controversies, modern problems, music, sex

Repost: Getting a little sick of hearing about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”…”

Here’s a post I wrote on December 14, 2018. I’m reposting it as/is, because it goes with my fresh content posted today. And yes, I would probably pause if Bill Cosby sang this… but it wasn’t written with guys like Cosby in mind. Why should a classic song be banned because of a few “rapey” bad apples? Why don’t we ban rapey creeps like Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, instead? The song is innocent.

Last year, I wrote a post on my music blog about the controversy surrounding the holiday classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  I remember a few murmurs last year about the “rapey” lyrics of the song, which was written by Frank Loesser and originally intended as a “parlor act” for himself and his ex wife, Lynn.  Someone wrote a very informative Facebook post about the history of the song, and its original intent.  I decided to write about it on my blog.

This year, it seems “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, which was never meant to be a holiday song, is more controversial than ever.  Radio stations across the United States have been pulling it from their playlists in the wake of the #metoo movement.  The song, which was written in 1944 as a “call and response” between a man and a woman, was never intended to be a date rape anthem.  In the 1940s, it was improper for unmarried couples to spend the night together.  In order to look respectable, a woman had to protest an invitation to stay the night, even if she wanted to stay.  And the man who was inviting her had to appear to be concerned about her welfare.  Otherwise, her reputation might be negatively affected.

Unfortunately, people have a tendency to see and hear things through modern lenses.  In 2018, lyrics like “Say, what’s in this drink?”, especially in the wake of Bill Cosby’s drink drugging scandal, seem inappropriate and tasteless.  But in 1944, no one gave a thought to a man spiking a woman’s beverage.  It was more a comment about the potential of a drink going to one’s head.

Although I’m definitely not a fan of “rapey” comments or song lyrics, I do think it’s ridiculous that people are clutching their pearls over an old song like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  Of all the things a person could get outraged about– like, the fact that our president brags about grabbing women by the pussy– a classic parlor song that was never meant to be inappropriate seems like a poor choice to me.  “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has never been a favorite song of mine– especially when James Taylor sang it with Natalie Cole– but I don’t necessarily dislike it because of its lyrics.  It’s just that there are other holiday staples I like better.

The larger issue, to me, is that I believe there is a place for “the inappropriate”.  I don’t like to see books, songs, movies, or artwork banned.  I remember in the 80s, there were conservative Christian groups lobbying to ban classic books like Slaughterhouse Five and The Catcher in the Rye.  I remember some people were outraged that students were reading books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird.  In those days, it seemed more like banning books was more of a conservative idea, to keep students from reading things deemed indecent or immoral. 

Now, it seems like the liberal left wants to do the same thing with certain classic songs, like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  Maybe some people would say it’s different because Loesser’s classic seems to promote “date rape”.  I don’t see a difference at all, though.  Even if the lyrics were “rapey”, which they really aren’t, the song is still a classic.  It should be heard and examined by people.  You don’t have to agree with the content.  Just don’t presume to make that decision for other people.

I just read an interesting New York Times piece about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” which, once again, explains the song’s original intent.  I’m glad to read that many folks aren’t taking this song banning business lying down… although I have read some surprisingly vitriolic arguments with people over this issue.  People like controversy, and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is enjoying new popularity as a download, even as radio stations are striking it from their holiday playlists.  Good.  Frank Loesser wasn’t intending to promote date rape or anything else untoward.  His song was intended to be a lighthearted, flirtatious, fun look at a couple in an era when respectable unmarried folks didn’t spend the night.  I think people should consider the context before they start demanding bans.  And then, after they do that, perhaps they should read a classic banned book.  The opportunity to learn will present itself accordingly.

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love, marriage, music, musings, nostalgia

“The secret o’ life is enjoying the passage of time…”

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling kind of inspired, so I decided to record a song in honor of our 20th wedding anniversary, which happens tomorrow. I spent some time looking through the songs I had available and tried a few before I noticed an old chestnut by James Taylor. Back in 1977, James released his album, JT. He was still married to Carly Simon at the time, and they had two young children– three year old Sarah Maria, “Sally”, and newborn Ben. James was transitioning to a new record label, moving on from Warner to Columbia Records. Just a few years after JT was released, James and Carly divorced. However, that album has some really nice songs on it. For the longest time, one of my favorites from that particular release is a song called “Terra Nova”, which includes beautiful vocals from Carly. Years later, Ben and Sally would sing the coda from “Terra Nova” on one of Ben’s songs.

Maybe James and Carly’s marriage didn’t work out, but they sure sounded nice together.

That album also included an actual song for Carly… a love song James wrote called, “There We Are”. Maybe I could have done this one, but I don’t think it has quite the same ageless quality. Also, ultimately, James and Carly didn’t stay married. And I would have had to do it in the original key, which probably would have been hard.

What a sweet song. The sentiment is lovely, but the marriage didn’t survive.

I remember when I first bought JT on compact disc, back around 1991 or so, and listened to the whole thing. I realized that my sister, Becky, had this album on tape and played it when we were living in England. I heard the deep cut, “If I Keep My Heart Out of Sight” as a five year old in 1977, and remembered James’s lyric, “All I can say is I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.” I remember hearing this when I was about 18 or 19 and being kind of shocked by the deep memory. It had been so long since I’d heard the song, and I didn’t realize what a good song it was. The early 90s are when I really got into James’s music, and he helped me get through some very tough times.

A song that was buried in my consciousness for many years.

