I Must Take Issue With The Wikipedia Entry For 'Weird Al' Yankovic

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Vol 40 Issue 45

Political Blogger Mass Suicide To Be Discovered In Several Weeks

BOSTON—By examining web-traffic data for left-leaning DailyKos.com, researchers have predicted that the mass suicide of 14 political bloggers will likely be discovered sometime in mid-December. "After months of doing nothing but sit alone in our rooms at our computers, trying to get our message to the people, we lost the election anyway," read the still-unread suicide pact posted Nov. 3. "We'd rather be dead than live in a country as fucked up as this one." The bodies will most likely be found by property managers, long-estranged parents, or neighbors returning copies of Joe Trippi's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

Procrastinating Catholic 20 Rosaries Behind

BOSTON—Following three trips to the confessional in recent months, Paul McMullen has a backlog of 20 recitations of the rosary, the 32-year-old Catholic reported Monday. "Father O'Riordan gave me three rosaries last time, five the time before, and I still had 12 left over from last month," McMullan said. "I tried doing the 'Hail Marys' and the 'Our Fathers' on my way to work, but I kept losing my place during the Sorrowful Mysteries." McMullan said he plans to stop going to confession for a few months so he can catch up.

Amount Of Halloween Candy Collected Down 15 Percent

WASHINGTON, DC—According to data released Monday by the Federal Confectionery Reserve, the amount of candy collected by U.S. children this Halloween dropped 15 percent from 2003. "As the treating indicator plainly shows, our Snickers, Dum Dums, and Bit-O-Honey numbers were far below projections," FCR chairman Bert Worak said. "As we head into the next quarter, we should brace ourselves for a sharp reduction in levels of childhood wonder." Bennett also cautioned against counting on Santa Claus to boost candy acquisitions during the coming months.

Prehistoric Discoveries

This year, paleontologists made a number of important discoveries about prehistoric times, including the existence of a 40-inch-tall species of human, as well as that of an early, feathered relative of the Tyrannosurus Rex. What are some other recent discoveries?

The Republican Majority

Last week, Bush became the first Republican president to be re-elected with House and Senate majorities since 1924. What do you think?

U.S. To Send 30,000 Mall Security Guards To Iraq

WASHINGTON, DC—Pressed for additional troops to police the Iraqi general elections scheduled for January, the Pentagon announced Monday that it will dispatch 30,000 U.S. shopping-mall security guards to the troubled Sunni Triangle region.
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I Must Take Issue With The Wikipedia Entry For 'Weird Al' Yankovic

To whomever or whatever is currently in charge of the free encyclopedia and online community portal at Wikipedia.org, I demand that you remove the mask of anonymity and account for the gross oversights to be found on your site. I must take issue with your entry for "Weird Al" Yankovic—for in allowing it to remain active, you are perpetrating a great injustice.

You most likely recognize my username, misterhand43. If you do not, you at the least recall my flame war with SoulblighterEric—I speak, of course, of the altercation which led to my ignoble suspension as a Wikipedia editor. As penance for my immaturity on the Admiral Akbar talk-page thread last March, I have held my tongue for eight months now.

I did not point out the whole-cloth omission of Ralph Snart and his creator Marc Hansen, though it's a gross understatement to say the absence left me incredulous. I did not refer to the woeful lack of an article on the subject of popular Farscape actress Virginia Hey, nor did I send out a strongly worded e-mail about the merely passing mention of Buffy the Vampire Slayer novelizations, even though two were written by Richie Tankersley Cusick, and anyone who has read his adaptation of "The Harvest" would agree that its inclusion on any list on the subject is critical. (And anyone who has not read this fine book has no business writing an overview of the show, but I digress.)

I remained silent in regard to those smaller matters, but I cannot ignore the travesty you call a copyleft encyclopedia article on "Weird Al." Those who know me either by reputation or through IRC know that I do not suffer fools gladly. If you have been on the business end of one of my notorious outbursts of Internet anger, I do sympathize. And, for what is to come forthwith, I offer you my grim condolence. En garde.

