Baby, it’s now absurd

This year’s Christmas controversy has nothing to do with faith, commercialism or crazy drivers in mall parking lots.

In fact, you could argue that the source of the controversy has nothing to do with Christmas at all. Rather, it’s a song that talks about cold weather, but doesn’t mention the birth of Jesus Christ, the arrival of Santa Claus, Christmas shopping or family traditions.

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Yes, the issue is with Baby it’s Cold Outside, that lovable, catchy tune from the 1940s about a man trying to convince a woman to spend the night at his place, and using every possible reason he can think of to get her to stay.

It’s been a staple for radio set lists at Christmas time for decades, but suddenly it has been decreed as unfit for broadcast by many outlets.

Blame Cleveland. It was a radio station in the Ohio city that decided not to play it any longer a couple of weeks ago, and since then, other stations in Canada and the U.S. have followed suit.

They have cited the changes in society over the last couple years, stemming from the Me Too movement, as the reason to stop playing the song.

But the real culprit in this situation is political correctness run amok, thanks to a very small percentage of society looking to rewrite history and create a new glossed-over world.

There’s a point in the song in which the female singer asks “What’s in this drink?” Taking it out of context, it’s not exactly the best line for this day and age, when issues such as spiked beverages and date rape are understandably prevalent.

But this was written in 1944, when the concern would have been a little more rum in the eggnog.

And yes, there is a version of the song in which the woman is trying to convince the man to spend the night, with the man coming up with the same concerns, and the woman using the same responses.

(The lyrics do work better when the woman is trying to leave).

If we’re going to remove Baby it’s Cold Outside, does this mean that television networks aren’t going to show Elf three times a week in the four weeks leading up to Christmas? After all, the Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel characters sing that song midway through the movie. It also plays during the closing credits.

If you were to tell some television executives that they can’t play Elf at Christmas time, they might have a coronary.

And when compared to some of the non-Christmas songs you heard on the radio, Baby it’s Cold Outside is pretty tame. It has a nice level of subtlety to it, especially for a song written in the 1940s, there are other songs out there that are far more vulgar, and much more degrading to women.

Yet they continue to play, while the PC thugs continue to raise a stink about this one.

Part of the blame extends to the radio stations who decided that this song is no longer appropriate. Rather than politely declining requests to remove the song, they have capitulated, and they have actually done more harm to their business by catering to the political correctness crowd.

A lot more people are upset about yanking a catchy 74-year-old song that’s pretty popular at this time of year.

If this song is to be removed, then are other songs going to be pulled at Christmas next year.

Christmas brings out the best in us, but it can also bring out the worst in some who love to be politically correct. We see it each year. Merry Christmas is foul language to  some people. They prefer to hear their “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” You see some places selling “Holiday Trees” rather than Christmas trees.

Baby it’s Cold Outside has gotten the most attention this year, but a quick search of the Internet will show other examples of political correctness going overboard this year.

For example, there’s the principal in Nebraska who decreed that candy canes should not be allowed because they’re shaped like a J, which she said stands for Jesus.

(That principal also banned any references to Santa Claus, even though Santa Claus is a generally revered part of the Christmas season).

For some reason, the school board has suspended that principal.

I’m all for inclusiveness. I’m all for women’s rights and equality. But I’m also a big proponent of exercising a little common sense. Creating a witch hunt over a 74-year-old song that predates the end of the Second World War is not going to do anything to advance equality.

All that campaigns like this serve to accomplish is aggravate the vast majority of the public, who have better things to worry about than a song that has played for more than 70 years without issue.

With all of the issues that are happening out there, you’d think people would be able to find other issues to draw their ire. 

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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