Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It Turns Out Randy Newman May Not, After All, Love ELO All That Much

(It's a re-run. Deal with it.)

There's a coarseness to making fun of things abroad in the land. 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, too. 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 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, nor 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 kernel of affection in there for it, too. It may only be the glee of pulling the legs off a musical fly that's been bugging him, but fun is fun. That's what makes it sublime.


Mal said...

At one point ELO was the only thing Randy Newman's young sons (under the age of 10) were listening and singing to, mightily, around the house.
A connection might be established.

Mal said...

And then...
Jeff Lynne produced the song "Falling In Love" on Land of Dreams a few years later.
So, no hard feelings...