Pete Fenzel, Mark Lee, Shana Mlawski and Matt Wrather overthink their Purge plans, their reaction to parodist-laureate “Weird Al” Yankovic’s latest album, and the many logical failings of Snowpiercer.
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Matt, I’m afraid your tags are only illegal to remove until the mattress has been sold. It’s to protect consumers.
DAMMIT! I wasted a purge night.
I can’t give a definitive answer to the origin of the syntax of “under penalty” but I can drop a little more info. It definitely had entered legal discourse when the English common law courts whose law ultimately provided the basis of our own system still conducted all business in Norman French. There was a writ at the time that began “Under penalty…” and commanded a person to come forth and give testimony. Although we now write that writ in Modern English, we still use the first two words of the original writ as the term for it: sub peonea (subpoena).
And obviously the best thing to do during the purge (assuming all laws are void and not just criminal law) is close multi-billion dollar business deals income tax-free.
I still stand by writing trillions of dollars in unbacked notional derivatives.
I had never heard of “Snowpiercer” before, so I should have been on my guard. But I listened to more than an hour and fifteen minutes of the Overthinking It podcast episode 316 before I realized that you were doing another stunt episode. Brilliant! Normally, you wade around the shallow pool of pop culture and pretend among yourselves that you are exploring an ocean. But this time you decided to swim a league further into imagination and just make up the movie itself. You invented the kind of movie that you want to exist—the kind of movie that could only exist if our global culture were greater than it is.
When I think back on all the things you talked about in that episode, I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to pick up on what you were doing. Nothing that you mentioned could ever have been filmed for a real movie. That podcast was the greatest blending of deep, artistic imagery and dead-pan improv delivery that I have ever experienced. And for nearly the whole length, I totally bought it.
Sorry, but it’s legit: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/snowpiercer/
There’s an IMDb page too. Somebody with some access was really dedicated to the bit.
Before I ever commented, I looked up the movie and discovered it was real. But I didn’t want to give up a good theory just because of a few boring facts.
And of course, there is plenty of fake stuff on the Internet. In fact, how do I know you’re the real Hudsucker? You could be just a stand-in for Hudsucker. Perhaps a… Hudsucker Proxy. [Raising one eyebrow with feigned seriousness.]
Finally! You’re the first person in the entirety of the internet to make that reference about my name. That movie is so great.
Agreed; I saw it three times when it first came out.
This comment had me legitimately questioning my own memory of seeing Snowpiercer earlier this weekend. The movie itself is dreamlike enough to make that theory less crazy than you might expect.
It’s entirely possible that Snowpiercer is just a collective hallucination fabricated in the subconscious of Overthinking It hive mind; your memory of having seen the movie or any promotional materials associated with the movie is just an epiphenomenon of having listened to the Overthinking It podcast.
“Hey, remember when the lady from The Help was dying in the sauna fight, and Captain America went over to her, and she was all ‘I want to see my son one last time,’ and Captain America took out the charcoal drawing done by the budget Bob Hoskins guy, and then she died, and he was all ‘Looks like I’m The Help now’ and went to fight Ed Harris?”
Ooh, I love this improv game!
YES AND: Remember when Alison Pill led a classroom full of children in a song about freezing to death, and then some guys brought in a shopping cart full of hard-boiled eggs, and Captain America took one and there was a note inside that said “BLOOD”? And then Alison Pill and the shopping cart guys took out machine guns that were buried under the eggs so they could murder everyone, so Captain America shot a toothless Tilda Swinton who at that point didn’t have a shoe on her head?
This is my favorite comment.
Not reached Snowpiercer yet but a sort of ‘Well Actually’ on the Poet Laureate. You seemed to be talking about it as a rank when it’s actually a formal position, essentially the state poet who writes the official poem when one is needed.
Is Weird Al obliged to write the pieces he does in some sense? That would make the metaphor work still.
He’s certainly an interestingly American phenomenon, I don’t know anyone in the UK who’s interested in his work particularly and in my mind he’s the same thing as MAD magazine, in that I don’t know what it is really but have a rough idea based on reflections in other cultural works.
There’s no real direct British equivalent but the reworked song is a fundamental part of the BBC half hour comedy sketch show format.
If I might meta-“well actually,” and continue my apparent role in this thread of discussing Latin imports into English from the Middle Ages, a “poet laureate” was a term for a celebrated poet even before it referred to any formal position–the phrase appears in Chaucer, about 200 years before there was a position. Laureate refers to laurels–a less latin-y way of saying it would be “celebrated poet,” with the implication that they have been in some way formally recognized (given laurels). See also a Nobel laureate.
That said, I think the way it’s used in the podcast is closer to the form you are referring to–the person who we look to to make poems for particular occasion. Weird Al is the person we look to to parody the popular songs of the moment and he has in a sense been elected by the culture to be the one to do that.
I think this New Yorker cartoon captures what I was trying to say about Weird Al’s status better than I was able to verbalize on the podcast:
I think Handy follow the same character from the song “Hardware store” and we discover what happen to him.
I love this theory! Especially because you can see his sublimated sexual fascination with tools expand from jittery adolescent anticipation to full-blown smarmy decadence over the course of the decade.
Well I thought that my idea wasn’t quite overthinking it level, but this made it on par with the website
You see Hardware store is now a song about teenage anticipation of losing one virginity and Handy is about overly sleezy womaniser (he has a porn stache)
And you need to fit the Plumber Song into this…
I describe Snowpiercer as “Bioshock on a Train, a Steve Rogers alternative universe adventure”
I was worried you guys were going to forget about that third Meatloaf reference. It would have been all right, though. Two out of three ain’t bad.
Thanks for the most thought-provoking and intelligent conversation about Weird Al that I could ever expect from any media outlet, if we include podcasts in that bucket for just a moment. I get so tired of the TV interviews where they say, basically, “Hey, haven’t seen you in 20 years! Isn it true [Madonna suggested “Like a Surgeon”] and [Michael Jackson loved your parodies]?”
Over the past couple of years, I have been looking for parody artists who are on a comparable level of production quality and musical ability, because we don’t have to just wait for the latest Weird Al release anymore. There are a lot of wannabes out there, of course, but I like The Key of Awesome sub-channel of Barely Political. They have the advantage of being a team, rather than an individual who fronts a band, and they do really address the nonsense in the music industry as one of their main themes. (Look up the “Royals” parody “Spoiled” for example.) I agree that Weird Al is the Poet Laureate of Musical Parody, but he does have successors.
As for the album itself, I am always excited for Weird Al’s latest “comeback.” I did not like “Foil” as much as the above-mentioned competition. I do enjoy all the songs in their own right. “Mission Statement” speaks to me both as an employee of a global corporation, and as someone who grew up in the 60s-80s timeframe. No one will do polka medleys of pop songs like Al. Period. Maybe he will release them in a more timely fashion from now on.
Thanks again for this topic. I lost track of Al in the 90s, but in ’99 when he did “The Saga Begins” video, I was back on board the train (ha ha) and I haven’t missed a thing.
I forgot to mention, as a counterpoint to Weird Al being “so nice” (and I agree), there was some backlash to the song “Word Crimes” as being well-intentioned AND mean-spirited. I read this reaction in person from the author, after I “thoughtfully” posted a link to the video on her Facebook page. Oops.
Creeping out of the woodwork to reassert my presence as the one true cat. I’m a little behind on the podcasts but still committed to listening to them all.