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Did a SNL spoof go too far and mock God?

A general view of atmosphere is seen at the Premier Exhibitions Opening Night Party - SNL: The Exhibition on Thursday, May 28, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Brian Ach/AP Images for Premier Exhibitions) Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but it sure doesn't feel like it in the moment—especially when it's done to get a laugh. This past week, Saturday Night Live (SNL) featured a parody film preview about an "oppressed" Christian wedding cake baker who refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. Spoofing the recently released film God's Not Dead 2, SNL depicts a baker battling a same-sex couple who wants her to "spit in the face of God" by baking a cake for their wedding.

The dramatic, baritone narrator adds to the hyperbole when he interjects that the film is about "liberal elites run wild." Self-proclaimed Jewish ACLU attorneys demand Beth, a "small town baker without a care in the world," say, "God is gay." Feeling the burden of the fight, Beth turns to her black co-worker and notes, "Christians are the most oppressed group in this country."

Not receiving support from her co-worker, Beth interrupts the governor's meeting with advisors. In dramatic and exhausted fashion, she says, "I want to deny basic goods and services to gay people." Though his advisors describe their state as being "the poorest state in the country, we are last in education, second in obesity, third in teen pregnancy," the governor declares, "This is priority now."

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An Okie from Muskogee: The Faith of Merle Haggard

In this June 28, 2015 file photo, singer-songwriter Merle Haggard performs at the 2015 Big Barrel Country Music Festival in Dover, Del. Haggard died of pneumonia, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Palo Cedro, Calif. He was 79. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)He died on his birthday, which sounds like a song he would write. Merle Haggard passed away Wednesday of complications from pneumonia at his home in Northern California. He was 79. With a career that spanned six decades, the Okie from Muskogee sang straightforward country songs that were deceptively subversive.  

Born near Bakersfield, California in 1937, Merle grew up with a father who worked as a carpenter for a railroad company. The family lived in an old boxcar that his father converted into a home. At the age of nine, his father passed away. His sudden and tragic departure caused a young Merle to run away from home.

This began a series of run-ins with the law, with Merle bouncing in and out of juvenile detention and later the infamous San Quentin State Prison. But this wasn't any fault of his mother. Because, Mama tried, which Merle chronicled in his classic "Mama Tried."

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Is Apple music's new "big brother"?

FILE - In a Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, file photo, a person stands near the Apple logo at the company's store in Grand Central Terminal, in New York. There's a shadowy global industry devoted to unlocking phones and extracting their information. For digital forensics companies, success can mean big bucks in the form of government contracts. And the notoriety that could come with cracking an iPhone used by a purported terrorist could rocket them to cyber stardom. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)Apple is well-known for living at the front lines of technological development. However, their patent currently generating headlines isn't for a new phone, computer, or tablet. No, Apple's looking to get into the censorship business.

As James Cook writes for Business Insider, Apple's new technology has the potential to automatically scan songs that are streamed online and analyze the lyrics for explicit content. The patent, filed in September of 2014, could potentially streamline the censorship process by replacing swear words with a beeping noise, non-explicit lyrics, or background music in order to help the song continue seamlessly. The new technology could also work with audio books to help filter language, as well as with sexual scenes by comparing the original content against a database of explicit terms.

It's unclear when, if ever, Apple will implement the new technology. But between iTunes, their online radio station, Beats 1, and their streaming service, Apple Music, the company has several potential testing platforms. Given that the company already forbids some explicit content, such as pornography and a dictionary that included definitions of swear words, from being sold on its App Store, their censorship software seems likely to make an appearance before too long. While it won't prevent people from accessing explicit content, it can make it easier to avoid, and that seems like the program's ultimate purpose.

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Actress describes her fear of death

Amanda Peet arrives at the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)Amanda Peet's interview with Stephen Colbert went off the rails (in the best of ways) pretty quickly after the actress's losing battle with a cough led to Colbert singing "Ricola" as he handed her a cough drop. However, things got real soon after that as the Late Night host asked Peet about her HBO show Togetherness. On the show, many of the characters struggle through mid-life crises as they attempt to cope with where they are without losing sight of where they'd like to be.

Given that premise, Colbert asked Peet, who recently had another child with her highly successful husband David Benioff (one of the producers on Game of Thrones), "What do you know from the mid-life crisis, is this a stretch for you?" "No!" Peet exclaimed, before going on to say, "44 is really. . . it's quite something." When the Late Night host asked her what she was worried about with her crisis, the actress quickly replied, "I fear death," later adding, "I need to know what to believe in . . . I don't want to be a bag of dust."

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Parson James: a sinner like you?

Embrace Your Inner Sinner With Parson James’ “Sinner Like You (via Noisey by Vice)” Parson James is quickly becoming one of the more talked about new artists after he coupled his debut EP with appearances on several Late Night shows, including "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon. James describes his music as "conflicted pop gospel" a description that appears  an apt summation given many of the lyrics in his songs. To truly understand where the angst, pain, and resolve in songs like "Sinner Like You" and "Temple" originate, we first have to understand a bit more about his past.

Parson James grew up in Cheraw, SC, which he described as "a small, 5,000 person town, very religious . . . The town is just church, football, and buffets." However, it was also a town dominated by racism on both sides of the racial divide; a reality that proved especially confusing for James considering his mother is white and his father is black. As he characterized the people in his town, "They were all fueled with hate, but they were all Bible thumpers, and always in church, but talking [mess] about everyone."

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