By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard about the great, catastrophic controversy surrounding the joyous season’s classic duet, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Supposedly, the Christmastime standard is nothing other than a date rape song and should no longer be celebrated or given any airplay on radio stations – if one is so inclined to believe what a few folks have been spewing as of late. Gerard Baker, editor-at-large of The Wall Street Journal, recently penned, “It is literally a cheerful, line by line, singalong guide to date rape, amusingly checking off all the devices that manipulative predators deploy to trap their female prey: excessive flattery, lies, guilt and a spiked drink.” Really? Is that what the song’s about?
As is usually the case in today’s world, there tends to be an equally extreme view in opposition to one’s radical take on any given subject. Marney White, an associate professor at Yale’s School of Public Health, seemingly counters Gerard Baker’s given stance within the pages of USA Today (12/14/18). She sees the holiday song as more of a feminist anthem. The professor states, “Our heroine is not saying ‘no’ to an aggressive man. She is saying, ‘I know I should say no, but really, I want to stay.'” Ms. White also contends, “At no point does she say, ‘I don’t want this.'” The Yale professor concludes her unique take on the matter with, “‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ is a song ahead of its time, and it celebrates a feminist taking control of her own sexual choices.” I don’t know about that. I think both Ms. White and Mr. Baker are reading way too much into Frank Loesser’s seasonal song.
It is my understanding Mr. Loesser wrote the now controversial Christmas song in 1944, and he originally performed it with his wife at parties. The line “Say, what’s in this drink?” may appear to be a bit suspect in these times, but to my knowledge “roofies” and other date rape drugs did not exist back in the 1940s. Common sense dictates the female companion was simply expressing that she was beginning to feel the (most-likely desired) effects of her alcoholic drink. And nothing more. The recent attacks on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” have surely been launched by no one but your committed instigators of the world yearning to promote more divisiveness in this country. And to think – at a time when the majority of us are desiring peace on earth, good will toward men.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” can be found on several of my extensive collection of Christmas CDs. I’m fairly certain neither Amy Grant, Kelly Clarkson, Vanessa Williams, nor Barry Manilow envisioned their versions of the song as glorifying rape. I personally do not care for Frank Loesser’s Academy Award-winning song. And it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the Christmas classic offends the #MeToo movement clan. Maybe it’s my limited mental capacity, or maybe it’s because I’m getting up there in years, but I have one heckuva time even understanding what is actually being sung. The duet’s overlapping lyrics are just too distracting for me to decipher, especially when I only hear them a handful of times every twelfth month of the year. So why bother?
Regardless of my distaste for the holiday duet, I can’t find anything legitimately wrong, lyrically at least, with the song. Frankly, I’m appalled by how sensitive and easily offended we’ve become as a nation. How a presumably innocent, flirtatious holiday tune, written nearly three quarters of a century ago, can become even remotely controversial today is beyond the pale. I’ve grown extremely tired of all the political correctness engulfing our society. Inside my festive household, it’s quite nice and warm. But out there – baby, it’s quite old outside.