Christmas Hodgepodge: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

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Hodgepodge

By Charlie Hodge

Merry Christmas.
Oh yes, and Happy Holidays as well.

The pendulum swing has surely reached its maximum apex with the latest round of sensitivity censorship nailing off certain Christmas classic songs. Ooops Happy Holiday classic.

As I pen this – the news is fresh regarding the eye-brow raising case of censorship on radio. For a radio station it’s difficult to prove censorship since they create their own play list. Unless of course they admit to it – in which case all they should get is a lump of coal.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been stuffed in to the record album deep freeze by a couple major Canadian radio stations.

On Tuesday CBC Radio announced they’d joined Rogers Media and Bell Media in removing the iconic Christmas favourite out of their record rotations this year. Huh?

Written in 1944, Baby, It’s Cold Outside won the Academy Award for best original song in the film Neptune’s Daughter.

The winter classic has been recorded by a plethora of stars including Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart, and most recently Idina Menzel and Canadian star Michael Buble. Despite its historical traditional place in our Christmas scene some alterations in the song have occurred over the years. In fact some artists have rewritten or reinterpreted the lyrics.

Without question Lady Gaga turned more heads than normal when she and Joseph Gordon-Levitt flipped gender roles in a segment of the pop singer’s 2013 holiday special with the Muppets.

Some pundits suggest the radio station bans are largely influenced by a renewed scrutiny on inappropriate lyrics since the #MeToo movement explosion.

Bell Media runs two 24-hour Christmas stations: Vancouver and Ottawa and chose not to include the Christmas tune on its playlists this year saying there are no plans to play it in the future. Rogers Media runs a number of all-Christmas music stations including 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto and 98.5 CIOC-FM in Victoria. Rogers has also removed the song.

I’m hoping Santa drops a several lumps of coal under their corporate Christmas trees – if they have any.

I understand the desire to appease all and be sensitive to all, however I also believe there comes a point of recognizing tradition and the time period of the songs popularity. As a society we are growing and evolving all the time in our change, awareness, willingness to learn and grow. However we must be cautious of becoming to focussed, controlled and safe. We cannot live in bubbles and then demand everyone to respect or change to who or how we are.

Change comes in various speeds. To trample on time held traditions such as ‘frisky’ lyrics in a seasonal song seem minor in the world compared to some of the messages and lyrics played nonstop.

Is this the start then of a full scan on appropriate songs for Christmas time (Happy Holidays) or year round? I am confident there are a bundle of other not so nice lyrics in tunes out there between now and new year’s we will hear if we want to go down that scrutiny path.

Should other festive season songs should be nervous?

Personally I find the whole idea a way over the top, strategically stupid, and even a tad insulting.

Baby It’s Cold Outside is a classic by its true sense. It is dated in not only its lyrics but the entire presentation. Broadcasters naturally have the right to decide themselves their play list and understandably not every song in the world can get air play. What Bell or Rodgers want to build their listener clientele around in the way of song choices is their right.

If they had truly wanted to make the move because it was the ‘right thing to do’ they could have done it quietly and quite likely few would have noticed. If they announced the decision to get recognition on how consciously aware and supportive they are in eliminating some suggestive (and perhaps time-sensitively archaic) lyrics from a classic song then they failed. Most people simply see it as silly and over the top.

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Speaking of some wonderful music and wonderful people I gather from Jim LeGuilloux that the wrap up of the 25th Whiski Jacks Rock4Kids event was top shelf. Awesome.

Last week I mentioned Scotty and the Slamdogs might end the night. After all, it was the Slamdogs who hosted the first Rock4Kids. Thanks to Scotty Martin, Eddie and Alfie Galpin and Richard Girard for appropriately ‘shutting ‘er down’!

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Charlie’s Angels Christmas List is running next Friday so you have until Wednesday at noon to send me your nomination. If you have an angel to tell me about send their name and the reason they are an angel in your world. Send it to charliehodge333@gmail.com

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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