"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


MeToo goes TooFar?

Blog | By Nigel Summerley | Dec 06, 2018

Radio stations in the US have started banning Baby It's Cold Outside from their playlists – because of the MeToo implications of the lyrics, ie man persuading woman to stay against her will, and plying her with alcohol as a prelude, presumably, to sex.

Regardless of the fact that the song is normally performed tongue-in-cheek, so to speak, its theme has been deemed offensive.But shouldn’t we be allowed to make up our own minds about it?

‘I could definitely see where it's a little uncomfortable when you think about the lyrics,’ commented one listener, Genevieve Ellison from San Francisco, giving feedback to KOIT radio. ‘But then so are most of the songs on the radio today, right?’

Right. What about the Police's creepy piece of 'I'll be watching you...' stalking, Every Breath You Take? Shouldn’t that be banned?

Or the slightly dubious 'She was just 17, you know what I mean...' from the Beatles' I Saw Her Standing There.

Not to mention Touch Me by the Doors, in which one was left in little doubt as to what Jim Morrison had on his mind? Or the possible paean to unwanted affection by the Temptations and the Supremes, I’m Gonna Make You Love Me?

Of course, Britain produced its own take on the Baby It's Cold Outside theme in the shape of Come Outside – with Mike Sarne’s invitation to ‘a bit of slap and tickle’ and Wendy Richards’s ‘I’ll slap and tickle you in a minute’.

And this is all before we get to the blues… What chance would 1937’s Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl (originally by Sonny Boy Williamson, covered by the Yardbirds and made to sound particularly lubricious by Muddy Waters) have now?

And if you listen to ‘squeeze my lemon 'til the juice run down my leg’, from another 1930s classic, Traveling Riverside Blues by Robert Johnson… well, Baby It’s Cold Outside starts to sound rather innocuous…