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

1. Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s disease. From People Magazine: In his new song, “A Better Place,” Glen Campbell sings, “I need the ones I love Lord/More and more each day.”  The lyric is more personal than the world knows: In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Campbell, 75, and his wife, Kim, reveal that the singer has Alzheimer’s disease. The couple have decided to go public with Glen’s diagnosis because he’s hoping to say farewell with a final slate of live performances this fall – and they want his fans to be aware of the musician’s condition.

Comment: A truly sad story. My prayers go out to Glen and his family. Below is a clip of Campbell singing Less of Me in a duet with Jackie DeShannon.  Glen actually wrote the song. The lyrics (below the clip) evoke a gentler style from another era in which idealistic songwriters encouraged us to aspire to realize the best that is in us. I’m not saying there’s not some of that out there in the culture today but it does sometimes seem that shock value has replaced simple, straightforward humane values as the goal of many modern artists.

Less of Me
by Glen Campbell

Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
let me praise a little more

Let me be when I am weary
just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me

Let me be a little braver
when temptation bids me waver
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be.

Let me be a little meeker
With a brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.

Let me be, when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am strivin’ for

Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me.

2. Gaga-mania fading? From ShowBiz 411: Poor Lady Gaga. Her saga of continued downward sales continues. In the fourth week of release for “Born this Way,” her latest release sold a mere 68,935 copies. That brings her to a total of 1,254,484–less, of course, the 440,000 copies that amazon gave away for 99 cents. If those are removed, the total is 854,484. That’s a lot of CDs, of course, no matter what the parameters. But with the amazon deal and no real second breakout single, “Born this Way” is quickly vanishing. This week it fell to number 4.

3. Opportunities knock. Don’t like what’s at the movies or on television? Here are a couple of opportunities to do something about it.

From Andrew Leigh @ Big Government: Mike Flynn recently wrote a cri de coeur on Big Government asking why conservatives have failed to move back the needle on government spending despite the profusion of conservative think tanks, foundations, policy shops, grass-roots organizations, and sundry other pointy-headed groups, mostly based in Washington, DC (although every state now has their equivalents, usually in the state capital.)
Why? It’s the culture, smarty-pants.
By “culture,” I don’t mean Washington, DC culture. I mean pop culture…
…So conservatives, stop trying to be Karl Rove and be Steven Spielberg for a change. If that’s too hard, try being Steven Soderbergh or even Steve Guttenberg.

Still not sure how to go about it? Well, if you have some experience trying your hand at filmmaking or screenwriting, apply to the Filmmakers Workshop (August 19-21, 2011 at UCLA). Attendance, room and board are absolutely free, and travel costs may be reimbursed.
The workshop is run by the Taliesin Nexus, a new organization founded by me and Patrick Reasonover, which educates and promotes promising new filmmakers who share a passion for a freer society. Our faculty includes seasoned producers, writers and directors of such movies and TV shows as 30 Rock, Angel, Liar Liar, Legally Blonde 2, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
The regular application deadline is June 24, but if you mention this article, we’ll let it slide to June 27.
Comment: So, stop complaining about the crap, become like a Steve (Spielberg, Soderbergh or Guttenberg) and make a difference.

From The Wrap: Aspiring TV writers might want to polish off their best pilot ideas — a development deal with Sundance Channel could be yours, the New York Television Festival announced Wednesday. The festival, now in its seventh year, is launching “NYTVF Pitch,” a new program offering a guaranteed deal for an outstanding pitch from entrants from one of the initiative’s inaugural partners, Sundance Channel, MSN and SevenOne International…ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and United Talent Agency have also signed on as new partners for 2011, the festival announced. Fox, IFC, A&E and MTV have previously been announced as festival partners.

4. Gary Sinise gives back. From The Starr Report: The “CSI: New York” star, who’s headlined the CBS series since (believe it or not) 2004 now, is devoting a lot of time and attention to The Gary Sinise Foundation, which officially launches July 4 with the mission to “Serve Our Nation by Honoring Our Defenders, Veterans, First Responders, Their Families and Those in Need.”
As part of that mission, Sinise’s foundation helped raise money to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in KeySpan Park — honoring those who both risked and gave their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks — and helped raise funds for The Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, County, Va., dedicated to the 184 people killed in attack on The Pentagon on Sept. 11.

5. And the Emmy goes to…Sarah Palin? From Politico: Don’t rule it out: The former Alaska governor just might score an Emmy nomination next month. Palin was an executive producer for her reality series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” and according to the Los Angeles Times, TLC has entered the show “for consideration in four categories: cinematography, picture editing, music composition and best reality program.”
Comment: I actually think you can rule it out. I haven’t actually seen the show but it’s hard to imagine Hollywood giving her the prize no matter how good the show may have been.

6. Ladies and gentlemen, the next Sarah Palin. From Matt Taibbi writing for Rolling Stone: In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you’ve always got a puncher’s chance. And (Michele)  Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she’s living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she’s built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.
Comment: String together the nastiest words you can think of and call it “insight.”

7. Muslims and Jews find something to agree on. From AP via The Blaze: An unlikely coalition of Jews and Muslims on Wednesday filed a lawsuit to block a San Francisco ballot measure that would ban the circumcision of male children, a procedure widely practiced by members of both faiths.
Comment: Hey, at least it’s a start. Can Middle East peace be far behind?

No blog tomorrow. See you Monday.

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

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