Over the weekend, thanks to the miracle that is the Internets, I found out that I was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press in an article about a newly opened Buddha Bar in that fair city. Funny, I thought to myself, I don’t recall having been interviewed by anyone from the Winnipeg Free Press, or ever having traveled to Winnipeg, let alone to any Buddha Bar. But, there I am. Waxing philosophically about the evils of capitalism and everything that’s wrong with a drinking hole named after the founder of my religion.
I’ve wavered back and forth quite a bit about whether or not I wanted to weigh in on the whole Brit Hume thinks Tiger Woods should be a Christian thing. But I think there are a couple of points in all of this that are worth bringing into the spotlight, so, albeit a little late, here goes.
First, some disclaimers.
For starters, I think Marcus is right. Our outrage is no doubt better served by protesting actual atrocities committed against Buddhists the world over rather than the vacuous comments of one talking head on a network not generally known for being particularly fair or balanced. Moreover, I think that we’re right in spending our energies on real human suffering, such as that in Haiti right now, and that, in the grand schemes of things, Pat Robertson deserves far more ire than Mr. Hume.
But I also think that some of the commenters on Marcus’ post are, at least partly, also right. This was something of interest to us here in the States, and it is worth talking about to the extent that, to borrow a phrase, media matters (it is the message, after all). So, while I respect the fact that we should all be doing Other Things right now, I’m going to talk about some of the buried messages in this little event, take it as a teaching moment, a way to shed some light on how the media operates, and what it has to tell us about the state of religion and religious discourse in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
How to tell your family you are Buddhist.
Since we live in a de facto Christian country, of course we live in a country that regularly denigrates one religion while staunchly defending another. Rather than presenting and representing Buddhism as a legitimate religion on par with the Judeo-Christian hegemony in this country, it’s something you can trademark and use to sell everything from scented candles to sex toys.
What I was doing two years ago is exactly what I’m doing today. Of course, minus the girlfriend in Wyoming. And I gotta tell you, I’m not at all happy about it. In fact, I’m just this side of completely and totally freaking out. Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick! I’m really stressed out about […]
Stupid weather. It’s so dreary outside. It reminds me of that Portland drizzle I experiened over New Years. Only it’s May for cryin’ out loud. California dreamin’ my ass. Anyway, there isn’t much to this rant. There’s not a lot going on. Which is a half truth as always. The whole truth is that I’m […]