If U Seek Amy

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jan 23 02:00:50 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 5:51 PM, Baker, John <JMB at stradley.com> wrote:
>        The latest Britney Spears controversy is her new single, If U
> Seek Amy, bowdlerized on some radio stations to If U See Amy.  There
> have, of course, been a number of different songs with the title If You
> See Kay (and Joyce earlier used the line in Ulysses), but Britney's song
> seems qualitatively different to me, in that it's hard to get a reading
> of the song's words other than "F U C K me."  Here's the refrain:
> Love me, hate me
> Say what you want about me
> But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to If U Seek Amy
> Love me, hate me
> But can't you see what I see?
> All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to If You Seek Amy
>        In spite of my reading, I've seen a number of online posts where
> commenters mentioned that they did not get the pun until it was pointed
> out to them.  In any case, it seems a higher class of controversy for
> Britney than she has encountered in the not-too-distant past.

High-class indeed -- Joycean, even, with its echo of "If you see Kay"
from _Ulysses_.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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