Sunday, December 09, 2018


I get it.  I understand why the right froths at the mouth on the subject of "political correctness."  We may not mean exactly the same thing -- they believe it means denying their right to be racist, sexist and generally obnoxious -- but I think I can tell when people get silly about words spoken (or written) in innocence and drafted into our endless game of Moral Preening.

The topic of today's homily is Frank Loesser's 1949 song "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which has been banned by a number of radio stations because someone decided it celebrates date-rape.  I just went over to YouTube and treated myself to the supremely sexy Betty Carter-Ray Charles recording -- research, you know -- and apparently the objectionable line is "So what's in this drink?"  The people enraged by the song apparently stopped listening at that point and didn't hear the woman add "At least I'm gonna say that I tried."  In other words, for all her protests -- "I really can't stay" -- and reservations -- "My father will be pacing the floor" -- she is more than happy to take advantage of the weather and spend the night with this man, and to hell with her maiden aunt.  (People, any song that references "maiden aunts" is not to be taken seriously.  See also Dorothy Fields's lyric for "A Fine Romance.")  The drink is just a drink.

Before we awake in an Andrea Dworkin dystopia, where all sex between men and women is unavoidably rape-y, I direct you to another songwriter, Tom Lehrer, who advised us that "filth, I'm glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder" ("Smut").  Here endeth the lesson, and I'm going back to  YouTube to check out the Leon Redbone version.


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