When I said Silicon Valley needed more show tunes, I should have been more specific. In journalism, the cliche is that two's a coincidence, three's a trend. But as Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee points out, when it comes to year-end wrapups as musical numbers, three may well be a cliche. JibJab, WallStrip, and the Richter Scales all produced look-back videos to the tune of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."
JibJab's is a broad take on pop culture, Wallstrip's a review of the stock market, and Richter Scales is a rip on the Web (and some say a ripoff of other people's work). All of them are funny enough, but do they qualify as parodies?
According to the dictionary, a parody is "a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule." I don't buy that any of these videos qualify. They imitate Billy Joel's original not for comic effect but for convenience. For their creators, thinking of an original form for a quickly paced musical review of the news proved just too hard.
Then again, there's another definition for parody: "a feeble or ridiculous imitation." If the videographers want to claim that meaning, I won't stand in their way. Here are the three Joel derivatives. Judge for yourself the title they deserve.