Sunday, December 9, 2018
I was surprised when at work yesterday, the song ‘Baby, It's Cold Outside’ came on. After all, isn’t that supposed to be the ‘rapey’ song that everyone is offended over? Sure, it’s been over 50 years since the song was originally released but better late than never, right?
I recently watched as a wide-eyed young woman spoke about how offensive this classic Christmas song was; she understood the lyrics to be about a young man pressuring a woman to spend the night. She spoke about how it was inappropriate in today’s #metoo culture. Obviously, she’s had a sheltered life because there are songs that have popped up since the 40s that make ‘Baby, it’s Cold Outside’ look an aspirin at a crystal meth party.
And hey, I’m not a music expert but I’m sure that those who are can easily name off ten songs that would stomp on that song without even blinking an eye. So does that mean we start protesting all those songs too? Maybe ban them all from radio stations? Judge people who listen to them? Demonize the musician who wrote them?
The problem is that once we start banning certain materials, it’s a slippery slope. Next, it will be movies, books, television shows and every other form of art that will be picked apart. That’s what some of us artists would call censorship and I certainly can’t speak for others but if we go that route, then I have things in my books that are vastly more offensive than ‘Baby, It's Cold Outside.’ I’m not the only one either. Many artists can tell you the same. And then what? Freedom of speech is hit by an ax.
For me, I don’t write about things like murder, violence, collusion, and intimidation because I’m trying to suggest that others model themselves after my characters. I write it because it’s reflective of what I see when I turn on the news, what’s taking place in our society. In the unlikely event that this Baby, It's Cold Outside is about a woman being pressured into having sex than I think it’s probably a pretty realistic reflection of what is and has happened in our world since long before the 40s when the song was released. And also, can I add, it doesn’t just happen to women? Not that we hear about the men who’s been pressured or sexually assaulted. For some reason, that gets lost in the shuffle.
And on a side note, what is the deal with people overreacting to the line. ”Say, what's in this drink?" What exactly did men slip into women’s drinks in the 40s? I’m seriously curious. Who knows what kind of shady shit grandpa was up to in those days.