Faith, Media & Culture

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

1. Depressing comedy. From The Wrap: (Family Guy creator) Seth MacFarlane took off the gloves during”The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen” last weekend and unleashed some spectacularly nasty zingers at the actor’s expense. The comic pile on of the troubled “Two and a Half Men” star doesn’t air until next Monday at 10:00 p.m. To stoke interest the network has been teasing viewers with some of the best bits from the toxic mock fest. In this clip, MacFarlane tries his hand at drafting Sheen’s obituary, speculating that the drug snorting, prostitute loving actor’s final appreciations will bear a resemblance to those for the late singer Amy Winehouse.
Is it just me or…is the idea of Charlie Sheen suffering the same tragic fate of Amy Winehouse just not funny? I’m really tired of comedians confusing caustic cruelty with comedy.

2. Book of Mormon movie planned. From Entertainment Weekly: South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have confirmed to EW that they plan to adapt their Broadway hit The Book of Mormon for the big screen. The multiple Tony-winning comedy-musical, which stars Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad as a pair of Mormon missionaries attempting to find converts in Uganda, has been playing to sold out houses since opening this spring and a national tour is set to debut in Denver, Colo., next summer.
Comment: You gotta give it to the Mormons who have either chosen to see the humor in the show or have simply followed the Biblical advice of turning the other cheek. We could all learn from them.

3. The cost of freedom. Among the more interesting books I’ve received for review recently is LOST IN TRANSITION: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood (Oxford, September 2011). In it,  authors Christian Smith, Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog suggest that this generation of young adults may be  facing more complex moral issues than any of the predecessors but without many of the guiding rules of previous generations. This generation has more freedom and opportunity than any that has ever existed but freedom untethered to a sense of morality that exists beyond mere personal choice or desire is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, I would argue, the reverse is true.

In the book, the authors focus on 230 in-depth interviews  conducted with a diverse assortment of young adults between the ages of ages 18-23 and delves into concerns over a generation beset with confused moral reasoning, routine intoxication, materialistic life goals, and disengagement from civic and political life.

Realizing, of course, that generalizing about an entire generation is no more fair than generalizing about any group, I’m looking forward to giving the book a full read. It’s certainly brings up issues that merit exploration.

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

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