December 10, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Banning those Hateful Christmas Songs—What Would Dante Say?
It was one of those little things—one of those sudden interruptions of a pre-planned schedule—that stops you in your tracks, that convinces you to alter what you had hoped to accomplish during the day. As I briefly caught a segment of “Fox & Friends” this morning before turning over to hear some classic Christmas music and prepare my Christmas cards—there she was, Deanna Martin, daughter of the late Dean Martin, interviewed about the recent spate of banning of the romantic Christmas song, “Baby it’s cold outside.”
I did a double-take. I remembered vaguely the song. It was written back in 1944 by lyricist/composer Frank Loesser, and then featured in the 1949 musical comedy, the film Neptune’s Daughter starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, and Ricardo Montalban. It actually won an Academy Award for best song that year.
But in December 2018 the song was being banned by radio stations as an example of “toxic masculinity” and “sexism.”
Here is a portion of a report featured on National Public Radio (NPR):
“…The call and response duet has a female voice trying to tear herself away from her date in myriad ways: "I've got to go away ... Hey, what's in this drink?" And finally, "The answer is no." But her declarations of "no" are far from final, with the male voice, wheedling "Mind if I move in closer ... Gosh, your lips are delicious ... How can you do this thing to me?"
Cleveland's WDOK put its foot down where the female voice could not, announcing its ban of the song last week. "I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong," . "The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place." Brian Figula, program director of saw and determined the song would have no place at his San Francisco station. He banned it on Monday.” [Amy Held, “'Baby, It's Cold Outside,' Seen As Sexist, Frozen Out By Radio Stations,” https://www.npr.org/2018/12/05/673770902/baby-it-s-cold-outside-seen-as-sexist-frozen-out-by-radio-stations ]
The cries of “date rape” and “toxic masculinity” resounded on feminist Web sites, via Twitter, and Facebook. “Ban it!” they screamed. “It is an ugly example of historic male dominance and manipulation of women!” they wrote.
But just as the effort to exile one more piece of historic Americana gained momentum there was, as well, a backlash from angry listeners to have the song restored, and a few stations have, given the public outrage, altered course and brought the song back.
Nevertheless, this most recent example of what feminism has brought us got me thinking: just in the past several years there have been dozens of similar episodes, calls to ban or expunge songs associated with Christmas and the Christmas holiday. Those efforts have usually employed the twin accusations of “racism” and “sexism”—charges that have been weaponized by the post-Marxist Left and the Progressives who now dominate not just the Mainstream Media, but the Democratic Party, and almost the entirety of academia and, increasingly, Hollywood. And in numerous cases, the results have seen familiar tunes, previously considered part of our historic musical heritage and holiday season, disappear from the airwaves.
Years ago, I recall similar efforts: Remember the old familiar religious hymns, “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains”? Both were denounced as “colonialist,” “fostering Western imperialism,” and “racist.” The late Bishop Vincent S. Waters, Catholic Bishop of Raleigh, more than fifty years ago would host Saturday breakfasts to which a wide variety of religious and secular leaders were invited. I was a regular attendee, and at one of those breakfasts he had me seated right next to the Reverend W. W. Finlator, pastor of the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. Pullen Memorial was arguably the most liberal congregation in Raleigh, maybe in all of North Carolina. It had seceded from the Southern Baptist Convention, and its minister, Reverend Finlator, was by any definition, a vocal denizen of the “religious left”—an oxymoron, if there ever was one.
Back in 1970 I think my dear friend, Bishop Waters, had seated me there on purpose, for as soon as our conversations began, Finlator and I were at crossed swords, and, in particular, about music; first about the use of the traditional Latin liturgy (which I staunchly favored), but then turning to those hymns sung in many Protestant churches, and the efforts to purge them because somehow, somewhere, they might offend an Aborigine or Bantu in the jungles of darkest Africa. Like most Progressivists Finlator believed that Christianity in its public worship and manifestations and how it crafted its message, must change with the times. Truth was dependent on the spirit of the age and needed to reflect that in both its approach and its message.
For me this was—and is—the total inversion of the truth of that message, of the Gospel, and, effectively, of the consistent and never-changing teaching of the Church.
Reflecting now on the more recent controversies over those favorite songs we sing at Christmas and the attacks made on them as “racist” or “sexist,” the conversations I had with W. W. Finlator have come back to me.
The same #Resist movement that has spawned violent demonstrations about our historical monuments, most specifically those honoring Confederate veterans—the same #MeToo frenzy that demands the emasculation of men in the name of “women’s equality”—the same Progressivists who demand that those Nativity creches in front of public buildings be removed—the same zealots who file lawsuits to ban prayer before a school board or town council meeting—those folks are all part and parcel of the same hounds of Hell who loathe the very mention of traditional religion, who cannot sleep as long as one symbol of historic Christian faith—one symbol vaguely connected to or representative of Western Christian heritage—remains in public view, or in earshot. They may direct their emphases to this or that despised aspect of our traditions, but they emerge from essentially the same infernal source, and their disfiguring lunacy is both a self-consuming madness and utterly destructive of the civilization and its culture which we have inherited.
Just a few days I came upon what may capture the eventuality of this infectious and rancid brew—a fetid “rough beast” that encapsulates it all. A professor of clinical psychology and “sexuality studies,” Eric Sprankle, at Minnesota State University-Mankato,
“…has accused God of sexual misconduct for impregnating Mary, the mother of Jesus, without her 'consent'. Eric Sprankle, an associate professor of clinical psychology and sexuality studies at Minnesota State University-Mankato, criticized the Biblical Christmas story, saying the Christian deity was 'predatory' . 'The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen,' Sprankle wrote on Twitter. 'There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.” [https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6471593/Minnesota-State-professor-accuses-God-sexual-misconduct.html]
Thus, an all-powerful Male, indeed a deity, forcing Himself on an innocent teenage girl, “without her consent.” If this isn’t “rape” and “toxic masculinity,” then, pray tell, what is? “To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst,” the professor wrote.
The article from the London Daily Mail goes on to identify just who this Professor Sprankle is: “Sprankle is an apparent Satanist, whose Twitter bio includes the phrase 'Hail Satan' in Latin. He has also posted pictures of the Satanic Christmas decorations in his home, and complained about the abundance of Christian student groups and lack of Satanic groups on his university's campus.”
So, there you have it—the ultimate expression of the ultimate destination where this multifaceted movement for “liberation” is urgently headed. But the “liberation” proposed and advanced is our delivery into the clutches of pure Evil which emits from the very Bowels of Hell.
The great poet Dante Alighieri, in his The Divine Comedy, imagined as perhaps no other secular visionary what that Evil entailed. In Part III, “Inferno,” in the lowest level of Hell he describes the frozen lake in which the souls of the worst of the damned remain imprisoned for eternity, ruled by, “the Emperor of the Realm of Woe [who] stood forth out of the ice from midway up his breast.” Indescribable pain, utter and uncontrollable frenzy and madness, and unalleviated and concentrated hatred for the Good—characterize the souls, the subjects of that dark lord. And that same fate is held up, disguised as a tempting bauble to inveigle us all.
The Apostle in I Peter 5:8 describes and warns us of this: “Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.” (Douai-Rheims Version)
The surest way to reject the “roaring lion,” this Hydra-headed Behemoth and its diverse and multifaceted modern incarnations intent of gorging on the entrails of Western Christian civilization, is to forcefully reject it and send it reeling back to the lower level of Hell from whence it came.