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South Park Tackles the Cosby Scandal With a Date Rapey Christmas Song

Last night, as promised/threatened, South Park tackled the Bill Cosby rape allegations in the most South Parkian way possible — by weaving it into an initially inscrutable subplot that only played a small part in lampooning a meta cultural force.

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This particular segment of the show featured Bill Cosby serenading a woman on a holiday special with "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which everybody who has turned 16 has discovered sounds a little bit like an ode to a midwinter's date rape (in recent years, contrarians have argued, fruitlessly, that this is not the case and that we should all go back to loving it, but that hasn't stopped the association). Unfortunately for Bill Cosby, one of the verses of the song also spells out his exact alleged modus operandi — drugging women before sexually assaulting them.

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doughnaught
doughnaught

"Baby, It's Cold Outside," which everybody who has turned 16 has discovered sounds a little bit like an ode to a midwinter's date rape (in recent years, contrarians have argued, fruitlessly, that this is not the case and that we should all go back to loving it, but that hasn't stopped the association).

Oh, for fuck's sake. Every goddamn year. We've gone over this. It's only about date rape if you're completely and utterly clueless about the context in which the song was written.

If we look at the text of the song, the woman gives plenty of indication that she wants to stay the night. At the time period the song was written (1936), "good girls," especially young, unmarried girls, did not spend the night at a man's house unsupervised. The tension in the song comes from her own desire to stay and society's expectations that she'll go. We see this in the organization of the song — from stopping by for a visit, to deciding to push the line by staying longer, to wanting to spend the entire night, which is really pushing the bounds of acceptability. Her beau in his repeated refrain "Baby, it's cold outside" is offering her the excuses she needs to stay without guilt.

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"Say, what's in this drink" is a well-used phrase that was common in movies of the time period and isn't really used in the same manner any longer. The phrase generally referred to someone saying or doing something they thought they wouldn't in normal circumstances; it's a nod to the idea that alcohol is "making" them do something unusual. But the joke is almost always that there isnothing in the drink. The drink is the excuse. The drink is the shield someone gets to hold up in front of them to protect from criticism. And it's not just used in these sort of romantic situations. I've heard it in many investigation type scenes where the stoolpigeon character is giving up bits of information they're supposed to be protecting, in screwball comedies where someone is making a fool of themselves, and, yes, in romantic movies where someone is experiencing feelings they are not supposed to have.