Monday, April 04, 2011

Music Video Monday: Culture Club

This week's music video is in response to the (Ir)Reverend Terry Jones for burning the Qur'an, which sparked three days of rioting and death in Afghanistan so far. Of course, he denies any responsibility even though he knew what the likely outcome would be. When you know which buttons to push to set people off and you push the buttons, you're not much better than the people who react so irrationally. Despite how you might feel about our freedom of speech rights, it is an act of cowardice to hide behind the U.S. Constitution and our military when you do a provocative act that you know will likely instigate a violent response in the people you hate.

This week's song is also for the members of the Westboro Baptist Church that protests at military funerals with their "God Hates Fags" signs. I had wanted to feature this music video in January, after my disturbing conversation with my brother about the church that has brainwashed him into believing false concepts about God. As he told me about his beliefs, this song popped into my head, a song that I liked in the early 1980s: "Church of the Poison Mind."

One thing I wish all people would do is to not accept whatever some religious person tells you. At BYU, when Mormons questioned my practice of picking and choosing which spiritual ideas I liked best, they had asked me by what authority to I base my beliefs upon. The answer seemed to them a bit egotistical. I guess "my own authority" is not good enough. I can understand the skepticism, because how do you know? Well, I go with what resonates with my experience and knowledge. I also have certain questions that I ask of proselytizers that act as a "credibility check" and if they get their answers wrong, then I know that they are just making shit up or repeating something they were taught. For me, its easy to distinguish in a person which beliefs are authentically theirs and which ones were fed to them. One example if you want to know how to gauge the honesty of a proselytizer is to ask them about tithing. If they repeat the line that God will bestow blessings upon you or deny protection, you can guess that they are just parroting what they've been indoctrinated with. The point in giving tithing is not to get in return. Giving unselfishly means that there are no conditions attached at all. Whether you receive financial blessings or not is irrelevant to your giving and should not be your motive for giving.

There are a lot of churches that poison the minds of members. If you don't know how to recognize them, here's one major hint: if God hates the same people as the preacher does (actually, if God hates at all), then you can safely assume that it is one of the churches of the poison mind. Run, do not walk--R U N!!! Run as fast as you can away from such people.

As for the band Culture Club, they have to be the strangest band of the 1980s. As a kid watching Friday Night Videos (my parents did not have cable TV, partly because they didn't want us watching MTV all the time, which I most certainly would have, as I did whenever I went over to friends' houses), I remember being confused about who Boy George was. He was obviously a man, but dressed like a really ugly lady. Was he wanting to be a woman? He straddled the line between masculine and feminine and it was truly bizarre. I did not get him at all and even stranger was that I knew of some girls who had posters of the Culture Club on their bedroom walls.

Though their biggest hit is probably "Karma Chameleon", "Church of the Poison Mind" was my favourite of theirs at the time. Now, I'd say its their earlier ballad "Time (Clock of the Heart)." In Adam Sandler's 80s tribute film, The Wedding Singer, one character plays up the strangeness of the Boy George phenomenon. It was pretty hilarious. Sometimes, I miss the 80s, but the Culture Club is one band that needs to stay in the 1980s.

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