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Forever Analytical
December 13, 2011 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Pop song analysis, English teacher style (SLYT)
posted by litnerd (39 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heh.
posted by cortex at 7:40 AM on December 13, 2011


I'm in love.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:41 AM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is this one of those videos where someone pedantically takes apart the grammar in a pop song? I haven't looked.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:49 AM on December 13, 2011


randomkeystrike: "Is this one of those videos where someone pedantically takes apart the grammar in a pop song? I haven't looked."

No. It is not. Does what it says on the tin.
posted by that's candlepin at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2011


Also: cute and kinda funny.
posted by that's candlepin at 7:57 AM on December 13, 2011


David Sedaris writes about visiting Germany, and that the people there see talking to him as an opportunity to enthusiastically practice their absolutely perfect English. Now I know what he means.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:58 AM on December 13, 2011


Nice sweater.

...No really, why do all English teachers have sweaters that are attractive but you wouldn't wear one yourself.
And they do this kind of thing with pop songs. I mean you knew where this was going before you even looked at it.

Like, ok, all math teachers have mustaches (mostly men), all science teachers smell vaguely of ... what, vinegar? Always wear bad shoes (which, in consideration now, really makes sense). Sociology teachers have the jackets with patches on them. Look like they just walked off the set of a documentary. And gym teachers only use your last name.

Look at the sweater. It's obvious they're all into - something. And we sort of know it but we don't really, do we? Right on the tip of our brains but we don't know what it is or why we all know it. What with the pop songs and titillating allusions but you know it can't go anywhere, then the math teacher comes in with his damn algorithm cup of coffee and very-light-but-it's-definitely-not-white-but-what color-is-that-yellow-or-are-my-eyes-fucked-from-the-damn-florescent-lighting shirt and they start talking about something but it's like a dream because you can hear lilts and bass dips in the words but can't quite make it out, and they know that because they keep looking at you.

I mean some days it's not the Illuminati lizard people that I'm paranoid about. It's little detail vibe stuff that we ALL know and it's EVERYWHERE! Why does she keep swinging that STICK like that man?! Is she going to belt us one? Jack someone off!? Ride a horse!? I mean why do they ALL do that that way?

I'm just sayin'
posted by Smedleyman at 8:04 AM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can't watch at work, but is the entire thing a where's waldo-esque search for symbolism that may or may not actually be there?
posted by empath at 8:12 AM on December 13, 2011


Folks, it's really okay to just not comment in a thread about a single video that you can't or won't watch.
posted by cortex at 8:15 AM on December 13, 2011 [25 favorites]


Smedleyman, buddy, might be time to lay off the drugs.
posted by Phire at 8:18 AM on December 13, 2011


Speaking as a former English teacher and current sort-of-writer, this was pure awesome.
posted by Scattercat at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2011


<3
posted by Fizz at 8:34 AM on December 13, 2011


speaking as a former teacher, with Fred McMurray cardigan, why not ask a question here and there of a class rather than showing off how clever you are? Oh, I see. Not a real class but a video.
posted by Postroad at 8:37 AM on December 13, 2011


empath, make time to watch it later. It's as charming as fuck.
posted by maudlin at 8:37 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm gay, which makes me wonder why I am wondering about where else she uses that lovely chalkboard pointer. Must be her exquisite grammar.
posted by CaptApollo at 8:39 AM on December 13, 2011


The video gave a good explanation of synecdoche.
posted by needled at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2011


smedleyman, I too was captivated by her cowl-neck sweater. I began to think, "even though I normally abhor a cowl neck, that one might look good on me." Also, I think there's something (help me English teachers!) about the inviting fuzzy softness of the sweater and the fact that it's on a teacher.


I enjoyed the video (because I now know how to pronounce synecdoche!)
posted by vespabelle at 9:08 AM on December 13, 2011


What we need is a word for words like synecdoche, where you see the sucker a thousand times before you ever hear somebody pronounce it correctly then you go to the dictionary and you realize you have fertilized a mispronunciation in your own brain a thousand times before you could bother yourself to go look up the correct pronunciation. You could easily make it out of Greek or Latin for "often seen in print but almost never heard in conversation".
posted by bukvich at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


This video is a good example of something I think about all the time. Let's assume that what she says makes sense and is at least a reasonable interpretation of the song (of course, we are all free to find whatever meaning we personally choose in all art, but...). I wonder how much of this type of thought goes into the songs creation as it is being formed in the author's head. Do/can critics actually get this right from the artist's perspective? And if so, how often is that the case?

If I watch Lipton extolling the virtues of Owen Wilson's performance in Drillbit Taylor shortly after he raves about his early work in Bottle Rocket, to what extent is Owen Wilson sitting there thinking "Uh....huh. Never really thought about it that way."? (OK, I suppose Owen Wilson may say those words a lot, but you get my drift.)

