The Historical Predictability of Alleged Randomness

On Facebook, someone in a group to which I belong asked why random numbers are used in measurements. As an example, they pointed out that a mile is made up of 5,280 random feet, and the person posting sneered at how arbitrary numbers are used to determine measurements.

To add poignancy to the post, the poster mentioned that a kilometer is made up of 1,000 meters, and it was about time Americans got with the times and gave up what the poster called random number measurements.

Except that 5,280 feet is not a random number used to express a mile on land.

When someone talks about randomness, it’s important to understand the meaning of the word.  Random refers to something that is made or done, or that happens, or is chosen without method or conscious decision.  This means that for 5,280 feet to be a random number that defines a mile is to imply that no thought whatsoever went into determining how many feet are in a mile.

A mile is based on the Roman mille passus which means “thousand paces” and was a measurement based on 5,000 Roman feet.  As we know, not all feet are the same length. Some people have short, square feet and some people have long, rectangular feet, and a great many have feet that are about the same size. In other words, a foot in Roman times wasn’t an exact measurement.

Over the course of centuries, it was decided that since 12 was a perfect number when it came to creating divisions, and the sum of its divisors was a perfect number, that one foot would be 12 inches. This created a uniform measurement for what one foot was because every foot was now 12 inches long, and every inch was, according to King Edward II of England, the length of 3 grains of barley placed end to end lengthwise.

Barley being a common, every day food item regardless of whether one was in England or in France or on a ship somewhere out on the ocean or anywhere else, it was easy for even the simplest peasant to understand what one inch looked like, and how 12 of those inches was considered one foot.

Grains of Barley

                                   Grains of Barley

Now, it’s a fact that the average man’s foot just happens to be 12 inches long, so the average man’s foot also just happens to be as long as 36 grains of barley placed end to end lengthwise.

So the first bit of the answer to the allegedly random number has been explained: One foot is 12 inches, with one inch being clearly defined regardless of what direction you look at said measurement.

But let’s get back to that allegedly random number of 5,280 feet equaling one mile.

Back in the day, furlongs were also used. The word is derived from the Old English words furh (furrow) and lang (long) so it’s easy to see how it became known as a furlong, right?

Acres of land were measured in furlongs (which was the length) and chains (which was the width). A chain was a unit of length equal to 66 feet and was subdivided into 4 rods. A furlong was made up of 10 chains (which was 40 rods).

It was understood by all that one acre of land was 40 rods long by 4 rods wide.

Since 40 rods was the equivalent of 660 feet, and because of the Roman mille passus, it became law that a land mile was eight furlongs in length, or 5,280 feet.

When you look at this from a historical perspective, those allegedly random numbers aren’t so random after all, are they?

Elyse Bruce

Advertisements

You’re Scaring Me

The following may be offensive to those who do not understand the intent of this article,
which is
to encourage reasonable discussion on a very serious matter that affects all people.

 

Many people are confused about how to address an individual these days, and truth be told, many are afraid to address an individual with a pronoun that implies gender for fear they have chosen a pronoun that offends the other person.  This article is not about whether it is right or wrong, moral or amoral, possible or impossible (or any other option that may or may not be available) for someone to claim they are transgender.  That is about common sense, courtesy, and sensitivity — and the lack thereof.

First off, I would ask that readers view this short video before continuing.

Pink runners (which the worker cannot see from behind the counter), a pink shirt (barely visible under a grey hoodie), hoop earrings, and a purse do not identify the person as female.  In fact, all of those items are available at various retail stores in various men’s departments.  The only difference is that purses for men are called murses (man purses).  That being said, murses are available in many colors, including pink.

Men wear pink shirts and have for decades regardless of whether they identify as male or female.  In fact, according to the Smithsonian Magazine website, pink was the preferred color when dressing boys at the turn of the century, and going into the WWII years (when pink fell out of favor and defaulted to being thought of as a girl color).  Even then, pink shirts for men were still available from retailers so the color didn’t fall completely out of favor with males.

But what about those earrings?  Men have been wearing earrings as a fashion statement and without issue since the 1980s and, if you include pirates and sailors, since like forever.  Centuries even.

Those long locks aren’t going to be the determining factor either.  Jon Bon Jovi had beautiful, long, blonde locks back in the day.  Steven Tyler still has beautiful, long locks.

