Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. Media shock! Sarah Palin’s emails reveal a “disciplined mind.” From AOL Weird News: AOL Weird News brought samples to two writing analysts who independently evaluated 24,000 pages of the former governor’s emails. They came back in agreement that Palin composed her messages at an eighth-grade level, an excellent score for a chief executive, they said. “I’m a centrist Democrat, and would have loved to support my hunch that Ms. Palin is illiterate,” said 2tor Chief Executive Officer John Katzman. “However, the emails say something else. Ms. Palin writes emails on her Blackberry at a grade level of 8.5…
…”She came in as a solid communicator,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor. The emails registered as an 8.2 on his version of the test. “That’s typical for a corporate executive.”…”She’s very concise. She gives clear orders. Her sentences and punctuations are logical,” Payack said. “She has much more of a disciplined mind than she’s given credit for.”
Comment: Let’s see. No scandalous revelations and this. All in all, perhaps the least-successful media witch hunt ever.

2. The world according to Wanda. From NewsBusters: The Huffington Post ran a story on reaction to (comedian Tracy) Morgan’s “homophobic rant,” including (this tweet) from the openly gay (comedian Wanda) Sykes —

…Tracy is just a dumb comic. I fault the TN lawmakers. They’ve created an anti-gay environment.

…Tennessee lawmakers are at fault, presumably as Sykes sees it, due to the state senate passing legislation that bans instruction about homosexuality in public schools.
Comment: Poor easily-influenced Morgan. I’d hate to hear what he would have said had be been performing his act in Tehran.

3. ABC’s Dancing with the Stars sidesteps gay controversy.From Fox News: Has the time come for ABC’s hit, “Dancing with the Stars,” to pair up same sex couples? “DWTS” featured dancer Mark Ballas thinks so…Ballas, who has reportedly romanced “American Idol” finalist Pia Toscano, is open to doing the mambo with Ricky Martin on “Dancing with the Stars” next season, saying: “I’d be down!”But Ballas can put down his maracas, as a pairing with Martin would be an extremely unlikely scenario.“ABC execs wouldn’t consider it,” a source tells FOX411.com. “They’re not hot on the idea of casting same sex couples.”
Comment: Too bad. Hoofing it with a guy on DWTS would have been a graet make-up gig for Tracy Morgan.

4. Russell eats crow on circumcision tweet. From BBC: Hollywood star Russell Crowe has apologised for criticising the ritual of circumcision on his Twitter account. Crowe said the procedure was “barbaric and stupid” but later deleted his comments.He later wrote: “I’m very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress. “My personal beliefs aside, I realise that some will interpret this… as me mocking rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry,” he added.
IMHO: A pretty decent apology.

5. MRC’s Brent Bozell compares Weiner scandal to MTV Movie Awards. From Bozell’s blog: Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are starring in the upcoming summer comedy “Friends with Benefits,” yet another movie exploring the “dream life” of casual and very cold sex. As they introduced the award for Best Male Performance, Timberlake and Kunis grabbed each other’s private parts on national TV. Reflect for just a moment on what Weiner did, and the medium he chose, and the audience he was addressing. Now consider this action, which was raunchier – and on national television, aimed at an audience of millions of children.
IMHO: In truth what Weiner did was probably even more inappropriate but Bozell’s point is well taken. The bar of what constitutes acceptable behavior on television has become incredibly low. Whatever happened to class?

6. Glee reality spinoff show bombs. From Hollywood Reporter: The premiere of Oxygen’s The Glee Project drew just 455,000 viewers Sunday night at 9 p.m. with only 211,000 in the 18-49 demographic. Even worse, among Oxygen’s core demographic of women 18-34, only 80,000 watched. Granted the show faced the final game of a riveting NBA championship as well as the Tony Awards. But a combined total (for the premiere and the encore) of 792,000 viewers is nevertheless a head scratcher for Oxygen executives.
Comment: Could it be that the popularity of the original Glee is overstated?

7.  Glamorizing serial killers. From The Wrap: If Drew Peterson is innocent, he can always console himself with the fact that Rob Lowe will play him in a Lifetime movie. But if he’s guilty, he joins a long line of killers played by Hollywood’s beautiful people.
Comment: Couldn’t Lowe play a great-looking saint? Exceptional goodness is at least as fascinating as exceptional evil — and it would be healthy for a cynical society to spend some time  focusing on positive examples of lives worth emulating.

8. Actress Angie Harmon (TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles) on balancing faith, family and working in Hollywood. From Good Housekeeping: Moving the family from L.A. to Charlotte, NC, last August has obviously complicated Harmon’s and (husband Jason) Sehorn’s lives colossally. There’s now a discouraging 2,000-plus miles between home and the studio where Rizzoli & Isles is filmed — though the family reunites on the West Coast during summer vacation…Harmon takes pride in instilling her values in the girls. Some of the guidelines she reveres: “They need to know that everybody needs to be respected. There is no one on this planet who’s better than they are, and they aren’t better than anybody else. Treat others as you would have them treat you. And you’re not pretty on the outside unless you’re pretty on the inside.”…When her career hit a wall a couple of years ago, she figured it was time to shelve her acting aspirations. However, before she embraced full-time motherhood, she prayed for guidance about which path to pursue. “I said to God, ‘If the plan is to raise these girls, I will wholeheartedly do that, because they are so important to me,'” she recalls. “Once I made that transition in my heart, the [Rizzoli & Isles] script was literally on my doorstep the next day.” She took that as a sign that her acting days were not yet behind her…While faith has always been a touchstone in Harmon’s life, it has come to play a bigger and bigger role. “As a mother, I can’t be close enough to God. I am always praying for protection,” says Harmon, who loves The Power of a Praying Parent book series by Stormie Omartian.

9. The funniest Dalai Lama interview ever  is here:

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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