I Can’t Believe I Have To Explain This To You People; How “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “The Little Mermaid” Have Proven Our Cultural Ignorance

I remember the first time I heard the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” I was riding in the car with my mother. It was Christmastime, I was visiting her in Seattle as I always did for the holidays. We were on our way to some dive bar, where she would hang out in the bar while I sat, alone, in the dining room section with a book. I was 15.

She was dressed to the nines, ready for a night out and she sang (more like belted) along with the song as her wild and big hair whipped and gyrated around the car to the melody. It was the Barry Manilow version, and I will never forget my mom oo’ing and ahh’ing with the song.

This was in 1997. Now, 21 years later, I am 36 years old and cannot hear that song without that horrifying memory. But it wasn’t the song that brings up the horror; no, let’s be clear here –  it was my mother.

The song was innocuous then, as it is now.

Similarly, I can remember the first time I saw ‘The Little Mermaid.’ I was somewhere around 8 years old. My parents were still married, ‘The Little Mermaid’ had just been released in theaters. My dad took me to see it, and while I didn’t want to go in the theater (I may have been younger, because I was scared), I ended up loving the film. Since then, I have seen it countless times, hundreds or even thousands in fact, and every time my favorite scene is the “Kiss the Girl” scene. They’re in the boat. It’s romantic. The fish are all singing and – I don’t know … it’s just really magical, okay. 

For almost 30 years, and as a woman with a strong sense of bodily autonomy who is raising two daughters and one son to understand the importance of consent, it is still my favorite scene/song.

You guys can imagine, then, my complete and utter shock at the news that radio stations, a cappella choirs, and all manner of places and people are now banning the two songs of my past.

I completely get that we live in a culture where everyone is offended by everything. All the time. That is our 2018 reality, and I suspect it will only continue to get worse as the years plug along.

I’m not sure how it got to that, although I have my suspicions.

Regardless of the reason, or reasons, for people in general being more offended by more things these days, there’s the real thorn in my side of the issue that has to be pointed out: the hypocrisy of it all.

I saw a meme today that says it perfectly:

Credit: Me.me

Right then.

Here’s a lyric from the last couple of years that I find offensive: 

“You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, yeah you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, yeah you a you a stupid hoe” – Nicki Minaj

There are so many of them like that, too many to mention. They are about rape. They are about gang banging. They are about the objectification of women and their bodies. But I digress… The point is that if you find that stupid hoe nonsense to be perfectly acceptable, while finding “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or a children’s song to be just too far, I can’t believe I have to explain this to you people, but: you are hypocrites.

Honestly.

On the flip side of it, there is that sticky issue of consent, because don’t get me wrong, even though I think that both songs are completely harmless, I also think they do raise a serious point on the matter.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside,” on the surface, sounds like a man trying to pressure a woman into staying at his place and, presumably, getting warm in his bed. A few years ago was the first time I heard someone claim it had a “rapey vibe” to it. As if that wasn’t an intelligent enough analysis of the song and its narrative, this year’s holiday season was ushered in by the pearl-clutching ladies of the Internet sharing blog after blog in which headlines like “Baby It’s Cold Outside – EWWW” took down the decades-old ballad.

‘The Little Mermaid’ – the other of our most recently banned songs – is of the same ilk. She wants to be a human and to marry this guy (after literally seeing him once after a shipwreck, whatever you do you Ariel), but it isn’t socially acceptable in her mer-world to do so. What’s laughable about people calling into question the matter of consent in “Kiss the Girl,” though is that Ariel signed a contract. Literally, in plain English, it says that she can be a human and get her voice back if the guy kisses her, and she signed it. How much more consent do you need?

In reality, both really are about consent; but not the way the naysayers of the Internet would have you believe. They’re both about women who actually want to say yes, each in their respective ways; but who both live in a time or place in which it is not socially acceptable to do so. So if you want to be offended, be offended but for the right reason.D

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Christmas (sort of) in July

So last night I was still not giving much of a shit about parenting or cleaning up like a slave or anything, so I decided my husband and I should watch a movie on Netflix to bide the time until we went to bed and began another night of trying to abuse each other with punches, kicks, and obscene noises in our sleep.