All of the above being factual, the question becomes this:  How was the employee to know with all certainty that this person — who by all presentation is more likely to be male than female — self-identifies as female?

In other words, there was an unfair expectation placed on the store employee by the customer who reacted negatively to being called sir.

The easiest and most effective way to address the issue would have been for the customer to state calmly, “I prefer being called ma’am.”

Clean.  Simple. Non-confrontational.  Polite.  Respectful.

When I watched the video and saw the reaction, I backed up from my computer screen.  The person who filmed the video was careful not to get caught in the customer’s line of sight.  I wonder why that might be?  Was the person afraid of the repercussions of daring to film the bullying this transgender person engaged in towards the store employee?

Reasonable people who take issue with something in society tend to default to problem solving.  Unreasonable people automatically threaten others, and in this case, the customer threatened violence against the store employee.  In fact, he offered to beat the store employee up as a man.  That’s sexist.  Everyone knows there are women out there who could put a beat down on a male and walk away the victor.

In this case, however, it wasn’t a given the customer was going to wait to get outside to rumble with the store employee.  The customer was so angry, it was just as likely the customer was going to reach across the counter and lay a beating on the store employee right there and then.

Now the return policy at GameStop (where this happened) is to offer the customer an identical exchange when an item is returned within 30 days of purchase (unless it’s a pre-owned item, in which case the item must be returned within 7 days of purchase). If they refuse the exchange, they can get their money back but only under certain circumstances.

Based on the customer’s demand for a refund and not an exchange (which would have had to be offered for it to be refused), the item in question was obviously a pre-owned item.    The store employee treated the customer the same way he would have treated any other customer who was returning a pre-owned item.  That’s not discrimination.  If anything, that’s good customer service that respects all customers equally.

The imbalance of power is overwhelmingly obvious in the video uploaded to YouTube.  The store employee is young and of a much smaller build than the enraged customer.  The aggressiveness of the customer poses a viable threat against the store employee.

Had I been in that store at the time this incident occurred, I would have been worried the customer was going out to the car to get a gun and take out everyone in the store — not just the store employee.

I am not a licensed and accredited medical doctor, nor am I licensed to practice law, so I am not about to venture a guess as to what is going on with the angry person in the video.  I will say this:  When someone claims to represent a specific segment of society, whether they do or don’t, people are going to remember the behavior observed.  In this case, the customer dragged the LGBTQ community into the middle of the customer’s temper tantrum.

What opinion will minors and adults who were at GameStop at the time of the incident have about transgender people specifically, and the LGBTQ community at large?  If they haven’t had much interaction with transgender people or the LGBTQ community, the reaction is far more likely to be negative than positive. It may even result in people distancing themselves from others in their community who identify as transgender or who are members of the LGBTQ community … out of fear, not because they are bigoted, trans bashing haters.

Guess what else?  If this behavior had been from a straight person who claimed to represent a specific community, people would give him and that community a wide berth for the same reason.

Whitewashing Artistic Expression

The following may be offensive to those who do not understand the intent of this article,
which is
to encourage reasonable discussion on a very serious matter that affects all people.

It would appear that one cannot see a performance of “The Sound Of Music” — the story of how Austrian Captain Von Trapp and his family escaped Nazi Germany — that includes Nazi references because to do so would be politically incorrect.

Lisa Mars, the principal of the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan (NY) — the school known as the elite “Fame” school — ordered Nazi flags, emblems, and symbols removed from the stage set.  The principal made the decision based on her opinion that the display of hateful symbols was inappropriate even if it was an historical fact, and even if those symbols were germane to the story line. All Nazi iconography — from costumes to set design — had to be removed. What was allowed to remain did so amid worries of copyright litigation.

Now let’s not get this musical get mixed up with the musical “Springtime For Hitler” because “The Sound Of Music” is anything but that, and let’s not mistake that while a production may be about fascism, a production such as “The Sound Of Music” does not promote fascism.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp With Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden” is a fictional musical in Mel Brooks’s 1967 film “The Producers.”

But the principal of this high school founded in 1936 by the 99th Mayor of the City of New York — when fascism was thriving in Germany and Italy — has other ideas, and a completely different opinion on how “The Sound Of Music” should be presented on stage.

