This post originally appeared on my other blog, Every Page is Page One.
The world is full of silly writing rules. One of the silliest is the very silly war on very.
This post originally appeared on my other blog, Every Page is Page One in December 2018 when Baby It’s Cold Outside was the literary cause célèbre of the moment. Few, I’m sure, remember or care now, but the things I had to say on he function and responsibility of literary criticism still seem relevant, so I am reproducing it here.
The latest target of the scolding classes is a Baby It’s Cold Outside, a pop song from the 30s that is suddenly being “banned” from radio stations on the grounds that it condones rape, and, specifically, that the line “What’s in this drink?” is a reference to a date rape drug.
The accusation is absurd. As this article explains, the song is actually about the woman trying to talk herself into staying the night in the face of a list of a social taboos against her doing so, and “What’s in this drink?” is a common trope of the pop culture of its time, used to excuse saying something that violates some social norm. You are blaming your words on the booze, in other words, and the joke is that there is usually nothing in the drink.
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