What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?
A Cleveland radio station says it has stopped playing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” after listeners said the song heard on countless holiday playlists is inappropriate.
They’re certainly not the first to question the song’s undertones and criticize the duet, in which one singer tries to persuade the other to stay and their exchanges include lyrics like “What’s in this drink?” and “Baby, don’t hold out.”
WDOK-FM midday host Glenn Anderson says he recognizes that society was different when the song was written back in 1944, but he doesn’t think it has a place today, especially in the era of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.
He announced on the pop music station’s website this week that the song would no longer be in its around-the-clock rotation of holiday music.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944. It is a call and response duet in which a host, usually performed by a male voice, tries to convince a guest, usually performed by a female voice, that she should stay the evening because the weather is cold and the trip home would be difficult. While the lyrics make no mention of any holiday, it is popularly regarded as a Christmas song due to its winter theme.
Loesser wrote the song for his wife and himself to perform at parties. He sold the song to MGM, which used it for the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter. It was sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán and won the Academy Award. Since 1949 it has been covered by many singers, including Ray Charles, Michael Bublé, and Dolly Parton.
Normally performed as a duet between a man and a woman, it features lyrics such as:
“I simply must go (But baby it’s cold outside)
The answer is no (But baby it’s cold outside).”
Another line, “Say what’s in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)”, is perhaps one of the most controversial, and has been interpreted by some as a reference to date rape.
Others, such as comedian Jen Kirkman, have pointed out that the phrase had a different meaning the the 1930s, and that the song was more complex than it might appear on the surface.
I’m so tired of this. The song seems odd now not cuz it’s about coercing sex but about a woman who knows her reputation is ruined if she stays. “Say what’s in this drink” is an old movie line from the 30’s that means “I’m telling the truth.” She wanted to get down and stay over. https://t.co/3TaQbUSoB1
— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) December 1, 2018
Some feel the song should be nevertheless viewed through a contemporary lens.
“It really pushed the line of consent,” Cleveland Rape Crisis Center President and CEO Sondra Miller told Fox News.
“The character in the song is saying ‘no,’ and they’re saying well, ‘Does no really mean yes?’ And I think in 2018 what we know is consent is ‘yes’ and if you get a ‘no’, it means ‘no’ and you should stop right there.”
With the debate raging on social media, some will likely continue to give the tune a cold reception during the Christmas season.