To start: Your entry for "Weird Al" is laughably brief, and fails to account for the grand impact and scope of his career. How can you justify a "Weird Al" biography of only a paltry 850 words?

Particularly galling to this author is the fact that Madonna and U2 were given articles two and three times the length of the Weird One's. Yes, those artists may have sold more records than "Weird Al," but surely the Wikipedia community is not one to confuse net profits with artistic merit. Nevertheless, while we are on the loathsome subject of money, I might point out that nowhere in the article is it mentioned that Yankovic has earned no less than four gold and four platinum records.

Put plainly: The "Weird Al" entry contains omissions so glaring, I can only assume that they are the result of laziness, indifference, or complete incompetence. The article does not even hint at the immeasurable output of Alfred Matthew Yankovic, the man who has dominated the parody-song form since "My Bologna" first topped Dr. Demento's "Funny Five." And, although it did not gain national acclaim, "School Cafeteria," released as the B-side of the "My Bologna" single, is not to be overlooked. The live version, to be found on Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes, contains several amusing riffs, as well. But again I digress.

Your entry makes no mention of Al's considerable directorial gifts. Not only has he directed many of his own uproarious videos, but he also directed videos for such artists as Hanson, The Black Crowes, and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Admittedly, the article covers Yankovic's spoof film UHF, featuring Michael Richards in the breakout role of Stanley "Bag Of Moldy Tangerines" Spadowski, but what of Yankovic's "This Is The Life," featured on the soundtrack for Johnny Dangerously? More upsetting is the Wikipedia omission of Yankovic's spot-on parody of the James Bond title sequences in Spy Hard, Rick Friedberg's 1996 Leslie Nielsen vehicle.

While it may be nitpicking, the Wikipedia article states that "Weird Al" appears in The Naked Gun. It would be more accurate to say that "Weird Al" has appeared in all three Naked Gun films. More troubling yet is the treatment of Yankovic's groundbreaking TV work on The Weird Al Show, which is summed up in three paragraphs of puff. There is no mention anywhere of the WAS's recurring cast of characters, including the Hooded Avenger (Brian Haley), Madame Judy (Judy Tenuta), J.B. Toppersmith (Stan Freberg), and, of course, Harvey The Wonder Hamster.

Worst of all, the entry makes no mention of Al's controversial decision to get LASIK eye surgery and shave off his mustache, radically changing the trademark "Weird Al" look.

There are many more facts I could contribute, such as the Dr. Demento Society's yearly Christmas re-release of material from Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes, which often includes an unreleased track from Mr. Yankovic's vaults, such as "Pacman," "It's Still Billy Joel To Me," or the demos for "I Love Rocky Road." In an ideal world, an entry on "Weird Al" might remark on the subtleties of "Happy Birthday," which can only be found on the extremely rare 1981 Placebo EP release of "Another One Rides The Bus," but I certainly no longer believe this world to be ideal.

An even greater case could be made for Yankovic as cultural barometer—Nirvana, an extremely popular '90s grunge band, publicly stated that they knew they had "made it" after Yankovic chose to parody "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and the polka medleys that appear on Yankovic's albums provide the consummate pastiche of popular songwriting styles for our times. But I believe I have already made my point. A radical overhaul of this particular entry is necessary to befit a man who has bestowed upon us the gift of laughter for more than two decades. However, I could not forgive myself if I failed to mention that, by deftly aping the musical stylings of such a wide variety of bands, Yankovic shows that his talents supercede those of the artists he parodies.

While this missive may not improve my chances of being reinstated as a Wikipedia-community editor, sometimes it's necessary to make sacrifices for the larger cause. You can make the additions I have suggested, or you can "dare to be stupid" in the eyes of the "Weird Al" fan base.

I leave the choice to you.

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