Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 19, 2012

Stumptalk: Theyare rioting in Africa

By Ted La Vaque
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — The more things change, as the saying goes, the more they stay the same. When I was an undergraduate and could tolerate such things, my friends and I would stay up in the wee small hours and play records. You know, those odd black round flat things with tiny grooves that you had to play on a turntable and handle carefully to make sure the surface didn’t get scratched. By the early ‘60s we had “LP”s, and “hi-fi” was also coming into vogue.

The long night music appreciation gatherings included philosophizing and solving the world’s political problems, the solutions being made more obvious to everyone as the amount of beer consumed continued. We probably began to sound like progressives.  Bits of lyrics and melody from one of the records by the Kingston Trio came to mind the other day, and I went online to find the whole song. It was called “They Are Rioting in Africa” (The Merry Minuet). I regret that I cannot replicate the melody in print.  I can only produce limited lyrics because I don’t know the copyright rules. I therefore invite you to go online to read and hear the entire production for yourselves. You will be astonished at how current the song is. It is sung to a light and happy melody: 

“They are rioting in Africa,They’re starving in Spain

There’s hurricanes in Florida, And Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.

The French hate the Germans,The Germans hate the Poles.

Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch

And I don’t like anybody very much.”

(Have to skip ahead to the final stanza)

“They’re rioting in Africa.There’s strife in Iran

What nature doesn’t do to us,Will be done by our fellow man.”

Beats the heck out of rap, huh? This trip down memory lane has more point to it than the mere reminiscences of an aging mind. It is pretty clear that the world has not changed significantly in over 50 years. The UN has not progressed beyond the function of an international talking shop and collection agency for U.S. dollars. Therefore nothing changes. Even Obama. I mean, he was there, right? He lived in Pakistan as a boy. Claims special knowledge of the area and cultures. Was confident enough to go about the region apologizing for U.S strength and accomplishment. Reduce our “presence” in the Middle East.  Convince U.S. citizens that the recent riots are our fault, because of a stupid movie no one saw.

After we were attacked and our ambassador and other Americans were murdered, Obama concluded that had been accomplished by Libyan shopkeepers using their personal RPG stash they were saving for hunting season because there are no more terrorists. I find it to be ironic that the “protesters” wind up killing more of their own people and destroying more of their own buildings and material wealth than they do U.S. people or wealth. “Boy, we will show America. We will kill a bunch more of our own people and burn a bunch of our own stuff to prove how upset we are.” Pakistan was a good example. Then Clinton goes out to yet again apologize for the film trailer no one had seen until Obama brought it up, giving them a ready-made excuse for their version of the Super Bowl. Yup. They’re rioting in Africa (and Pakistan and…) and Obama is clueless. This is a perfect time to reduce our military. Obama will definitely have an international impact.

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Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Phil Billington at