Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?
I've seen those English dramas too, they're cruel
So if there's any other way to spell the word
It's fine with me, with me

Why would you speak to me that way?
Especially when I always said that I
Haven't got the words for you
All your diction dripping with disdain
Through the pain
I always tell the truth

Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?
I climbed to Dharamsala too, I did
I met the highest Lama, his accent sounded fine
To me, to me

Check your handbook, it's no trick
Take the chapstick, put it on your lips
Crack a smile, adjust my tie
Know your boyfriend, unlike other guys

Why would you lie about how much coal you have?
Why would you lie about something dumb like that?
Why would you lie about anything at all?
First the window, then it's to the wall
Lil' Jon, he always tells the truth

Check your passport, it's no trick
Take the chapstick, put it on your lips
Crack a smile, adjust my tie
Know your butler, unlike other guys

Why would you lie about how much coal you have?
Why would you lie about something dumb like that?
Why would you lie about anything at all?
First the window, then it's through the wall
Why would you tape my conversations?
Show your paintings at the United Nations
Lil' Jon, he always tells the truth


Lyrics submitted by carlitalolitax

Oxford Comma song meanings
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117 Comments

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  • +26
    General CommentWhy would you lie about how much coal you have? Lying about how much coal you have can easily be done through the omission of an oxford comma.

    An oxford comma is the comma right before the and in a series.

    I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel, and coal.
    I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel and coal.

    In the first example, the amound of coal is not specified, while in the second example there are clearly 50 pounds of coal. By omitting the oxford comma, you can let people think that you have 50 pounds of coal, even if you do not, as the oxford comma is often viewed as optional.

    But why would you lie about how much coal you have? why would you lie about something dumb like that?
    HoppyChrison February 04, 2008   Link
  • +23
    General CommentFor the record, *I* give a fuck about an oxford comma.
    hemlock_echoon February 20, 2008   Link
  • +17
    General CommentI teach remedial reading at an "alleged" special ed high school (smartest kids in the world are kids with learning differences!!) and I think this song is advocating "content before structure". For example, my kids write essays and they may be spelled wrong and not have the proper grammatical structure but THEY ARE INCREDIBLE!! And like I say to my students - 'I don't care if it's spelled right - grammar - whatever - I just want to know what you think - I want to know your ideas." We analyze a song each week for comprehension and I can't wait to tell them about this site. I've wanted to play this song for them - it tells them how smart they are - but of course it has fuck in it so i can't. However, last week a bitchy teacher was complaining about how "dumb" the kids were and I said "Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?" and walked off. Ha ha sure she didn't get it yet she thinks she is SO SMART!!
    Remember hemlock echo - there is a difference between formal education and intelligence. INTELLIGENCE IS ORIGINAL AND CAN BE THE PRODUCT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T FOLLOW THE RULES!!! Special Ed rocks ...
    minderellaon February 23, 2008   Link
  • +8
    General CommentI could be way off, but I always thought the part about 'lying about how much coal you have' meant she was trying to make it seem like she had been bad, like when santa gives you coal for christmas, as if she was trying to give the impression that she's 'naughtier' than she really is.
    injun252on March 02, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General Commentit's totally amazing how Vampire Weekend could come up with a kick ass song from a petty oxford comma.

    What is this song about? It's about not giving a fuck about silly, small and ridiculous things (see what i did there? i made a list without using an oxford comma) Anywhats, hoorah to Vampire Weekend hypothetically murdering pretentiousness.
    clariceandhersongson January 15, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI think the song is about a girl he is dating who is superficial, judgmental, and preoccupied with the social standards of being important (diction dripping of disdain, check your handbook, put on chap stick, tying his tie, paintings at UN).

    The speaker is telling the girl that she shouldn't care so much about the small rules and standards of modern society (i.e. the Oxford Comma) and that she should be more open to the world (know your butler, don't care about the accent). She should get to know her boyfriend rather than just being with him for the sake of saying she can have a boyfriend.

    He is trying to tell her that the proper, more civilized, or high class things are often overrated (the English dramas are cruel) and sticking to them all the time can have a bad effect on you (they make her lie about meaningless things). The lies start out just like a see through window but soon she has built an entire wall of lies around her just to keep up with what she perceives proper society to be.

    He wants her to stop correcting people all the time because the people that she thinks are lower than her are actually more honest and genuine than she is.
    oceancitygirlon July 24, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General CommentIt's Dharamsala, as given. Dharamsala is a mountain town in India, where the Dalai Lama lives.

    And brycesw: You're a moron.
    rkpetersenon January 30, 2008   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningI always thought the "why would you lie about how much coal you have" was just a reference to Oxford Commas.

    A common example of an Oxford Comma is:

    "I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel, and coal." Here the amount of coal is not specified.

    I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel and coal." Here without an Oxford Comma it is implied there is 50 pounds of coal. This making people think you have 50 pounds of coal even though you don't.

    So lying about how much coal you have! :-)
    oceanicon October 22, 2011   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationHere's what I think-- The Song is called "Oxford Comma", and it's clearly addressed to an ex-lover, it's a breakup song. The "Oxford Comma" in this case, stands in for everything that is pretentious and conceited about this girl. She's someone who is very concerned about being smarter than everyone in the room--so she corrects people on trivial things like "oxford commas" so that she can feel superior.
    "If there's any other way to spell the word..."--The girl tends to correct people on spelling mistakes--the singer realizes that correcting people on unusual spellings is trivial.
    "I've seen the English dramas"-- The singer is saying that the girl's exposure to high culture does not make her better than other people.
    "Why would you lie about how much coal you have"-- "coal" means "useless possessions", like "coal in your stocking". Why would you lie to make yourself appear better than others?
    "...about anything at all"-- Just what it says--Why are you deceitful?
    "window, wall, lil' jon"-- I think this is just saying that Lil Jon, in his street-dialect style, is far less pretentious than this girl is.
    "tape conversations"--Just another break-up accusation, it's a deceitful and hurtful behavior, and she's a deceitful person
    "paintings...united nations"--it's just the sort of thing that a pretentious ivy-league girl would want to do--have her paintings hung in the united nations, oohh look at how sophisticated I am. Right? :)

    I don't think John Negroponte is involved in this song in any way, shape, or form. You guys are pulling that out of your ass.
    T-BoneWalkeron March 12, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI enjoy that the day that I looked up these lyrics is the same day they were submitted, but I think it is about a girl who is always lying. HAH. I love that he references Lil' Jon and his song "Get Low"
    sansaepidaon July 12, 2007   Link

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