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Editorial: How Far is Too Far?

Radio stations across America have recently banned the Christmas classic

Radio stations across America have recently banned the Christmas classic "Baby its Cold Outside" from their airwaves.

Fox News

Radio stations across America have recently banned the Christmas classic "Baby its Cold Outside" from their airwaves.

Fox News

Fox News

Radio stations across America have recently banned the Christmas classic "Baby its Cold Outside" from their airwaves.

Lindsey Temaat, Managing Editor

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If you ask me, the best part of the holiday season is blasting Christmas music while you bake sugar cookies or decorate the Christmas tree. Am I a Spotify girl when it comes to my jams? Short answer: Heck. No.

I grew up listening to the radio. My dad has been a radio personality for over 33 years. I’ve even had a guest appearance singing Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” on my dad’s radio station when I was in second grade for “Take Your Daughter To Work Day,” no doubt the pinnacle of my broadcast career. So while the holiday season is upon us, at my childhood home in the small town of Leonardville, Kan., we tune in to Sunny 102.5 on our old radio and jam out to every word of 24 hour Christmas melodies, including my personal favorite, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”

However, some folks across the country no longer have that luxury. A nationwide controversy sparked a little over a week ago when Cleveland’s WDOK banned the duet from its airwaves.

The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended.”

— Glenn Anderson, WDOK, Cleveland

The song, written by Frank Loesser in 1944, first debuted in the 1949 film, Neptune’s Daughter, and won the Oscar for best original song that same year. The track has stood the test of time, being covered through the years by numerous artists including Dean Martin, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Lady Antebellum, Idina Menzel and Michael Buble, Kelly Clarkson and even Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) in a groundbreaking 2010 episode of Glee. Does the iconic scene in Elf, when an oblivious Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) sings the tune in the shower, accompanied by Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) sitting in the girls’ locker room on the other side of the curtain ring a jingle-bell for anyone?

The lyrics of this timeless earworm came into question largely because of the line, “Say what’s in this drink?” sang by the traditionally female lead. Critics point to date-rape, citing the song undercuts the past year’s #MeToo movement, advocating for women’s rights.

While we are sensitive to those who may be upset by some of the lyrics, the majority of our listeners have expressed their interpretation of the song to be non-offensive”

— Jim Lawson, KOSI, Denver

“The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place,” Host Glenn Anderson wrote on the Cleveland station’s website, according to NPR.

Many stations followed suit including KOIT in San Francisco, and KOSI in Denver, Colorado who later reversed their decision after their listeners showed they strongly supported the 1940’s classic.

Perhaps the most interesting argument in favor of the track is that when it was written, there were different social expectations. Back then, it was seen as scandalous for women to stay the night with someone who wasn’t their husband.

As seen with the lyrics “Well, maybe just a half a drink more” and “But maybe just a cigarette more” it is clear to see that the woman has a desire to stay with the man, regardless of the social norm. According to Genius, the line “Say, what’s in this drink?” was a common phrase women would use as a way to “chalk up their deviance to a strong drink,” playing on the idea that alcohol is “making” them do something unusual when, in reality, the drink is just an excuse.

While we are sensitive to those who may be upset by some of the lyrics, the majority of our listeners have expressed their interpretation of the song to be non-offensive,” KOSI Program Director Jim Lawson said in a statement.

The debate has even reached Canada, Yasharoff at USA Today reported, stating multiple stations have “pulled it from their holiday line-ups.”

MY QUESTION is this: How far is too far? Do we need to take “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” off of our Christmas playlists because he was bullied by his fellow reindeer? Do our children really need to hear about their mothers kissing Santa Claus? Or are the even more raunchy, “Santa Baby” lyrics “think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed” acceptable? What about our poor drunken grammy getting killed in “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or the suggestive “Mistletoe” by the Biebs? The list continues.

If you are looking for something to be offended by, you will find plenty. I hate the fact that today’s political landscape has fostered a generation of “extra sensitive” media consumers. The holidays are for spreading peace and love. So, spend some time with your family. Turn on your radio. And, if “Baby It’s Cold Outside” comes on, and it bothers you, change the station. Better yet, let it play. Grab some tinsel or get elbow deep in cookie dough in the kitchen. Laugh. Sing. Be Merry. After all, it is cold outside.

 

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