Every year, I write an article showcasing examples of what has become known in recent years as the annual war on Christmas. My pet peeve this year is the Frank Loesser classic Christmas song “Baby It Is Cold Outside”. The song which was written circa 1944 was used in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter starring Latino heartthrob Ricardo Montalban and former champion diver turned actress Esther Williams. The song even won the Academy Award for best song.
Frank Loesser’s tune developed a following before the release of Neptune’s Daughter because he frequently sang it at parties with his wife. The song was later recorded by other artists including Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, Michael Buble and Idina Menzel and even Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Apparently, the charming coquettish romantic duet is now being viewed by the politically correct police as a celebration of date rape. Interestingly enough, according to Emily Crockett who authored “Why Baby It’s Cold outside Became an Annual Controversy about Date Rape and Consent” for VOX, this cynical interpretation of the holiday classic is not new news.
Ms. Crockett’s thesis is that there are two possible interpretations of “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, romantic and “rapey”. Her essay which is written in the compare-and-contrast style goes through the tedious process of analyzing the song’s lyrics and delineating the respective romantic and the “rapey” messages.
I take umbrage with Ms. Crocket’s analysis in that she misconstrues several key lines in the duet. First, she interprets the woman’s saying, “Say what’s in this drink?” to imply that the man put a drug in her drink to knock her out so that he could have his way with her. In the 1940’s the expression “What’s in this drink?” was a very common expression that people used to convey that they were bewitched or enchanted by a situation. Usually, it was intended as a compliment.
Secondly, Ms. Crockett makes much of the man telling the woman that “There are no cabs to be had out there”. It is late at night during Christmas season, what is unusual about a paucity of cabs? However, in Ms. Crockett’s mind, the woman is “trapped” without any way to get home.
Ms. Crockett is not only person who feels that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” sends a message that sexual coercion is acceptable. Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemansk, a songwriter duo from Minneapolis decided to record a new rendition of the song where the man responds to the woman’s comments about “leaving” with “Baby I am fine with that” and other similar milk toast responses. In other words, the man is affirming that the woman has the right to say “no” to staying longer and to engaging in an intimate encounter.
The duo plan to donate the song’s profits to the Sexual Violence Center of Minnesota, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and RAINN. While supporting rape victims is an important cause, I don’t see the correlation between this “holiday chestnut” and sexual battery. You might have to look to some of our current music artists to endeavor to draw that parallel.
The idea that we are now reduced to dissecting a seventy-year-old song in search of a nefarious message is a reflection of just how mired in social justice and politically correct soup our popular culture has become. We don’t need watered down lyrics, caveats, and fine print to empower women. We never did. Whether it is 1944 or 2016, women have always had the right to say no to anything and everything which makes them feel uncomfortable. The women of 1944 knew that. Why is that the women of 2016 need to be told that it is okay to stand up for themselves?
Image: Shutterstock; ID:522031750; Copyright: Jovica Varga