Spare my Christ­mas songs from #metoo hum­bugs

Scottish Daily Mail - - Comment - Emma Cow­ing emma.cow­[email protected]­ly­

OSo of course it seems in­evitable that in mis­er­able, po-faced 2018 the fun po­lice are clamp­ing down on this most be­nign of fes­tive tra­di­tions.

In to­day’s not-so-holly-jolly world, where Na­tiv­i­ties are ver­boten along with the word Christ­mas (Lord save us from the phrase Happy Hol­i­days), the song Baby, It’s Cold Out­side has been de­nounced as prob­lem­atic.

In­deed, it is ap­par­ently so prob­lem­atic that at least one ra­dio sta­tion in the US saw fit to ban it, declar­ing the lyrics ‘ma­nip­u­la­tive and wrong’ for the #metoo era.

Sigh. Do you know what I find in­creas­ingly prob­lem­atic in to­day’s world? The word prob­lem­atic. It makes my teeth hurt, like bit­ing on a mil­lion snowflakes. But any­way. The prob­lem lies in the lyrics, which al­legedly sug­gest a woman be­ing co­erced into a sex­ual sit­u­a­tion she is un­com­fort­able with.

‘I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?)’ runs one line, fol­lowed by ‘At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?)’

Some have even sug­gested that the line ‘say what’s in my drink?’ points to ev­i­dence that the woman in ques­tion might have had her bev­er­age spiked. Ex­tra­or­di­nary re­ally, given that Ro­hyp­nol was patented in 1962, a full 18 years af­ter the song was writ­ten.

Now while I see why these lyrics might raise the odd eye­brow or, in the case of one ‘woke’ band, in­spire them to write a new set of words em­pha­sis­ing con­sent, with lines such as ‘you re­serve the right to say no’, I can’t help but feel this is all a lit­tle, well, hys­ter­i­cal.

Ban­ning things be­cause they no longer tally with the views of the day is a dan­ger­ous game. From JW Water­house’s Hy­las and the Nymphs, be­ing briefly re­moved from Manch­ester Art Gallery ear­lier this year to Face­book’s re­moval of paint­ings by Rubens be­cause they fea­tured nu­dity, it feels as though any­thing that hasn’t been given a great big tick from ev­ery last mil­len­nial must au­to­mat­i­cally be frowned upon.

If you’ll al­low me a lit­tle hys­te­ria of my own, it smacks of cen­sor­ship. H how I love a cheesy Christ­mas song! The naf­fer the bet­ter, whether it’s Mariah Carey war­bling about all she wants for the fes­tive sea­son (clue: it’s you), or Bing Crosby pro­nounc­ing that it’s be­gin­ning to look a lot like Christ­mas (a song that would now be re­leased in late Septem­ber).

THE lyrics of Baby, It’s Cold Out­side were ac­tu­ally rather ahead of their time. Most in­ter­pre­ta­tions sug­gest that, in fact, the woman was des­per­ate to stay, but knew that so­ci­ety would deem her a ‘loose’ woman were she to do so, there­fore spark­ing her to­ken re­sis­tance. And frankly, where does such cen­sor­ship end? Will I Saw Mummy Kiss­ing Santa Claus be banned on the grounds that it ad­vo­cates adul­tery? Is El­ton John’s Who’d Be a Turkey At Christ­mas a clar­ion call to the ve­gan move­ment? Does Santa Baby (‘slip a sable un­der the tree for me’) trig­ger fur cam­paign­ers? Is that guy who only drives home for Christ­mas a bigamist with an­other fam­ily else­where? Baby, It’s Cold Out­side is cheesy, naff and as old as the hills. And that’s why I, for one, will be play­ing it for years to come.

Star: Mariah Carey ONE in five Scot­tish work­ers thinks they will never be able to af­ford to re­tire. One in five? Given the gloom-laden, woe is me, I’mgo­ing-to-be-work­ing-into-myeight­ies-I-hope-the-of­fice-in­stallsa-stair­lift con­ver­sa­tions I reg­u­larly have with my con­tem­po­raries, I’d say it’s more like four in five. On the ball: Ada Hegerberg

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