Christmas song promotes rape

It’s been a few days since I posted anything here on this fledgling blog but life has happened and work has been extra tiring. The diarrhoea-like river of excrement that is the news continues to flow in the meantime however and the number of “stories” (let’s not give them too much credibility) that I’d like to analyse has began to back up like a blocked toilet clogged with an ever-increasing volume of the nasty brown stuff.

Unsavoury metaphors aside, one of the more dumb stories that cropped up on my radar was that of an American radio station electing to pull the Christmas song “Baby it’s Cold Outside” from their playlist due to an apparent unsuitability in today’s hyper-sensitive #metoo landscape. Other Christmas songs that were written/performed in the past have now been put under the microscope and over-analysed by those who are determined to play dot-to-dot and create those tenuous links and daft interpretations from songs that are products of their time.

I do want to quickly point out that this is another of those stories that the media love to publish in order to wind up a certain demographic and get them to keep clicking away or buying newspapers. I know this and I suppose that giving this shit even more exposure by talking about it is a bit hypocritical but I feel like looking at the facts and quotes from these headlines and applying some proper logic to them.

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Let’s start with the Christmas song that has stirred up the keyboard warriors and Twitter superstars the most shall we? For decades, there was nothing and suddenly “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” is one of the great evils of the music world; a song that apparently tells the story of a man pressuring a woman into sex. As quoted from the BBC’s website:

In particular, the line “Say what’s in this drink?/No cabs to be had out there” has led people to make a link with date rape.

So this is also (apparently) a song about date rape and drugged alcoholic drinks. The problem with this above quote is that phrase “led people to make a link”. We can make links between anything and everything if we wanted to. This is a simple case of people taking a product of the past out of its time and complaining that it doesn’t conform to modern expectations which – honestly – can be done with anything at all from history. What next? Does “Driving Home for Christmas” suggest an irresponsible decision to drive in dangerous, wintry conditions? Does any Christmas song to do with Santa condone lying to your children? Loose comparisons I know but seriously.

How about this: listen to a classic Christmas song and just take it for what it is. When did every single thing need to be looked at it minute detail and constantly reviewed every few years to see if it remains “acceptable”? Any such analysis that includes phrases such as “seems to suggest…” or “could be interpreted as…” is automatically bullshit of the highest order in my book. Far-fetched conclusions being conjured up in the minds of those who simply MUST find something to be offended about. Unless of course I’m talking out of my ass and hearing a song like Baby, it’s Cold Outside IS slowly warping my brain and installing a subconscious instruction to lure females in from the cold so that I can rape them. See how stupid it sounds? I believe that there are three reasons why a story like this even becomes a (undeserving) ‘thing’ in the first place:

  1. The fear of offending people. Weak, easily bowed people decide that it is safer to remove material deemed potentially offensive before anybody can make some crazy links and bring negative press down on the organisation.
  2. Virtue signalling. Loudly and proudly condemning something that COULD be deemed offensive in the minds of a small minority in order to become the white knight and latest champion of the #metoo or similar movements.
  3. The social media echo chamber. A few people think that they are hot shit for ‘discovering’ something they believe could possibly be offensive or disempowering. Others re-tweet and show their support (from the safe anonymity of their keyboard/smartphone screen) subsconsciously feeling that they are being fashionable by doing so.

I am always open to be proven wrong or have my view changed by solid facts. Not interpretations, not theories and not suggestions. Just concrete facts, figures and evidence. That said, I feel extremely confident when I say that I do not, for a second, believe that when Frank Loesser wrote the song in 1944, there was the intention to promote rape. There is nothing to say that the male in the song intends to force himself on the female if she continues to refuse his advances. There is nothing wrong with suggestion or displaying amorous feelings to somebody of the opposite sex in a private situation if the other party seems like they could be up for it. That’s how we actually get somewhere in our love/sex lives. Of course, should Person B firmly refuse then Person A must repect their decision.

