I’m taking a break from studying and writing final exams to share this gem with the world. When I saw that Michael Mukasey had written an op-ed about how feminists are like jihadis for not liking “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” I knew I had to read it. Mukasey is a former federal judge and Attorney General. He really hates terrorists. So when he’s comparing feminists to terrorists, you can infer that he isn’t so fond of feminists, either.
In this op-ed, you get one paragraph about the song and contemporary discomfort with it at the beginning, then a bunch of stuff about Sayid Qutb and how he hated the song (and any intermingling between the sexes). And then at the end there’s a paragraph about how Qutb would be happy to see all these feminists carrying on his mission. There is almost no discussion of why some people are less comfortable with the song now. He just acts as if the fact that both Qutb and feminists don’t like this song shows that they are the same.
It’s stupid and I can’t believe it was published anywhere, let alone in the WSJ.
There are some good reasons to criticize the backlash against the song. For the most part, the song’s critics misinterpret it. Twenty-something-year-old listeners read rapeyness into the lyrics because they have been taught that, when it comes to sex, everyone says what they mean and means what they say. We have to watch videos in college about how each sexual act needs to be explicitly and enthusiastically consented to, and that consent can be revoked immediately, at any time. That kind of clarity in communication about sex was just not expected of anyone until very recently. It is something that we have devised in an attempt to make casual sex safer for both men and women.
But it just does not make any sense to compare contemporary critics of the song with Sayid Qutb. Some people nowadays want to encourage more explicit communication about sex so that casual sex is less risky. Qutb, on the other hand, was disgusted by the intermingling of men and women and revolted by the prospect of an unmarried man and woman spending the night together. Qutb and the feminists dislike the song for completely different reasons, and it makes no sense to use this song as a point of comparison between them.
This op-ed epitomizes bad right-wing commentary. It makes superficial comparisons so that less-discerning readers will start to associate the “enemy” of the day with people who are actually evil. It’s like how Dinesh D’Souza wastes so much paper printing his books about how the Democrats are actually the Real Nazis. The WSJ and Mukasey should do better than that.