Oh, sure, there were a few of the usual stories about cowardly school officials issuing edicts that no choir can sing "Jesus songs" at the annual "winter concert." But this year we were introduced to a new wrinkle: Christmas vs. #MeToo. And #MeToo is upset at the 1940s Frank Loesser standard "Baby, It's Cold Outside." A radio station in Cleveland got the ball rolling by banning its airplay for being outside the #MeToo spirit of consensual sex. Others have joined in, a chorus of nameless, faceless shrews out there who must, must, must voice their unhappiness at all times. The New York Times asked, "Prelude to Date Rape?"
Thinking people — which is to say everyone but the crazy fringes of the #MeToo movement — are shaking their heads in disbelief. Any scan of the lyrics shows you this is not a Christmas song in any way. It's a sly little song about how the woman shouldn't stay overnight because her relatives will be scandalized, and the man tries to get her to stay. Other than the woman asking "What's in this drink?" there is no issue of the woman's consent. It's just a flirty late-night dialogue.
It's been a seasonal staple for 70 years. But in 2018, it became offensive. What makes this controversy hilarious is how tame this is when compared to the tone of current hip-hop music. When one of these "songs" does not include lyrics about "hos" and "b——es," something is amiss.
Take, for just one example, a No. 1 hit song from earlier this year — "Psycho" by rappers Post Malone and Ty Dolla Sign. There are no sly allusions in these lyrics, although older folks won't get the slang at all. "You should see the whip, promise I can take yo' b——. Dolla ridin' in an old-school Chevy, it's a drop-top. Boolin' with a thot-thot, she gon' give me top-top."
Rough translation: My Chevy is so nifty I can steal your woman, who is a whore. ("Thot" stands for "that ho over there," in the event you care.) Your whore is going to perform oral sex ("top-top") because she's a slut.
How is all this showing respect for women? They performed this song on national TV, including at the American Music Awards and on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon.
The #MeToo movement must have turned in early. They never said a word.
Or take the song "King's Dead," released as the second single from the soundtrack of the year's biggest movie, "Black Panther." The rapper, Future, boasts about taking another man's "baby mama" and insisting she perform oral sex, and then suggests that laws should be broken and people murdered.
The only "benefit" of this rapper's "performance" is you can barely make out these stupid lyrics without an interpreter. Pitchfork magazine called it "fun and swaggering," even as the reviewer poked at Future's "helium-induced falsetto."
Again, the #MeToo movement was nowhere to be found.
So this is the very confused culture we live in. People organize to ban old songs with lyrics like "So really, I'd better scurry (Beautiful, please don't hurry)," while they approve the "fun and swaggering" lyrics like "Chitty chitty bang, murder everything."
There was a seriousness of purpose when the #MeToo movement was launched. It has become a joke.