The Sound of Music” tells the story of how one family fled the Third Reich. In other words, it clearly is not in support of what the Nazi party stood for, and it does not condone the acts of Nazi Germany.  If anything, it speaks loudly against fascism.  Why, there’s even one scene where Captain Von Trapp rips the Nazi flag in half.   That’s an impossible scene to recreate with no flag to tear, and the force of the message is greatly diminished with no visible repudiation of fascism as it was originally portrayed in the script.

If you still aren’t convinced, consider this:  What if the entire production was staged in the badlands of Alberta because having the play set in the lushness of Austria with all its environmental privilege is land shaming those people who only know what it is like to live in the badlands of Alberta (even though the Rockies are a mere 3 hours drive away by car)?

Getting back to the original topic:  In a rush to make sure none would be offended, the principal at Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan (NY) decided to whitewash the entire production.

We all know the arts are meant to stir conversation. It can be pleasurable or it can be political, but the bottom line is that art is mean to create a platform from which many aspects of the subject matter may be discussed.

In the case of “The Sound Of Music” it looks at the social injustices that exist during the era in which the production is set. Political alternatives are suggested and considered. The complicity of art in the environment of political injustice is seen for what it is.

Nazi symbols and emblems in “The Sound Of Music” do not normalize, or place a stamp of approval on, fascism anymore than vanilla ice cream proves the existence of white privilege.

If we start removing important visual and audio clues that support the narrative in a piece of art, what sense is there in involving yourself as an audience member in the discussion that is meant to be brought abut by that piece of art?

At what point does being a social justice warrior begin to work against the social justice warrior narrative?

My guess is it happens at about the same point where re-writing history is preferable to hearing uncomfortable facts about humanity — or the lack of humanity.

 

SOURCES

Furor Over Nazi Symbols in “Sound Of Music” Play At NYC’s Elite ‘Fame’ Performing Arts High School
https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/ny-metro-sound-of-music-nazi-20181205-story.html

New York’s “Fame” High School Removes Nazi Symbols From “Sound Of Music” Production
https://www.artsjournal.com/2018/12/new-yorks-fame-high-school-removes-nazi-symbols-from-sound-of-music-production.html

Next Up On The PC Chopping Block: The Sound Of Music
https://www.chicksonright.com/blog/2018/12/09/next-up-on-the-pc-chopping-block-the-sound-of-music

NYC High School Known For ‘Fame’ Bans Nazi Symbols From ‘The Sound Of Music’
https://www.americanisraelite.com/arts_and_entertainment/article_0e0fd606-fd69-11e8-8709-175a83b3bb14.html

Principal Spars With Parents Over Nazi Props In ‘Sound Of Music’
https://nypost.com/2018/12/06/principal-spars-with-parents-over-nazi-props-in-sound-of-music/

Teaching Students and Audiences About Swastikas, The SS and “The Sound Of Music”
http://www.artsintegrity.org/teaching-students-audiences-about-swastikas-the-ss-and-the-sound-of-music/

Saving PETA’s Bacon

The following may be offensive to those who do not understand the intent of this article,
which is
to encourage reasonable discussion on a very serious matter that affects all people.

Well you can’t call BS or horse puckies on this latest stunt from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). I suppose you just have to call compost on it instead.

I mean, surely PETA has bigger fish to fry — errrrr, more potatoes to mash or maybe juicier tomatoes to grow — than to publicly decry expressions that have animals associated with them?

Now, PETA is claiming that speciesism is a thing, and no one should engage in that kind of harm towards others.

Wasn’t it just two months ago you were claiming cows’ milk is a symbol of white supremacy, PETA? Yes, I believe so! I was shocked — shocked I tell you — when your organization forgot to include white eggs in that claim.

And now we are supposed to stop hurting animals’ feelings by changing how we use animals in everyday expressions, or we are being speciesist.

Gone are those who succeed because of dogged determination. Farewell to those who are plucky comic relief in life. Forget complimenting someone on working like a horse or having the keen sight of an eagle or nine lives. No one will ever again be accused ever of eating like a bird or wolfing down a meal … not if PETA has its way.

And what should we replace those expressions with?

Since PETA only take exception to expressions referring to animals, I can only guess that PETA is promoting its own form of speciesism by hoping we will hurt plants by using plant expressions instead.

