The 1940’s pop duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” perpetuates a predatory, patriarchal rape culture, we’re to understand. The premise of the song, written Frank Loesser and made famous by Esther Williams, is that in some dark corner of a Christmas party that’s winding down toward dawn, a handsome crooner is seducing a single woman while she dutifully demurs. The anachronistic premise of the incumbent outrage is that he’s obviously trying to date-rape her. Two Midwestern songsters even de-sexed the schmaltzy standard in an NPR-friendly cover version that’s gone viral. They find Loesser’s lyrics “undeniably predatory,” and in their rendition, instead of “Baby, it’s cold outside” and “I thrill when you touch my hand,” the man sings, “Been hoping you get home safe” and “Please don’t spray me with mace.” (Just kidding about that last bit.) It almost makes sense that the lyric is incomprehensible and therefore offensive to a contemporary mindset that also disapproves of “the gender binary.” The flirtatious cat-and-mouse gamesmanship (they’re “wolf” and “mouse” in Loesser’s sheet music) riffs on the traditional expectation that she defend her feminine decency—one of her lines: “At least I can say that I tried.” The man’s not-so-subtle advances hold while her defenses fall from “I really can’t stay” to, ahem, “There’s bound to be talk tomorrow.” In a show of proto-feminist independence, she flouts prudish convention and brushes concerns for her parents’ approval—”My mother will start to worry… My father will be pacing the floor… My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious.” They’re an unmarried man and woman who will end up spending the night together. Sure, that sort of thing happened in the 1940’s, but it didn’t get too much explicit radio play. Winking at midcentury mores made this little song a huge hit. Before it won an Academy Award for the musical Neptune’s Daugther in 1949, and before Frank Loesser was a famous Broadway composer, the song was a dinner party staple Loesser and his wife Lynn would perform to charm their glittery guests, who found it delightfully modern. A song that was a little naughty in its own time is, through the lens of today’s puritanical progressivism, untranslatably up with sex. The dominant disapproval denies the will of the woman, every bit a coy seductress—and reveals a culture slipping toward sexlessness. There’s really nothing to be done but hope college kids home for the holidays catch up on Turner Classic Movies.
Agreed!! For more of this excellent, and spot-on, op/ed by Alice B. Lloyd, click on the text above. Political correctness is destroying the very soul of our country..