With the ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ Uproar, Islam and #MeToo Intersect
Many people have asked me how Leftists can ally with Islamic hardliners who adhere to Sharia, a system of laws that would have many of them executed. One clue to the logic of this curious alliance came recently in the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” controversy: Here, we see a relationship of “like to like” as two groups of joyless, controlling authoritarians come together.
The #MeToo bans on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” are ironic in this age of gangsta rap lyrics full of violent rape imagery and open, unapologetic misogyny, and the bans have been rolled back here and there after listener outcries, but they’re still instructive. They show an intersection of Sharia sensibilities with the harsh and angry puritanism of some radical feminists.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s great theorist Sayyid Qutb has been called “the father of modern [Islamic] fundamentalism.” He sharpened his distaste for the West while living in the United States from November 1948 to August 1950. His disgust with the gaudy materialism of postwar America was intense -- and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was, for him, Exhibit A of American decadence.
The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS recounts how, in Greeley, Colorado, where Qutb lived for a short time, he was thoroughly scandalized by a dance after an evening service at a local church:
The dancing intensified … The hall swarmed with legs … Arms circled arms, lips met lips, chests met chests, and the atmosphere was full of love.
The pastor further scandalized Qutb by dimming the lights, creating “a romantic, dreamy effect,” and playing a popular record of the day -- none other than “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” One modern-day hater of the song, Glenn Anderson of Cleveland’s Star 102 radio station, would have been no less offended than Qutb:
Now, I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place.
Anderson and Qutb both no doubt felt righteous and superior to the libertines who dared to enjoy this song. Qutb also sounded much like a modern American Leftist when he concluded:
I fear that when the wheel of life has turned and the file on history has closed, America will not have contributed anything.
Modern Leftists would likely also find much to agree with in Qutb’s influential book Milestones, in which he declared:
Mankind today is on the brink of a precipice, not because of the danger of complete annihilation which is hanging over its head -- this being just a symptom and not the real disease -- but because humanity is devoid of those vital values which are necessary not only for its healthy development but also for its real progress.
With his time in America probably in mind, Qutb continued:
Even the Western world realizes that Western civilization is unable to present any healthy values for the guidance of mankind. It knows that it does not possess anything which will satisfy its own conscience and justify its existence.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez couldn’t have said it better. Qutb concluded:
It is essential for mankind to have new leadership!
That new leadership would come from Islam; what Leftist today would dare to object and risk being charged with “Islamophobia”? Qutb advances Islam as:
... a challenge to all kinds and forms of systems which are based on the concept of the sovereignty of man; in other words, where man has usurped the Divine attribute. Any system in which the final decisions are referred to human beings, and in which the sources of all authority are human, deifies human beings by designating others than God as lords over men.
Qutb also taught that jihad was necessary in order to establish Sharia, couching his appeal in Leftist-friendly language about liberating human beings from oppression:
The establishing of the dominion of God on earth, the abolishing of the dominion of man, the taking away of sovereignty from the usurper to revert it to God, and the bringing about of the enforcement of the Divine Law [Sharia] … and the abolition of man-made laws cannot be achieved only through preaching. Those who have usurped the authority of God and are oppressing God’s creatures are not going to give up their power merely through preaching; if it had been so, the task of establishing God’s religion in the world would have been very easy for the Prophets of God! This is contrary to the evidence from the history of the Prophets and the story of the struggle of the true religion, spread over generations.
Indeed, the evidence of Islamic history is that bloodshed and authoritarianism have been omnipresent. As the Left grows increasingly authoritarian and violent, the message of that joyless, humorless puritan Sayyid Qutb may be just what today’s equally joyless and humorless Leftists are looking for to warm them up.