Just saw this article about Baby it’s cold outside being pulled by a radio station in the Cleveland Ohio and felt I had to comment on it — it is a song that I’ve always struggled with ….. be sure to read the article — it really brings up interesting questions.
As a singer, I’ve always had mix emotions about this song!
I think the issue is I love the very sound of the song. I love the arrangement of the song. I love the vintage recordings of it especially when played on vinyl. I love the wonderful Christmas memories that have this song as their soundtrack.. (the movie is also hilarious – Red Skelton is one of my favourite comedians ever but the movie is also dated and sexist in a lot of ways but I know what it is when watching it at Christmas) I also love the updated versions that folks like Idina Menzel & Michael Bublé, Matt Dusk, Lady Gaga & Joseph Gordon-Levitt did – but is it because I like Them and Christmas and Glamour they created with this song? I wonder what they felt when they record this song or currently feel about the lyrics?
But as a performer — I also felt extremely uncomfortable performing it — I make my own decisions and would never let anyone influence my decisions regardless of the “weather” and I wouldn’t want to sing something that doesn’t reflect my platform or might influence youth to think behaviour like this is ok. Using it was another time argument doesn’t really work either because I remember my mother telling that even my grandmother didn’t really like this song. It makes me wonder if everyone felt uncomfortable with it but just didn’t say anything like a lot things back then. But if you watch the original version, Red Skelton sings the “girl” part — which always made me think that they were actually questioning trends of that period. But somehow it went from a musical theatre comedy song to an intricate part of our modern secular Christmas traditions – a song that every popular singer has to cover. I always felt that it was song that singers didn’t record till they “made” it.
The 21 C is driven by nostalgia and this song is part of that tapestry of the Christmas nostalgia that we have created and continue to create. As I write this, I’m listening to Bing Crosby’s Christmas who tells us “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I used to know” – so can see why so many people vote yes to keep on the radio waves. Everything we do at Christmas is about creating that big shinny feeling that nostalgia creates.
But if something wrong – does it make it right because of the emotions we coupled with it? The song really does say the opposite of what we have created Christmas to be.
How can we preach equality and then play songs that counterproductive but then here are some of the lyrics of today’s songs? But …
Here’s some lyrics from songs that are also played on the radio …. There are way more but these are just come to mind – should we remove these songs as well from the radio? And if you look at these lyrics compare to “Baby, it is cold outside” – which is worse? There are way more – here’s a list of them
Here’s two examples, I’ve pulled though ….
Wild Thing” – Tone-Loc
“Took her to the limousine still parked outside / I tipped the chauffeur when it was over, and I gave her my own ride”
“Love In This Club” – Usher feat. Young Jeezy
“Let’s go get undressed right here/ Keep it up girl and I swear/ I’mma give it to you nonstop/ And I don’t care who’s watching”
But then it opens another discussion …. Is this a form of control? Will these things stop artists from being able to being able to express themselves fully? As I’ve said in other posts – I firmly believe it is the job of an artist to comment and influence society. This opens so many questions ….
I remember watching an interview with Ben Kingsley who said that there cannot be any kind of control over artistic expression because if there is great art won’t happen, only people can decided what they want or not want to view or see. They have to make that decision. Censorship is the death of artists, something that I strongly agree with. I have also read articles that discuss how the Nazis slowly censored different art forms so by the end people didn’t even notice ….
So the question is …
Are we starting something with pulling this classic from the airwaves?
Are we starting a new flood of censorship in art?
Love to hear your thoughts ….. let’s start a conversation
This is my favorite version but it is glamour and nostalgia all wrapped up with a big shinny red row
Note: Do not own any of these photos/gifs …. credit goes to following
- Lady Gaga – https://www.pinterest.es/pin/289145238547732623/
- Red Skelton – http://bobbyriverstv.blogspot.com/2017/01/on-baby-its-cold-outside.html
- Bing Crosby – https://tvmuseumdvds.com/products/bing-crosby-white-christmas-1959-full-show-dvd