REPRINTED FROM CAPS NEWSPAPERS, DECEMBER 2018 - Jonathan van Bilsen
Here we are, a week or so before Christmas, when our thoughts turn to love and peace and getting along with our neighbours, well most of them. The People’s Republic of China, not so much, as we have detained one of their citizens at the request of our neighbours to the south. I assume we acted that way because America has been good to us, ensuring we have free (or discounted) trade and a great relationship between the guy with the orange hair and the kid in Ottawa.
Elsewhere though, we are at peace around the world and showing good will to all, or most. We look back and are saddened by the events of the layoffs in Nova Scotia and the recent GM announcements.
Amid all the turmoil the world has to offer, the biggest news story is the banning of a Christmas song on several public stations. The song, ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’, has undergone some major condemnation, for words written seventy-four years ago. I actually listened to the lyrics for the first time last week. It’s one of those songs with a catchy tune that I usually, absentmindedly hum along with.
Surprisingly enough, the uproar was not from minorities, feminists, me-too movements or fundamentalists. It was a result of adult-contemporary radio programmers. A handful of them, at least, have decided it’s time to go out for a nice holiday troll by declaring “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” dead to them… followed by an inevitable online poll that lead to a reversal and reinstatement.
Yes, the words could undergo an update, but remember the context of the time, when it was written for a musical production. Recently a rewrite brought it more in tune with our current state of being. Then I sit back and think about all the other stuff that is being produced on a daily basis, most of which we seem to ignore.
Network television has adopted an acceptable language that would turn my parents over in their graves. Images of people wearing next to nothing, if that, are shown on prime time TV and if you listened to the words of many of the most popular songs out there, you would be appalled. Have you walked through a mall and looked at the Victoria’s Secret store’s models plastered all over their windows?
Pay TV, such as Netflix or Crave, appear to have a license to broadcast un-edited content, not very suitable for many sensitive viewers. And of course the recent legalization of pot, by those in the know, will certainly enhance the quality of our society.
All that aside, let’s ban an old Christmas favourite because it is offensive. Hello, people, most everything in the entertainment world can be construed as offensive and we accept it.
Fortunately, the song has been restored to playlists everywhere, which hopefully is a trend towards realism and maybe we won’t tear down statues of our first Prime Minister.
I want to sincerely wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and express how grateful I am to live in one of the few countries where we are still able to do that. All the best for 2019 and let’s try and get along, to make this world a better place than it has been lately.