Yes, Geoff is correct in the post that he just put up. It isn’t cold outside. At all. But I’m not talking about actual weather, I’m talking about that blasted song. I’m talking about that “Christmas Song” that’s commonly referred to now as “The Rapey Song.”
You know the one. Once you actually listen to the words you get uncomfortable each time you hear it. It’s a duet. It’s ostensibly about flirting, a date, and a storm.
What it’s really about is male privilege and rape.
The song was written by Frank Loesser in 1944. He and his wife apparently used to perform it at parties for friends. CREEPY. That, right there, should tell you something. It’s terribly dated. It’s from “The Good Old Days” when women knew their place, the KKK ruled the American South, and marital rape wasn’t an actual crime. While some would argue that it is a product of the era in which it was written, when you apply that argument to a lot of other things from that same era, segregation comes to mind, that test fails.
The first recording that most anyone knows and that made any traction in society at large was by Dean Martin in 1959. That’s 15 years after the song was written for those of you playing along at home. To me it’s telling that a behavior taken as gospel in the 40’s, got recorded by a star like Dean Martin on the cusp of the 60’s when America was about to plunge into social upheaval, and Civil Rights were being demanded by the Black community and making news all over the country.
This song is about nostalgia. Not, as WaPo posits here, about feminism or subversion of traditional gender roles. It was back when women were pliable, rapeable, and were supposed to submit. They weren’t trouble and didn’t fight back. And, if they did (pro tip: we’ve always fought back) who’d believe them? It was also a last grasp at a world where black folks knew their place and didn’t cause trouble.
Geoff and I were talking recently about how we ought to do our own, slightly more updated version of this song where the woman gets to taze and/or subdue the man. Change the lyrics, turn the power structure on its head.
Then Geoff stumbled upon this version by Funny or Die.
And that’s just about right. I don’t know what it will take to get department stores, Spotify, and Pandora to stop playing it? Maybe the SNL treatment will do it.
All I know is that whenever it comes on to a station I’m listening to I’m changing the channel. How about you?