Baby, it’s crazy outside

Bill Murchison

As Cole Porter slyly reminds us: “In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking / Now heaven knows / Anything goes ....”

Well, you know, depending on the state of Puritan politics at a given moment. The Puritan habit of scolding -- and gazing sourly upon -- others for improper behavior is a human constant. And not just among longfaced conservatives, I beg to point out.

Let us contemplate -- if we have to, and I guess we do -- the current attempt to deplore a non-Porter song written before most living Americans were born, having fun with a guy’s attempt to coax a girl into staying put amid the warmth of his apartment. The song, of course, is Frank Loesser’s rollicking duet “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” written in 1944 as a Hollywood party act for Loesser and his wife. The song was subsequently made famous -- and Academy-awarded -- in the movie “Neptune’s Daughter.” The song is a hoot: “I really can’t stay (But baby, it’s cold outside) ... My mother will start to worry (Beautiful, what’s your hurry?) / My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar) ... But maybe just a half a drink more ...” And so on. No wonder we’ve been listening to it ever since Truman was president.


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