So instead of telling people there’s a fox in the henhouse, perhaps you will hear people say there’s a weed in the garden. It doesn’t sound as ominous as the fox in the henhouse expression, but anyone who has ever maintained a garden will tell you that weeds are the bane of their existence so that’s pretty bad to tell someone there’s a weed in their garden, right?

Jokers won’t be able to put the cart before the horse because the horse won’t be allowed to pull the cart anymore anyway, so that’s a moot expression. Dreamers won’t be putting all their eggs in one basket in case they drop the basket and most, if not all, of those eggs get broken. Dogs will no longer have their day.

Forget being free as a bird because that’s not happening any more either, and if you think you’ll be allowed to crow about any accomplishments, it’s best you find another way of expressing that moment as well.

There’s not going to be any more horse sense either but that doesn’t surprise me because fewer and fewer people seem to have any horse sense these days any way.

You won’t be allowed to call someone or something out by saying if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it’s a duck. I suppose you could replace the duck with pretty anything, but when’s the last time you heard an oak tree quack?

There’s going to be a lot more fights though as you won’t be allowed to let dogs lie or let sleeping dogs sleep. Now you’re going to have to bother them and roust them unless you’re okay with letting carpets lie which just doesn’t do too much with getting the idea across because that’s what carpets do … they lie, usually flat, and almost always on the floor.

One bit of good news is that no one will be accused of being naked as a jaybird which is a strange expression in the first place because jaybirds have feathers. Then again, if the expression means jailbirds referring to inmates being processed into a correctional facility back in the 1920s and 1930s, then the expression will have to stay put. Except that’s going to cause confusion for those who think a jaybird in that expression means a bird in which case it’s just safer to throw that expression out with the bath water, too.  Better safe than sorry, I always say.

And instead of protesting cat calls, people will now have to protest whispering willows because I have never heard an expression that refers to a loud plant unless it was a manufacturing plant in which case those can be terrifically loud sometimes.

I’m even concerned about that segment of society that lives in states and provinces where cannabis has been legalized because they won’t be able to complain about marijuana that smells like skunk weed. I mean, it’s so hurtful to mention that skunks sometimes smell even if it’s true. It’s not like they can help stinking sometimes. It just happens whenever they feel threatened by another animal.

I’m guessing they will have to refer to marijuana that smells like skunk weed as plant poo.

When all is said and done, the whole issue of speciesism is just opening up a can of worms … unless we can come up with some non-species thing that wiggles a lot and causes trouble for the person responsible for opening that can.

In the long run, some like carrots and others like cabbage, and the ones that don’t like either, are sour as a green apple. So as long as you’re a squeaky wheel, and as long as you understand this discussion about speciesism is a real stem winder, you’ll know the tree doesn’t move unless there’s wind.

Remember, water doesn’t run uphill, and it won’t be long before this brouhaha is water under the bridge.

The Racy PC Commercialization of Christmas

The following may be offensive to those who do not understand the intent of this article,
which is
to encourage reasonable discussion on a very serious matter that affects all people.

 

The next blog article was going to address a recent PETA claim, however, the universe is in an ever-changing state of flux and the following issue jumped the queue by virtue of time sensitive content.

Santa Claus has many names in many countries, however, everyone agrees that he is St. Nicholas who was born in 230 AD in Lycia, Anatolia, a province on the southwest coast of Asia Minor (what is now known as Turkey). He became a bishop of the church at Myra, and there is documented proof of his existence.

He is said to have performed a number of miracles in his lifetime, all of them associated with gift giving, and stories of his generosity exist in most churches that know of his existence.

What does that prove? It proves he was male. It proves he was known for his gift giving and generosity.

                         Santa Claus (1896)

When Clement C. Moore wrote about him in 1823, he was still male, and he was still known for his gift giving and generosity.

He is known as Weihnachtsmann in in parts of Germany and Kris Kringle in other parts. He is Père Noël to those who speak French, and Papa Noel to those who speak Spanish.  Sinter Claus aka Sinterklaas or Sinte Klaas is how many who speak Dutch or who are of Dutch descent refer to him, and Julemanden to those who are of Danish lineage.

There are other names for Santa Claus the world over, and in each of those countries, no matter what name he goes by, he is male, and he is known for gift giving and generosity.

Many of you  may be asking what this is all about, unaware of what is going on with the rude and purposeful misportrayal of Santa Claus at one mall in New Zealand.

