Saturday, December 1, 2018

ICYMI: Mark Steyn Gold

As the Christmas season rolls around, and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is heard once again, it’s time to recall a 2014 Mark Steyn classic (scroll down) on the inadvertant impact of this song. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll, guest blogging at Instapundit, for the link.
A few decades back, a young middle-class Egyptian spending some time in the US had the misfortune to be invited to a dance one weekend and was horrified at what he witnessed.
The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips . . .
Where was this den of debauchery? Studio 54 in the 1970s? Haight-Ashbury in the summer of love? No, the throbbing pulsating sewer of sin was Greeley, Colorado, in 1949. As it happens, Greeley, Colorado, in 1949 was a dry town. The dance was a church social. And the feverish music was "Baby, It's Cold Outside," as introduced by Esther Williams in "Neptune's Daughter."

Revolted by the experience, Sayyid Qutb decided that America (and modernity in general) was an abomination, returned to Egypt, became the leading intellectual muscle in the Muslim Brotherhood, and set off a chain that led from Qutb to Zawahiri to bin Laden to the Hindu Kush to the Balkans to 9/11 to the brief Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt to the Islamic State marching across Syria and Iraq. Indeed, Qutb's view of the West is the merest extension of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" — America as the ultimate seducer, the Great Satan.
Imagine, Saturday night in Greeley rivaling Carnival in Rio as a fleshpot of steamy eroticism. Sayyid needed to get a life. Instead he got a neo-puritan cause.