak Oil” brochure.
Americans are exposed to over $75 Billion a year in advertising. We are pummeled with a daily barrage of messages promoting consumption through direct mail, E-mail messages, print advertisements, billboards, radio commercials, television commercials, telemarketing, banner ads, you name it. The list of advertising methods is nearing infinity.
But because our earth has set her limitations, we are pretty much the end of our ability to continue living in a fantasy world that runs on wishful thinking. The question now is, “how painful will our death of excess be”? And how can we make people pay attention to a message they don’t want to hear, believe, or act on?
It should be evident by now that the mainstream media are in no hurry to break the bad news to the masses. According to them, sports scores and celebrity outfit changes are much more important for Americans to know.
Which is why it is up to culture jammers like Weird Al to create entertainment that informs, convinces, and get’s people to act. Yep, you heard me right. Weird Al. I’m convinced he has deciphered the exact formula needed to succeed in communicating the dangers of Peak Oil. Let’s take a look at a Weird Al video and then we’ll break it down.
Al’s formula is simple: He remixes popular music culture with his own witty lyrics and visuals. By emulating the real music video (in this instance, Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio), he reaches into the brain of youth culture that understands the parady relationship. And this is how Weird Al can save the world.
For instance, imagine if Weird Al could made videos targeting a variety of cultures, using the genre of music loved by each: country, rock, hip hop, adult contemporary, etc. Each genre has its “Hits” that fans know and understand, so if Weird Al chose to mock “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks, just about every country fan would be able to identify with it.
In each video, he would need to use humor to communicate the following:
– Our complete dependence on oil for society to function
– That time is drawing to a close
– We need to make changes right now if we are to survive peacefully
– Learn the joy of living locally
– Life is fun and beautiful even with hardship
If I had a million bucks, I would certainly hire Weird Al to help craft these messages. If there is anyone who can pull it off, it’s him. With the power of YouTube and other video distribution sites on the Internet, the message could get out using viral “pass to a friend” techniques – but it will have to be funny for that to happen.
Anyone care to lend me a million bucks?