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Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Purple State Of Mind News
Tracking Purple State of Mind across America…
Wouldn’t it be something if Darren Star could do for North Dallas prayer partners what he did for New York City single women? Does the the creator of Sex And The City and Beverly Hills 90210 have it in him to make a sprawling, funny, smartass soap about ladies who dish the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Can he make crosses and fishes as desirable as Manohlo Blahnik high heels and pearl thongs?
Or will he lose his nerve with this subject matter and essentially deliver up Desperate Housewives with a dash of mild sacrilege thrown in for spice?
We’ll soon find out. The show will lose its working title–Good Christian Bitches–long before it makes air, but the central idea will remain. A divorcee, played by shiny blonde Leslie Bibb, goes home to Big D and tries to start over again. Waiting for her are the grown pious women who used to be the mean girls in high school. The latter are the “good Christian bitches” who give the name to Kim Gatlin’s book, the source material for the show. The lead bitch will be played by even shinier blonde Kristin Chenoweth.
That’s good casting.
I’m interested in this show for at least two reasons. One, it is taking on subject matter that is profoundly familiar to me, attempting to depict people who have generally defied accurate description in the popular culture. And two, it’s based on women in the Dallas suburb of Highland Park, where I grew up.
I personally believe that Star may be able to pull it off, but it’s a tall order. Bible studies could be his Waterloo. If he wants a helpful pointer or two, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look at Season 2 and 3 of Friday Night Lights in which Lila Garrity, played by the picture perfecto Minka Kelly, goes on and off the evangelical reservation. In general, that show did a fine job of characterizing religious people, though its approach will be a little too sweet and innocent for the makers of GCB.
Star’s show can’t possibly be earnest. If it’s any good, it will be savage. If it’s great, evangelicals will expect not to like it and wring their donut-sugared hands about it at church and secretly watch it, particularly the women who see themselves as the targets of the show. If it’s bad, it will be gone in a heartbeat and become one more footnote in the long and sorry history of godly people on TV.
Here’s the truly weird part, though. The better the show is, and the more successful, the more it will be seen by Christians of a certain stripe as backdoor evangelism. Imagine it: Darren Star as Pat Robertson’s handmaiden.
It’s a bizarre the truth about Hollywood and Christians. The real “good Christian bitches” don’t mind being pilloried, but they do demand quality. Give them quality, and they will be your quietly quiescent love slaves.
Do a hack job and prepare to be prayed for and then abruptly and brutally ignored.
“I’m not religious, and I’m not a Christian,” Nick Cave concludes in this interview published in today’s Los Angeles Times, “but I do reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a god. It’s kind of defending the indefensible, though; I’m critical of what religions are becoming, the more destructive they’re becoming. But I think as an artist, particularly, it’s a necessary part of what I do, that there is some divine element going on within my songs.”
While it is not the particular focus of the interview, Nick Cave, one of rock’s true Renaissance men – singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, screenwriter, and film composer – has frequently addressed matters of faith and theology both in his work, and his art often expresses the difficulty and struggle with the notion of being a believer and seeker at the same while.
If you want to get a better sense of Cave’s thoughts and spiritual journey, especially worth noting is his contribution of the introduction to The Gospel of Mark for the Canongate Pocket Canon series. Although it is a hard-to-find these days in CD form, we also offer the transcripts of two of his recorded lectures here: “The Secret Life of the Love Song” and “The Word Made Flesh”.
Based on the results of two of the most comprehensive national religious surveys ever conducted, political scientists Robert Putnam (author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community) and David Campbell have co-authored American Grace, a major new study on the current state of religion and public life in the United States.
Primarily covering the period of the last fifty years, Putnam and Campbell analyze and detail the history and significant shifts and changes in both religion and culture that have brought us to our present state of affairs. America has experienced three seismic shocks in the social landscape, according to the authors: diminished religious observance in the 60’s; a conservative counter-reaction with the rise of the Religious Right and its influence in politics in the 70’s and 80’s; and in the 90’s an increasing abandonment of organized religion by Americans, particularly young people, who increasingly began to associate religion with conservative politics, thus creating the current cultural alliance – and polarization – along religious and political lines. Putnam and Campbell also chronicle how religion has influenced and been influenced by major social changes – the Civil Rights movement, the feminist revolution, increased immigration and ethnic diversity, and growing income inequality – over the same period of time. Additionally, they offer an examination and perspective on religiosity – diversity of faiths, inter-faith marriage, shifts in church attendance, et al. – and the long-standing history of the openness and acceptance of Americans toward religious tolerance.
Here is a book that may be perfectly suited for the Purple State of Mindset. As the official press release (where you can also read some of the more interesting findings in the book) states:
Neither an apology for religion nor an attack upon it, AMERICAN GRACE provides a balanced and considered counterweight to this polemical rhetoric as it presents an illuminating and penetrating assessment of both the pros and the cons of religion as lived in America today. Fact-based and fair-minded, it aspires to explain religious Americans to secular Americans, secular Americans to religious Americans, and religious Americans to one another. All parties in the ongoing debate about religion, atheism, and politics in America will be both captivated and challenged by it.
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