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Controversial Christmas Lyrics in the PC Age


Political correctness has become the language of media this century. Despite good intentions, this move toward language that is friendly to all groups in society is running into problems across the political spectrum.

In December 2018 at least two holiday season movie/songs came under fire, although it's not clear why other than media commenting on other media has become a predictable trend. "Baby It's Cold Outside," which is not even a Christmas song, but has been included in the genre by radio stations, and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" have made headlines due to "controversial" lyrics. First, here's a little background on both songs.

"Baby It's Cold Outside" was recorded by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban for the 1949 film Neptune's Daughter. It was written five years earlier by Frank Loesser for his wife. He later sold the song to MGM, which used it in the film. Several other artists have since recorded the song, including Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, as well as Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton. The song is a duet between a male and female, as the male tries to convince the female to stay the night since it was cold outside.

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was created by Robert Lewis May in 1939 for Montgomery Ward's Christmas marketing booklet. The character first appeared in an animated short film in 1948. May's brother-in-law Johnny Marks wrote the famous song about Rudolph in 1949. Later that year a recording of the song by Gene Autry went number one on the Billboard pop singles chart. The single went on to sell over 25 million copies over many years. It appeared in the 1964 NBC animated film with the same title, which has become a Christmas film classic.

The controversy surrounding "Baby It's Cold Outside" began when Cleveland radio station WDOK announced it was pulling the song from rotation due to a listener complaint that it was inappropriate because it suggests the male in the story was tempting the female to drink alcohol and stay with him for the evening. The implication is that it's a date rape song, or so the story goes.

The Rudolph film, not so much the song, made the news as controversial after Huff Post posted a video on Twitter that suggeested the childrens' film showcased bigotry and violence. It led to President Trump's son tweeting "liberalism is a disease," which was then reported on Fox News with the headline "Huff Post Dubs Rudolph Public Enemy Number 1" displaying on Tucker Carlson's show.

Clearly, both "controversies" were manufactured by the media and both worked at stirring up outrage, more in support of the songs/films than the censors. There has never really been any outcry over the past 50 years about either of these songs or films. But media loves starting controversies since it's part of what they do. It attracts attention and response, which is generally what major media outlets want to remain relevant in the public eye.

The songs, of course, are harmless. But if media can get people to defend traditional entertainment they've enjoyed all their lives, they've done their job to hold people's attention. Meanwhile, the public is constantly in the dark about media's intentions to stir up meaningless discussions about nothingness. Instead of questioning the sources, people tend to take the bait and respond exactly how the source wants, which can be pro or con.

Questioning the integrity of the media is something we should all do, but it's rarely what anyone does. People are too busy thinking TV and news publications are their best friend to question whether the actual sources are just marketers out of control. In the process, it's easy to miss the point of what's happening in these fabricated controversies.

One major detail that mainstream did not cover during the frenzy that was felt across social media about the controversy the first few weeks of December was that the song is owned by Paul McCartney. His company MPL is one of the largest private publishing firms in the world, as he owns many other songs by multiple artists. In this case, there are several different versions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" that brought him plenty of Christmas cheer in the form of radio royalties throughout the Christmas season. MPL bought the song years ago from CBS, which bought it from MGM. Billboard confirmed in December that the controversy boosted sales and streams for the song. Radio airplay was mixed as some versions of the song increased while others dropped.

The media has the power to put out whatever they want. News just doesn't happen the way the masses apparently perceive. To call these two old songs and films "news" is stretching the definition of journalism. It would be like if they tried to say "Frosty the Snowman" might be about smoking crack since it mentions a corncob pipe. "Snow" at one time was a code word for coke.

It's almost as if media is tired of political correctness and now wants to make a joke out of it. This direction causes individuals even on the left to start ridiculing political correctness as extreme. Who would want to create that perception? Fascists on the right, of course - the guys who control big media. Fascism, by the way, means merging of corporate and state interests in the classic sense. Media outlets, though, have watered down the definition over the years so that now it's just an insult word. The reason for political correctness in the first place is to evolve away from America's horrible history of bigotry, racism and sexism.

But it's not really words that spread hatred. It's the thoughts behind them that do while words are just the vehicles to deliver messages. The problems with bigotry, racism and sexism aren't going to go away just because certain words are forbidden in our culture. Education is what cures racists of racism and sexist pervs of sexism. Trying to censor lyrics has never worked at changing minds about how people feel about songs. So next time you read about these fake controversies, consider the source.



Created by Alex Cosper