Pouring red wine

If this song is guilty of anything then maybe – at a push – it is a guy ignoring a girl’s soft rejections and continuing to try his luck, edging closer and closer to that grey area where natural, lusty advances become coercion and potentially rape. But I don’t hear that. I hear a playful, slightly sexy song that is probably just being a bit naughty. You aren’t supposed to rip it apart and publish an enormous thesis on how it condones this and that. Perhaps the critics ought to take a look a little closer to home because modern lyrics have been glorifying far worse in a much bolder manner for some time now. If anything is going to be a threat to an easily impressionable younger generation then it might be the stuff that they – y’know – actually listen to?

I was shocked to read (when doing a quick bit of research) that this song has been the subject of much debate and criticism for more than a decade. Conveniently in the month(s) of December of course because it’s such an issue that nobody cares once it’s no longer Christmas and the song doesn’t have to be aired anyway. My point being that there have been many, many other analysis’ and discussions about Baby, it’s Cold Outside and the perceived implications of its lyrics written with greater finesse than mine. These are just my rough and raw thoughts on the subject. I listen to the song and don’t hear what some people are condemning. Maybe that makes me a lesser person for not trying to hear beyond the surface but guess what? I don’t really give a fuck.

Another song that was criticised (amongst several) was Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” for apparently enforcing an image that Africa is a needy continent reliant on the handouts of more developed Western states in order to survive. Bob Geldof’s answer to the critics was “It’s a pop song, not a doctoral thesis”. Well said, Bob. We are constantly made to feel guilty by charity ad campaigns and asked to donate money to causes in third-world countries where people are legitimately dying from poor sanitation and the wars of others but it seems that doing the decent thing and helping is also allegedly demeaning. Putting aside the fact that terrible sanitation, terrorism and constant uncivilised warring ARE factual blights on many innocent Africans, this bizarre logic of being incorrect whatever we do/think can fuck right off. Another prime example of desperately looking for offence where there isn’t any and keyboard warriors eager to seek out a vaporous injustice.

In summary: stop fucking reading too much into songs and presuming that your personal interpretations are the correct interpretations of everybody because they aren’t.

Brexit is bullshit

Sometimes I wonder what this trainwreck called “Brexit” looks like to those outside of the UK. I also wonder what they think of the social media-style name for the process which was quickly adopted by the mainstream media and politicians despite being a piece of slang that somebody obviously felt well chuffed about thinking up. Even worse is when a newsreader says “Breggzit”…sorry, I forgot that leaving the European Union had something to do with the output of chickens.

But mostly I wonder what people think because as a UK resident who duly went to polling station on that fateful day, I’m just fed up of hearing about it. Right now, it feels like Brexit is simply not going to deliver what either camp of voters wants. All that has been achieved is greater division and resentment. Hardcore “Brexiteers” shouting about shutting the borders as soon as possible while “Remainers” keep banging on about having another referendum, hoping to reverse the vote no doubt. Overall, I think that Brexit has brought out the worst in everybody who is passionate about the subject one way or another.

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For my part, I find myself trapped in the middle. I voted to remain in the EU but not necessarily for the reason that many others did i.e. the economical benefits of the partnership. Basically, I liked the romantic concept of leaving the EU and going our own way without having an additional layer of “management” on top of our own government, forcing their rules through. Make Britain Great Again and all that. Unfortunately, logic and reason must have a say and so I ultimately ended up voted the opposite way.

The thing is, the Leave campaign was pure vapour with those promoting it (such as Boris Johnson) arguing their case without solid facts or – more importantly – a solid PLAN of how Brexit would work. Words such as “could”, “can” or “might” do not make for a convincing campaign for anybody analysing the situation carefully rather than voting with their heart. What it amounted to was various politicians shouting “take back control!” and the like. No concrete strategy or timeline of how we would leave and achieve these benefits of going solo. Worse still, if voters actually stopped to think about it, none of those standing on stages around the UK shouting about immigration or money for the NHS were actually in the driving seat at Westminster i.e. they had no power to control negotiations or steer the ship once the destination was decided so why should we have put any trust in them?

