Did Sk Write About A Misheard Lyric In Blondie's "rapture?"

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Mothlight

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Nov 19, 2013
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Hi, all. Way back in the 1980s I read an essay in which the author describes being informed by a buddy that the hit song "Rapture" includes a reference to
"finger-f***ing"
that made it past the radio censors. The author is skeptical, but sets out to find a copy of the song to check for himself. I think the essay might have concluded with a radio DJ filling the author's phoned-in request by playing the song over the air. Upon verifying the presence of the obscene line in question, merriment ensues: It's true!
Finger-f***ing!
On the radio! What a gas!


I recall the story about "Rapture" was a framing device to deliver a larger idea — maybe something about the importance of free speech, or mischief and subversion in pop culture, etc. The line in the song is actually "finger-popping" (rhymes with 24-hour shopping) but that's never acknowledged in the essay. Either the writer really believed the line was included in the song, chose to perpetuate the myth for the purposes of his writing, or was simply indifferent to the idea of the songwriter's intent in the shadow of the Greater Meaning the song had taken on in his mind.

Anyway, I've associated this essay with Stephen King all these years — at the time, I was reading just about every single word he wrote that I could get my hands on — and long believed it appeared in Danse Macabre. Well, that doesn't even make sense given the subject of Danse Macabre, and I just looked through a copy and confirmed that it's not in there. I've Googled the heck out of the subject, but this is such a common misunderstanding of the line from "Rapture" that there's a ton of discussion about it, none of it pointing to King or an essay from the 1980s. The only other writer I read religiously during that period was Harlan Ellison — a friend of King's, I believe, but unlikely to have been impressed in any way by the lyrics to Blondie's "Rapture."

Does anyone recall this piece? I remember it being collected in a book, but it could have been a magazine. I did not read it online, since this would have predated my connection to the Internet by a few years. (It had to be published between 1981 and 1987, I think, and probably earlier in that time period as opposed to later.) You all are the experts, so if nobody here has read it I might as well conclude that it wasn't a Stephen King piece after all. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated!
 
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Moderator

Ms. Mod
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He did write an essay about ratings, i.e. "R", "X", "PG", etc. but I don't know if that's the one as I think it mostly had to do with movie ratings and I'm not remembering the exact title. Also not anywhere near the office so wouldn't be able to check for you until I return next week.
 

Mothlight

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Nov 19, 2013
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Oooh, Gauntlet. Yeah, I definitely read that essay. I don't think that's the one I'm thinking of — I remembered it being published earlier — but it could be. I'm sure I don't have my copy of that anymore, though. If anyone could have a look I'd appreciate a yes/no. Thanks very much for taking the time to consider this.

I'm going to feel dumb if it turns out it's not a Stephen King essay after all. I do seem to remember him doing some writing on rock music (I wouldn't know who The Rainmakers are if it weren't for Stephen King) and I even saw him play with the Rock Bottom Remainders at the Hollywood Palladium so maybe I just associate him with music to some degree.
 

carrie's younger brother

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Mar 8, 2012
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The lyric in question really is "finger popping" and is indeed rhymed with "24 hour shopping." I am a lifelong Blondie fan, since their first album in 1976. I've followed their career just about as long as I've followed SK's.

Face to face
Sadly solitude
And it's finger popping
Twenty-four hour shopping in Rapture
 

Mothlight

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Nov 19, 2013
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Thanks, Bev. At this point I'm just about resigned to the idea that King didn't write about "Rapture" at all and I'm just misremembering the author. It will drive me crazy now, because I have no reference point to find the piece again—but if it wasn't Stephen King writing about it, I guess it's not as interesting a story.
 
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