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NICHOLAS MERCER: Making sense of the 'Cold Outside' kerfuffle

The song "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" has been pulled from some radio stations in North America and people are not happy about it.
The song

It is 2018 and the most talked about item is a borderline Christmas song first recorded in the 1940s. 

Just imagine that.

For those who haven’t had a friend post on Facebook, a music station in Cleveland made the decision to pull the oft-covered "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" from its holiday playlist.

The song is a playful duet between a man and a woman. The woman is trying to leave, but the man doth protest and tries to get her to stay.

In the #MeToo age, the station chose to remove it because of the connotations of coercion and questions about what is really considered consent.

A couple of CBC streams followed suit and then pandemonium hit. Bell and Rogers have also removed the song.

If your Facebook is like mine, since the news hit your newsfeed has been inundated with posts bemoaning the removal of the song from a playlist somewhere on the internet.

There were memes and status posts with large block letters railing against the decision.

I get the song is beloved. Modern Christmas classic "Elf" has a scene with the song in it. As an aside, is it really Christmas music though?

I mean sure, it is set during a snowstorm, but why does that automatically make it a Christmas song?

Is The Counting Crows’ "Long December" or Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter Night" Christmas tunes because they are seasonal?

No, not really.

Getting back on track, the problem comes with meshing a song from seven decades ago with the state of the world as it is today.

Ideals have shifted. What worked then wouldn’t necessarily work now.

When the song was written, it was taboo for a woman to stay overnight with a gentleman.

As time moved on, people started seeing the woman and man engaging in a romantic game of cat and mouse.

The woman playing the reluctant hard-to-get, while the man was the incessant lover.

While it worked for everything that led to this point, through the lens of 2018, the song doesn’t jive with the state of the world. Love it or leave it, it is something we have to come to grips with.

That’s what I think is going on.

I still don’t understand what the big deal is. It isn’t a form of censorship, it has no bearing on my life nor does it make things more difficult for me.

I rarely listen to the radio and when I put on a track it’s usually from YouTube or Spotify. The song is on there.

If I so desired, I could play it whenever I wanted for as many times as I wanted.

If the removal of "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" really shook the foundations of your world, I sympathize with you.

There was a time I requested a song on K-Rock and I was told it wasn’t allowed. I get it.

The issue isn’t about your disdain for liberals, who many think are ruining everything that is good in this world.

It is about the problems we all have with being told we’re not allowed to do something.

It happens every so often. Something changes in our world.

We have no control over it and didn’t even realize it was so important to us.

Then, all of a sudden it’s gone, and we have a hard time rationalizing it.

You don’t know what you have until it is gone, I guess.

In the wake of all of this, here is some advice: just play the song.

Stop posting and complaining about it on Facebook, where you can get cheap likes and shares from your friends.

You can get your dose of social media-induced dopamine somewhere else.

Play the song if you want.

Get on Spotify and add it to your Christmas playlist.

Play it loud and stick it to "the man."

It is that simple.

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