                                                                               Screenshot from Ponsonby Central’s Facebook page

Some of you may think I am objecting to the fact that Santa is wearing fishnet stockings.  Some of you may think I am suffering from some sort of “ism” and exhibiting discriminatory behavior.  You would be mistaken if that is what you are thinking.

My objection is to the fact that Santa is portrayed by Ponsonby Central as an exhibitionist who enjoys exposing himself in a publicly viewable location which is, in most countries, illegal when the intent is to cause others in society to be shocked.

My objection is not based on my opinion on sexuality.  My objection is not based on my opinion on what does or does not constitute lewd behavior.  My opinion is not based on my opinion regarding genders.

With his red coat pulled back to show off his undies and accompanying accoutrements, the intent to cause others in society to be shocked cannot be denied.

If you were to visit a store or shopping mall Santa, I can guarantee you, Santa would not be sitting there in his undies with accompanying accoutrements, waiting for children to hop up on his lap for a chat about Christmas morning surprises.  Santa would be wearing clothes that cover his nether regions, and whether he wears granny pants or a thong or goes commando, we are none the wiser because Santa is not exposing himself the way the Ponsonby Central Santa does.

So to all who think this is a humorous display, it’ i not.  To those who think people who object to this display are prudes, you are missing the point.

It doesn’t matter how “untraditionalPonsonby Central’s Santa portrayals have been over the years it has been in existence, and Santa ought not to be misused by businesses to make a political statement.

No, this isn’t about defending Coca Cola’s version of Santa from the 1930s.  Santa Claus with his suit was around long before he showed up in Coca Cola advertising.

Santa Claus, regardless of what name you know him by, was never meant to celebrate exhibitionism.

Stop messing with children and their childhoods.  Let them have the warm, fuzzy memories of Santa Claus being a generous, gift giving being.  Childhood is just a few short years, especially when compared to all the years ahead as adults where one can choose to be as jaded or as enchanted as one chooses to be.

 

Poverty, Privilege, and Sharing

The following may be offensive to those who do not understand the intent of this article,
which is
to encourage reasonable discussion on a very serious matter that affects all people.

At first I thought the story in the Daily Mail was just one of those questionably researched pieces, but when I saw other newspapers with the same news story in it, the situation gave reason to pause and ponder.

It would seem that transgender campaigners have succeeded in convincing the Brighton and Hove City Council to include that all genders can have periods. Boys, men, non-binary people, girls, and women can all have periods according to the new sex education curriculum, eight year olds will be taught this is correct and factual.

Yes, you read that right,

According to the Brighton and Hove City Council, all genders can have periods.

All genders.

The City Council spokesperson told mainstream media the City Council is working on reducing “period poverty.”

Now the fact that anyone has come up with the phrase “period poverty” is ridiculous because if males suffer from “period poverty” because of how the human body works, then post-menopausal women also suffer from “period poverty.” This means that females who are fertile are busy “enjoying” a great deal of “period privilege.”

So how are we going to address this “period privilege?” Are we going to insist that those with “period privilege” be more considerate of those suffering from “period poverty” and somehow figure out a way to “share” their periods?

Think about this before answering.

Does this mean that men from the onset of puberty “enjoy” something called “sperm privilege?”

Don’t even go there because I know some people who will say that rape isn’t rape if the man “shares” his “sperm privilege” with the other person.

And since some transgender campaigners are winning the war on putting forth odd aspects of their agenda, let’s take things up a notch.

It should be unlawful to have gender reveal parties when a couple is expecting. After all, by holding a gender reveal party, the parents-in-waiting are forcing their gender views on babies-in-waiting who haven’t had a chance to decide what they are yet.

Parents-in-waiting and those who attend gender reveal parties are infringing on a baby-in-waiting’s right to determine if he/she/they is/are male/female/trans/non-binary/whatever-term-hasn’t-been-mentioned.  In fact, if gender reveal parties are to be held at all, they should be held once the child — or teen or adult — has come to a final and absolute determination of what he/she/they is/are.

It also means that all children must be forced to either play in a way to is all-inclusive or completely gender neutral.   You don’t want to unduly influence your child — especially if your child is a people pleaser — to favor one gender over another because of how you, as a parent or grandparent, have acted towards him/her/them.  If you have a child who enjoys climbing trees but refuses to play house, parents will have to put a stop to that as activities may be reflective of their child’s future sexuality and/or gender without having first experienced other activities that strike all other sexuality and/or gender options down.

