Political correctness doesn’t always mean respect. Sometimes, it just means replacing one set of customs with another under the guise of benevolence—almost always coercively.
A couple of Christmases ago a “professional” musician and her sidekick tried not only to rewrite “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, but attempted to ban the original version as symbolic of the Me Too movement’s definition of sexual harassment. It is not. It is negotiating banter between two consenting adults with one party worried about how it would look or turn out. Not at all surprising for the 40s when this song was written and much prurience existed in the gossip and legal consequences of dating Americans. Abortion was criminalized then, and contraceptives illegal in most states.
Written by Frank Loesser in 1944 to be sung originally with his wife at evening parties among friends, it had run into seeming setbacks in 1949 when, popularized, NBC thought the lyrics too racy for the air. A re-evaluation found no prurience and the song soared in popularity into this century as one of the best 100 songs of all time.
How people interpret the 1944 song’s material or context is their right. But banning something from the airwaves and then replacing it with an awkward and ugly version of the same song, in the name of “mutual respect”, is, at best, laughable.
But it wasn’t just the absurdity of it; I immediately went to download the original song from my music provider because, well, NOBODY tells ME what to do. I resent any heavy-handed attempt to dictate what I could or could not consume. Offering a new version would have been more welcome if it wasn’t done in such a patronizing and paternalistic manner. Ironically, the songstress was aiming at the same vault that institutionalized harrassment she presumably so opposes has done from the very beginning: coercion.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio. Maybe my father didn’t hit me hard enough growing up. My point is, it isn’t the way of democracy to decide what materials citizens get to access. Although far from perfect, our Canadian way up north doesn’t include writing out histories, opinions, or facts. It certainly doesn’t mandate what we have to listen to, or not at all. Musical pieces are part of history. It’s OK to provide alternate opportunities, but it should remain just that: an alternate opportunity. If it had been well-written, I even might have gotten to like the new PC version and switched. Now, they’ve shot themselves in the foot by attempting not to give me a choice, literally.
The only acceptable reason I can ascertain (if you could call the least degree of stupidity relatively smart) as to why they’d attempt to ban from and replace it on the airwaves is because they wanted to capitalize in dollars what the MeToo movement could almost only do in sensation. In other words, they were financially opportunistic. If they did have honourable motives, then it was stupidly handled. I am a feminist. Feminism is about liberation, yes? Well, no man or woman tells me what to do. Ergo, if I don’t adhere, I support harassment. Having my fem-sister tell me what I can’t listen to, especially under the guise of upholding the values of the MeToo movement, is manipulative.
I must assume, for my sanity’s sake, that this artist was doing it for the money. The sheer stupidity that the idea this woman had to record and plug her song as the only version that a good feminist would ever listen to makes me go blind and deaf with rage and disgust. Chica-sis, the sex wars may never blow over, but you lost this battle. ~V
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