“Kumbaya”: The New Standard of Political Fatuousness

Another plosive.

For the past couple of years, “people sitting around singing ‘Kumbaya'” has been a snide conservative put-down of sensitive, feelgood, hopelessly naive, stuck-in-the-’60s liberals.

I always hated the damn song, anyway, so the jokes didn’t really bother me.

Still, “Kumbaya” is essentially a hymn, a prayer entreating the lord to “come by here,” so it did strike me as odd that conservatives would mock it. I failed to consider that the song was sung mostly by folkers, hippies, progressives, and peaceniks. It should’ve been obvious to me that *their* god wouldn’t count. Sort of like their military service.

American conservatives get away with this all the time. They loved ridiculing Jean Chretien, the former Canadian prime minister who opposed the Iraq war, by calling him “Jean Cretin” — not bothering to notice or care that “Chretien” is French for “Christian.” Nobody called them on it, either, until about one sentence ago.

Want to see the conservative mockery machine consume itself in a cannibalistic feeding frenzy?

Get a bunch of folkers, hippies, progressives, and peaceniks to join hands and sing “Onward, Christian Soldiers” in French.

On a vaguely related note to lefites:

Hey hey! Ho ho!
‘Hey-hey-ho-ho’ chants have got to go!

I mean, really — if we can’t come up with anything cleverer than “hey hey ho ho” after 40 years, maybe the right wing deserves to win.

8 Responses to ““Kumbaya”: The New Standard of Political Fatuousness”

  1. Layne Says:

    In all fairness though, EVERYONE loved ridiculing Chretien, even the greasy bugger himself…ripping a country off is a lot easier when its citizens think you’re a buffoon.

  2. Spence Says:

    I just noticed that your comment form says URI instead of URL.

    On to the matter at hand, you know that Hey Hey, Ho Ho chant has gotten bad when Republicans start using it. I believe (could be wrong on this) but a bunch of college Republicans used that chant to say that “hey hey, ho ho, social security has got to go”.

    Somehow, I think it’s more appropriate to hear something so ‘geeky’ from college Republicans.

    I’m going to buy the Hard Time TPB from you (via Amazon). For some reason, my local comic book store forgot to hold it for me, and they’re sold out of the early issues.

    Love the blog.

  3. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    I have, however, won a least a few bar bets with the bit of obscurity that “Kumbaya” is an English word.

  4. Thyme Says:

    Does it matter what the name or music translates to? Is it more offensive because it’s religiously based? Should it be? (You know me, I’m curious)
    Moreover: the peace-loving hippies of yesteryear have been overcome by the masses that conform to today’s standards of nonconformity. These beings can be easily identified through patchouli clouds and brand name berkies.
    To them I’d just like ask: when did peace start smelling like morning breath? Can’t we embrace the freedom that a good deodorant and a stick of gum can bring?

  5. Leviathan Says:

    From Page 291 of the paperback edition of “Hush Money,” a “Spenser” mystery novel by Robert B. Parker:

    A small group of students were standing across the street, getting wet, chanting “Two, four, six, eight, USA can’t use youir hate.” I wondered why protesters so often demeaned their deepest-held convictions by reciting them loudly in doggerel.

    I think he’s onto something, and it may be that the “Hey Hey, Ho Ho” part isn’t the whole problem.

  6. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    Well, if you really don’t know, the idea of using “Kumbaya” derisively is to imply an immature level of simplistic thinking; the idea that all we have to do to solve the world’s problems is to join hands and sing “Kumbaya”. I’m not saying I agree with this depiction, but that is what the shorthand is.

  7. haven o'terrorism Says:

    To the guy at the top of the respondent list, Layne: employers of the extremely hilarious “Jean Cretin” joke are NOT just attempting to ridicule Chretien, but also CANADA, in much the same way as when they are calling us Soviet Canuckistan. So it doesn’t deserve excusing, and I wish you wouldn’t try. God, American conservative pundits are scumbags! Steve, you might find another good Canadian metaphor for the our way righteous/your way laughable principle, in medicine: Bush made a big deal about how Canadian drugs might not be safe for Americans…I ask you, is there one single person who believes this? But: get your filthy socialist drugs away from us, we want pure red-blooded God-fearing American drugs! And not drugs that fear your pathetic mainstream liberal Protestant or Catholic Jehovah, either! Why for all we know, your drugs will make our kids turn gay! Or smoke pot!

    Of course the irony here is that “singing Kumbaya” is still a necessary, though not sufficient, step in fixing any problem: because without political idealism, there is nothing to accomplish anyway but the lining of one’s own pockets. The mocking of “Kumbaya” implies that all idealism = immaturity, full stop.

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