All those video games are going to have to go gender neutral as well as no one — including video game manufacturers — would want to be responsible for unduly influencing children to choose one gender over another, and video game stereotypes are going to finally be done away with once and for all.

Until then, we will have to content ourselves with taking the Brighton and Hove City Council to task for having a spokesman [that’s how the person was identified in all the news articles] because that might cause some child to decide to self-identify as a male all because they would like to have the same kind of job as that nice spokesman for the Brighton and Hove City Council has — only to find out they aren’t like that nice spokesman at all.

Next up when it comes to discussing strange things going on in the world: Saving PETA’s bacon, and more December non-specific holiday news.

We can still say December, right?

SOURCES

The Telegraph (UK)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/16/boys-can-have-periods-schoolchildren-taught-latest-victory-transgender/

The Sun (UK)
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7991146/primary-school-pupils-boys-periods-too-sex-education/

The Times (UK)
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/boys-can-have-periods-too-primary-pupils-are-taught-hg5lb85mp

The Mirror (UK)
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/primary-school-children-taught-boys-13747498

News (Australia)
https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/school-life/uk-primary-school-introduces-new-nongendered-sex-education/news-story/91f1391fe8adcf2674698e40a6dd5268

SBS NEWS (Australia)
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/uk-council-says-boys-can-have-periods-causing-controversy

Yahoo News (US)
https://news.yahoo.com/school-children-taught-boys-can-periods-new-sex-education-move-101453236.html

Ban All Christmas Songs

News broke just as the first weekend in December showed up on everyone’s doorstep that Cleveland (OH) radio station WDOK Christmas 102.1 had pulled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from its around-the-clock rotation of Christmas music after receiving a call from a listener who suggested it is inappropriate in 2018 and the poll they ran on their website showed that 8% of their listening audience felt the song was inappropriate to play.

According to news reports, the radio station claimed a “clear majority of respondents supported the decision to remove the song from the station’s line-up” but really, can society consider 8% of poll respondents as a “clear majority” when 92% of poll respondents were in favor of the song being played?

I’m not going to debate whether “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a song about date rape, and that’s mostly because I don’t agree with applying current social justice warrior rules to the past, and then holding it up as so-called proof that past generations were filled with terrible people.  I’m also not going to debate whether the song is about date rape when current social justice warrior rules are selectively applied to some things and not to others.  I’m certainly not going to debate whether it’s about date rape on the basis that the song triggers a segment of society.

However, if we’re going to apply social justice warrior rules to Christmas songs that have been sung and recorded to years, maybe we should just pull all Christmas songs because of their potential for triggering minorities, people living with disabilities, survivors of criminal acts, and more.  Let’s deconstruct well-loved heartfelt Christmas songs and demonize the daylights out of them just because current social justice warrior rules make it so easy to demonize whatever displeases social justice warriors.

For example, let’s take one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.”  For starters, can you really believe a Christmas song that was written in August?  I mean, August is a summer month, so obviously by writing a Christmas song in August, during a blistering heat wave, is seasonal appropriation.  To add insult to injury, the song was recorded and released the following autumn, so you would think makes it double seasonal appropriation.

It was also written in California, which means you have to question the references like snow and Eskimos and such.   Mind you, Mel Tormé was born in Chicago (IL), and Robert Wells was in Raymond (WA) so perhaps we should give them a pass on the basis that they were probably writing from childhood memories, assuming they spent winters — not just spring, summer, and autumn — in their respective home towns.

Setting aside the seasonal appropriation and the possible location appropriation, there’s still a lot for social justice warriors to hold up as reasons to ban “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.”

NOTE 1:  I am not suggesting or advocating that “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire” be pulled from play lists. 

For one thing, this song has TWO titles:  The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).  Why does this song need TWO identities?  Is this song promoting something about two separate lives — one as “The Christmas Song” and one as “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire?”  Or does that mean the song is the only Christmas song worth playing, and all the others are lesser Christmas songs or maybe counterfeit Christmas songs?  Doesn’t that title set a dangerous precedent?

And what about those lyrics?

