Dear Crabby, Are Some Christmas Songs Outdated?

Dear Crabby,

Last year I heard rumblings about people taking issue with the Christmas standard, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” This year it seems to have reached a fevered pitch with one radio station even pulling it from their holiday rotation. What do you think – are songs like this (and possibly others) outdated?

Thanks,
Felice N. David

Dear Felice N. David,

Boy. If only songwriter Frank Loesser knew what trouble the lyrics from his Academy Award-winning song were causing today. That’s right. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song. And here’s the kicker: the movie it’s featured in – Neptune’s Daughter – isn’t even a Christmas movie! Yep. It was one of those aquatic movies starring Esther Williams. What’s even more interesting is the song wasn’t supposed to be in the film in the first place. It was only used after the original song they wanted was deemed by the Hays Office (the folks who were the moral gatekeepers for films) as inappropriate. How’s that for situational irony?

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

Now if you’ve been living under a rock, you may be asking yourself, “What’s wrong with ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside?’” Well, in today’s society some see the lyrics as problematic. To them it sounds like the lady in the song is being held against her will by the man and questions are raised about what he may have put in her drink, which might lead to unwanted advances or something worse. Basically, some folks find the song downright creepy. First, let me say I’m not here to change anyone’s mind or say they’re wrong. What I’d like to point out is that when the song was written in 1944, it was a very different time. For example, the line, “What’s in this drink?” was considered a standard joke at the time with the punchline being there really wasn’t anything in the drink; not even a significant amount of alcohol. Also, during this time it was considered forward of a woman to be unchaperoned while in a gentleman’s company and scandalous if she was out past her curfew. So, if you are part of today’s #MeToo generation and hate the song, that’s your right. Go right ahead and listen to something else. If you’re from my generation and think there’s nothing wrong with it, then turn up the volume. You’re probably not wearing your hearing aids anyway, so if you don’t turn it up, you won’t hear it. Let’s face it. There are only so many standard Christmas songs and they have been covered to death! Even some of the original holiday tunes get hated on. Have you heard of Whamageddon? It’s supposedly the hot new Christmas game you can’t buy in stores and it centers on the song “Last Christmas” by 1980s pop duo Wham! (The exclamation point is all their idea, not mine.). Basically, the ‘game’ goes from December 1 to midnight on Christmas Eve. At any point if you hear the original version of the song (cover versions or remixes are not allowed), you are out of the game. And, I kid you not, there’s even an official website for all this nonsense. Why have people decided to pick on this song? I have no idea. I guess it just shows you that some things are generational and sometimes it’s best not to analyze something too much.

Hope that answers your question. If you need me, I’ll be in my La-Z-Boy enjoying a steaming cup of cocoa while listening to a song called “Socks” and reminiscing about all the times Santa Claus stiffed me.

Merry Christmas!
Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at DearCrabby@rochestermedia.com.

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