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A Conversation

You know, I didn’t actually have a stake in the baby it’s cold outside debate, but apparently this needs to be said, again.

Connotations and social meanings change over time.

Comedy is usually the artform on the bleeding edge of that change, it is meant to be challenging, divisive and pushing the envelope in a way that calls attention to deficits and discrimination in a way that is easier to see and understand than in regular context.

Other art forms have to deal with this as well, music is likely the next one to be pushing the envelope for a broader audience than say a novel or a movie. Arthouse movies and niche novels push their audiences but the reach is smaller.

So it is no surprise that a relatively old song has come up against a rapidly changing dynamic of social norms and practices than when it was first created.

In the case of this one song we are now having the same debate I’ve been hearing for several years
FB this isn’t new it’s been going around social media circles since 2012 and it’s getting old.

Someone tells you they can’t eat peanuts because they’re allergic you don’t feed them peanut butter because you think it will toughen them up.

Someone tells you that they hate horror movies you don’t make them watch them to get over themselves.

Someone tells you that a song reminds them too much of the time they were assaulted, you don’t play the song.

We all have ways in which we navigate the world around us. Sometimes we need to ask for help. If you’re response to that is “well I like it so it can’t be that bad” you are not only ignoring the person who had the courage to say something, you are telling them and all around them that you don’t care about other people’s feelings and what potentially may hurt them.

You do not need an explanation as to why someone can’t have peanut butter, or why they can’t listen to a Christmas song, or why the don’t do x, or can’t have y. You have an opportunity to say to this person, “I may not understand but my role is to make you feel safe and unharmed while you are here”.

That little offering goes further to helping foster trust and understanding between people than anything else.

As a caveat, as I know there will be mentions of it here. Calling out the inherent misogyny in one form of music does not negate the misogyny inherent in other forms. It is telling however that rap music is used as the scapegoat, when arguably pop music is rife with misogynistic lyrics.

I am not telling anyone they can or cannot enjoy something. I am however telling you that it takes a lot of courage to go to someone and say “I really would prefer/feel safer/it would help me if you didn’t play this song, etc”.

The world is shitty enough, the Nazis are back, fascism is on the rise, people are being killed and children are being locked up. Ultra right wing agendas are turning social media into a mess of puritanical bullshit.

Do something nice for someone, be open minded about why a song might bother them. You have not walked in their shoes and you do not know their struggles. You can however ease them, if just a little.

Okay have a puppy

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