Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weird Al's idea of growing up.

Bravo, Weird Al.

Today I read this article on NPR's website. It details Weird Al Yancovic's literary genius and the creation of his first children's book: "When I Grow Up". In the article, "Al", explains that he wants his readers, children mostly, to get a sense of possibility with the book. He wants kids to know that whatever they want to be is fine, as long as they are happy and excited about it. Not to mention, maybe another kick in the teeth of narrow-minded, nit-wits who have streamlined education and imagination.

It's obvious that Al is a talented lyricist, and that shows up in his brilliant, poetic verse. What strikes me, is how poignant the book is. It reaches out the kids in that first moment they are forced to label themselves; a label society hopes will stick with them so they will undoubtedly coast unhindered to their "desired" finish line. Unfortunately, as this blog has noted time and again,that's just not how it works.

I joked in an earlier post, that the only way to finish college in four years, is to know your eventual vocation by Kindergarten, and then never ever change your mind, no matter what life throws at you. Again, I was snidely poking fun at the narrowness of the education system, not to mention how costly it is to be "indecisive". But is Weird Al suggesting that indecisiveness could be a form of personal optimism? The little boy in the story comes up with multiple possibilities for his future, not once regretting his inability to choose. Maybe if we are told early on that we are capable of many things, we will ultimately have the confidence to make a decision. Maybe if children have the freedom to pursue their own interests, instead of being bombarded with what they are "not good at" they would just be happier kids. Personal choice could weigh-in, instead of the inevitability of settling for what others think will make them successful.

"When Yankovic himself was 8, he told his guidance counselor he wanted to be a writer for Mad magazine. But the guidance counselor convinced him that there was "not much of a future in comedy" and advised him to pursue a real career, like architecture" cit.


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