Footnote to an allusion

In an earlier post, I overthought the Paul Simon line “I was living in London with the girl from the song before.” In an earlier draft of that post, I quoted more of the song.

Good intention: I copied and pasted from a lyrics site, to avoid making a typo.

Poor execution: The site I copied from had “the summer before” as the lyric!

Over on Facebook, Ilya alerted me to my mistake—

OK, this is kind of cool: in one place, you somehow wound up with “the summer before” instead of “the song before”. But as it happens, that one place was the first occurrence in the post! And was also a pull quote! So its authority persisted for more than half the post, in the face of slowly mounting background dissonance, and eventually even one direct quote of “the song before” (which I think I took in stride as a presumed typo), until a second direct quote forced me to reassess and I felt my entire semantic frame grinding into realignment.

Which is all to say, maybe you shouldn’t fix it! It was a fun experience. 🙂

This probably highlights something interesting about the appreciation of allusions, but I’m not sure what. And it’s a different point than the one I had in mind for the post, so I fixed it.

Now I’ve realized that the official lyrics have “the summer before.” I think that’s obviously not what he sings, but— worse— it makes the reference unremarkable and the line uninteresting.

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