driving up route 17 to middletown tonight to return to the hospital where my wife and new baby are staying, i was listening to an oldies station. they played a song by Kool and the Gang, and as it ended the DJ said, 'that's 'i wanna kiss you all over,' and i don't mean you, sir.' his little comment right after saying the name of the song made me laugh. the accepted convention, fiction really, is that the intimate addresses of pop songs -- the 'you' in 'i love you' heard all the time on the radio -- are not to be taken literally. they are an abstract grammatical position, a subject that exists in a singer's imagination and might also be you. or not. but the purveyors of this odd sort of music (which we are all so used to now) rarely make this conventional practice's rules explicit. and rule number one: when we sing 'i love you,' or 'i wanna touch you all over,' whoever is listening is not necessarily the one addressed -- or rather, we are addressed personally by the song, but not by people repeating the lyrics or titles. so the funny, homophobic, comment by the DJ made me laugh.
did you get that? i'm not sure i did.