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Saturday video break: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

The good thing about drafting a couple of these in advance is I don’t get caught late in the week needing to put a post together for Saturday. The downside is that I might forget where I am alphabetically. Oopsie.

So, this song. Let’s start with a classic version, from when it was composed, featuring Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting:

In recent year, since its appearance in the movie Elf, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has become a Christmas standard, and with it has come controversy. Going back at least five years, various writers have decried the song, particularly its “Say, what’s in this drink?” lyric, as a date rape anthem. The song does have its defenders, and one way that some artists have adapted to the criticism – if indeed that’s what they’re doing – is to swap genders. Here’s a recent example by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from Lady GaGa’s holiday special with the Muppets:

Whether that addresses the concern or just avoids it probably depends on your opinion of the song. Me, I’ve always liked it. I’m a sucker for a good duet. I get why people have these issues with the song, but to me it’s in the ear of the listener and not endemic to the song itself. Listen to Colbie Caillat and Gavin McGraw’s playful and flirtatious version, or The Priestess and The Fool’s ethereal alternative version, or the Asylum Street Spankers’ version in which Wammo plays up the creepy cad factor for all it’s worth – it’s the mark of a good song to me that it can be interpreted in so many different ways. In the end, it’s a piece of art like any other, and you see in it what you want.

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