It ended up being the most amazing experience of my life. No hot actors. No steamy love scenes. Even still, words cannot adequately describe how wonderful it was. I will try.

10:15 pm

Poor Nick begins cruising through the Netflix Instant Que and – as usual – is suggesting we watch some weird shit like reruns of Twin Peaks. I don’t know what it is about that show that is so fucking weird – maybe the guy and his fucked up gum-chewing-slow-dancing-psychosis – but I am not interested. Ever.

I suggest we move out of our Instant Que and look for something that Netflix recommends.

10:30 pm

Fifteen minutes into looking through movies, we are still looking through movies. There are two things we do that are both laborious and exaggerated in how long it takes us to agree on something: decide where to go out to eat and pick a movie to watch on Netflix. It’s like it never fucking ends, but thankfully tonight we’ve moved onto what Netflix recommends for us rather than our Instant Que full of that weird Twin Peaks crap.

Pookies watched a lot of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (kill me, now) and Wonderpets on Netflix recently, so the top recommendations are children’s movies. I stop paying attention because I am growing overwhelming bored and check my Facebook on my Air Jordan. I hear Poor Nick mumbling under his breath and ignore it – as I usually do; although, I do catch when he says “why are they still recommending Christmas movies?”

I look up at the TV and begin to scream.

10:35 pm

On the screen is an image of my childhood: The Christmas Toy. I don’t have many memories from my childhood with my mom, since I only saw her a few times a year after she divorced my dad and moved across the country, but The Christmas Toy was one of them. Every year we would watch that movie and eat Chex Mix and actually have good times together (versus the rest of the time when she was a Trailer Trash Mom, hanging out in the local lounge trying to pick up men whilst I sat in a nearby booth).

Perhaps my all-time favorite kid’s Made for TV special, this is the Jim Henson version of toys that come to life at night. One of them (a stuffed tiger named Rugby) is unaccepting of the fact that he will not be the Christmas toy every year after his first and tries to go put himself under the Christmas tree.

After screaming, and then screaming a little more, I spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince Poor Nick to watch it.

10:45 pm

Poor Nick gives in. He begins the movie and within 30 seconds I am crying.

11:00 pm

Fifteen minutes in and I am holding Poor Nick’s hand so tightly he looks like he is in pain. He may possibly be in pain because watching children’s movies is pure torture to him; but it seems that he is writhing under my utter excitement. Regardless of this, I can’t stop – this is just so exciting to me.

When Mew – the stuffed mouse filled with catnip – comes onto the screen, I begin to coo. Poor Nick stands up and walks away. I continue to coo.

11:15 pm

Poor Nick returns after doing I do not know what (I also don’t care – The Christmas Toy is on the TV). “Are you still watching this junk?” he says and I grow offended that he would utter such atrocities about my Christmas Toy.

Rugby has made it to the Christmas tree at this point and is opening the Christmas present box so that he can get in it. He opens the box and Meteora comes out. Meteora is some sort of space queen Barbie doll, and she doesn’t know she is a toy yet. I squeeze Poor Nick’s hand again and start singing loudly the Meteora song. “Are you fucking insane?” he says and I continue to sing, even louder.

11:25 pm

After everyone has returned to the toy room, Mew is caught in the hallway by one of the parents. In the law of the toy room, if a toy is caught out of place by a human it is frozen forever. As I always do at this point, I gasp and hold my hands over my mouth – repeating “oh Mew!” over and over again (you can see how seriously I take this). Mew becomes frozen and Rugby goes to say his peace to his best friend, who has been thrown in the cat’s bed downstairs.

I begin to cry and Pookie walks out, still being awake because she thought she saw a ghost earlier. I catch her up on the story and she begins to cry also at Mew’s having been frozen.

Poor Nick looks at us like we’re complete idiots, but stays seated and I now believe he is as enraptured in The Christmas Toy as I am. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure he was enraptured by what to do about his wife-gone-bonkers.

