Canadian radio stations are pulling "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from their holiday playlists

Oct 27, 2017
4,909
#1
via CBC

CBC said Tuesday it will join at least two other broadcasters in the country, Rogers Media and Bell Media, who have pulled the controversial holiday favourite out of their rotations this year. That comes as the duet, written back in 1944, faces renewed scrutiny over what some say are inappropriate lyrics in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Earlier this week, Cleveland radio station WDOK-FM announced it stopped playing the song in response to listener feedback. Some people took issue with lyrics where one singer is trying to persuade the other to stay inside, with exchanges that include, "What's in this drink?" and "Baby, don't hold out."

Bell Media spokesperson Scott Henderson said the company, which runs two 24-hour Christmas stations in Vancouver and Ottawa, didn't include the Christmas tune on its playlists this year. But it also told stations it doesn't plan to reintroduce the song in the future.

CBC public affairs head Chuck Thompson said CBC Music will be pulling the song from its rotation as of midnight.

"Song lyrics are always open to interpretation, and we fully acknowledge there are two camps regarding this issue," he said. "While we consider both points of view, and in light of the times we are living in, we have chosen to remove the song, for the time being, from two of our holiday music streams."

Rogers runs a number of all-Christmas music stations, including 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto and 98.5 CIOC-FM in Victoria. Spokesperson Caitlin Decarie says the broadcaster also removed the song this year, but declined to outline how it reached the decision.
Even though I'm a younger adult, I remember this song still being all the rage in high school during the holidays. Hell, there were one or two times me and a friend would break out into a mini-duet to sing some of the lines, at least the ones I remember. It somehow only hit me years later how downright creepy the connotations actually were, and this was even much before the Me Too movement. It wasn't just me in my social circle either -- anytime the song gets brought up among us, a collective self-cringe usually follows.

EDIT: There's actually some pretty enlightening posts about the song's context in this thread that never occurred to me til now, surprisingly. I think it just goes to show that I really should pay more attention to what's behind holiday music like every other song instead of disregarding them like seasonal comfort food (even if for the most part, they are).
 
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Dec 18, 2017
2,515
#2
Lol. Absurd.

Let’s look at the lines. As she’s talking about leaving, she never says she doesn’t want to stay. Her words are all based around other people’s expectations of her — her mother will worry, her father will be pacing the floor, the neighbors will talk, her sister will be suspicious of her excuses and her brother will be furious, and my favorite line that I think is incredibly revealing, — “My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious.” Vicious about what? Sex. Unmarried, non-good girl having, sex.

Later in the song, she asks him for a comb (to fix her hair) and mentions that there’s going to be talk tomorrow – this is a song about sex, wanting it, having it, maybe having a long night of it by the fire, but it’s not a song about rape. It’s a song about the desires even good girls have.

So what is he singing while she’s talking about what other people think of her? He’s providing her with a list of cover stories, essential, excuses she can use to explain why she hasn’t or won’t go home. It’s cold out, it’s snowing, the cabs aren’t running, the storm is becoming a blizzard, she might get hurt trying to get home. He’s complimenting her as well, something that many criticisms of the song hone on — she has beautiful eyes, her lips look delicious, her hair looks swell. But this is standard romantic language. They are having an intimate time together and he’s far less constrained by societal expectations, so he can ask her to stay. It’s always assumed that she’ll turn him down. Except that she doesn’t want to. It’s her mother, her father, her aunt, the neighbors that want her to go home in a storm; she’s having a lovely time. (“I ought to say no, no, no sir, well, at least I’m gonna say that I tried.”)

So let’s talk about that drink. I’ve discussed solely looking at the lyrics of the song and its internal universe so far, but I think that the line “Say, what’s in this drink” needs to be explained in a broader context to refute the idea that he spiked her drink. “Say, what’s in this drink” is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn’t really used in the same manner any longer. 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. And it’s not just used in these sort of romantic situations. I’ve heard it in many investigation type scenes where the stoolpigeon character is giving up bits of information they’re supposed to be protecting, in screwball comedies where someone is making a fool of themselves, and, yes, in romantic movies where someone is experiencing feelings they are not supposed to have.

The song, which is a back and forth, closes with the two voices in harmony. This is important — they’ve come together. They’re happy. They’re in agreement. The music has a wonderfully dramatic upswell and ends on a high note both literally and figuratively. The song ends with the woman doing what she wants to do, not what she’s expected to do, and there’s something very encouraging about that message.
http://persephonemagazine.com/2010/12/listening-while-feminist-in-defense-of-baby-its-cold-outside/
 
Oct 25, 2017
556
#3
Got Into an argument with my mom about this. she said it was silly and people are too sensitive these days smh. I tried to explain how creepy the lyrics are but i don't think i got through to her.
 
