Those who wish to be society’s moral conscience are at it again. The 1940s cold weather duet, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, is being pulled from radio station playlists as some equate its lyrics with rape culture. Absurd!
We really need to stop judging 75+-year-old art with today’s standards. An English nerd and 1940s pop culture fan (link HERE – you’ll need to scroll a bit) explains the context of some of the lyrics to Baby, It’s Cold Outside, and they’re not what people think.
“Hey what’s in this drink” was a stock joke at the time, and the punchline was invariably that there’s actually pretty much nothing in the drink, not even a significant amount of alcohol.
See, this woman is staying late, unchaperoned, at a dude’s house. In the 1940’s, that’s the kind of thing Good Girls aren’t supposed to do — and she wants people to think she’s a good girl. The woman in the song says outright, multiple times, that what other people will think of her staying is what she’s really concerned about: “the neighbors might think,” “my maiden aunt’s mind is vicious,” “there’s bound to be talk tomorrow.”
If problem lyrics are the issue, why don’t we visit the sexism of She’s A Lady by Tom Jones? “She always knows her place… talkin’ about the little lady.”
Or Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones: “Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields, sold in the market down in New Orleans. Scarred old slaver knows he’s doin’ all right. Hear him whip the women just around midnight.”
I could go on but my point is that I don’t want some anonymous Twitter users to decide for me what’s right and wrong. As a listener, I tune out of a radio station anytime that old Tom Jones relic comes on, but I don’t feel obliged to tell everyone else what they can and can’t listen to. Songs are taken out of rotation all the time, quietly, because they no longer seem relevant. There’s no need to attempt to shame artists by applying 2018 ethics to a song that was written in 1944. This is how it came about, according to Wikipedia:
In 1944, Frank Loesser wrote “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for his wife, Lynn Garland, and himself to sing at a housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel. They sang the song to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.
For a few years, every time Frank and Lynn attended a party, they were called upon to sing their song. Lynn was furious with her husband when he sold the song in 1949 to MGM for the romantic comedy, Neptune’s Daughter. She probably forgave him after the song won an Academy Award.
The Washington Post put together some clips of when comedy shows parodied the lyrics of Baby, It’s Cold Outside. In other words, the current complaints about the lyrics aren’t new, just more serious.
Follow this link for the short, funny video!