The most beautiful time of the year is upon us, which means it’s time to buy your loved ones things you can’t afford and bicker over ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’.
‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ is a call and response duet written by Frank Loesser in 1944. You probably remember it from Elf. It’s about a woman who wants to go home to appease society’s expectations that a single woman should always be a good little girl (remember, this is 1944) and a man who’s maybe a little too eager to have her spend the night. A nuanced reading of the lyrics would tell you the woman’s primary struggle is with society, not male coercion. But this is 2018, which means there’s room for neither nuance, nor reading. And so we have date rape’s official anthem since the early 2010s.
I’ll spare you any further analysis since the matter has been debated to death, but a moderate take would place the lyrics somewhere in the range of what you might overhear at a blockchain startup. Which is to say, brow-furrowing sleaze (pleading with ‘What’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?’ is never advisable).
It’s certainly not about drug-facilitated sexual assault. Standing alone, the lyrics “Say what’s in this drink?” are curious. But it’s also a popular idiom of the era that has nothing to do with being suspicious of Valium in an egg nog and, besides, date rape drugs weren’t really a thing until the 70s.
Anyway, a Cleveland radio station has taken it upon itself to drop the winter weather ballad from its holiday playlist.
“When the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong,” said WDOK host Glenn Anderson, citing listener objections. “The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.”
It should be noted that an online petition by the radio station showed 94% of respondents preferred to keep the song on the air while only 6% believe Christmas would be better off without it like, say, Zwarte Piet.
Let’s finish with a tweet by William Shatner: