Somehow I missed the controversy over the song Baby, It’s Cold Outside that was apparently raging on social media last Advent. It’s back in full force this year, having shown up in at least two Facebook threads, and I wasn’t even looking.

More than one person I’ve seen refer to it as the “Christmas rape song.” First off, it’s not about Christmas at all. The weather is obviously unpleasant, but it has no more to do with the holiday than “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

The song was written by Frank Loesser in 1944 and performed in the 1949 movie Neptune’s Daughter by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams, with the guy in pursuit, two people who are IN LOVE, not contending for dominance. In the same film, Betty Garrett is wooing Red Skelton.

Some of the defenders of the song suggest considering the time period. Is it about sex? Possibly, but not necessarily. Perhaps he was being a gentleman by offering his place for her to stay warm into the morning. Her concerns may have been about what people would think about a single woman staying at his place.

But if the original is sweet and consenting, can the many cover versions be seen in the same light?

The specific lyric “what’s in this drink” is also a current concern, given the fact that there have been numerous cases of men (usually) lacing the drinks of women (most often), for the purposes of sex. Many women have reported that Bill Cosby was notorious for doing that sort of thing. But the phrase was, and arguably is, a common joke, justifying one’s goofy behavior, even when one is consuming nothing stronger than grape juice.

In the 2010 Listening While Feminist post, In Defense of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, “The tension in the song comes from her own desire to stay and society’s expectations that she’ll go.”

As for the drink: “The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn’t in normal circumstances; it’s a nod to the idea that alcohol is ‘making’ them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there is nothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse. The drink is the shield someone gets to hold up in front of them to protect from criticism.”

See also the 2016 Vox article: Why “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” became an annual controversy about date rape and consent.

Listen to Baby, It’s Cold Outside, from Neptune’s Daughter.

December 1963

The relationship among the Beatles is a very popular topic on the Quora website. Someone asked: If John Lennon were still alive, would he and Paul McCartney have patched up their differences?

It’s a reasonable question, given the number of post-breakup fight songs that were released by all four of the ex-Fabs, none quite as nasty as Lennon’s How Do You Sleep?, “an answer to Paul McCartney’s ‘Too Many People’ and a direct attack on his old friend.” It even features a slide guitar part played by George Harrison.

As all the respondents noted in one way or another, before he died, John had already resolved his relationship with Paul.

To a similar question, a writer notes: “It’s easy to see how Paul feels about John. Every time he sings “Here Today”, he wells up with tears. There was a lot of love between those two. Brothers always.”

Well, not every time; I’ve seen McCartney get through the song dry-eyed. But in this 2015 interview, around the time of what would have been John’s 75th birthday, Paul notes how he is surprised how affected he can sometimes become, singing the song he wrote back in 1981 about his late friend.

I remember that shortly after Lennon was murdered in 1980, someone put a microphone in front of McCartney’s face and asked him how he was feeling. Paul uttered something like, “It’s a real drag, man.” And he was criticized in some circles.

Stick a mic in front of any grieving person and one is like to find a lack of eloquence. That’s something I’ve been sharply aware of when reporters stalk out people after tragedy.

Listen to Here Today

Only tangentially related:

Coverville 1194: The 14th Annual All-Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Show

Ringo Starr does NOT support Roy Moore’s campaign – reference to “You’re Sixteen”

Labor woes: How it all began in America

John Bayard Anderson

John Anderson, a moderate Republican congressman back in the day when there still were moderate Republicans, ran for President in 1980 against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter, the Democrat, and the Republican standard-bearer, Ronald Reagan. Of course, the former actor and California governor beat the former peanut farmer and Georgia governor by over 8.4 million votes cast.

Reagan also won an absolute majority of the voters (50.75%) to 41.01% for Carter. Anderson, who died recently, received 6.61% of the ballots. And 1.63% of the people, including, BTW, me, voted for someone else. So those who oppose the Electoral College – the system where all electoral votes go to each state winner – should be satisfied with the results, right?

But under the EC rules, was John Anderson really a spoiler, as some have suggested? 270 electoral votes are needed to be elected.

States won by Carter: DC-3, GA-12, HI-4, MD-10, MN-10, RI-4, WV-6 = 49 electoral votes.

States won by Reagan with more than 50% of the vote: AK-3, AZ-6, CA-45, CO-7, FL-17, ID-4, IN-13, IA-8, IA-8, KS-7, LA-10, MO-12, MT-4, NE-5, NV-3, NH-4, NJ-17, NM-4, ND-3, OH-25, OK-8, SD-4, TX-26, UT-4, VA-12, WY-3 = 263 electoral votes.

So if you add the states where the difference between Reagan votes and Carter votes is greater than the Anderson votes, the Republican easily hits 270. In Alabama, for instance, Reagan bat Carter 48.75% to 47.45%, a difference of only 1.3%. But Anderson only managed to scrape up 1.23% of the votes, with others garnering 2.57%. 9 electoral votes to the Republican anyway.

