And Finally Artist News

Dean Martin’s daughter says Baby, It’s Cold Outside controversy is “outrageous”

By | Published on Wednesday 12 December 2018

Dean Martin

This is turning out to be quite a controversial Christmas when it comes to your favourite festive songs, isn’t it? Recently Shane MacGowan responded to complaints about a certain word in The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale Of New York’. Now the daughter of late singer Dean Martin has said that her father “would be going insane right now” if he were alive to see the controversy over ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, a version of which he recorded in 1959.

Many have recently argued that the call and response song between a woman who says she needs to go home and a man demanding that she stay with him isn’t particularly appropriate Christmas listening in the wake of #MeToo. The controversy has become a talking point after various US radio stations banned the song – detractors highlighting one line in particular, where the female character sings “Hey, what’s in this drink?”

Appearing on ‘Fox & Friends’ on Fox News, Deana Martin responded to the controversy, saying: “[The female character in the song] is sweet, she’s playing along with him. It’s flirting, it’s sexy, it’s sweet, there’s nothing bad about that song, and it just breaks my heart”.

As for what Martin Senior would have thought about it all, she added: “I know my dad would be going insane right now. He would say, ‘What’s the matter with you? Get over it, it’s just a fun song’. Cos he was so sweet anyway, he would never say anything bad like that. He was a great guy, a fun guy, nice, and he wouldn’t want to do anything offensive, that wasn’t Dean Martin”.

Asked if she would accept the most controversial line in the song – about the drink – being censored, she adds: “I don’t wanna change the lyrics where she says, ‘Hey, what’s in this drink?’. I don’t think she’s talking about some pill being put in that drink. I think she’s saying, like, ‘What’s in this drink? Is it punch, is it vodka?’ It’s nice, it just breaks my heart that people are turning that around … People have to have a sense of humour about themselves. I understand the #MeToo movement and everything, I’m all for that, but we’ve gotta relax and have fun again”.

Although Dean Martin is particularly known for performing the song, ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ was originally written in 1944 by Frank Loesser. It then featured in 1949 movie ‘Neptune’s Daughter’, going on to win an Oscar. In the original score, the man is named as ‘Wolf’ and the woman as ‘Mouse’, which may also be taken as a black mark against it. However, others say that shifts in language over the last 75 years have changed how we view the song and the status of the woman in it.

“I’m so tired of this”, tweeted comedian Jen Kirkman earlier this month. She then argued that the song is not about the male character “coercing sex”, but rather it’s about a woman who “knows her reputation will ruined if she stays”. As for ‘Say, what’s in this drink?’, it’s “an old movie line from the 30s that means ‘I’m telling the truth'”.

“She wanted to get down and stay over [and] he is offering her an excuse she can use”, she goes on. “She’s explaining to him that excuse doesn’t work when you’re a woman who has to deal with what the neighbours think. The song has a lot to teach us about how society views women’s sexuality. But the lesson of this song is NOT that it’s about forcing a woman into sex”.

She concludes: “If you want to be outraged, be outraged about what the song is actually about – the double standard in regards to sex that women face and how nothing much has changed. And then enjoy the song. It’s a delight. The song ends with her joining him in the chorus of ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’. She’s staying over. She will deal with her Maiden Aunt tomorrow”.

So, anyway, there’s something you can argue about over Christmas lunch when you’re tired of debating your uncle’s views on Brexit.