Fast forward to December 2018 and where are we? The prominent faces of the Leave campaign have gone quiet or resigned from their ministerial positions, we have a Prime Minister who didn’t support Brexit negotiating Brexit and the likes of UKIP (UK Independence Party) have imploded before evaporating into a steamy cloud of irrelevance. A deal has been put together which doesn’t exactly reek of victory and there is the constant threat of the Remain camp achieving their wish of a re-vote which would contradict democracy itself.

On a side-note, even though I “lost” at the polls and pretty much disagree with a lot of Brexit, I still believe it would be a crime against democracy to have a re-vote and alter the decision. Aside from the fact that going back on the all of the negotiations thus far would firmly place our balls in the EU’s vice, you can’t just keep having votes and referendums until you get what you or your side desires at the polls. If it went 52-48% in the opposite direction, I can pretty much guarantee that the Remain side wouldn’t even entertain the notion of a second vote, no matter how loud the Leave camp shouted.

The vote happened and this is the result. Democracy is a fantastic thing but it comes with risks and you have to accept that unexpected results can and will happen.

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I have to give a shout out to the old-school brigade shouting about binning the EU off, slamming the borders shut and getting back to being British. While I do agree with tightening right up on immigration, giving the EU’s daft rules the finger and being proud of our country, it is an inescapable fact that times have changed and globalisation is a thing. The older generation love to bang on about how Britain was great in the past and how we “were alright before the EU so let’s go back to those times” but you cannot simply “go back”. Practically everything in our economy and society is intertwined with those of other countries across the globe – for better or for worse – and simply ripping those connections out could well be like walking up to a complex computer system and ripping cables out at random, assuming that everything will continue to function as normal. Times have changed yet there are many who choose to ignore basic facts/logic and carry on shouting about foreigners ruining the “cun’ry”.

I would love to leave, do our own thing and have a selection-based immigration system and all that good stuff but it isn’t as simple as that and unfortunately, negative consequences have a tendency to topple like dominoes. Cast your mind back to the financial crisis of 2008 (something the world still hasn’t recovered from) and remember how fragile the framework of our everyday lives really is. One aspect that has never sat right with me is that a lot of older people voted to leave based on their memories of how wonderful the past apparently was (you can unearth plenty of reasons why it wasn’t all that rosy…) but it isn’t their generation that will have to deal with the fallout of Brexit should it go sour. Without sounding too harsh, thousands will have passed on from this mortal realm, potentially leaving their descendants a fractured future as an inheritance.

But then there are the Remainers, the sore losers who simply cannot stand the fact that a sure-fire win for their side could actually fail to materialise. Protests marches calling for a second vote, individuals going to the courts to block Brexit and even those suggesting that London could remain inside the EU…it’s been a pretty desperate show. It seems that everybody loves democracy but only when the ‘safe’ result comes up. The truth is that there is no smoke without fire and excluding the influence of outside parties and misleading campaigns, there is a reason why events such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump happened. People are fed up the status quo and tired of voting for the same people who peddle the same lies or feed us the same bitter pills and expect us to obediently swallow them. I’m not saying that either Brexit or Trump are positive things but they were always going to happen eventually.

If you exist in the middle as I do and support pieces of each argument as well as disagree with points put forward by both sides then Brexit is just a big stinking turd blocking up the u-bend and refusing to flush. In reality, nobody won and we are now seeing some very ugly sides to people before (likely) accepting a deal that fails to achieve anything other than needless unsettlement with the rewards for sticking with it still not that clear. I just want it to be over and to get the fuck off my TV screen.

Bullshit News: M&S window display “vomit-inducing”

At the time of writing, this is an admittedly “old” story but it’s things like this that encouraged me to create this blog in the first place so I couldn’t resist analysing such a ridiculous news item. It is of course, one of many daily attempts by the BBC to wind up right-wing readers and keep them at war with left-wing liberals in the interests of generating clicks and ad revenue. Nevertheless, the quotes from the article are real as crazy as they may sound.

