Can Weird Al Yankovic Save The World?

December 17, 2006 at 6:09 pm 3 comments

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?

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Entry filed under: Activism, Comedy, Peak Oil, Videos.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thedr9wningman  |  December 19, 2006 at 9:38 am

    Here’s the only issue I see:

    People don’t like to think. They like fun, silly, and stuff that makes fun of people. If you have a serious message, you have to really bury it, because otherwise, just like with Christian music (I saw South Park last night: look up ‘Faith +1’), stuff that is preachy falls on deaf ears.

    What needs to happen is that people need to think. But people won’t think about real risks at hand, instead they worry about getting killed by deer or terrorists while smoking a cigarette, driving to work, talking on the cell phone.

    I just read an article on the perception of risk. Read it here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1562978,00.html

    Hugs to you my friend.
    As always,
    Your devil’s advocate

    Reply
  • 2. peakoilboy  |  December 19, 2006 at 11:11 am

    I know. We think, therefore we are. They don’t think, therefore we are screwed.

    But I believe in the power of humanity, and that we can achieve a critical mass of people who sense something stinks and are ready for change, but they can only be reached through their own world view.

    If “Everybody Loves Raymond” made an episode about Peak Oil, it would have more impact than all the grassroots efforts combined, because it would kick open the door to the masses and move beyond the early adopters.

    But, for all the denial of reality, there are few who accept it in time to avoid calamity. Which is why you and I only get one quarter to play this very real game, and we have a lot of mini-bosses to beat.

    I’m just trying to find the warp whistles.

    Reply
  • 3. richard  |  June 4, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    all i can say is, weird al would cost a lot more than a million bucks. the guy ain’t broke. he had a record in the top ten just last year. so i’d aim a little higher money-wise, or maybe a little lower talent-wise. other than that, your theory seems sound enough to me!

    Reply

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