I've been wondering lately, hope you can help me.
Should we understand
"You think this is easy, realism"
meaning that reflecting reality accurately is a feat, or
"You think this is easy realism"
implying that it is a cheap, inferior form of art which should be avoided?
The version of the lyrics posted on TW is the first one, with the comma suggesting that "realism" explains "this" and apparently authorized by the pause after "easy."
However, the pause may be purely musical, not linguistic, making "easy realism" a noun phrase, and this is indeed how the lyrics are printed in the CD booklet.
Although I always took the first interpretation for granted, in fact never suspecting the second one existed at all precisely because DB pauses between "easy" and "realism", the latter now seems obvious, following the lines "I'm home, lost my job/And incurably ill", as a comment on their reek of tear-jerking socially realistic sob story int the neo-Dickensian vein.
I also suspect that DB deliberately paused between the two words precisely in order to prevent a definitely unambiguous interpretation and surround the DJ's (if not his own) appreciation of realism with ambiguity.
Wear your wound with honour.
I would go with the first interpretation. It seems to me that he is a DJ who soothes his feelings of depression with dillusions of grandeur, "I got believer's believing in me". The real world is too hard for him. Hence, realism is not easy.
I make no apologies for being fabulous.
in 1979 david said "he's (the DJ) the swengali, the magician, he keeps the whole thing going, i would'nt do it for a million dollars"
However, like most Bowie songs, I read a double line of reasoning in this song.David was coming out of a long line of bad managerial contracts at the same time he was shedding his characters.He was taking control of his affairs and the record industry would now accept HIS terms, not the other way 'round.he (the record industry)used to be my boss and now he's just a puppet dancer.This line could also refer to the characters that had overtaken him in real life.He was dropping his characters to play himself
i am the D(avid) J(ones), and I've got beleivers.
Seen in this light the phrase "easy realism" could explode into nooks and crannies of the personalities he shed like clothes, forever knowing that even going "maskless" does'nt hide your past.
i am the DJ I am what I play. Can't turn around No!