The View From Here – Seventy-five year old Christmas standard is suddenly deemed offensive

Tom Henihan

There are a great number of people who take offense at the anodyne rather than taking offense at the constant spectacle of abject stupidity.

Claiming to find something offensive is grounds to have the offending song, movie, play, painting, or advertisement excised from public display.

Typically, when someone takes offense to something, no matter how dubious the premise, they go on social media where they are sure to find others to endorse their position.

As a result, it is largely through social media that we are being bamboozled by a relentless, politically correct “confederacy of dunces.”

The mainstream media also get in on the game, either by jumping on board or discussing the merits of the offense du jour, though it obviously has no merit to anyone with a modicum of common sense.

A recent example of this nonsense is the pulling from radio playlists the 74 year old Christmas standard “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” a droll, innocuous song performed by the “king of cool,” the eternally inoffensive Dean Martin.

If a song expresses hatred, condones violence, overtly or implicitly degrades someone or some group, an argument could be made that it is not just offensive but that it actively promotes animosity against certain individuals or groups.

But looking at the past through the lens of today’s social mores and then insisting that something is offensive, is like digging a bottomless pit.

The snowflakes in the easily offended community should be reminded that there is such a thing as context and most people who have reached the age of reason are cognisant of the period in which something was created and are capable of enjoying the work in the spirit in which it was intended.

But to stretch reason to an absurd extent and cast a seventy-four year old song in the light of something predatory and sinister is an enormous stretch and all too prevalent in today’s political and social environments.

This impulse to create a bogus, revisionist context for a song that is essentially innocent, a song depicting a man coaxing a woman with playful banter is hardly predatory or in any way offensive..

To see it as anything else is to deem any overture a man makes towards a woman as predatory.

Personally, I could live happily without ever hearing “Baby its Cold Outside” again but the merit of the song itself is not the issue.

The issue is the current, relentless need to find things objectionable and to mobilize to erase whatever it is that allegedly causes offense.

The issue with “Baby it’s Cold Outside” began in Cleveland and not to be outdone, the CBC, in its self-appointed role as Canada’s conscience decided it would follow suite and ban the song on the grounds that it is unacceptable in the “me too,”era.

Bell and Rogers also decided to drop the song from their playlists.

What is encouraging, however, is that an overwhelming number of reasonable, sober minded people ridiculed the move to ban the song, seeing no grounds to attach this new “offensive” context to the three quarters of a century old song that is more saccharine that sinister.

The CBC, an entity that always having the courage of its convictions, responded to the overwhelming backlash to the ban by quickly reinstating the song on its playlists.

 

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