Sunday, September 11, 2016

Culture Club: Karma Chameleon (1983)

Boy George (born George Alan O’Dowd; June 14, 1961), the lead singer of Culture Club, a British band, performs “Karma Chameleon,” the first song on the album, Colour by Numbers, released on October 1983. This video was filmed at Desborough Island, a large artificially created island on the River Thames near Surrey, England. This fits the genre of blue-eyed soul and is part of what is called British New Romanticism [1979–1981].

The song speaks about individual alienation in the face of totalitarian conformity common to the human race and the negative consequences of it. The song remains relevant today with societal fragmentation, the lack of social harmony and the breakdown of social cohesion so prevalent in so many nations around the globe. Nuance and irony have become less recognizable; as has humor and the pure joy of laughter. It has often been replaced by fear, anger and resentment, leading to greater insecurity.

Even so, there continues to be so much talk about security and justice and so little about mercy and morality. Although this might seem counter-intuitive, there is the need for forgiveness, both in the giving and the receiving. Can any of us say with certainty and candor that they have no regrets? Human relations and human activity always leads to such feelings.  I have my own regrets; humans are not machines bereft of emotions. Admitting this is never easy. Remember: a society without mercy or forgiveness can never be just. It can only be self-righteous and cruel.

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