Time has smoothed away all offence. The minstrel band is forgotten. The priapic swagger has been excised and we're left with a jolly little song about happy people driving about in a snowy landscape.
The songs origins have been excavated by Kyna Hamill - a theatre historian at the University of Boston. She went looking for its origins and the pay dirt she hit turned out to be dirtier than expected. I get my information from The Daily Mail- which loves this kind of stuff and uses it as excuse to give voice to angry white men shouting that the nasty liberal woman has robbed them of their childhood innocence. I won't link. I don't want to do anything to perpetuate the drama. But the story in itself is really quite interesting if you can face picking your way past all the spilt sputum. It has a lot to say about America then and America now and the feverish relationship between the two.