Spare my Christmas songs from #metoo humbugs
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