Nov 1, 2017
1,688
#6
The full lyrics for those wanting to chime in with some context:

I really can't stay (Baby it's cold outside)
I gotta go away (Baby it's cold outside)
This evening has been (Been hoping that you'd dropped in)
So very nice (I'll hold your hands they're just like ice)
My mother will start to worry (Beautiful what's your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I'd better scurry (Beautiful please don't hurry)
Well maybe just a half a drink more (I'll put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think (Baby it's bad out there)
Say what's in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell (I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell) (Why thank you)
I ought to say no, no, no sir (Mind if move in closer?)

At least I'm gonna say that I tried (What's the sense of hurtin' my pride?)
I really can't stay (Baby don't hold out)
Baby it's cold outside

Ah, you're very pushy you know?
I like to think of it as opportunistic


I simply must go (Baby it's cold outside)
The answer is no (But baby it's cold outside)
The welcome has been (How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm (Look out the window at that storm)
My sister will be suspicious (Gosh your lips look delicious!)
My brother will be there at the door (Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious (Gosh your lips are delicious!)
Well maybe just a cigarette more (Never such a blizzard before) (And I don't even smoke)

I've got to get home (Baby you'll freeze out there)
Say lend me a coat? (It's up to your knees out there!)
You've really been grand, (I feel when I touch your hand)
But don't you see? (How can you do this thing to me?)
There's bound to be talk tomorrow (Think of my life long sorrow!)
At least there will be plenty implied (If you caught pneumonia and died!)

I really can't stay (Get over that old out)
Baby it's cold
Baby it's cold outside
Okay fine, just another drink then
That took a lot of convincing!

---------

I can see it being read both ways. In one sense, it's a playful back and forth flirtation with the guy providing alibis for his girlfriend, the girl trying to talk herself out of it and worrying about her social standing due to gender roles and expectations, all the while both participating in the social dance.

The other way is that this isn't playful flirtation: it's coercion. With the drink, with the talk of the man's pride being hurt if she doesn't stay and have sex, with her saying "the answer is no," and him saying "How can you do this thing to me?" and making it about himself by saying "Think of my life long sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died."

Yeah, it can be read as problematic. Catchy. But problematic by modern Western standards.

I'd love for the discussion to be had as to why it's NOT problematic instead of just reactionary "OMG it's about rape," though. But I don't think that's going to happen in a lot of places.

Thanks, Obama.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
7,786
#7
Isnt that whole song about a woman who wants to stay with a man, but is worried about her reputation with the neighbors because Gender Double Standards? She comes up with excuses others could use against her, and he helps explain them away. In the end, they both consent and agree that yes, it IS cold outside and lets stay together. Fuck what everybody else thinks.
 
Dec 18, 2017
2,515
#9
Isnt that whole song about a woman who wants to stay with a man, but is worried about her reputation with the neighbors because Gender Double Standards? She comes up with excuses others could use against her, and he helps explain them away. In the end, they both consent and agree that yes, it IS cold outside and lets stay together. Fuck what everybody else thinks.
Yes, but that requires more than just surface-level understanding of the words used.
 
#11
Outrage from people who can't or won't take time to understand the song and its lyrics. A song about external pressures to conform to what society deems, is an acceptable image of a proper woman.

The drink part, for anyone that watches old movies, is a winking excuse by the woman (towards the man) for her behavior and desire. She's fast falling for him, and the promise of the evening. She's giving into her desire. And in a coy, playful way she attributes all the reason to the drink.



This is why dating Era is the mess that it is.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,563
#13
I can see it being read both ways. In one sense, it's a playful back and forth flirtation with the guy providing alibis for his girlfriend, the girl trying to talk herself out of it, all the while both participate in the social dance.

The other way is that this isn't playful flirtation: it's coercion. With the drink, with the talk of the man's pride being hurt if she doesn't stay and have sex, with her saying "the answer is no," and him saying "How can you do this thing to me?" and making it about himself by saying "Think of my life long sorrow if you caught pneumonia and died")

Yeah, it's problematic. Catchy. But problematic.
Problematic shouldn't be a reason a song is removed from the radio because to be quite honest there are countless 'problematic' songs out there about lovers, cheating, suicide, murder, stealing, etc.

I mean some people find the history of the Christian religion 'problematic' does that mean every Christmas song should be removed from the air because it supports a 'problematic' religion?
 
Nov 1, 2017
1,688
#17
Problematic shouldn't be a reason a song is removed from the radio because to be quite honest there are countless 'problematic' songs out there about lovers, cheating, suicide, murder, stealing, etc.

I mean some people find the history of the Christian religion 'problematic' does that mean every Christmas song should be removed from the air because it supports a 'problematic' religion?
I agree with you. I edited my post a couple of times after you quoted me. Sorry. :)
 
OP
OP
MMarston
Oct 27, 2017
4,909
#21
Outrage from people who can't or won't take time to understand the song and its lyrics. A song about external pressures to conform to what society deems, is an acceptable image of a proper woman.

The drink part, for anyone that watches old movies, is a winking excuse by the woman (towards the man) for her behavior and desire. She's fast falling for him, and the promise of the evening. She's giving into her desire. And in a coy, playful way she attributes all the reason to the drink.
I think that part of the problem is that most people probably didn't know or bother watching the original movie this came from nor the context it was sung in. Most of the song's popularity I feel like hinged on its tune and catchyness. It was only when people started listening to themselves closer to the lyrics that the negative interpretation came up as it did.

