Re: Baby It’s Cold Outside – You Are ALL Being Ridiculous

There was once a time when it seemed that I had to chime in on all of these annoying little instances. I’m not sure what you would call them anymore. Events of mass triggering?

What it all boils down to is simple, really. A phenomenon of which originated in a time long since passed, and was passed down and repeated thoughtlessly for decades. Until someone somewhere finally scrutinized it, and didn’t like what they seen. In this case, it was a Christmas song. A Christmas song that raises an eyebrow in the context of the #MeToo era.

Like all of these situations, its presented with seemingly 2 polarized sides. The overzealous “BAN IT!” extreme. And the “Fuck PC Culture!” extreme. This, despite the fact that all I’ve ever come across so far are the latter. Those that I’ve seen on the critical side outline genuine concerns with certain problematic lyrics. The other side of the spectrum just wants their beloved cookie cutter holiday tune left in peace.

Though this post was spawned in reference to the song in the title, it is also all encompassing of other contexts of the this very situation. The situation that is, when thoughtlessly and mindlessly perpetuated rituals and traditions suddenly don’t make the cut in terms of fitting into modern day civil reality. I will explore this VIA the annoying song in question, as well as another that I had a realization about earlier this year. I will also explore how a long running television series managed to make the best of a previous indiscretion in its history.

But first, some holiday cheer.

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour
The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink? – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me?
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow – Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay – Get over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/shehim/babyitscoldoutside.html

First off, as per the date rape accusation . . . no. While the song has a couple areas that are questionable, its hardly a Cosby anthem. What it is however, is (at the VERY least!) disrespectful to the concept of female autonomy. She expresses her desire to go loud and clear, but still, the man resists. Maybe she will give in and sleep with him, after all!

I would like to say this is just a product of the time, but its really not. Not only have I heard of this happening to people I know, I could likely fill a book with examples JUST from the women in my life, were to ask.

It is not the song that is the worst part. It is what it, and others like it, represent. The notion that females are here to please us males, no matter what their say in the matter is. Though what the song describes is fairly benign, there can often be an aspect of fear in these situations. Imagine being the female in the song . . . but you fear what may transpire if you cross the male? The fact of the matter is most males are still dominant in the hierarchy of power. And it tends to be easier to shame a female than it is a male. It just takes one photograph. Shared voluntarily with a partner, but distributed out of malice in revenge. The reverse is indeed, always possible. But males tend to be situated on the right side of that.

“What a dumbass” vs “SLUT!”.

As for another common theme derived from the irrationally sexist, there is the ever present threat of the rape accusation. I kid you not . . . I know people who will NEVER EVER allow themselves to be alone in the presence of a women. Because all she has to say is that one 4 letter word, and off you go to the slammer. Or in the context of work, she just has to accuse you of inappropriate behavior, and there goes your job. To this person, ALL females are the same, and none can be trusted. Ever.

There are a few places I could go with this fellow and his misogynistic views that border on the dangerous. For example, the double standard. Males that have screwed this person out of actual items (of monetary value, or plain old money) often get more than one chance. But should a female respond to them the wrong way ONCE . . .just one single encounter . . . there it is. Her true colors.

Imagine that . . . SHE’S JUST LIKE THE REST OF EM!

I COULD say that. But I would rather go with the real world. A world where rape accusations did NOTHING to even slow down the assent of Donald Trump or Brett Kavanaugh. On a possibility related note, even previously openly feminist leaning journalists gave Jillian Assange a pass on his accusations. And #Metoo . . . many of these men have been carrying out their disgusting behaviors for DECADES. And its not that people didn’t know, either. For the story to get out, you needed some a game changing platform with even more saturation than the traditional television networks and publications which were owned or bought off by the very assailants of the story.

Enter, Social media. In this case, truly the great equaliser.

Despite the gripes (more than likely based upon personal anecdotes) from males about the unchecked power of the modern female, I daresay that to be a very interesting interpretation of reality. And a first class ticket to loneliness if one uses this conclusion to either justify identifying as MGTOW, or its far more troubled cousin, Incel.

Interesting factoid about the latter . . . it was originally coined by a women. Long before even MySpace was a thing. Needless to say, THAT experiment went very wrong.

But I am not here to mock MGTOW’s or Incels. Looking back at some of the conclusions I had been drawing whilst sucking up a fair bit of anti-femenist YouTube content just a few short years ago, I may well have gone down that road. Fortunately though, my intellectual explorations have been somewhat guided (people have told me when I was falling for ridiculous tripe) so I ended up on this side. But not everyone has the privilege (?) of having academics handy in everyday life. Not to mention the sometimes invaluable input of ordinary people completely outside of ones personal filter bubble. When someone playing in the arena of which you are claiming to be an expert of (dating in this paradigm) tells you that you are being ridiculous, only an idiot doesn’t stop and reevaluate.

