On November 16, 2020, NULab core faculty member Ryan Cordell, associate professor of English at Northeastern University, went viral on Twitter for singing “Vaccine,” a humorous cover of country music legend Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene.” Parton’s $1 million donation to coronavirus research assisted in part the research and development of a promising COVID-19 vaccine by American biotechnology company Moderna. This news made its way to the digital humanities Twitter-verse; Gretchen McCulloch, New York Times bestselling author and resident linguist at Wired, paid homage to Dolly Parton’s contribution, tweeting the chorus and multiple verses of “Vaccine,” to the tune of “Jolene.”
McCulloch encouraged anyone who wanted to bring her song to life to give it a shot. Cordell seized the moment, guitar in hand, and strummed and sang for a vaccine to “please just keep us safe from COVID harm.” The video has since been uploaded by Cordell to YouTube, and there it has seen 12,914 views to date. The original Twitter video has 86,100 views, 621 retweets, 517 quote tweets, and 2,400 likes to date.
We at the NULab hope this humorous news finds you well before the holidays!