Say that there is a specific art that is widely considered influential by critics and they all have relatively similar opinions as to why. What are the realistic chances that the artist shares and agrees with that critique and, in fact, recognizes it as exactly what he/she was thinking and trying to convey before and during the creation of the piece itself? Or do artists just have some intuitive sense and then "get lucky" in that what they produce ends up being seen similarly by critics of having a particularly specific and important message or intent?

(Also...I would love to see videos like this in my kid's classroom)
posted by nickjadlowe at 10:16 AM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's absolutely wonderful. Her Why I Love School video (NSFW due to aluminium penises) was a joy to watch. Now to watch her other videos.
posted by TheDonF at 10:21 AM on December 13, 2011


That was pretty awesome.

There was a recent FPP on the guy who sent writers a survey on their use of symbolism. I think this kind of points towards something akin to the Jungian idea of "collective unconscious," in terms of shared cultural referents that both the audience and the writer/performer understand on some level. In my opinion, it's reasonable to think that even if a writer is just coming up with stuff that sounds/feels good to him/her, part of the reason it sounds/feels good is that it's hitting on these frequently-used things that practitioners of language studies have formally defined (because they're frequently used). So it gets kind of circular and self-reinforcing. Then again there's also the possibility of taking it too far with the hermeneutics of suspicion... sometimes a sword in a field is just a sword in a field.
posted by Alterscape at 10:29 AM on December 13, 2011


In my experience, there is a great deal of thought put into the creation of any public message - orders of magnitude more than it takes to consume that message, and with an attention to detail that is difficult, though not impossible, to hold while consuming. Well-crafted messages - and Forever Young is one, whatever you think of its ultimate aaaahhhhhtistic mmmmmerit - take effort to create. We may not owe them that same effort as we consume, but that doesn't mean we can't take it - and find something in the message we wouldn't have if we hadn't.
posted by Fraxas at 10:35 AM on December 13, 2011


Everything about her makes her seem like she should be related to my wife, who is an American with strong family ties to and cultural associations with Fife. I'm bad at accents, where is she from?
posted by Kwine at 10:38 AM on December 13, 2011


Kwine, she's from Germany.
posted by ambrosen at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2011


Yes, I just figured that out.
posted by Kwine at 10:47 AM on December 13, 2011


This reminds me of Paula Poundstone's explanation of Elvis.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 10:56 AM on December 13, 2011


Yes, she does remind me of my German friends, who have that same sense of humour that is well aware of the supposed unhumourlessness of the average German, but who still can't help themselves being all polite and slightly pedantic and such.

And the longer she talked, the more the German accent slips through...

Lovely video, nice find.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:04 AM on December 13, 2011


Many, many Germans speak better English than native speakers. Right down to knowing what I mean when I say things like "I put my eyes in." How on Earth would they know that expression?? Unbelievable ;)
posted by Yowser at 11:04 AM on December 13, 2011


NSFW due to aluminium penises

MAN do I wish I wasn't at work right now so I could look and see what the hell you're talking about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2011


Confiscated sculptures made by a bored student out of the aluminum foil his sandwiches were wrapped in.
posted by jedicus at 11:48 AM on December 13, 2011


Yowser, that reminds me of buying cold medicine from a pharmacy in Cologne. I went to the counter and with great apprehension, asked if the cashier spoke English.

"Yes, a little."

Well, I have a head cold, could you recommend a product?

"So...this particular elixir contains both a decongestant and an expectorant. If you require pain relief as well, I would recommend these tablets with acetaminophen, but since they are contraindicated for use with alcohol, you will need to avoid any alcoholic libations while taking this medication. May I assist you with anything else?"
posted by malocchio at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Those collarbones... <3
posted by FrereKhan at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2011


Also, she built a TARDIS. I love her.
posted by lauranesson at 12:59 PM on December 13, 2011


I highly recommend watching her other videos.

Frankly, I have gone through many opinions - "really interesting", "too well-edited to take at face value", "overly/facetiously humble about her English skills", "this has to be viral marketing (but for what?) to "no, it's really sincere and well-presented", to completely won over by her multilingual and multimedia poetry. To top it off, she is really, really funny. Astrid rules.
posted by Steakfrites at 1:56 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


GAH, academic girl crush. She's grand, semantics is grand, this video was grand, I love it all.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:07 PM on December 13, 2011


That was parallelism. Yay.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:08 PM on December 13, 2011


Here is her youtube channel.

The claim is she is a high school teacher. I would have bet some money she is a professional actress. The Khan Academy needs to hire this lady stat.
posted by bukvich at 3:03 PM on December 13, 2011


great video! i was totally won over.
posted by facetious at 9:48 PM on December 13, 2011


Smedleyman, buddy, might be time to lay off the drugs.

Whoa. yeah. For me it's only been like 10 minutes since I posted that comment until just now.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:00 AM on December 21, 2011


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