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.
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?