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This isn't singing 'Kumbaya

Posted by Smokey Stover on February 26, 2006

In Reply to: This isn't singing 'Kumbaya posted by Bob on February 26, 2006

: : "This isn't singing 'Kumbaya,' " I understand that 'Kumbaya' is a folk song and that the word is associated with unity or closeness.

: : But I often hear "This isn't singing 'Kumbaya,' ". Could someone restate the phrase for me without using 'singing' and 'Kumbaya'.

: This is a tough problem, and the solution won't be easy. Heads will roll. People will be stressed. Bruises, conflict, struggle. Darwinian survival for those who endure. It is not, in short, a situation that can be solved by sitting around in a circle singing wimpy folk songs hoping that uplifting attitudes will make everything right. Pragmatism versus "newage," which is New Age thinking set to rhyme with sewage.

Bob is getting in his licks in his usual colorful, but accurate, way. Kumbaya is a simple song of somewhat uncertain origin (possibly Gullah), but with a positive theme, sung by groups stressing positive (i.e., Polyanna-ish) attitudes. Allegedly it can be heard or sung at karaoke bars, where anyone from the audience, talented or not, can get up and sing well-known songs to a pre-recorded accompaniment. Karaoke bars originated in Japan, but in the U.S. the word is pronounced kar-i-o-ki, or possibily ker-i-o-ki. It is sometimes argued that you have to have a positive attitude to mistake the singing you hear in a karaoke bar for music. New Agers are not particularly associated with karaoke bars, but are thought by outsiders (people who don't buy crystals) to have something in common, namely, a somewhat Panglossian view of the world. SS