Sunday, December 03, 2006

Video - Amish Paradise

I hope my Amish friends will forgive me for linkng this.

Actually, I have no Amish friends, but if I did, I would have to ask for their forgiveness.
(Something tells me, though, that Amish folk are probably less threatened by stuff like this than a lot of do we put this...? Groups. How's that?)
My youngest offspring (much more informed than I about such things) immediately recognized this video as a take-off on the popular "Gangster's Paradise" video found elsewhere.
Looking at the lyrics I am struck by the serious, even sinister nature of the content.
There is an element of tragedy in rap music that undergirds a whole way of looking at the world. I am not cut from the right fabric to appreciate the form, but my instinct is that a deep and painful need for healing is exposed.
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathI take a look at my life and realise there's not much left...I'm the kinda G that little homies want to be like >On my knees in the night, saying prayers in the street light...Death ain’t nothing but a heartbeat away >I'm living life do or die, what can I say >I'm 23 now but will I live to see 24 >The way things is going I don't know >Tell me why are we so blind to see >That the ones we hurt are you and me.
This is poetry. Tragedy in free verse. When I read the words it makes me want to offer words of hope and reassurance where there seems to be nothing but despair. As one of my black friends said, "They're all up in the Cool Aid and don't have no idea what flavor it is."
When you think about it, the Amish takeoff is a lot more healthy.


Anonymous said...

This is Wierd Al Yankovic. He wrote and recorded "Amish Paradise" for hiw 1996 album, "Bad Hair Day". It's a parody of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise".

The Amish try to neither give, nor take, offense. After the recent shooting here in Lancaster County, someone set up a fund to care for the children who were wounded - and they made sure that there was another fund established to care for the wife and children of the gunman as well.

Yes, there's tragedy in Coolio's lyrics - but that seems to have been his point....

j.daniel said...

i think my "favorite" line in that song is, "we're all crazy mennonites living in an amish paradise." i wonder how much weird al actually knows about anabaptist history and how the amish and mennononites came to be.

Hoots said...

Since posting this link I have learned that it's over ten years old, first released on an album released in 1996. Am I getting old, or what?

My guess is that Wierd Al, whose career is thick with parodies, goes to some lengths to do his homework. The Wikipedia article and the official website make for interesting reading.

Appearances and that goofy name notwithstanding, he strikes me as clean as a pin and very professional, typically getting permission from performers before releasing his parodies. He reminds me of a latter-day Spike Jones, a great entertainer from my parents' generation who quit working about the time rock-n-roll started, quipping that modern music had become so bad it was no longer possible to make fun of it, even with satire.