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  #21  
Old 15 December 2016, 02:54 PM
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I compare it to Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

The songs are similar in a way.

In Let It Snow, it's much more obvious that the singer is making excuses not to leave because of the weather. At least in that one, though, the singer does seem to accept that no means no and intends to leave anyway since their love will be a source of warmth on the way home. Also, there isn't a second person trying to coerce the singer to stay.

Last edited by TallGeekyGirl; 15 December 2016 at 03:15 PM.
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  #22  
Old 16 December 2016, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Are you suggesting that proves that someone who says "I really can't stay" means "I want to stay"? Surely not.
Not at all, however Ganzfeld seemed to be suggesting there was no way to be direct about wanting to leave somewhere.
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  #23  
Old 16 December 2016, 07:56 AM
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I was suggesting that that's about as direct as someone can be — basically no less so than the example you gave.
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  #24  
Old 16 December 2016, 02:49 PM
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Yes, I agree that Baby It's Cold Outside is very much a product of it's time.

A time when women had to tread carefully around men's feelings and soften their negative responses. The female singer couldn't just come out and bluntly say NO... she had to dance around the issue, make excuses, sugar-coat things. To do otherwise would be unseemly.
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  #25  
Old 16 December 2016, 02:51 PM
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That's one part of it, yes.

The other part is that she also couldn't just say "Yes, I do want to stay" and do so without potentially serious, practical, negatives consequences for her reputation and her relationship with her family.

Ignoring either aspect of it mischaracterizes the situation she's dealing with.

ETA: And the need for women to sugar-coat things isn't exactly a relic of the past. Neither is the other part, really. People still talk about "the walk of shame."
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  #26  
Old 16 December 2016, 02:54 PM
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Yeah, she's pretty much in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of situation...
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  #27  
Old 16 December 2016, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by monkster View Post
Not at all, however Ganzfeld seemed to be suggesting there was no way to be direct about wanting to leave somewhere.
Of course there's a way to be more direct. That doesn't mean it's always the best/safest choice. Have you missed the posts discussing why a woman might not speak more directly in that situation, or do you reject them?
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  #28  
Old 16 December 2016, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Simply Madeline View Post
However, the fact that it sounds super-rape-y to modern ears is enough to argue for retiring this particular song.
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
However, saying that we shouldn't be playing it casually in 2016 when many of the hearers don't understand the historical context is another matter. It wasn't rapey in 1944. It is rapey now.
Presentism

Against Presentism

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Presentism, at its worst, encourages a kind of moral complacency and self-congratulation. Interpreting the past in terms of present concerns usually leads us to find ourselves morally superior; the Greeks had slavery, even David Hume was a racist, and European women endorsed imperial ventures. Our forbears constantly fail to measure up to our present-day standards.
Is it really too much to assume the the overwhelming majority of people actually understand the context?

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Also, there isn't a second person trying to coerce the singer to stay.
Coercion or persuasion? There is a difference.
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  #29  
Old 16 December 2016, 06:30 PM
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So you think that it would be okay to bring back the old Looney Tunes cartoons with Elmer and Daffy in blackface because that was acceptable then? Or the anti-Japanese propaganda cartoons that were produced during World War 2?

Baby, It's Cold Outside is just a song. It does not have any sort of significant cultural value. It doesn't even have any significant historic value. It no longer reflects accepted social values toward men and women. What's wrong with admitting this and retiring it in favor of something different.
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  #30  
Old 16 December 2016, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Is it really too much to assume the the overwhelming majority of people actually understand the context?
We've had numerous discussions about the song here over the years, and I've been involved in arguments on facebook and other forums. It's quite clear to me that the vast majority of people do not, in fact, understand the context.
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  #31  
Old 16 December 2016, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
So you think that it would be okay to bring back the old Looney Tunes cartoons with Elmer and Daffy in blackface because that was acceptable then? Or the anti-Japanese propaganda cartoons that were produced during World War 2?

Baby, It's Cold Outside is just a song. It does not have any sort of significant cultural value. It doesn't even have any significant historic value. It no longer reflects accepted social values toward men and women. What's wrong with admitting this and retiring it in favor of something different.
There is a difference between things that were racist or sexist from the get-go, and things that were not racist or sexist, but now appear to be that way due to lack of context.

