Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 05/28/24

The day patriotism died. This past Saturday marked not only the start of Memorial Day weekend when we honor American heroes who gave their lives fighting for our democracy but also the fourth anniversary of the tragic killing of George Floyd. The music legend Don McLean (who I interviewed in this space in December) wrote a song about the awful incident which affected the lives of this generation of Americans in, I think, in an even more profound way than the 1959 deaths of of rock stars he wrote about in his 1971 classic American Pie did its generation. The Ballad of George Floyd can be heard above and is included in McLean’s just-released new album American Boys.

Talking about what inspired him to tackle the subject McLean says “I knew – and know – this song would be controversial to put out there but it is exactly what I was feeling when I wrote it and, as an artistic (and) creative person, I just couldn’t let my feelings go,” adding “I truly could hear George crying out for his mother as I wrote the song.”

The George Floyd event justifiably galvanized the public in widespread agreement over the injustice done to him and over the broader issue of police reform which was indeed necessary to deal with the unacceptable level of violence that was too often being used against black men, particularly, in their encounters with law enforcement. Unfortunately, that opportunity for real progress on the issue was frittered away by politicians and activists who preferred the issue over solutions. Instead, we got a year of “mostly peaceful” protests that were used as cover for rioters, moves to defund the police which only served to endanger people in poor minority neighborhoods, the illegal tearing down of historic statues (absurdly even of Abraham Lincoln) and a general portrayal of America as evil to its core.

The aftermath of the killing played out like a national autoimmune disease in which our ideals and cultural conscience, which rightly are trained to stand against racism and injustice, were unleashed like antibodies run amok against the nation itself. The result has been not justice but destructive division.

I don’t actually think patriotism is dead – but it has taken a big hit over the last few years. It’s time to return to the ideal of working together to solve our problems and to stop allowing that very ideal to be used by those who cynically use what is best about us against us.

Sight (2024) | Official Website | Now Playing In Theaters

The gift of Sight. Angel Studios‘ inspirational biopic Sight came in seventh at the box office over the Memorial Day weekend and, impressively, scored an A+ CinemaScore with audiences under the age of 24 — proving rather dramatically that the young generation is as hungry for hopeful, optimistic entertainment as the rest of us. Meanwhile, on Rotten Tomatoes the movie received a 98% score from the general audience while scoring only 67% with critics – offering further confirmation that critics are generally out of step with the public.
As noted here Friday, Sight tells the inspiring story of Dr. Ming Wang who overcame childhood adversity to pursue his dream of attending medical school in the United States. After receiving degrees at Harvard and MIT, his groundbreaking invention of amniotic membrane contact lenses and his philanthropic efforts through his foundation have made a significant impact on the lives of millions worldwide. The film focuses on Wang’s passionate quest to restore the vision of a young orphan through a groundbreaking new surgery.
Responding to the film’s positive audience reception, Angel Studios Head of Theatrical Distribution Brandon Purdie says “This is a film that is being embraced by both Chinese and American audiences, as the theme of overcoming our past is universal…We are honored to bring this film to theaters during Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, and we know that its message will resonate with audiences for years to come.”
No matter your age, gender, skin color or ethnic background, optimistic films portraying the victory of goodness and perseverance speak to everyone.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” That’s from Proverbs 17:22 and also pretty much sums up the theme of today’s post – including this item. Going Local Productions is developing Dr. Dave,  an hour-long medical dramedy series starring Dave Coulier (Full House) as a beloved pediatrician who uses humor and compassion to care for his patients as well as his diverse and eccentric co-workers at a struggling Detroit hospital.
Dan Merchant, who will serve as showrunner, recalls “I first worked with Dave on our radio show comedy Live + Local for Great American Pure Flix but it was at a time when he had just endured a very heavy personal loss.  Dave was so candid about this loss and shared his pain in such a gentle way — and then turned it on when the cameras rolled and made me laugh so hard… just got me thinking about the kind of show I’d love to see Dave do next and that show is Doctor Dave.”
Regarding what attracted him to the concept, Coulier (who hosts the video podcast Full House Rewind on YouTube)  says “When Dan and I did Live + Local we discovered we could do a lot of good with laughter – and even in a hospital it’s still the best medicine. “
Merchant is currently producing the acclaimed hospice drama Going Home for Sony Affirm which is currently in its second season on Great American Pure Flix.  That show has recently been nominated for a KLOVE Fan Award in the TV/Streaming Impact category. Fans of the show can cast their vote for it here.

John W. Kennedy is a writer, producer and media development consultant specializing in television and movie projects that uphold positive timeless values, including trust in God.

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

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