If it’s cold outside be careful what you say.
That’s because the words “baby, it’s cold outside” will trigger those inclined to indulge in culture washing to go into overdrive.
It’s been four holiday seasons since some radio stations caved into social media pressure to ban the song by Frank Loesser that became immensely popular in 1949 when it was used in the film “Neptune’s Daughter”.
The Internet’s version of the Salem Witch Hunt cabal had declared — using the 2018 standards established by #MeToo movement — the song was celebrating date rape or at least sexual harassment.
Not a peep from the people demanding the banishment of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was made at the time about the worst genre of rap music that leaves nothing to the imagination about the glorification of rape or sexual harassment.
This is not an attempt to deflect from their point, regardless of how culturally moot 1949 is compared to today’s social mores that make the Roaring ‘20s look like a repressed version of the Victorian Age.
Rather its about making a mountain out of a grain of sand when it comes to demanding the rest of the world rewrite history — cultural and otherwise — to reflect their self-center of the universe views of what the world is or has been.
I’ve been told by more than a few people that I’m a prude. I’ve also been told by some that I’m clueless when it comes to not being aware if someone is flirting with me.
Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.
I can say that I like hearing various versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from Louis Armstrong & Velma Middleton and Lee Ann Womack & Harry Connick Jr. to Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood.
Silly me, but it seems to be a playful and almost coyish exchange between two adults set to a great melody.
And it does, by the way, take two to tango.
Now, I realize there are some who might view such a viewpoint as somehow promoting inappropriate behavior.
I’m not sure whether someone of that state-of-mind has ever tuned into Netflix or even what passes these days as “family viewing time” in evenings on what is left of network TV.
Yes, I know there are those that will say I have no right to weigh in on the appropriateness of the song because I’m male and therefore clueless.
If that is the case, let me judge it by my late grandmother Edna Towle. She was 63 when the song came out. She was 81 when she passed away in 1967.
My grandmother defined feminism. The term, by the way was coined by Charles Fourier — a French philosopher and utopian scientist — in 1837.
She fought for a women’s right to vote.
She ended up running a cattle ranch and raised a family of 8 after her drunkard of a husband left.
She supported her family through the Depression.
She sold the ranch and built a new home with her own hands in Lincoln.
She worked two jobs during World War II including one that involved making military equipment.
And she enjoyed listening to the 1957 recording of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Sammy Davis Jr. & Carmen Rae at Christmastime.
Did I mention my grandmother went solo after her husband left in 1925? She never defined her life by a man.
I also hope it doesn’t offend anyone that my grandmother actually had the audacity to celebrate Christmas as opposed to “the holidays. ”One mustn’t, after all, celebrate one’s cultural experiences for fear they might drown out someone who views theirs as somehow being repressed.
Which brings us to the main event.
America was founded on tenets that — whether by design or chance — allowed for inclusion.
There wasn’t a national ethnicity with entrenched culture and customs that everyone from all walks of life were under social or government pressure to adhere to.
Yes, there are dark blotches on America’s tapestry ranging from the treatment of virtually every ethnicity group at one time or another from Polish and the Irish to Latin Americans and Punjabi-Americans.
Those stains also have been based on religion, sexual orientation, gender, and an array of other classifications.
The experiment called America is not done. It is still a work in progress.
And like all endeavors there are a lot of miscues on the road to creating a masterpiece.
We should not tolerate violence or coercion.
Nor should we embrace the wholesale cleansing of culture.
While there is a solid argument that the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and other nuances of a different era seem inappropriate looking through the prism of 2022, we should be careful what we wish for.
Social mores are many and certainly not universal.
One needs to keep that in mind as the “influencers” — whether they are on social media or in position of power — are not of one mind.
People are free to rant, rave and organize boycotts on social media.
But they give no traction to their cause when they nitpick cultural nuances to bits while letting be wholesale blatant examples of wrong that abound get a pass.
If one is going after sin in music, perceived or otherwise, when it comes to stopping sexual harassment then perhaps those indignant on the internet might want to focus their energies on “musical” works that leave nothing to the imagination nor are open to interpretation.
More than a few radio stations that banned “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” for supposedly glorifying date rape and sexually harassments have no problem playing the more milquetoast songs of rappers who make their millions in other songs that blatantly celebrate the objectification and sexual abuse of women.
To see what popular culture is like in America in 2022 is like compared to 1949, Google the lyrics to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Then if you’ve got the stomach Google the lyrics to “Love Game” by Eminem.