Rugby’s love for Mew is so moving that Mew comes back from being frozen. The two return to the toy room, a big song is sang, then Christmas morning Meteora and a second Mew join the room. Pookie and I are now sobbing uncontrollably.

11:35 pm

Pookie is back in bed and I grab the remote to give The Christmas Toy five stars (Poor Nick has given it two) as I dab my tears from my face and blow my nose. He takes the remote to get everything turned off for the night and I have forgotten to add The Christmas Toy to the Instant Que so that I can easily access it regularly to watch, so ask Poor Nick if he will add it.

“You want to continue to put yourself through this?” he asks, but doesn’t need an answer and puts it in the que, where it shows up right next to Twin Peaks on Recently Watched.

Like I said, clearly the most wondrous night of movie-going I’ve had in a long time. And people don’t think I have good taste in movies. Well you know what I say to them? You are lovely, Meteora. Yes, so lovely and smart and brave and strong. So exciting, Meteora. Even lightning bolts seem dull when you’re along. How can you say “bad taste” to a movie with song lyrics like that? Tears are forming in my eyes again now even, as I write this.

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Toilet Humor

Okay, for real.  What is going on with people and their obsessions with the bathroom?  I see three arenas where this has become entirely out of control:

1) Jokes About Flatulence and Other Bathroom Incidences in Children’s Movies

The only thing worse than the level of jokes about flatulence in children’s programming and major motion pictures is when they break out the testicular humor.  But seriously, what kind of values can we possibly be teaching children when every other word out of the mouths of the characters that are to give them moral rigor is followed up with a “pull my finger” joke?

2) Flatulence and Other Related Sounds on Phone and Tablet Apps

I don’t know about you, but I did not buy my iPad, nor my HTC EVO, to put applications on them that can reproduce (at the most inopportune time) the loud sounds of activities normally reserved for the bathroom.  What is so funny about this?  I really don’t understand.  There was this woman that I used to work with that would eat about six deviled eggs every day at lunch.  The effects about an hour after she came back are obvious; but no one giggled and laughed like children when it happened.  In fact, we all did quite the opposite.  It made us act more professional and busy to avoid the inevitably awkward eye contact.

3) People’s Obsession With All-Things-Bathroom

Every day I check my site statistics to see who has been visiting my website, what they’ve been looking at, and how they’ve gotten here.  Included in the latter part is a list of search terms that led people to my site – search terms I often take amusement from.  More than anything, though, people are coming to my blog by searching things such as “hillbilly on toilet” and “old hillbilly on toilet.”  It’s my fault, really:  I started it all by blogging about hillbillies so often.  They are a popular subject it seems, not to mention a pet peeve of mine.  And to top it off, I have included one photograph of a hillbilly on his toilet outside, only because it was the first thing that came up when I searched in Google Images “hillbilly outside.”  But why are so many people searching this?  It is literally multiple searches, every single day!

When I began to look into it more, though, I learned it is more than just people’s obsession with hillbillies on toilets.  It’s people’s obsession with all people on toilets.  On YouTube, searching “on toilet” brings up literally thousands of responses – some of which are pranks, where a person was secretly filming another on the toilet; others are people just videoing themselves and uploading it (why?!); even one is someone that is making his own homemade talk show, filmed while he sits daily in the John:  “Toilet Talk With Catterton.”

What is it about toilet humor that is … well, so humorous?  Is this really the level of whit we have dumbed ourselves down to?  I’m all for a dirty joke or two once in a while – but this toilet talk is just out of control.  To me, this is just another sign that our culture is becoming stupider and stupider; and that in our culture of excess, we overdo everything – even our toilet humor.  It would be wonderful if I could see a kid’s movie just once that doesn’t include anal jokes; or walk through the mall to get my rings cleaned and pick up my makeup at Sephora without hearing those ridiculous apps echoing throughout the entire shopping center.  I get it:  people think it’s funny.  A lot of people in this world are rednecks, and rednecks love the synthesis of their two favorite things:  jokes and toilets.  I understand completely.  But at this level?  Seriously?