But one song I never really liked, at least when I first heard it, was “Secret O’ Life”. I don’t know why I didn’t like it. I think maybe when I was 19, I thought it was boring… the lyrics are pleasant, but at least at the time, they seemed kind of banal. It wasn’t until I heard James sing it live that I realized what a good song it is. I still never thought I would have sung it myself, and yet yesterday, that is precisely what I did, after dropping the pitch three steps. And even funnier… this time, I actually videoed myself as I was singing, which I don’t do very often. I can’t be arsed to put on makeup or a bra… and as you can see, I didn’t do that yesterday, either.

That thumbnail is horrifying! I usually make that face in the throes of ecstasy.

Here are the lyrics, written by James Taylor:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it, there ain’t nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.
But since we’re on our way down, we might as well enjoy the ride.

The secret of love is in opening up your heart.
It’s okay to feel afraid, but don’t let that stand in your way.
Cause anyone knows that love is the only road.
And since we’re only here for a while, might as well show some style. Give us a smile.

Isn’t it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down,
try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.

Now the thing about time is that time isn’t really real.
It’s just your point of view, how does it feel for you?
Einstein said he could never understand it all.
Planets spinning through space, the smile upon your face, welcome to the human race.

Some kind of lovely ride. I’ll be sliding down, I’ll be gliding down.
Try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.

Isn’t it a lovely ride? Sliding down, gliding down,
try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.

Maybe it’s not obviously a love song… or an anniversary song. It just seemed perfect, for some reason. After 20 years, Bill and I are very comfortable with each other. And I feel like we’ve had a “lovely ride”, for the most part… and we’ve definitely done some things in style, even if we don’t usually dress in style.

I also thought this was a good song for us this year, because it looks like James might be able to do his concert in Frankfurt, after all. As I write this, James is in Stockholm, preparing for tonight’s show. He shared a video that I think he took himself, as he walked through downtown Stockholm. I heard the trace of a cough and he seemed a little tired, but that’s to be expected. COVID has that effect on people. I’ve never been to downtown Stockholm. I’ve only been to the dock.

It looks like we’ll see him this weekend. Or, I still maintain hope… especially since this might be the last time we get to see him. Or, maybe it won’t be. I know James loves to perform and will probably keep doing it until he physically can’t do it anymore, but things are getting weirder and weirder, and none of us are getting any younger. So, I’m glad I had a chance to try “Secret O’ Life”, and enjoy the passage of time with Bill. May we have twenty or more years together!

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advertising, disasters, songs, Trump, videos

“Boom, boom, diddum, doddum, woddum, choo…”

I slept fairly decently last night. When I woke up, I didn’t expect to see any concrete election results, since we’re six hours ahead of the United States. It does surprise me that this race is so close. Maybe it shouldn’t, though. A lot of people are extremely rigid about their politics and will only vote for the people in their parties. I suppose I voted that way myself this year, although that’s not the norm for me. I usually try to consider people over political parties. I’m really angry with the Republican Party, though, and I don’t think I’ll forgive the people within it for a very long time.

I don’t really feel like writing more about the election, nor do I want to obsess over the results. The fact is, there are many votes that have yet to be counted. If the mail in votes aren’t counted, I wonder how any state can accurately claim a victor. I usually vote absentee. It’s rare that I’m actually in the place where I’m registered to vote. It started when I was in college. Then I was in the Peace Corps… then graduate school… and finally, as a military wife/overseas expat. My votes probably don’t get counted, which pisses me off, since I have to go to some effort to cast them.

But anyway… I see no reason to sit here and obsess about it. I probably ought to stay away from social media today, too… especially when people post these well meaning but ultimately privileged memes. The truth is, a lot of people’s rights are legitimately at risk. Telling people to “get over it”, which is pretty much what these things do, is disrespectful. But that’s just my opinion, and there’s nothing I can do… so instead, here’s a little silliness.

First of all… Bill got this ad on Facebook this morning. It looks like it’s a new campaign. These jolly dancing African guys, who are dancing with a coffin in face masks that match their socks, say wear a mask or die.

Are the masks for you or for me?

I have to admit, they look like a fun group of guys to hang out with. But they imply that if we don’t all wear a mask, we’ll die. I thought the masks were not useful for the wearer. Personally– I think that message is one reason why people don’t want to cooperate, especially in the United States. In any case, I do think the ad is entertaining if only because it’s just so strange. Upbeat techno music plays as these masked men in their colorful socks dance around with a coffin. What were they smoking when they came up with this idea?

I was singing the old song, “Three Little Fishies”, when I was made aware of Afrisocks. Bill saw the ad on his Facebook feed and had to share it with me. The ad appears to have come out a week ago, so it’s not very popular yet. I wonder what others will think of it.

“Boom, boom, diddum, dottum, woddum choo…”
“I almost had it…”
This is how I feel right now… PLEASE!!!

Yep… I rely on weird and funny shit like this to make it through the day, especially when I see people disregarding how completely horrible the president is. I mean, he could be as fucked up as Jeffrey Tambor singing “Boom, boom, diddum, dottum, wattum, choo” is on Three’s Company, but they’ll still vote for him over abortion rights or a few extra bucks in their paychecks. It’s tragic and pathetic.

Another weird and funny comment for today… a year ago, I learned the German word for “pussy”. I don’t remember why I learned it, only that I did. And I probably should use it more often than I do. Maybe it would make me laugh more. We could all use a few more laughs this year.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying your post election day. We’ll see what the future holds. I’ll get back to practicing guitar and reading about Lenny Kravitz. Maybe I should get The Muppet Show box set, too.

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