I'll confess: I never have been a big fan of the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” It’s “let’s spend the night together” message never has resonated with me, especially during the holiday season, when the song is played the most.
Having said that, I can list many songs that I find more offensive than “Baby It’s Cold Outside” — but it has become the latest song to find itself in the crosshairs of America’s outrage culture.
Don’t get me wrong — I believe in being sensitive to the feelings of others. I also believe in trying to show respect towards the beliefs of other people, even if I do not adhere to those beliefs or agree with them. However, today’s outrage culture once again proves the cliche true: You can have too much of a good thing.
Last year, the atrocious behavior of such men as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby toward women came to the forefront and generated the #MeToo movement, which was a much-needed and long overdue backlash against sexual harassment and sexual assault of women. And that’s fair enough — all people deserved to be treated with respect and decency.
However, seeing #MeToo in “Baby It’s Cold Outside” seems a bit much. Some have taken the line “say what’s in this drink?” to refer to the man slipping a roofie or date-rape drug into the woman’s drink. However, that is likely not the intent of the song, as Frank Loesser wrote the song in 1944 to be performed by him and his wife. It is most likely a reference to the alcohol naturally present in the drink.
Also, while the lyrics of the song feature a man trying to persuade a woman to stay the night with him, nowhere does it imply that he will force her to do so if she does not do so voluntarily.
Another example of outrage culture gone too far is the recent obsession with cultural appropriation. Earlier this year, Utah teenager Kezia Daum wore a traditional Chinese dress to her high school prom. Her decision to do so earned her a savage backlash on social media, as she was accused of cultural appropriation — basically stealing the dress from Chinese culture.
So she wore a pretty (in my opinion) Chinese dress to a prom. What’s wrong with that? Not every time someone wears/eats/etc. something from a culture different from their own is stealing from or dishonoring said culture; in my opinion, it usually is not.
So if we buy into the concept of cultural appropriation, does that mean that it is wrong to wear a Hawaiian shirt if you’re not from Hawaii? Or to eat Mexican food if you aren’t from Mexico? Or to wear a Fat Albert or George Jefferson T-shirt if you’re not African-American? Or to eat pizza or fettucine Alfredo if you’re not Italian?
Come on folks, really?
A post on the WDOK radio website — the radio station that initially banned “Baby It’s Cold Outside” this holiday season — begins with these words: “The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended.”