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Here is a classic example of what noted linguist Umberto Eco calls an "open text", in which the interpreter of the lyrics is left much leeway as to how he or she should gauge the meaning of the song. "That's the way I like it" certainly can be perceived as an expression of a hedonistic mindset, but how these impulses are to be satisfied is left to some extent up to the imagination of the interpreter. The verses do impose certain constraints upon the multiplicity of meanings, yet nevertheless the lyricists afford to the listener a rather wide spectrum of possible interpretations. In part, this multiplicity arises because the chorus can be (and has often been) interpreted independently of the verses.
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This here's a story about Bobby Joe and Billy Sue. No, it's about Bobby Sue and Billy Joel. No, it's about Cletus and his wife, whatever her name is, from the Simpsons. No, it's about that Woody Allen movie -- what was it called? Oh yeah, "Take the Money and Run". "I have a gub." It's an irresponsible endorsement of unethical behavior. I'm referring of course to Billy Mack, who makes his living off of the people's taxes. How many hundreds of people embarked upon an immoral life after listening to this song? Probably hundreds.
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