posted by April 10 at 10:55 AMon
The Dalai Lama is probably a nice guy. He giggles a lot. Seems like a sweetheart. Hooray for the Dalai Lama.
But please remind all your liberal do-gooder friends, who are working themselves into a lather because His Holiness is coming to town next week for a five-day Lamapalooza, that the man is a pope for hippies: rosaries, robes, posh living, and all.
Talking jive about enlightenment and transcendence for liberal Americans who like their religion with a side of inscrutable Orientalism is fine. Nothing wrong with being the world’s most successful motivational speaker. (And he certainly is. Every ticketed event for the five-day Lamapalooza is sold out.)
And Tibetan national self-determination is a good thing in principle (and the Chinese Communist Party is nobody’s idea of a good overlord), but let’s not forget that the “free Tibet” the monks are agitating for might well be a theocracy living off the labor of a rural peasantry. Sort of like the Catholic church, circa 1100.
Yes, the Tibetan people-in-exile had their first democratic election ever in 2001, to elect a prime minister-in-exile. But it was a show election. In which they elected a religious leader. I’m not saying Tibet would be the East Asian Iran—but just because Tibetan Buddhism has spawned a bazillion-dollar industry that preys on gullible honkies does not mean a government, run by Tibetan Buddhists, would be paradise. Or even pleasant.
Plus, we have serious reason to doubt the sanity of the monks: One of the Lama’s high priests has anointed Steven Seagal as a reincarnated lama.
Speculation says Seagal bought the honor. For the Lama’s sake, I hope he did.
Because Steven Seagal, people. Really.