It’s funny. A little conversation that was had years ago and likely long forgotten by this person. Yet it proved to be important.

Either way, I have no doubt that there exists problems and systemic issues that are manifesting in the form of toxic ideologies that are MGTOWism and Inceldom (?). Frankly, I suspect that these root phenomena are also manifesting in other toxic ideologies of which we may not even realize any connection yet. It is beneficial to all for this to researched, and answers be found.

But having said that, personal responsibility, effort, and growth will go a long way to personal fulfillment. The first step to a better outlook is feeling better yourself. It’s not necessarily an easy journey (you can trust me. I have yet to master what I am preaching). But it is something you can control.

To address the elephant in the room . . . it is NOT the duty of women to bring you satisfaction. No matter the ultimate root of Incel\MGTOWesk ideology’s, its hard to believe that such unwarranted expectation is not part of the package. Nor should any of the proposed solutions to this problem even remotely TOUCH on this as a possible fix.

Mr. Peterson.

To bring it back to where we left . . .

No.

I didn’t say Baby Its Cold Outside was a MGTOW or Incel anthem, either (if I don’t say it, I’m bound to be clarifying later!). I’m just saying . . . these sentiments didn’t come out of nowhere. We know where the Incel thing started. Isn’t it possible that all of these misogynistic beliefs may well stem from the status quo as preserved in art from a past era?

AGAIN, the song should NOT be the focus. Its the cultural paradigms behind it that should be the focus.

I had mentioned earlier that there was another classic pop hit that had begun to make me cringe once I stopped to actually listen to the lyrics. That is, in the context of our current paradigm.

That song is Knock 3 Times by Tony Orlando & Dawn.

My dad always loved the music of his youth, so I heard this song (among others) many times while growing up. And more recently, it appeared in the playlist of my workplace. Unsurprisingly, being that most of the songs on said station seem to lean towards boomer and millennial nostalgia (along with a healthy dose of cheap filler).

Listening to a song at least once a day seemingly FOREVER is a dangerous thing. When you are completely under stimulated by your job and bored out of your fucking mind, you give attention to things you never would have before. Interestingly, this was how a lot of this blogs material was born in the past 3 years. But on with the song.

Hey girl, whatcha doing down there
Dancing alone every night while I live right above you
I can hear your music playing
I can feel your body swaying
One floor below me, you don’t even know me
I love you
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
If you look out your window tonight
Pull in the string with the note that’s attached to my heart
Read how many times I saw you
How in my silence I adored you
And only in my dreams did that wall between us come apart
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Whoa, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
Whoa, I can hear your music playing
I can feel your body swaying
One floor below me, you don’t even know me
I love you
Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
Mm, twice on the pipe if the answer is no (I love you, I love you)
Oh, my sweetness
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
Mm, twice on the pipe means you ain’t gonna show
Oh, my darling
Knock three times

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tonyorlandodawn/knockthreetimes.html

It’s a catchy song. I find it annoying, but it’s still in my head as I type this. Its is no wonder that it was a hit, and that it’s still popular to this day. Its very upbeat and positive. Not unlike most other songs in the Tony Orlando & Dawn discography.

But it is certainly reminiscent of the era in which it was spawned. Again, you don’t have anything inherently rapey (even less than Baby It’s Cold Outside, really). None the less, the sentiment is troubling.

Oh, my darling
Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
twice on the pipe if the answer is no
Oh, my sweetness

***
Means you’ll meet me in the hallway
twice on the pipe . . .

##

means you ain’t gonna show

Since the song uses sound effects that obviously can’t be translated, I added the symbols to make the quote more contextual. It just . . . looks better that way.

Either way, the whole song can be boiled down to the sentiment of these lyrics. That girl living close by is pretty fine, and I am interested. She therefore is obligated to inform me whether or not she approves of my feelings.

Umm . . . what?

It makes for a catchy song. But when translated into real world experience, its hard to not have it come off as creepy. As reminiscent of that situation (situation’s?) where the guy would NOT take no for an answer. Which could lead one of 2 places.

1.) Fear and appeasement (“better get this over with so he doesn’t go Elliot Rodger on me”).

2.) Hardline (“GOD, WHAT A FUCKING BITCH! CAN’T ANSWER A SIMPLE QUESTION WITHOUT GOING FUCKING PSYCHO!”)

And so we find ourselves back where we started. A Christmas song and an upbeat seventies pop hit, both equally . . . creepy. It’s likely that many pop songs of the era may well also fit the bill. Along with films, TV shows, literature and any other threads encompassing popular culture. Being that popular culture tends to be reflective of the time period one is in, this is hardly surprising.

However, its not the end of the world. Every thread of popular culture created outside of your paradigm does not have to go away just because “We know better now”.

