This aspect of disco never bothered Neil or me. Again, the Village
People’s best songs were so catchy—you were instantly pulled into their
hook-laden melodies, and that’s all that mattered. This is precisely
how (and the irony is laugh-inducing) many fundamentalists who regard
the homosexual lifestyle with contempt can dance around shrieking
“Y–M–C–A” at the top of their lungs along with the Village People,
happy as clams, oblivious to any subtext or message. Great melodies
hide lyrical meaning, which is why a song like Bruce Springsteen’s
“Born in the USA” can be considered a pro-American anthem when it’s
nothing of the sort.

With the addition to our roster of the
Village People, disco became Neil’s new bubblegum. Not everyone at
Casablanca was unaware of the sizable homosexual presence in disco
culture, and a fissure grew between the disco and rock contingents. As
our disco department expanded, a few homophobes in the company — mainly
in the pop department — began to reveal themselves. They mostly kept
their mouths shut, but Neil and I could feel the tension. Some of them
would refuse to shake hands with a person (an artist or a fellow
employee) who was gay, or even breathe the same air. A few snide
comments were made in meetings, but it never went beyond that.

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