Of all the wonderful things that come with this most wonderful time of the year, there's one thing, in particular, that the season is good for.
Good wishes, good feelings, good food and good friends. Good gatherings, good gifts and good tidings.
Well, that's actually glad tidings, but why spoil a good list of good things by needless nitpicking.
Oh...and there's one more good thing that's always good to go this time of year.
For the nonsecular ceremonial enthusiasts, there is "good news" as it refers to that which was gone and told on the mountain, harked and heralded by the angels and spiritedly offered up by Kathy Mattea in the title song of her 1993 collection of Christmas favorites.
But, wait, as the classic commercial heads-up announces....there's more.
Good news, that is.
And you need not necessarily subscribe to any particular theology, profess any particular Scriptural preference or align with any designated deity in order to enjoy the benefits.
Unless you're a musical archivist, a very informed music aficionado or a member of the family, you probably aren't familiar with Frank Loesser.
Loesser was a New York born, Tony award, Pulitzer Prize winning songwriter who wrote the lyrics and music to, among other successful Broadway shows, Guys and Dolls and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
He was also nominated for an Oscar five times for Best Song.
He won once.
For a song that he wrote for he and his wife to sing informally as a duet at dinner parties in their day, a song that went on to be recorded for the 1949 film, "Neptune's Daughter" in which it was sung to 1940's swimming star and movie star du jour Esther Williams by none other than a suave, Mexican of Spanish origin actor born Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Merino.
You might know him better as Ricardo Montalban.
Boomers will remember him as Mr. Roarke, the mysterious host/concierge of the 70's mystery TV series, "Fantasy Island".
But generations then and generations to come will most likely know Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Merino by his more iconic identity.
Khan Noonian Singh.
And what do the wrathful Mr. Khan and the tuneful Mr. Loesser have in common?
Hint...it's the wrath thing.
Cause good is what we're all about today.
And the good news.
That the right, and good, thing has finally been done
Because the song that Mr. Loesser perfected and Mr. Montalban performed has apparently, to hear folks tell it, actually been up to no good in the seventy or so years since it's creation.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside".
Recently determined by the court of public opinion to be insensitive, inappropriate, unacceptable, even offensive to the sensibilities of good and decent people everywhere.
Good and decent people, we feel sure, like say, Barry Manilow. Bette Midler. Tom Jones. Harry Connick, Jr. Anne Murray. Willie Nelson. Natalie Cole. Kelly Clarkson. Lady Gaga. Martina McBride. Sara Bareilles, James Taylor. Sheryl Crow. Vince Gill. Amy Grant. Meghan Trainor.
All of whom, among many multiples of others, have, at one time or another in the past seventy or so years, recorded and released the song in its original, unaltered, unedited, fun for man and woman to sing at parties version that was created by the tuneful Mr. Loesser.
Fast forward to America 2019.
Make that the wrathful America 2019.
And the revelation soaked in accusation that "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is, like pretty much anything found at a state fair with the word "fried" in front of it.....not good for you.
Because of "those" lyrics.
"Those" lyrics in a moment.
First, please enjoy the tuneful Khan.
The lyrics we're referring to when we refer to "those" lyrics are those lyrics that, per those who are voting "no good", imply sexual harassment, even date rape.
One lyrical moment, in particular, is, for those opposed, not good, not good at all.
"...The neighbors might think (baby, it's bad out there)
Say what's in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there...) "
Say what's in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there...) "
It's not completely unreasonable to be a little put off by the hint of slime in play here. Even if it's just a smidge of slime.
And while 1949 American culture likely read "what's in this drink?" as "hey, I said two fingers of vodka, not three" (look it up), 2019 American culture can't completely be dismissed if they're not thrilled with the "roofie-esque" implications involved here.
But there are a fair number of ways this could be dealt with.
One might even say a "good" number of ways.
One could simply write it off as a sign of the times. Those times.
Of course, this would involve both possessing, and being able to make use of, the intelligence and common sense required to understand that acknowledging something is not automatically a celebration, let alone endorsement, of that something.
And, lately, when it comes to intelligence and common sense.
Well, let's just say they're not doing so good these days.
We can't immediately fix the very big, very critical, very challenging, seemingly insurmountable issue.....so we go looking for smaller, more surmountable things to fix.
Smaller and more surmountable, but mostly superficial.
Cue the "re-write"
And the smaller, surmountable, superficial song stylings of John Legend and Kelly Clarkson.
Out with the old.
In with the new.
"what will my friends think (I think they should rejoice)
if I have one more drink / / (it's your body and your choice)..."
Any reasonable person is about proper, correct behavior.
Not to mention simple human courtesy.
But listening to this "attitude adjusted" version of Mr. Loesser's seasonal perennial, a couple of thoughts are suddenly good to go.
First, it's a little cringe inducing. Not in the way that, perhaps, Mr. Montalban's 1949 approach induces cringes in 2019, similar to, say, the way one cringes when they see fifty year old pictures of themselves, but, still.....
And possibly because by trying to "fix" it, all that's really accomplished is a prurient drawing of attention to it.
But, even worse, there's an unavoidable sense that what's really going on here is an attempt to band-aid a little cut while unable to treat, even ignoring, the gaping wounds in plain sight these days.
In a culture that finds Kardashians deserving of admiration and emulation.
Weinsteins worthy of a single, solitary thing except a lifetime spent in solitary.
A culture that finds foul mouthed, pussy grabbing demagogues worthy of being not only allowed but, actually, in some minds, joyfully welcomed to, occupancy of the Oval Office.
Seventy or so years later, one wonders what Frank Loesser would be feeling.
Regret? Remorse? Embarrassment?
Or maybe just "that was then, this is now."
Which, come to think of it, might be a good idea.
In a season of good wishes, good feelings, good food and good friends. Good gatherings, good gifts and good tidings.
And every woman who has ever been, or has yet to be, violated can now take comfort in knowing that a seventy five year old pop song of three minutes duration.....
...has been sanitized for their protection.
Now, that's good news.