Anderson did very well in the Pacific Northwest, getting 9.51% of the vote in Oregon and 10.62% in Washington. Yet the difference between Reagan and Carter was 9.66% and 12.34% respectively, meaning those 6 and 9 electoral votes were destined for the GOP column.

Even Illinois, Anderson’s home state, fell into that column. Reagan, who grew up in the Land of Lincoln, got 49.65% of the vote compared with Carter’s 41.72%. Anderson’s 7.3% is less than the 7.93% of the major party candidates. 26 electoral votes solid for the Gipper.

This is not to say Anderson wasn’t a spoiler in some states. In New York, Reagan beat Carter by 2.67% but Anderson got 7.54% of the votes. AR, CT, DE, KY, ME, MA, MI, MS, NC, TN, VT, and WI theoretically COULD have gone to Carter if it weren’t for Anderson. It would not have mattered to the outcome.

I was looking for suitable material for the work blog and came across a piece called “Yes, Virginia, Online Shopping Is Going to Get Hotter This Season.”

What I discovered was that our intern, an undergraduate student, had NO idea what the “Yes, Virginia” reference meant. And I checked with another young adult and got the same blank response. Yes, I know this is a small sampling.

Talking to our interns has been useful. They know a LOT of things I’m only dimly aware of, but are oblivious to others. Watching JEOPARDY! sometimes has the same effect, as I miss the references to movies of 2017, but nail the questions that all three contestants in their twenties to forties fail to ring in on.

As I thought on it, I should not have been surprised by the pop cultural divide. I mean, “yes, Virginia” was a reference to something that happened over a century ago. With SO much information out there, this type of cultural diffusion was inevitable.

Still, I was, to my surprise, slightly sad. Not to romanticize it overly, but it felt as though another bit of a shared bit of the common culture was fading away. And the headline writer of the article was unaware of it.

As many of you DO know, Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and “the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.

“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?”

The response, in part:

“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.”


Watching CBS News This Morning on Monday, December 4, Norah O’Connell and Gayle King were joined for the week by frequent contributor Bianna Golodryga, who was the chief reporter in the announcement of the suspension, and later firing, of that program’s Charlie Rose in November 2017, and also detailed the firing a week later of NBC’s TODAY show anchor Matt Lauer. Both men subsequently apologized for sexually inappropriate behavior.

The first story on the 4 December morning news was about the Mueller probe into Russian interference in US politics, as reported by Margaret Brennan, who shares the White House beat with chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. Then justice correspondent Paula Reid reported on a guy removed from that investigation.

Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes spoke about the tax bill the Senate passed, with reporter Juliana Goldman noting what was necessary to be reconciled between the House and Senate versions. Business analyst Jill Schlesinger broke down the possible impact of the legislation.

Jericka Duncan reported on the possible CVS/Aetna merger. After the local news break, Meg Oliver talked about the return of a runaway teen to her family.

There wasn’t a single male reporter until about 40 minutes in, when Ben Tracy, foreign correspondent, described preparations in case of a war with North Korea. I’m not sure this was just a happy accident.

With the two high-visibility morning-show men brought down by complaints of sexual impropriety, I wonder if CBS News was making a statement about how capable their women on-air talent is.

CNN noticed that It’s all women this week on ‘Today’ and ‘CBS This Morning’.

I had watched The TODAY show on NBC way back in the days of Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters in the late 1960s; to Tom Brokaw and Jane Pauley, the current host of CBS News Sunday Morning; to Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric.

I didn’t quit watching until Ann Curry, promoted from being the long-time newsreader, was forced out in 2012, with what was generally understood to be the acquiescence of Lauer, who, was at his firing, the longest-serving TODAY host ever, with 20 years service. He won’t get paid rest of $20 million contract.

Curry, meanwhile, is getting a new gig on PBS. And speaking of PBS, it announced ‘Amanpour’ as interim replacement for Charlie Rose on its late night schedule, Christiane Amanpour’s existing program on CNN International.

Who might replace Lauer on TODAY’s first two hours? It’s unlikely to be Megyn Kell, now on the show’s third hour, who came over from FOX News, another network rocked by a sexual harassment scandal against former host Bill O’Reilly, and earlier, the former Fox News chairman, the late Roger Ailes.

It is likely that model of older, established male and younger, generally pretty, female co-host is going to get shaken up on the morning news programs. Of course, some folks will complain about the “feminiazation” of the time slot, which early on was, with the exception of the “weather girl”, “men’s work.”

Contact me
  • E-mail Contact E-mail
  • RSS Feed Blog content c 2005-2017, Roger Green, unless otherwise stated. Quotes used per fair use. Some content, including many graphics, in the public domain.
I Actually Know These Folks
I contribute to these blogs
Other people's blogs
Politics
Popular culture
Useful stuff
December 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
Archives
blogoversary
Get your own free Blogoversary button!
Networked Blogs
Counter
wordpress analytics