Here are today’s Top 10 dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. 40 years since the debut of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Here’s star Malcolm McDowell talking about the milestone to The Wrap: “When it first came out, the audience sat there in stunned silence. And I’m thinking, ‘They hate it! Oh my God! We made a comedy, there’s not one laugh! These people!’ And I’m going, ‘What is wrong with the Americans?’ I was blaming the Americans, but it was the same in England. They just sat there stunned. And it was only when time caught up, now with an audience of young people who see this movie, they laugh at every nuance, everything. So now I’m happy because I see the movie that I made, that I thought I made, and they love it for the black comedy.”

IMHO: The supposed “comedy” of this over-praised film involved a rape scene in which a group  of young British thugs burst into an apartment and gidily go about beating an older man while taunting a younger woman as they violated her.  The video is available online but I opted not to link to it as it’s not appropriate for this site.
Unfortunately, I think McDowell is correct. The kind of scenes that once shocked and repulsed audiences is now considered by some to be “nuanced” comedy (because, we’re told, there’s brilliant social commentary going on amidst the really fun and quirky violence). The actual impact of such films is a desensitizing of audiences to acts of human cruelty — even making them seem kind of cool and hip.  And as films like A Clockword Orange broke cinematic taboos against such graphic violence and gleeful depictions of rape, the road was paved for other, even crasser films, to follow in its wake. I’m not a fan of the trend. Movies should promote kindness not cruelty.

2. Shocker! Primetime TV promotes secular liberal values. From Hollywood Reporter: Ben Shapiro writes in “Prime Time Propaganda” that the industry’s elite use broadcast (television) to “shape America in their own leftist image.”
Author and lawyer Ben Shapiro accuses Hollywood of rampant liberal bias in his new book Primetime Propaganda.
He says the industry’s elite uses broadcast to “shape America in their own leftist image.”

“I was shocked by the openness of the Hollywood crowd when it came to admitting anti-conservative discrimination inside the industry,” Shapiro told The U.K. Independent on Sunday. “They weren’t ashamed of it. In fact, some were actually proud of it.”
One of the 70 people he interviewed was Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, who told Shapiro she hired a “bunch of liberals” to “put out there what we believe.”
That included casting Newt Gingrich’s lesbian sister to play a preacher at a lesbian wedding on the show.
“When we did the lesbian wedding, we knew there was going to be some flack,” says Kauffman in the book. “I have to say, when we cast Candice Gingrich as the minister of that wedding, there was a bit of a ‘f–k you’ in it to the right-wing, directly.”

Not convinced? Here’s audio of Fred Pierce, former ABC President (1974-1979) Fred Pierce admitting television’s liberal bias. If anything, the bias has only become more extreme since then.

IMHO: There no real news here. Hollywood leans decidedly leftward and its natural that what they produce reflects that. It’s their right and one which I don’t argue with.  I’d just add that its time for traditional conservatives and believers to stop complaining and start creating, producing and distributing  material that reflect our positive values in a positive light.  More on that tomorrow.

BTW, re: that Friends wedding scene (which I actually tried to post but it wouldn’t take), I personally have no problem with the actual content. My problem is with the nasty comment in the interview. Kauffman also has every right to dis those who disagree with her. It’s just uncalled for, not nice and counter-productive.

3. A turn in the culture? Pulitzer Prize winning-writer David Mamet admits he’s a cultural conservative. From The Wall Street Journal: Mr. Mamet has written a book-length, raucous coming-out party: “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture.” (If only the Voice editors had been around to supply a snappier title.)
Hear him take on the left’s sacred cows. Diversity is a “commodity.” College is nothing more than “Socialist Camp.” Liberalism is like roulette addiction. Toyota’s Prius, he tells me, is an “anti-chick magnet” and “ugly as a dogcatcher’s butt.” Hollywood liberals—his former crowd—once embraced Communism “because they hadn’t invented Pilates yet.” Oh, and good radio isn’t NPR (“National Palestinian Radio”) but Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt.

4. Russia takes steps to slow rapid abortion rate. From AP via The Blaze: Russia‘s Orthodox Church teamed with Conservative parliamentarians Monday to push legislation that would radically restrict abortions in a nation struggling to cope with one of the world’s lowest birthrates.
The legislation would ban free abortions at government-run clinics and prohibit the sale of the morning-after pill without a prescription, said Yelena Mizulina, who heads a parliamentary committee on families, women and children.
She added that abortion for a married woman would also require the permission of her spouse, while teenage girls would need their parents’ consent. If the legislation is passed, a week’s waiting period would also be introduced so women could consider their decision to terminate their pregnancy, Mizulina said…
…Russia‘s abortion rates are still among the world’s highest, contributing to a fertility rate of only 1.4 children per woman – far below the 2.1 needed to maintain the existing population. The rate has become a serious concern for Russia as it fights to stem a steep population decline.

5. App allows fetus to choose its own name. From The Blaze: Are you pregnant and unable to decide on a name for your soon-to-be-born child? If you have an iPhone and 99 cents to spare, there is an app which will allow that unborn child to choose its own name.
IMHO: There’s now officially an app for everything.

6. U.S helps sponsor gay film festival in Bulgaria. From The Daily Caller: “Everybody’s perfect!” says the poster for a gay film festival sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.
The festival, Sofia Pride ‘11, will feature screenings of Milk and other films in Sofia, Bulgaria from June 1 to 29. The American, German, French, Swiss and British embassies are jointly sponsoring the event.
“The series features one movie selected by each of the five sponsoring embassies, and aims to promote acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Bulgaria by examining the different issues and challenges which members of the LGBT community face in today’s world. All films will include Bulgarian subtitles,” a press release says.

6. Tree of Life box office apparently boosted by Cannes award. From Hollywood Reporter: Did winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival do the trick for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life?
Over the weekend, the Brad Pitt-Sean Penn starrer debuted in the U.S. to a per screen average of $93,320—a record for a Fox Searchlight title. Searchlight’s previous best was $80,000 for Black Swan.

7. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is heading to theaters. From The Wrap: New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM have announced the titles and release dates for filmmaker Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s enduringly popular masterpiece “The Hobbit.” The first film, titled The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be released on December 14, 2012. The second film, titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is slated for release the following year, on December 13, 2013.
Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The adventure of “The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

8. George Lucas wants to do a live-action Star Wars TV series. See Hollywood Reporter: George Lucas says he has 50 hours worth of a Star Wars live-action TV show in the can, but is waiting for a technological breakthrough to make shooting financially feasible and get the series on the air, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
Lucas previously said that the much-anticipated show, set between the Star Wars films Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, was on hold.
IMHO: Now, I like the original Star Wars as much as the next guy (not to crazy about the overly-serious prequels though) but how much of a geek do you actually have to be to be eagerly anticipating a show that takes place in the era  “between the Star Wars films Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.” Memo to George Lucas: This isn’t actual history. This world you’ve created doesn’t actually exist. Here’s what I think is a constructive idea. How about keeping it simple with a series about the original characters in new adventures? Audiences might actually follow that without having to be make-believe historians.

Out of headlines, so here are a couple of my favorite TV scenes that refreshingly support faith. Enjoy.

9. All in the Family (1777): Archie vs. the KKK

10. NYPD Blue (2004): The Vision Thing

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

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