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For those outside of the UK, M&S (Marks & Spencer) are a large high-street retailer often placed in the supermarket sector in direct competition with the likes of Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s etc. but are considered a cut above when it comes to the quality of their food and clothing. Naturally, the price tags are in line with the additional quality and there are many who will happily brand the M&S shopper a “snob” or say that they must be “getting paid too much” if they do their shopping there. Stupid assumptions and insta-judgments of course but hey, no surprise there.

Anyway, a photograph of a store display in Nottingham which advertised suits for men and lingerie for women was posted up on a Facebook group called “Feminists Friends Nottingham” and the ensuing outrage was typical of our easily-offended society in 2018 where conclusions are leapt toward in a microsecond and bizarre interpretations attempt to overcomplicate everything. For a prime example of reading far too much into a fucking window display, check out what one female interviewee gave the BBC (who must have been rubbing their hands together in glee):

“Ok, M&S Nottingham, have we really not learned anything in the last 35 years? Or am I alone in finding this, their major window display, completely vomit inducing?”

“I also feel very, very strongly about the representation of women as being preoccupied with fancy little knickers, whereas men are presented as powerful and needing to be impressive.

“I don’t have a problem with people choosing to wear whatever they want to wear, I just feel like the juxtaposition is what’s grossly, grossly offensive.

“We are surrounded by sexual images of both men and women. M&S are not by any means the only offenders but that particular window just epitomises everything that’s wrong with current marketing and how far backwards we’ve gone.”

First of all, I have to say that “vomit-inducing” is a fucking extreme reaction to this. If the particular individual in question feels that ill after looking at a photograph of a window display then I dread to think how they will cope with seeing something truly sickening.

I do understand where her core displeasure at M&S’s advertising is coming from but last time I checked, it was completely normal for men to buy suits and women to buy fancy knickers. Should we be hiding sexy lingerie at the back of the store in a dark corner like a dirty secret? When women purchase underwear a step above the basic variety, it isn’t solely to impress the man in their life in the bedroom; it’s also because it makes them feel attractive. Men don’t just buy suits to impress the ladies: they also want to feel smart and look well-presented.

If you thought the above was an overreaction then get a load of this:

Another post, from a man, said the window display was “far too provocative and rapey”.

“It is not the right sort of message especially during this current season when people drink more and their filters are thrown out of the window,” he wrote.

I struggled to wrap my head around this one. A window display advertising underwear for women being sexist might have made some sort of warped sense but to suggest it promotes rape is flat-out laughable and plain daft. And what exactly does getting merry over the seasonal period have to do with this anyway? Is he suggesting that a woman is more likely to be raped after a few drinks if the man finds that she’s wearing an M&S bra? Because that means that she must have been “well up for it”? I don’t even know what sort of nutty angle this guy was coming from and I’m not convinced that this is even a legitimate quote.

There was one more feminist reaction reported on the BBC’s news site:

“As a feminist and a mother to a young daughter I felt embarrassed that I had to yet again explain why women are depicted with so little respect,” she said.

“When companies insist on men being fully clothed and women showcasing lingerie only, it sends a message about women’s place in society as objects to titillate.”

A perfect example of somebody seeing insinuations and subliminal messages and blowing them out of proportion. Women buy lingerie. M&S are advertising lingerie to women. It really isn’t any more complicated than that. Yes, the men have a display of suits but must we really over-analyse every window display as it is being constructed and painstakingly pump it full of equality just to prevent people seeing offence and subtle suppression in every single bloody thing? As I have already pointed out, fancy knickers and bras don’t exist solely for the benefit of men and this window display doesn’t actually try and suggest otherwise. M&S aren’t sending out messages. They are simply providing and advertising what women want to buy, whatever the motivation behind the purchase is.

Thankfully – in this case at least – M&S have confirmed that they won’t be making any changes to their store window displays in light of the complaints and I salute them for not immediately caving beneath a bit of social media pressure as countless other retailers tend to.