Thursday, January 29, 2009
She Blinded Me With Science
My older boy's science teacher showed him a video made from Tom Lehrer's musical recitation of the Table of Elements set to a tune from The Pirates of Penzance.
I don't understand the thinking. Actually, I lied; I understand it perfectly --I think it's foolish, that's different.
Science is not interesting because Tom Lehrer wrote a funny ditty about it. Tom Lehrer is interesting because he wrote something witty about something boring. If you're interested in the table of elements it's interesting. Just like all things. The idea that all things can be made interesting to all people by making them get up and dance in presentation is silly. To put it in woodworking terms, pointing to the veneer doesn't make the flakeboard underneath it any more interesting to look at. Besides, people truly jazzed about chemistry are so much funnier than people jazzed about jazz ragging on chemistry. Behold the Boron lady and Phil Spector, PHD: Chicks Dig Boron.
My son was somewhat delighted I knew all about Tom Lehrer and could recite many of his ditties from memory. The Table of Elements song is his least entertaining work I can recall. Short on funny, long in presentation. This one's much darker, and gleeful: