Flash forward 51 years. Mobile technology and the internet have revolutionized communications and entertainment. Serious global challenges still abound. Paul McCartney still sells out stadiums. The Rolling Stones still tour from time to time. Social media lets us see Bruce Springsteen cover "Stayin' Alive" and Barry Gibb singing "I'm on Fire". These weren't parodies, like the disco scene in the spoof movie "Airplane!" And speaking of parodies, this brings us to Weird Al Yankovic, who first gained fame with such gems as "Eat It" and "My Bologna". Over three decades later, he has his first #1 album, "Mandatory Fun". For those of us who love the written word, be sure to check out "Word Crimes".
As President Obama and other world leaders grapple with challenges in the Ukraine, the Middle East, and elsewhere, it's fascinating to see humor regaining popular acceptance. Even such a serious columnist as Op-Ed writer Thomas Friedman of the New York Times recently compared current challenges to the Mel Brooks hit TV show "Get Smart!" So whether Weird Al's latest parodies make you ROTFL or you cannot stand them, perhaps we owe him a thank you for reminding us that in a serious world, laughter sometimes is the best medicine.