It’s not uncommon for a person in the public eye to offend, whether through carelessness, intent, or simple happenstance. Today, though, as Weird Al apologizes for just such an offense, it is refreshing to see an honest, sincere, apology, rather than the “nonpology” of “I’m sorry you didn’t get the joke” that is too often seen.
Weird Al Yankovic, best known for his parody songs (though they make up only about half his repertoire) released his new song and video, “Word Crimes” last week as part of what Salon says will be an eight video series.
In the video (see below) Weird Al talks about poor writing, with lines like
Just keep in mind
That “be”, “see”, “are”, “you”
Are words, not letters
However, Weird Al did not take into account that one segment of the song would offend for reasons other than grammar correction:
Saw your blog post
It’s really fantastic
That was sarcastic (Oh, psych!)
‘Cause you write like a spastic
Several fans, however, were offended or hurt by Al’s use of the word “spastic,” which has been used by many to refer, in a derogatory way, to people with cerebral palsy. Calling the term “ableist,” bloggers and moms decried Weird Al’s use of the term as an insult in the song.
However, rather than getting backfended, Weird Al was quick to openly apologize for the mistake.
If you thought I didn’t know that “spastic” is considered a highly offensive slur by some people… you’re right, I didn’t. Deeply sorry.
— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) July 20, 2014
There’s no word on whether he plans to change those few lines to remove the offense, but the apology was given in a sincere and humble manner, which places it miles ahead of those often given by folks in public view. One mom blogger, Diary of a Mom, spoke appreciatively about the correction today. Along with a screenshot of Al’s tweet, she said:
I am so happy to see this. My post about Weird Al’s hurtful gaffe in his new song, #WordCrimes was queued up for tomorrow. It will look very, very different now.
Most of us don’t expect perfection out of the celebrities we love from afar, but we do expect a certain degree of sensitivity and decency from them, and today, we learned that while anyone can make a mistake, when Weird Al apologizes, he does it up right, without making excuses or being defensive.