The zeigeist calls for it. For A Year In December today, I talk about something by Johnny Mercer & Margaret Whiting.
This is such an easy song to love. Nobody’s refused a clarinet at the door. Mercer and Whiting complete each other’s sentences without actually completing their sentences. It’s back and forth, charming Mercer on the one hand, occasionally playing the heartbroken schmuck (listen to him sap “how can you do this thing to me?”), Whiting on the other hand, to-and-fro-ing, putting a blanket of innocence over desire’s fire. But this is also such an easy song to tear apart in a time of #metoo, Sokal Squared, cute-sounding nicknames for Rohypnol, and social media trolls with full-time commenting gigs. Did Whiting really sing “Say what’s in this drink”? Is Mercer’s “mind if I move in closer?” rhetorical? I’m reminded of a screenshot posted on Reddit where a girl on Tinder asks something along the lines of “what would you do to me if I were naked in your bedroom” and the reply is “ask for consent.” So I suggest that if you, like me, want to fall in love with the late Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting via this song and find yourself held back just a little: play the song, read the lyrics, and come to your own personal conclusion. This is the era we’re in. It’s the least you can do.