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

That open fire is a serious fire hazard especially if children are around as they may not know they shouldn’t play with fire or get too close to an open fire or otherwise endanger themselves where fire is an element.

Jack Frost nipping on your nose

This is a clear description of as assault, and could possibly also include sexual harassment and threatening behavior.

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

That line is a double-header problem.  Yuletide carols are being sung which is insensitive to people who are not Christians, and having those carols sung by a choir implies an intolerant mob just waiting to riot and cause civil unrest.

And folks dressed up like Eskimos

This reference to Inuit people is insensitive as well as cultural appropriation which makes that line another double-header problem!

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe

The songwriters really loaded up those double-headed problems from line to line.  The reference to the turkey is PETA-unfriendly ergo it’s animal abuse, and since mistletoe can allegedly be used to poison people (or so claim some of those murder mystery books I’ve read), this implies that murder — or attempted murder if it fails — at the dinner table is being suggested.

Help to make the season bright

This is obviously a great big, huge, clearly stated nod to global warming.

Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow

If those tots have glowing eyes, there are two possible explanations:  Either these tiny tots already suffer from Internet addiction and are glued to their techno-gadgets or they are demon possessed.  Neither of those options are very reassuring.

Will find it hard to sleep tonight

That line is particularly insensitive to people living with insomnia or other sleep disorders.

They know that Santa’s on his way

We all know that criminals use code words to let their posse know what’s happening.  Whoever has been tagged as Santa in this line is most likely the driver of the getaway vehicle that will be used in the commission of one or more crimes.

He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh

If someone is loading lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh, that almost surely confirms this is about stealing high-end ticket items that will wind up in pawn shops, and/or drugs to be delivered to dealers to pass along to their customers.   How is that a good thing for anyone to be doing?

And every mother’s child is going to spy

That line has so much going on that it’s a bonanza of bad decisions.  Every mother’s child is probably an insult to law-abiding citizens who are tagged as mama’s boys which makes that a double insult:  Those people are slammed for being law-abiding citizens, and then they are tagged as being weak-minded people who look to others in authority to tell them what to do.

That bit about spying is either about government surveillance or about Big Brother watching everything everyone does or maybe even the Illuminati.  That’s pretty scary, when you think about it.

To see if reindeer really know how to fly

This is clearly a reference to the effects of getting one’s hands on some highly effective contraband.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase

There are lots of simple phrases out there, usually used by gangs and mobsters and other criminals.  This could be about not crossing anyone involved in criminal activities as all it would take to get whacked — or knocked off or otherwise taught a lesson — is a simple phrase.

To kids from one to ninety-two

Obviously it doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, if you cross someone involved in criminal activities, you are in danger and this line lets you know this without question.  Your friends and family are also in danger if you cross someone involved in criminal activities.  As they say on those TV crime shows, anyone can be gotten to and taken care of.

Although its been said many times, many ways

This is obviously a veiled reference to such things as tags, ties, colors, and all the other ways that the “keep your mouth shut” message is delivered to society as a whole.

Merry Christmas to you

That last line just reinforces the claim that this song marginalizes and disrespects those who are not Christian.

NOTE 2:  I have purposely left out other possible references that are of a sexual nature.

Did you see how easy it was to deconstruct a beautiful song and turn it into something it was never intended to be?

NOTE 3:  I am still not suggesting or advocating
“Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”
be pulled from play lists. I love this song!

Everything has to be taken in context when determining what is and is not appropriate.  Some people may not like, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”  That’s fine however if the reason for hating a song is based entirely on not understanding the context of the song and not understanding what certain phrases meant back when the song was first written compared to what they may or may not imply in this day and age, you are missing what the song conveys.

Final Note

If you are looking to be offended by someone or something, you will find that someone or something and be offended.  Just because you find that someone or something so you can be offended doesn’t mean that person or thing is offensive, or that all of society has to see the situation from your perspective.

There are so many more serious matters in life that need to be addressed, and so many more dangerous people who need to be taken to task for their dangerous and/or unconscionable actions and words.  The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” isn’t one of those things, and the songwriters aren’t any of those people.

Maybe it’s time someone knowledgeable on the era in which the song was written to post an explanation of what the song is about, and how all those misinterpreted references are being blown way out of proportion.  Any knowledgeable experts willing to tackle this in a guest article?

Elyse Bruce

%d bloggers like this: