Salon has itself a creeped-out little Christmas!


We’ve seen this movie before: We’re going to make an admission:

Until yesterday, we had never listened to the lyrics of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” a non-Christmas Christmas song which publicly dates to the 1949 Esther Williams film, Neptune’s Daughter.

Yesterday, we listened for the first time, inspired by Salon’s street-fighting agent of change, Daniel D’Addario. Reprising what is fast becoming a seasonal tradition at Salon, he told the on-line magazine’s readers what the song is really about:
D’ADDARIO (12/19/13): “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is one of those Christmas songs that really has nothing to do with Christmas—it’s just about cold weather, and also sexual coercion.
Say what? Is Baby, It’s Cold Outside really “about sexual coercion?” Such matters are in the eye of the troubled beholder.

In D’Addario’s case, he has apparently struggled with the song for some time. He offers six versions of the song which “have particularly creeped us out in recent years.”

Us? He doesn’t explain.

Based upon his selections, D’Addario gets the creeps fairly easy. He’s troubled by the fact that Willie Nelson is 46 years older than Norah Jones, with whom he has recorded the song.

(“Hearing him rasp, ‘What’s the sense in hurting my pride?’ to the young lady he’s just served a drink is not how we want to celebrate the season,” the Salonista complains.)

We? Again, no explanation.

D’Addario finds another version of the song “depressing.” (Explanation: Teenagers shouldn’t be singing it.) Here’s his reaction to hearing John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John:
D’ADDARIO: In this deeply strange, gender-swapped version, Newton-John tries to seduce her “Grease” costar, who’s worried about his parents overreacting to his coming home late. Travolta was 58 when this song came out, unlikely to be worried about his parents or, allegedly, the particular charms of a woman like Newton-John, who nearly blows out her larynx trying to sound kittenish.
Salon takes down Newton-John!

At some point, the thought begins to intrude—D’Addario may be amazingly dumb. But we don’t think that’s it.

Before we reveal what it actually is, a few observations:

The song was instantly “gender-swapped” when it debuted in Neptune’s Daughter. In that film, Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams do the song first. Later, Red Skelton sings it with Betty Garrett, with Garrett—the girl!—cast in the role of the smitten partner who wants to extend the evening.

Garrett, who started out in the Borscht Belt, is very funny and very winning. Betty Garrett could really perform! It’s actually worth watching the second half of the tape.

Second observation: A lot of people have sung this song, which is probably fun for singers to sing. Sometimes, a pair of singers singing a standard is just a pair of singers singing.

We believe Abraham Lincoln said that.

Note to Salonistas: You actually aren’t supposed to imagine that Willie Nelson is trying to hit on Norah Jones. You aren’t supposed to ask yourself whether Travolta would really worry about his parents.

D’Addario graduated from Yale in 2010. What made him offer this strained pisspiddle? Here goes:

At Salon, we’d have to say that something is happenin’ and we do know what it is. Or so it appears, Mr. Jones!

At Salon, a new generation is declaring its break from all that has gone before. The children seem to be casting about, rejecting all cultural markers.

Something similar happened in the 1960s, when we kids were busy stopping a war. Never trust anyone over 30! In many ways, the determined inanity of our generation didn’t work out super well, although there were also large gains.

So it may be with the kids at Salon! For whatever reason, they’re declaring a revolution. It’s one they frequently stage inanely, but it may lead to good things.

That said, our generation, in its excesses, helped spawn an era of Reaganist reaction. Hopefully, the Salonista won’t attract enough attention to provoke a similar backlash. But God knows they’re going to try!

As usual, many commenters rolled their eyes as Salon jumped the standard. (“Oh, for crying out loud. Leave it to Salon to turn a delightful, funny, and romantic song into a hyper-sexualized hymn to rape culture.”)

For ourselves, we couldn’t help wondering:

Did their parents send them to Yale to get creeped out in such ways?

An instant holiday tradition: For last year’s critique of this song at Salon, just click here. We’re quoting:

“Especially for a tune so closely associated with the holidays, Baby, It’s Cold Outside is icky at best, at worst reprehensible: It describes what may be a date rape.”

In conclusion, it isn’t the values to which we object. It’s the blinding stupidity of the way the values are being pursued. When “liberals” stage generational jags of this type, things may not turn out super well.


  1. "Did their parents send them to Yale to get creeped out in such ways?"

    Consistent hatred and envy expressed as contempt for prestigious schools/scholarship programs.

    Did he go to Southwest Texas College or some such and has been trying to live it down all his life?

    "nothing but hate" is the motto of the blogger.

  2. Slow news day, Bob?

    Or are you just trying to bury your horrid McDonnell post?


    1. No big deal - just a lousy, senseless, politically correct article written under deadline pressure - that however didn't stop the blogger from pushing his usual (them "librulz") hate-buttons to explain it.

    2. Exactly. But can someone else explain to me how this critique of a 64-year-old song resembles the anti-war movement of the '60s?

      That was one of the most bizarre analogies I have read anywhere.

    3. Anonymous @5:19P,

      You must lead a sheltered reading life. One way kiddies grow up is that they contemn their elders' choices. (Particularly in music. If your parents don't hate your music, then you're doing it wrong.) Here a kiddie at Salon tries to assert his independence by pissing on the sheet music of the hoary past. If he seems particularly callow, that's part of growing up. (If he seems particularly brain dead, that's part of trying to grow up at Yale.) But what the hell, TDH's generation went through a similar phase in the '60s rejecting their parent's culture, political but also musical. Some of that worked out; some of it didn't.

      It's the usual conceit of the geezers that their own revolution was about more important things than the young whippersnappers'. You can imagine D'Addario at his 40th Yale reunion singing "Boola Boola," and shaking his head at the antics of youngsters who spend their time on foolishness instead of doing important work like taking down "Baby It's Cold Outside" for its promotion of date rape.

    4. Except for one problem, deadrat. If indeed this is a "kid" writing this, then "Baby It's Cold Outside" isn't even the music of his grandparents, let alone his parents.

      Now given that people born in 1963 are 50 today, we probably aren't even talking about the Beatles as the "music of their parents" any more.

      And since I can't read minds, I can't "imagine" D'Addario doing anything of the sort.

      FYI, since you obviously missed the 60s, let me inform you that the "revolution" of that period wasn't about "rejecting" the values of the previous generation(s). It was about holding those generations TO the values they professed.

      Go study the two greatest movements of the 60s -- the Civil Rights movement and the anti-war movement.

    5. "If your parents don't hate your music, then you're doing it wrong."

      Somewhat true, but not absolutely.

      Why did Linda Ronstadt's albums with Nelson Riddle sell in the millions? Why have so many rockers done albums like Rod Stewart's "Great American Songbook" series? How to you explain the swing revival of the 90s? Why is Lady GaGa doing a duet with Tony Bennett?

      As a matter of fact, both Michael Buble and Norah Jones are selling records that very much sound like the great jazz vocalists of the 40s and 50s.

      They aren't rejecting anything. They are, in fact, the heirs to the legacy of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

    6. Anonymous @8:50A,

      Let's not take this whole thing too seriously, although in your case, I think it might be too late. You don't think a "kid" wrote the BICO essay? Really? And sure, it's not his parents' music, but it's a perennial favorite of the oldsters. You don't have to be able to read minds to figure out how much fun it must have been to tell the geezers they've been celebrating date rape all the while.

      FYI, since you obviously missed the 60s, …."

      I blame the drugs.

      While we're informing people, let me inform you that the "revolution" of the Whiniest Generation was most certainly about rejecting aspects of their parents' lives, including white hegemony, male cultural domination, unthinking patriotism, repressed sexuality, and the hypocrisy of not upholding "professed" values.

      Go study

      I don't need your direction on my societal duty, sonny. I'm the oldest whore on the block.

    7. Anonymous @9:15A,

      Sure, not absolutely. And at some point nostalgia sets in and those who rejected parental musical taste end up embracing the musical embarrassments of their grandparents.

      Elvis outraged the Big Band generation. Rock and Roll was decried as a Communistic plot. Just listen to the outrage over that dirty rap music. If your parents at some point aren't pissed off about your music and demanding that you turn down that damn noise, then you're not doing it right.

    8. Regardless of how old you are, if that's your take on the 60s, then you obviously missed the 60s.

      In fact, your take is the perfect example of what another person posted earlier -- the "Newsweek" version. Trying to boil it all down into one, and I must add, run-on sentence.

      I understand why you do it however. It is much easier to think of the 60s in grossly over-simplistic terms than to study it and think more deeply.

      That way you get to pretend you know all about it, and you don't have to bother learning more.

    9. "Elvis outraged the Big Band generation."

      I guess so, if you can think only in terms of absolutes.

      Far more accurate would be "Elvis outraged SOME members of the Big Band Generation" -- unless of course, you are privvy to some information that showed the entire generation outraged.

      Would you be surprised to learn that I first heard Elvis on my family phonograph because my Big Band Generation mother loved his music and bought his records?

    10. Anonymous @4:13P,

      I will stoically stand for your pompous pronouncements about the 60s, your condescension in telling me what I "obviously" missed, your absurd expansion of my statements into some straw-man absolute that you can vanquish. I'll even put up with your assumption that you know why I write what I write and your lectures on my supposed pretenses and learning disabilities.

      But I draw the line at your accusing me of writing run-on sentences.

      You really think you have the key to a generational history?

      If so, how about you get over yourself?

    11. Anonymous @4:22P,

      You got me. I was thinking only in terms of absolutes. The Big Band Era doesn't have a precise definition, but for convenience sake, let's say it extends from the day of the stock market crash of 1929 (October 29) to the day Elvis appeared on the Milton Berle Show in 1956 (April 3). Until I heard about your sainted mother, I thought that all persons who were eighteen years or older in that period fell into a fit of frothing and continuing outrage at the first hearing of Elvis' music. I'm sure that meaning was obvious in my previous comment.

      Now that I've heard about your sainted mother, I may have to rethink my theory.

      (Is this getting through to you, or I am still being too subtle?)

  3. Cold, dank, and depressing. That's New Haven in winter and Yale at any time. Maybe parents don't send their children to Yale to get sexually creeped out, but it's practically an inevitability unless you're on drugs for four years. If you're not, then turning a song with some sexual innuendo into a coercion fantasy is only par for the course.

    TDH went to Harvard.

  4. Understatement of 2013: This blog is not getting better with age.

  5. This is a sentimental journey back to the good ol' days of 2nd Wave Feminism, when bras and makeup were chains and all sex was rape.

    There should have been a third scene with a Steinberg-era fem trying to coerce and undergrad into pretending to be a lesbian to be free of nasty old men. Like a fish seducing a bicycle.

  6. Anyone who thinks that attitudes about sexual coercion at Yale are a minor issue should read the following post:

    There has a war on men conducted by feminists for about four decades now who have painted men in exactly the same spirit that anti-semites have painted Jews. In their eyes all men are potential rapists and rape, rather than being considered just about the most horrifying and terrible crime imaginable, is actually encouraged by something they call rape culture which is every bit as rational as the old International Jew Conspiracy business.

    At Yale a man accused of sexual assault is not only not allowed to question his accuser, he's not allowed to even so much as consult a lawyer. This is the way a police state operates.

    But in the eyes of far too many so-called liberals this is perfectly fine because men have been systematically oppressing women somehow, someway behind the scene, just like those dirty Jews.

    People who deprive others of their rights are oppressors. People who are deprived of their rights are the oppressed. It doesn't matter if the people depriving others claim that they are doing so to protect women and minorities any more than it matters that those having their rights squashed are white, straight. A person being railroaded does not have privilege no matter who they are.

    There really aren't that many actual liberals out there. Due process is an indispensable, non-negotiable liberal principle. People who do not care or respect due process in the name of protecting women and minorities are not liberals, they are left wing bigots and sanctimonious ass clowns.

    1. HB,

      Oh, bullshit. But that's what you fill your skull with when you rely on essays from rightard think tanks like the one you reference.

      Here's Yale's definition of sexual misconduct:

      Sexual misconduct incorporates a range of behaviors including rape, sexual assault (which includes any kind of nonconsensual sexual contact), sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, voyeurism, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person. 

      Got a problem with any of that?

      Formal misconduct hearings at Yale require that the accused be informed of both the accusation and the identity of the accuser. And how is it even possible for the University to prevent someone from consulting a lawyer?
      True, informal proceedings aren't as open, but then those can't result in any findings or discipline.

      Drag your ass off your fainting couch. White straight men aren't beimg persecuted at Yale or anywhere else. And remember, we still own everything.

    2. I have a couple of problems with what you quoted, deadrat

      1. The phrase, "...incorporates a range of behaviors including...". That means that the definition of "sexual misconduct" appears to be open-ended.

      2. You say the informal hearings "can't result in any findings or discipline." But, do the same objections of lack of legal representation, etc. apply at the formal hearings?

      3. At the formal hearing, the accused student is informed of the accusation and the accuser. Whoop de doo! Is that sufficient civil liberties? Here are some things that might be lacking
      -- Can the accused be found guilty by only the testimony of a single witness?
      -- Does the accused have the right to a lawyer in a formal misconduct hearing?
      -- Does the accused's lawyer (if he's allowed one) have the right of cross-examination?
      -- Is the accused allowed to call witnesses?
      -- Are the people judging the case unbiased and fair-minded?

      4. deadrat, you don't like the cite from a "rightward think tank." But, you provide no cite for your criticism of that cite. Unless you present actual evidence to the contrary, readers here have no reason to disbelieve the "rightward think tank." Paraphrasing "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", your position seems to be: "Cites? We don't need no stinkin' cites!"

    3. DAinCA,

      Let me state at the outset that I'm not cheerleading for Yale. The country would be a better place if that university was razed to the ground and the campus sowed with salt. The school has had an embarrassing track record on political correctness, including the failure to support freedom of expression. That said, let's remember that this intellectual and physical dungeon of an institution, inhabited by the worst kind of public-school strivers and private-school inbred legacies, is a private institution. Due process and civil liberties don't enter into this. The school is free to set its own standards for sexual misconduct and to set up its own procedures for determining when its own rules have been violated. I live near an institution of higher learning that will expel its students if they have sex at all.

      Do you understand any of this? Right to counsel, to a fair trial, to due process -- all these are applicable only to the state. Yale cannot compel testimony, and its worst "punishment" is expulsion. Are the procedures "fair." I don't know. Like every other adversarial procedure there will be someone who loses and someone who wins, and I'll bet they usually disagree about what's fair. Yale requires an investigator not associated with the university for formal hearings, at which either party may have an advisor; there's a statute of limitations, a short clock for resolution, and the right to appeal.

      It's not "rightward"; the word is "rightard," no "W"; the first vowel is pronounced like the "i" in the female name "Simone," and the accent is on the first syllable. Any reader with a brain in his head should automatically disbelieve anything from a rightard think tank. Let's take a moment to consider the world at Yale according to the Manhattan Institute, where students are deprived of due process (impossible), worry constitutes sexual assault (wrong), the misconduct policy is absurdly expansive (what do you find objectionable in the list I posted?), the "informal" investigations are somehow Orwellian (Nope, they cannot result in either findings or discipline), and the campus police are "trained law enforcement officers" (Bwahahahahahaha!).

      By the way, you are complaining about my failures to cite sources? That takes nerve. At least I went to to look things up. If you don't like what I report, you may google "Yale UWC" for your own self.

    4. Dear Deadrat,

      KC Johnson is a liberal Democrat. You have displayed in your face ignorance and intellectual bigotry while also deploying the ad hominem fallacy. Johnson also took the lead in pointing out the ridiculousness of the Duke lacrosse case well before idiots like you recognized the problem and turned out to be 100% right. He therefore has a well-earned reputation for accuracy and Yale has not denied his charges. In short, you don't know what you're talking about.

      Speaking of which, if Duke lacrosse wasn't basically a pogrom against white male students, then what was it? Nope. No war against men there.

      I have no problem with trying to stop sexual assault or rape but I do have a problem with kangaroo courts.

      Also, you say that all they can do is expel the student as if that's no big deal. What idiocy. Try getting into a decent school after being expelled for sexual assault or getting past a background check for a job. Face it, any person expelled from Yale for sexual misconduct is pretty much going to have his life ruined.

      If you actually used your head you would have realized that but that, of course, was far too much to expect in your particular case. Which raises another issue: Why on earth should anyone respect your opinion?

    5. H. Braintree,

      Let me see if I've got this straight: The Duke lacrosse team prosecution was a travesty, so anything critical written about Yale's sexual misconduct policy is true. Got it. Do you understand that Duke is not a school in New Haven? I ask because I'm not sure why you mention that university. Which I'm given to understand is in North Carolina.

      KC Johnson may be LB Johnson's lost grandson, but, I'm sorry, anything published by rightard think tanks is suspect. And sure enough, the essay you pointed to is full of, well, in honor of this site, let's call them howlers.

      The Duke lacrosse prosecution was a miscarriage of justice, in which the targets of prosecution were completely vindicated and the prosecutor punished. In contrast here is a terse summary of an actual pogrom, in 1903 in Kishinev, Bessarabia, part of the Russian empire:

      There were apparently 49 Jewish victim who died during or as a result of the pogrom (38 male, 11 females, including several children). According to the chief surgeon of the Kishinev Jewish Hospital, 37 were dead when they were brought to the hospital during the pogrom, 4 died at home following the pogrom, and 8 died in the hospital as a result of injuries received during the pogrom.

      That's right, including several children. So, no, the prosecution of the Duke lacrosse team was not a pogrom in any sense of the word, including "basically."

      Anyone tossed out of Yale has had an inadvertent favor done for him. Face it, you can't name a single instance in which anyone at Yale has had his "life ruined" by Yale's sexual misconduct policy. In fact, in the latest report from the Yale provost shows that the worst that has happened to a Yale student was mandatory "gender sensitivity training." Almost, but not quite, as bad as Kishinev.

      I asked DAinCA what he objected to in Yale's list of actions constituting misconduct, what your source wrongly claimed was a redefinition of sexual assault. He won't answer; he never does. How about you? I'll guess you're OK with the violence part of the definition, so what don't you like? Threatening, intimidating, or coercing?

      You don't have to respect my opinion. I don't give a damn what you or anyone else thinks of my opinions, and I can't think of any reason why others should care about them. On the other hand, it might be a good thing if you respected facts, which being facts, are independent of whether I'm the one who notes them or not. Didja even bother to check the facts I brought up? They're printed just above, about due process, the autonomy of private parties, the procedures outlined by Yale's UWC (University Wide Committee) for hearings. But no, you'd rather swallow whole the nonsense from some website whose opinions you agree with, make contemptible comparisons to pogroms, and whine about me.

  7. I'm a big Frank Loesser fan. I read somewhere that he and his wife used to perform the song after he wrote it. I'm surprised to hear it identified as a Christmas song. I guess it's a Christmas song if people perform it around Christmas time, but it's actually a seduction song, with a cleverly unresolved ambiguity as to whether she will or she won't.

    BTW another great song with a similar theme is "She Didn't Say Yes". This song by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach also leaves the attempted seduction unresolved.

    P.S. If you want to find a truly non-PC Frank Loesser song, try "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition."

    1. The Geneva Conventions say a chaplain is a non-combatant. Is a guy passing ammunition during a battle a combatant? If so, the song is not only politically incorrect, but legally incorrect, too!

    2. Good point. In fact, in the song the chaplain is asking that the ammo be passed to him, because he's the one firing the gun. The gunner and the gunner's mate had been shot, so the chaplain picked up the gun and began firing.

    3. I am sure that if "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" somehow magically morphed, for no apparent reason, as a "holiday standard" like "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has, then an entertainment reporter somewhere might ask why.

      And if it appeared in Salon, Bob would have fodder for yet another post.

  8. The Power of Nightmares
    Part 1: Baby It's Cold Outside

    [Transcript source]

    Voice Over: The story begins in the summer of 1949…

    [ TITLE: COLORADO 1949 ]

    [2:20] VO: ...when a middle-aged school inspector from Egypt arrived at the small town of Greeley, in Colorado. His name was Sayyed Qutb. Qutb had been sent to the U.S. to study its educational system, and he enrolled in the local state college. His photographs appear in the college yearbook. But Qutb was destined to become much more than a school inspector. Out of his experiences of America that summer, Qutb was going to develop a powerful set of ideas that would directly inspire those who flew the planes on the attack of September the 11th. As he had traveled across the country, Qutb had become increasingly disenchanted with America. The very things that, on the surface, made the country look prosperous and happy, Qutb saw as signs of an inner corruption and decay.

    JOHN CALVERT, Islamist historian: This was Truman's America, and many Americans today regard it as a golden age of their civilization. But for Qutb, he saw a sinister side in this. All around him was crassness, corruption, vulgarity—talk centered on movie stars and automobile prices. He was also very concerned that the inhabitants of Greeley spent a lot of time in lawn care. Pruning their hedges, cutting their lawns. This, for Qutb, was indicative of the selfish and materialistic aspect of American life. Americans lived these isolated lives surrounded by their lawns. They lusted after material goods. And this, says Qutb quite succinctly, is the taste of America.

    VO: What Qutb believed he was seeing was a hidden and dangerous reality underneath the surface of ordinary American life. One summer night, he went to a dance at a local church hall. He later wrote that what he saw that night crystallized his vision.

    CALVERT: He talks about how the pastor played on the gramophone one of the big-band hits of the day, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." He dimmed the lights so as to create a dreamy, romantic effect. And then, Qutb says that "chests met chests, arms circled waists, and the hall was full of lust and love."

    VO: To most people watching this dance, it would have been an innocent picture of youthful happiness. But Qutb saw something else: the dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed that they were free. But in reality, they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires. American society was not going forwards; it was taking people backwards. They were becoming isolated beings, driven by primitive animal forces. Such creatures, Qutb believed, could corrode the very bonds that held society together. And he became determined that night to prevent this culture of selfish individualism taking over his own country.


    VO: But Qutb was not alone. At the same time, in Chicago, there was another man who shared the same fears about the destructive force of individualism in America. He was an obscure political philosopher at the University of Chicago. But his ideas would also have far-reaching consequences, because they would become the shaping force behind the neoconservative movement, which now dominates the American administration. He was called Leo Strauss. Strauss is a mysterious figure. He refused to be filmed or interviewed. He devoted his time to creating a loyal band of students. And what he taught them was that the prosperous liberal society they were living in contained the seeds of its own destruction....[/6:52]

    1. And speaking of The Power of Nightmares, here's a magic moment from Meet the Press that begins at 20:41 within a particular blast from the past segment which runs from 18:51 to 27:10 in Part 3.

      The transcript of the segment begins around 30% along in the full text with:

      VO: And so the Americans set off to invade Afghanistan, to find and destroy the heart of this network.



      VO: To do this, the Americans allied themselves with a group called the Northern Alliance. They were a loose collection of warlords, fighting a war of resistance against the Taliban, the Islamists who controlled Afghanistan. The Taliban's best troops were the thousands of foreign fighters from the training camps who the Northern Alliance hated.


      NORTHERN ALLIANCE SOLDIER : Pakistan, eh! Pakistan! Pakistan!...

    2. Great call! I thought the same thing when I read this post earlier today. Had to rewatch Pt 1 again before posting. Some incredible achieve footage throughout. Given the lineage of the characters and influences involved, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" has a sort of "six degrees of separation-type" relationship to 9/11.

  9. "Something similar happened in the 1960s, when we kids were busy stopping a war. Never trust anyone over 30! In many ways, the determined inanity of our generation didn’t work out super well, although there were also large gains." Just for the record, for that bit about not trusting anyone over 30, see:
    An off-hand remark picked up on by newspapers and used by them in constructing a narrative -- a remark that people actually working for change in that period felt no particular resonance with. When people make much of remarks like that in characterizing "the 60's," I always think of it as "the Newsweek version." Interesting to see Bob buying into a MSM narrative of this kind.

    "Teach your children well.... Because they love you" resonated more with me (and many others) then, and now, than the don't trust line. Not sure why Bob takes this gratuitous swipe at "the 60's."

    1. He isn't taking a gratuitous swipe at the 60s. He is instead bending over backwards trying to empathize with 'where' the Salon writer 'is coming from' (as we used to say in the 60s).

  10. I liked the first half of the video better. "...with...points all her own, sitting way up high -- way up firm and high."

  11. Poor Mr. D'Addraio.

    He doesn't know the delicious difference between coercion and the game of seduction.

  12. "Baby It's Cold Outside" is an example of how something, perhaps for both good and ill, can take on a different connotation with changing times. At some point you couldn't really listen to the often performed song without noticing that yes, it's a situation that is very much like what we started calling "date rape" at some point. Sorry, you have to not want to look at the lyrics to miss the line about "what's in this drink?"
    To most people, who are resistant to media outlets like Salon's perpetual attempts to keep the audience worked up over something racist or sexist, this is more amusing than anything else. What The Daily Howler never says but which we obviously know from the existence of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, this pandering works much more effectively on the Right.
    Whatever. The real "Baby It's Cold Outside" problem is that it's performed too much and overly cute.

    1. I will quibble with one point. The Travolta/Newton-John version isn't the weirdest. That honor goes to the Rod Stewart/Dolly Parton version.

      The guy's main point is why on earth is this a "holiday song"? It's about a guy old enough to have his own place seducing a woman young enough to still be living with her parents, with a sexual undercurrent that can't be missed.

      And yes, the line, "Say, what's in this drink?" means something different today than it did in 1949.

  13. Greg

    "What The Daily Howler never says but which we obviously know from the existence of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, this pandering works much more effectively on the Right. "

    Greg that needs a small correction - you should add "now" after "never says"

    As recently as 2007, our worthy blogger was writing

    "These calls help us grasp a key point—one that’s almost never discussed. Many voters are breath-takingly stupid, and their tribalism will take them to the ends of the earth. These are the people the GOP has learned to address and marshal through Coulter (and through others like her)."

    But if you read between the lines - incipient librul-hatred was present even back then - envious statements about Hamptons outings for Manhattanites.

    You know of course that even among wingers there is intense competitiveness (O'Reilly I believe cannot stand Hannity) - this blogger sees himself as a failure compared to successful librulz and that has unhinged him.

    1. That quote was one of the last remnants of Old Bob's brain.

      New Bob says there are no "breathtakingly stupid" voters in the Tea Party wing of the GOP. Instead, they are people simply so turned off by the mean things "librulz" say about them that they have no choice but to vote against their own economic interests.

      And of course, the only people guilty of "tribalism" these days are not the "Tea Party" types, but only people who think that Rachel Maddow might have something important to say every now and then.

    2. AnonymousDecember 21, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Lying about Zimmerman is going to cost librulz big time.

    3. Maybe. But even back then Bob would protest "I'm not THAT liberal." Weather through his personal connection or not (and I don't think it matters) Bob has more or less maintained that Clinton and "the war on Gore" were special cases, and that the behavior of Fox, even though it wasn't just Fox, was worth more than the occasional glance. His often repeated claim that this stuff didn't happen back in the good old days of Walter and David at the very least ignores the Press's treatment of Jimmy Carter, which I am highly dubious about if only through childhood memories. And now, yes, he writes mostly about the media's left leaning media sins. What he doesn't explore is that Fox is huge compared to MSNBC because liberals are smarter and never fall for this crap to the extent that moronic Republicans do. That's stating it baldly, but there it is. Same goes for failure of Air America, though in that case the network's absurd bias toward Obama over Clinton alienated half it's potential base and sealed it's fate.

    4. There is something we should remember when comparing MSNBC and Fox.

      Rupert Murdoch established Fox for the express purpose of adding a 24-hour "news" channel to the right-wing echo chamber.

      MSNBC was initially a partnership between Microsoft and NBC News to provide a 24-hour news channel to compete with CNN. In fact, their formula was to pit some right-wing bulldog against a hapless "liberal" and they would scream at each other. Ann Coulter herself was a frequent guest on MSNBC shout shows.

      MSNBC is the same network that fired Phil Donahue, who then hosted its highest rated program, because he wasn't waving the flag enough during the runup to the invasion of Iraq.

      It wasn't until the success of Olbermann's "Countdown" that MSNBC decided its niche was to be the "liberal" counterpart to Fox, and only then did its primetime ratings begin to outpace CNN.

      Here is something else to remember. We are living in a new era where the niche audience is all important.

      For example, Fox brags about hits huge ratings compared to other cable news channels, but if ol' Walter had Bill O'Reilly's ratings, he wouldn't have lasted two weeks.

  14. This is simply a case of a young, liberal writer looking for something to be outraged about. He's certainly not going to write about the sexually exploitive nature of modern hip hop culture. He won't opine about the celebration of pimping and how underage girls are trafficked and exploited. That could lead to calls of racism and banishment from the liberal cocktail parties.

    1. Ah, the old "well, why dddn't write about this other outrage as well?"

      Look, this is a throwaway column about an old song in an online magazine written by an entertainment writer.

      Why Bob has his panties in a bunch over it is beyond mystery, except in his zeal to "prove" that everything published by Salon is worthless.

      But it is no surprise to me that Bob's camp followers have dutifully placed their panties in the same wad.

    2. Yes - inner city culture has many pathologies that are very hard for liberals to talk about (wingers can talk about it ferociously and in sickeningly racist ways ("our blacks are better than their blacks" - Coulter)).

      But Shyamalan has addressed this without talking about it - SCHOOL ALONE CAN HELP UPLIFT INNER CITY KIDS, WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT "GANGSTA RAP" etc,

    3. Anonymous 1113 - It certainly was a "throwaway column." You and I agree on that point. And it seems pretty clear that Bob feels the same way. It was garbage that belongs in the trash bin.

      What's interesting is how you seem very angry that someone had the audacity to point it out as such. It would appear that your panties are the ones in a bunch. Eh troll?

    4. Well, your mind-reading capablilities aren't as good as you think. I am not at all angry, let alone "very angry" over Bob's reaction to a throwaway column that really wasn't worth the bandwidth it took to post either it, or Bob's reaction to it.

      Rather, I find it quite laughable that Bob can read into it some deep meaning about an entire generation.

      You see, this is what the Great Somerby is reduced to. Searching for the deep meaning as he posts about articles about songs that are decades old.

    5. Who's trying to read your mind, troll? I wrote that you SEEM very angry. Your dickishness here is what makes it seem that way.

    6. Well, gee. It SEEMED to me that you were trying to read my mind.

      Next time, try saying what you mean rather than SEEMING to say what you mean. That's how honest people do it.

    7. Oh, no longer hiding behind "seem" any more?

      And of course, you leave the key question unanswered. If the article is such garbage, then why on earth is Bob bothering to respond to it?

      Certainly that it was published in one of his go-to targets, Salon, has nothing to do with it.

    8. Oh, I stand the behind my own personal belief that you're an angry troll. You SEEM that way, at least. Perhaps you're an intellectual genius and a devil with the ladies. But you SEEM like a garden-variety loser troll.

      Seriously, only a loser troll would care about WHY Bob is writing about the article. Perhaps he thought that piece of garbage was stupid enough to warrant his ridicule. Who knows... It's his blog and he can write about whatever the fuck he wants to write about. He even let's trollish losers, like yourself, question his motives. Most writers of Bob's caliber squash little gnats like you. Perhaps he figures that most intelligent people can smell your trollish scent a mile away.

  15. Don't blame some more or less obscure blogger for your predicament, "our" well heeled liberal media movers and shakers have long ago EARNED their reputation for being arrogant, insulated, and elitist among the largely non-ideological general public and those who know better. It isn't a problem of envy, it's a matter of disdain.

    Liberals are useless.

    1. For me, there's nothing more contemptible than "not-a-dime's-worth-of-difference"rs. The commondreams essay is by Chris Hedges, soi-disant liberal, Harvard Divinity School graduate, one-time YMCA boxer, and friend to the noble but reactionary working class stiffs who yearned to beat up any black people who challenged them on their way through bad neighborhoods on the way home from boxing matches. Good times. And better people than those damn liberals who have refused to enact universal health insurance or regulate the financial industry. Mr. Hedges was also a foreign correspondent for the NYT, where he met "good soldiers" like his boxing buddies. If only liberals could be more like them! Perhaps like the ones at Abu Gharaib and Guantanamo. At least they were trustworthy and reliable. Not like Obama and liberals. No, no, Mr. Hedges' ideal candidate was Ralph Nader. How'd that work out?

      Ya know what? You and Mr. Hedges can go fuck yourselves and then the high horse you both rode in on.

    2. No wonder you are in such a bad mood, deadrat. The guy who does your thinking for you has had a terrible week trying to downplay public corruption, and now you just don't know what to think.

      I guess you forgot his call for all of us to be more like Mandela, King and Malala and love our enemies.

    3. deadrat -- "Refused to regulate the financial industry"??? ROFLMAO. There's an enormous amount of regulation in the financial industry. Financial companies maintain entire departments just to satisfy all the regulations.

      I shouldn't complain, because these regs made money for me. After I retired I spent 5 years as a part-time consultant, flying from California to Bermuda, to help a Bermuda insurance company satisfy just one aspect of all the regulations they're subject to. This company is on the NY Stock Exchange, so they have to satisfy the SEC regs.

    4. D in C ....a "Bermuda" insurance company . . . .?

    5. Anonymous @4:46P,

      That's right. You're the only independent thinker in the whole lot of us.

      For what it's worth, I think TDH is wrong about McDonnell's corruption, and I don't give a shit about what King and Malala say about loving your enemies. I like to see the careers of people like McDonnell ground into the dirt.

      Does that make me a bad person?

    6. DAinCA,

      You never fail to rise to the challenge of cluelessness, do you? The comment about the financial industry was a reference to the essay linked to.

      In any case, look up Glass-Steagall, repeal of.

      Sure, you were a full time actuary until you retired into the life of international financial consultant. That's the ticket.

    7. deadrat, when you wrote,

      "refused to regulate the financial industry",

      it seems that you actually meant

      "repealed one financial regulatory law while leaving many, many others in place and continuing to add extensive new regulations,"

      In that case, your statement was correct.

      BTW, it's probably not the case that if Bill Clinton hadn't repealed Glass Steagall, it would have prevented the financial breakdown. G-S would not have prevented most of the bad behavior that led to the crisis.

    8. DAinCA,

      I'm gonna say it one more time and then you're on your own: the comment on the financial industry comes from the essay by Chris Hedges.

      I hope you don't mind if I don't take your word about what might or might not have happened with Glass-Steagall in place. You can't get the simplest facts straight about what actually happened. Even though you were an actuary and a big-time international financial consultant.

      Remember back in the '90s, when Presidents could repeal laws?

      Me neither.

    9. The problem is that there IS little more than a dime's worth of difference. We live in a country, lets face it, with virtually every last sector since come to be dominated by corporate class interests. We have powerful sectors of society, not the least of whom, financial swindlers, seemingly both above the law and politically untouchable, no matter who or what we bother to vote for. A massive surveillance state has been quietly and secretly facilitated. It's now reasonable to question whether we may have reached an irreversible tipping point towards the merging of corporate and state.

      Because you step up boldly as Captain Liberal, I'll be direct and address you as such- the problem Cap't is simply that you're inadequate. You have the reputation that of a diseased cur. Even most of the politicians you champion are too timid to even identify themselves by name as "liberal" come election time. Those who represent you front and center in the corporate media, for all the public to see, you can only embarrassingly rationalize away by insisting are irrelevant. You've trianglulated, bargained and negotiated away your values to the core. With wealth disparity not seen since the Gilded Age and unions all but destroyed, you've become Wall Street supercharge funded enablers and race to the bottom "Free Traders". What game saving solution DO YOU offer? Simpson-Bowles.

      Judging just from your hissy fit post, Hedges nailed it. You are indeed mired in an orgy of self-adulation and self-pity. In keeping with your weak character, you despise lowly grunts yet vote for and defend without complaint those who would NEVER dare politically confront the war profiteers or the permanent war economy itself. And state your desire that the ground "be salted" where Yale once stood. Living proof as to why so many view liberals as being pompous douchebags.

    10. Anonymous @4:25P,

      Hey, I've been promoted to captain! True, I'm also an inadequate diseased cur with no values and only a weak character, but curiously I've been able to become a Wall Street enabler and race to the bottom while I embarrassingly rationalize away by insisting are irrelevant. How I'm able to do this at all, let alone while immured in an orgy is a mystery. Maybe it has something to do with triangulating my values to the core. Or something.

      Let me quote the Underground Grammarian quoting Ben Jonson: "Neither can his mind be thought to be in tune, whose words do jarre; nor his reason in frame, whose sentence is preposterous." In other words you can't write a coherent sentence because you can't think straight because you can't write a coherent sentence.

      If I could parse your language, I think my feelings would be hurt. If I had any.

      I'm sorry you think my post is a hissy fit of self-adulation and self-pity. It's always a bad idea to diagnose the mental states of others based on their comments in a blog. For the record, I was going for disdainful contempt. Or was it contemptuous disdain? I can't remember.

      As for lowly grunts, are you talking about Hedges' salt-of-the-earth boxing pals who, according to him, looked forward to an evening of nigger-knocking in Boston's public housing projects? Even assuming they existed, I reserve my despising for poseurs like Hedges posturing for street cred while hearing the Stones' "Street Fightin' Man" in their heads.

      Few of those lowly grunts end up at Yale -- which still stands, by the way -- so I don't know why you're complaining about my wishes for that institution. Do those wishes make me a pompous douchebag in your eyes?

      Well, so be it. But my pomposity and douchebagery pale into insignificance compared to someone who pules about the wealth disparity of the current Gilded Age after deciding that his ideological purity required supporting Nader over Gore. Ya know what? You and Hedges and your friend Ralphie don't get to complain about the distribution of wealth in this country. Maybe I don't have a game saving solution now, but back then I didn't help deliver us to the WPE (1/20/01 - 1/20/09).

      You know what you can still do. And that includes the horse.

    11. deadrat -- there are liberal pundits whom I trust to be careful about their accuracy, such as Bob Somerby or Mickey Kaus. Chris Hedges not so much.

      It's traditional to give Presidents credit for laws that they signed. I would have thought, you knew that.

  16. Replies
    1. Well I went to see the gypsy
      To have my fortune read
      She said "Man, your baby gonna leave you
      Her bags are packed up under the bed

  17. Meanwhile:

  18. The passing of Esther Williams is certainly a low point for 2013.

    1. yes, her passing was said, mostly because I learned how weird her life had been for many years (most of her years?). Easier to "celebrate the life of" when the person was, llke, you, know, not weird, not isolated and self-enthralled.

  19. It was brilliant of whoever linked this song to Adam Curtis's BBC series, The Power of Nightmares. I watched it, but at the time didn't make the connection to just what song they were talking about.

    This is a song whose time is past. The younger generation really does hate it. My young daughter, who knows nothing of its political history or context, came and played it for me on her i-pad, saying, "Have you ever listened to the lyrics of this song? They are horrible!"

    To tell the truth, I had heard it before and thought nothing of it. Those lyrics were the cultural soup in which we were brought up. When it was written the song conveyed a message of a push for sexual freedom against a hypocritical and oppressive community. N ow, we've had the freedom, and our young people really don't want to make their parents pace the floor with worry that they might be being drugged and murdered or tortured by a sexual maniac.

    1. Didja know that if you play "Baby It's Cold Outside" backwards, the man sings "Let me drug you and murder you or sexually torture you"?

      Kinda catchy, but it doesn't really scan.

    2. I suppose another favorite of mine would be out of the question.

    Clinton signs Graham-Leach-Billey into law.

    1. Yeah. Good times. Remember when Presidents could sign bills into law without Congress?

      Me neither.

    2. Yep, he couldn't have done it without his Republican pals. I got a kick out of all that talk about "freeing up" capital, and privacy. Exactly. The wealth extractors given reign to do their "work" without much in thr way of prying eyes. Good times!

  21. The guy went to Columbia, not Yale.

    1. Anonymous @10:49,

      A brief time spent with the google on the intertubes reveals that you're correct: Daniel D'Addario graduated from Columbia. I'll never trust another thing that TDH writes.

      And I still think Yale should be razed to the ground.

    2. Columbia instead of Yale. 9.48 point gain not rounding up to 10. These things happen living in a ear incompetently. Or in an incontinent era. Or somesuch. Embrace the suck.

  22. I don't know where they went to school, The Groundlings or Second City, but hats off to the SNL cast & writers (an often overlapping group) for their take this weekend on "Baby It's Cold Outside." Following so quickly on the Salon analysis, it's fun to believe funny people were inspired by the silliness of an article by a putatively serious journalist.

    (But then, whether you're talking about the whiteness of Santa Claus or about a classic pop song secretly being about rape, once people start laughing at you, it's important to declare you were joking in the first place. (Hear that, Duck Dynasty guy?) It's the Andy Kaufman syndrome. Your comedy is so sly, cagey, and avant garde, you forget to let the audience in on the joke. They think you actually mean that stuff.)

    So many little Jonathan Swifts out there.

    Great song assaulted by a useless article (neither credible analysis nor clear satire of analysis) and redeemed by enjoyable clever satire written and performed by competent professionals. Ah, the glory of it.

    Once again it goes to show, comedy, humor, wit, satire -- as well as commentary and analysis -- should not be attempted by mere journalists who have yet to master mere reporting.

    Leave that to the Comments section.

  23. It's always depressing to see morons rewriting history. Daniel D’Addario . . . stupid name, stupid person. Fuck him.