Hell, despite what I had to say in the OP, I'm learning new things about its nuance from the posts in here.

My only comment is that it's funny to me that this song was "all the rage" at OP's school when he was younger.
Oh you have no idea

Well, that and the Mariah Carey song.

High school in the early 2010s is weird.
 
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Nov 7, 2018
251
#24
Songs like this are common in other cultures where the guy wants to spend more time with the girl but she has to go because of family/society/obligations.

I guess if you take words completely out of context it can be problematic but then again, what isnt.
 
Oct 27, 2017
93
#26
Knowing about the context and what the phases means when it was written, the song was fine. Unfortunately when most people listen to it on the radio, they will just have a surface level of understanding and listen to the lyrics with current interpretation instead of its time period, which has shown to make many people uncomfortable with the song.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,592
#32
Got Into an argument with my mom about this. she said it was silly and people are too sensitive these days smh. I tried to explain how creepy the lyrics are but i don't think i got through to her.
Please explain because much like your mother I simply do not follow. What is creepy about the lyrics?
 

Coxy

Member
Oct 28, 2017
854
#35
This planet is getting to fucking stupid, it's a song from 1944 for gods sake.
I kinda feel like this. Times are different now, we wouldn't writer lyrics like this now. Doesn't mean we should be sheltered from old songs / how it used to be.

Although personally I never listen to the words in songs anyway - it's all about the tune for me.
 

Yams

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,015
#37
Isnt that whole song about a woman who wants to stay with a man, but is worried about her reputation with the neighbors because Gender Double Standards? She comes up with excuses others could use against her, and he helps explain them away. In the end, they both consent and agree that yes, it IS cold outside and lets stay together. Fuck what everybody else thinks.
Yes, it’s based on Frank Loessers actually experience with his wife and the excuses they would come up with when they started dating.

But I wouldn’t expect modern listeners to know or even attempt to understand nuance
 

SG-17

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,157
#39
Oct 25, 2017
4,003
#40
I find it hilarious the reasons people are giving to not ban it today would have definitely gotten it banned when it was released.
 
Oct 26, 2017
487
#43
So this Canadian Radio Station just used an important movement to advertise itself to everyone that cares about this issue.
Quite simple trick. I would have never heard about this station otherwise. Doesn't matter if you defend or attack their decision, whether the song is relevant or not, this Radio Station just found a way to get into the conversation and stay relevant by simply removing a song from the forties from its playlist and advertising it through PR, then just let the internet's endless debate do the rest.
 
Nov 2, 2017
5,529
#44
Applying our current cultural standards yes, they are problematic.

They were probably always a bit questionable, but as others have said, they were written in a different context, when a woman staying with a man could be considered inappropriate even if she wanted to.
 
Nov 2, 2017
5,529
#45
So we just ban things we don't understand now? If the people complaining took a few minutes to learn some damn context there wouldn't be an issue
No one is banning it.

Cultural standards change. Some things age better, others don't.

A radio station choosing not to play it is up to them.
 
Oct 27, 2017
617
#46
So we just ban things we don't understand now? If the people complaining took a few minutes to learn some damn context there wouldn't be an issue
Is that context going to be explained every single time it's played? It may have been written in the past, but it was being played in a modern context.
 
OP
OP
MMarston
Oct 27, 2017
4,909
#47
I would have never heard about this station otherwise. Doesn't matter if you defend or attack their decision, whether the song is relevant or not, this Radio Station just found a way to get into the conversation and stay relevant by simply removing a song from the forties from its playlist and advertising it through PR, then just let the internet's endless debate do the rest.
Erm, it's the biggest broadcasting network in all of Canada.

Don't think relevancy or influence is an issue for them.
 
Sep 21, 2018
255
#48
Oh dear. This is as close to burning books as I’ve ever seen.
The only Christmas song I have an issue with is Fairytale of NY, just cos I don’t like that word used in any context. Even then, I’m not THAT bothered that I’d call for the song to be banned.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,881
#49
If you want to criticize the song and argue it shouldn't be played for its outdated concepts of sex and gender roles, that's fine. If you just don't like the song for whatever musical reason, that's fine. But if you're arguing "it's about date rape" you're dumb as a sack of rocks and should be loudly ridiculed until the ends of the earth. Willfully ignoring context so you can get offended about a song is a tremendous waste of everyone's time.
 

Ryna

Member
Oct 25, 2017
712
Canada
#50
So this Canadian Radio Station just used an important movement to advertise itself to everyone that cares about this issue.
Quite simple trick. I would have never heard about this station otherwise. Doesn't matter if you defend or attack their decision, whether the song is relevant or not, this Radio Station just found a way to get into the conversation and stay relevant by simply removing a song from the forties from its playlist and advertising it through PR, then just let the internet's endless debate do the rest.
CBC is the biggest radio station in Canada. They didn’t remove it to “stay relevant”

Rogers and Bell are also huge.