Okay, I'll admit it: I never really expected intellectual heavyweight and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to weigh in on the "Baby, It's Cold Outside" controversy. But he did.
And his take is well worth reading. According to Mr. Mukasey, the MeToo movement is not the first to find the 1940s song offensive.
The Egyptian writer and government official Sayyid Qutb, who found Egypt insufficiently Islamic under King Farouk, beat the MeToo movement to disparagement of the song.
Qutb arrived at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley in 1948. He didn’t much like it. “I stayed there six months and never did I see a person or a family actually enjoying themselves,” he wrote. Even gardening drew his contempt: “There is nothing behind this activity in the way of beauty or artistic taste. It is the machinery of organization and arrangement, devoid of spirituality and aesthetic enjoyment.”
But contempt curdled into revulsion when Qutb dropped in on a church dance that followed a service—a shocking juxtaposition in itself: “The dance hall convulsed to the tunes on the gramophone and was full of bounding feet and seductive legs. . . . Arms circled waists, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of passion.”
The song that was playing: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” For Qutb, it epitomized the West’s moral degradation. He condemned the “animal-like mixing of the sexes,” concluded that Americans were “numb to faith in art, faith in religion, and faith in spiritual values altogether,” and determined that Islam would have to be perpetually at war with such a society.
He went back to Egypt, quit the civil service, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, and eventually became the organization’s spiritual leader.
. . .
Fast forward to today, when our exquisitely sensitive thought leaders are cracking down on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Somewhere perhaps Sayyid Qutb is smiling as those who would make rules for the Western culture he so hated channel his moral sensibility.
Read the entire piece.