Some people hear the line in the Christmas standard "Baby, It's Cold Outside" about, "Hey, what's in this drink?" and can't help but think of Bill Cosby. Tucker Carlson hears playful flirtation. The song was written during World War II, he said on his Fox News show Tuesday, "but some people are now finding offense with some of those lyrics. The song has been characterized as 'rapey.'" Carlson justifiably rolled his eyes over a new, "bowdlerized" version of the song, then brought on Vox writer Emily Crockett to play counterpoint to his defense of a Christmas song about a man pressuring a woman to have sex.
"Now feminists, maybe unfairly, have had this reputation as humorless scolds," Carlson began, and "I'm not sure attacks on this song do much to fight that perception." Crockett said her article wasn't an "attack" on the song, explaining that when she listens to the song, she can hear both the "rapey" and "romantic" sides. When the song was written, she noted, women "had to play hard to get, or had to just allow themselves to be seduced," rather than say they were interested in sex. At the same time, "putting pressure on a woman to have sex is just not cool for a variety of reasons," she said. "There's a difference between a negotiation and, you know, a predation." In the original version of the song, the man's part is labeled "wolf" and the woman's part is labeled "mouse," she said, which is "kind of creepy." "Why is that creepy?" Carlson asked.
"This issue is that it's a debate over whether the song promotes problematic ideas of consent, right?" Crockett said. "Don't you think that's a debate that's completely confined to small groups of silly rich people?" Carlson asked. When she said no, Carlson said he was trying to take this seriously, then brought up female genital mutilation, saying he never hears feminists complain about that on Vox. (Doesn't he have a research department, or the internet?)
"Culture matters," Crockett said, trying to find common ground. "I know conservatives feel this way, too, about culture, right? Like, we worry about the signals we're sending our kids. And if the signal we're sending our young men is that it's okay to badger and badger and pressure and pressure, and not listen to a woman, not respect her when she says no...." "Well, I'm against that," Carlson said, then he tried to adopt the left's language. "Isn't maybe even a bigger threat to our country and our minds to politicize art relentlessly?" When she said no, he cut in again: "So there can be no safe space from politics?" Watch. Peter Weber