There was no need to ban the Christmas song from the airwaves. That got the social media bandwagon zombies going, and god knows that little good ever comes from that. Oh yay, another faux controversy for the guppies to whip themselves into an enraged frenzy over. Climate change, resource depletion, overpopulation, industrial scale pollution of every square inch of the earths surface . . . nope. My main concern is . . . THEY BANNED A SONG I DIDN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT UNTIL I HEARD IT WAS BANNED!!!

*Note
banned as in private companies made the choice to not include the song in their rotation. Which is very different from government stepping in. Which did not happen.

Definitions matter. Particularly in the realm of reactionary rhetoric.

Now that I have that out of my system, what then do I propose?

Enjoy. But enjoy responsibly. The essence of every beer commercial EVER.

Human civilization is built on culture. In some ways, it could be said that culture in all its various forms, helps keep us all sane. Modern innovations have taken most of us out of the agricultural lifestyle by necessity (food security is generally taken for granted in the first world. We throw millions of tons of it in the trash!). And now we have built ourselves a paradigm in which human lifespans can theoretically hit the 100 year mark (and sometimes beyond). That is a a whole lot of free time in ones own mind. Even taking into account the inhumane length of the modern workday.

Culture, in all its shapes and forms, has a purpose.

It entertains. It educates. And it serves the purposes of both being a record of the day to day sentiments of a given society, as well as being an ever growing record of all human knowledge gained throughout the ages. Which inspires the question . . . is knowledge a form of culture?

The philosophers may have a different stance, but for the purpose of this writing I am going with yes. The other alternative that comes to mind is tradition. But that is hardly fitting. Not to mention that traditions are just another form of culture.

Culture is all encompassing. But like most other things in life, not all culture is healthy.

Enter, Baby It’s Cold Outside. Knock 3 times. Any older Rodney Dangerfield routine. Really, almost any beloved piece of cultural artifact from ANY era. As time and human progress marches on, what is left in our wake is often embarrassing. Those that lived in those times often don’t see the fuss. But for everyone beyond . . . its a bit like rereading my old posts on this blog.

On an ironically related note, there was once a time where I considered purging all of the older material I’ve shared here. Compared to more recent works, its often embarrassing. Not to mention the possibility of someone potentially pinning me to a previously shared sentiment of which may not still be relevant. Having considered that all however, I decided to keep most of it. It showcases the growth of an ever evolving writer. And it likely will until the day I no longer contribute to the collection. Every new work will eventually become part of the obsolete backlog of growth.

So it goes for the cultural artifacts of societies throughout the ages (including ours). You don’t need to trash the old for simply reflecting the ideals of a different time. To echo the sentiments of those who would rather keep their state of mindless obliviousness to modern day criticisms . . . there would be nothing left.

Do not bury. Progress.

Though many of these cultural artifact’s are chained to their obsolescent values by entropy and the passage of time, I can think of at least one example of a cultural artifact adjusting to changing sentiments on the fly. This was in the show Desperate Housewives, first released in 2004.

The show is based around the many comedic dramas involving the residents of a little fictional street, in a little fictional suburb, located in the fictional place called Eagle State. One of these housewives (a strict religious, conservative, NRA affiliated type) has a son named Andrew. You learn that he is gay a few episodes into season one, and his mother learns of his homosexuality (to comedic effect) not long after we do. Also written into Andrew’s character is his status as a troubled teen. All of which eventually culminated in his mother leaving him at a gas station far from home with just his clothing in a bag.

At the time (me watching this live in 2004 or 2005), the enormity of the situation didn’t really register. It was only in the period after that the truly horrific nature of the scene had its full impact.

I have READ these stories!

An interesting thing to note here, is the status quo of the time. Future 2 term President Obama nicely sets the mood for this trip down memory lane.

https://youtu.be/_XAVqrqr4j4

And for further nostalgia, I present Hillary Clinton on the senate floor, circa 2004.

https://youtu.be/6I1-r1YgK9I

Indeed, neither one explicitly comes out against homosexuality. They just didn’t like the idea of gay marriage as being equal as per . . . their faith? Not really bigotry, but close enough to directly enable it.

Not cool.

But as we all know, this is not how things remained. Public sentiments changed, and politicians were evolving by the dawn of the 2010’s. Sticking with this pattern of reflections of public sentiment, Desperate Housewives writers had reunited Andrew with his mother, with her becoming more accepting of this trait of her son. Later in the series, Wisteria Lane even got its own token gay couple. So begins the comedic drama around the loud and pretentious fountain, which is later destroyed in the tornado.

#SpoilerAlert

And so the story continues. We seen how one artifact of culture had the luck of being relevant for long enough to change course. What started out as part of the problem, morphed into being part of the solution.

Few works of art get this opportunity, however. Paradigm shifts generally occur in much longer cyclical intervals than popular culture intervals. Artists and creators of all kinds are almost inevitability destined to be behind the curve in this regard. Thus, we need to look at these things for what they are.

Reflections. Not guidebooks.

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