In the cartoons you reference, people of non-white races were intentionally made to appear sub-human or otherwise inferior - the cartoons (and Ted Geisel's propaganda) were intentionally racist. The cartoons appear to our modern eyes to be racist because they actually were racist.

Others in the thread have explained that the song never advocated lack of consent. In Baby its Cold outside there was no intent to suggest that consent didn't matter, nor did it suggest that to audiences of the time. The song appears to our modern ears to advocate lack of consent, not because it advocates lack of consent (it doesn't), but because we don't understand the context in which it was first written and performed.
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  #32  
Old 16 December 2016, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crescent View Post
From the first cite:

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In literary and historical analysis, presentism is the anachronistic introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. Some modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they consider it a form of cultural bias, and believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter.[1] The practice of presentism is regarded by some as a common fallacy in historical writing.
The second cite is also discussing historical writing.

But we're not, as near as I can tell, primarily discussing historical writing here. We're discussing whether the song ought to be part of routine public holiday playlists right now.

Did you miss, in what you quoted from me, that I specifically said it wasn't rapey when it was written?

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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Is it really too much to assume the the overwhelming majority of people actually understand the context?
Yes, I think it is.

And even some of those those who do understand the context may be bothered by the song.
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  #33  
Old 18 December 2016, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Of course there's a way to be more direct. That doesn't mean it's always the best/safest choice. Have you missed the posts discussing why a woman might not speak more directly in that situation, or do you reject them?
That wasn't the subject up for debate.
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  #34  
Old 18 December 2016, 03:56 PM
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I thought that this entire thread, and specifically Ganzfield's first post-the one you replied to-was exactly about that subject.
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  #35  
Old 18 December 2016, 04:21 PM
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Because it is. :-) That's the reason the lyrics were rewritten.
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  #36  
Old 19 December 2016, 01:55 AM
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Lots of things are subjects for debate here. Exactly none of them are "Is there more than one way to say you want to leave?" No one disagrees there is.
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  #37  
Old 19 December 2016, 08:38 AM
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It's absolutely not that people don't understand the context. It's that there is an additional understanding now. No one disagrees that it was not intended to be about lack of consent, that people would have understood it a certain way at the time, but that is exactly what the problem is.

The song relies on a trope, perhaps more common then, that women say "no" when they really mean "yes." What has changed is our understanding of that belief and how it operates in real life. Some women undoubtedly do say no when they mean or want to say yes. And other times, and with other women, no means no. So the understanding we have now is that, in both moral and practical terms, one should take any "no" answer as sincere, if one doesn't want to rape anyone.

So, what is unsettling about the song is exactly what the people defending it point out: It was not intended to be about nonconsent, and everyone would have understood that she was making sham excuses because she really wanted to stay.

And I would say that it contrasts sharply with Let it Snow. That song is about someone who is overtly saying that he or she wants to stay, but will have to eventually go out in the storm. It also acknowledges that they will eventually kiss goodnight and use their love to keep them warm on the way home.
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  #38  
Old 19 December 2016, 03:07 PM
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I caught part of a show on PBS that I thought handled it interestingly. A man and woman sang part of the song. Then he said "Please stay," and she said, firmly, "No." The End.
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  #39  
Old 19 December 2016, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
The song relies on a trope, perhaps more common then, that women say "no" when they really mean "yes." What has changed is our understanding of that belief and how it operates in real life. Some women undoubtedly do say no when they mean or want to say yes. And other times, and with other women, no means no. So the understanding we have now is that, in both moral and practical terms, one should take any "no" answer as sincere, if one doesn't want to rape anyone.
Indeed. I used to wonder why the phrase "no means no" was a thing. Of course no means "no." Ridiculous, right? Well, this song is exhibit A of how, apparently, there was a time in which it was socially accepted, even celebrated, for a man to assume no means "yes, but I'm just too modest to say what I really want so please go on harassing me and insisting that I'm being insincere. In fact if you want to grab me by the wrist and drag me back to down onto the couch I'll probably just giggle. But even if I don't, ust know that I'll be giggling inside even as I say 'no, please don't!'"

This song shouldn't have been acceptable even in 1944. That it was tells us something more than a little chilling about 1944.

Last edited by ASL; 19 December 2016 at 04:32 PM.
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  #40  
Old 19 December 2016, 04:40 PM
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1944 and a lot of years after that. The idea was common in pop culture during my childhood and even in my teen years (born in 1961).
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