Thanks to Magnus Fiskesjö for providing a reading for the Dalai Lama’s interaction with the child in April. I wasn’t aware of the linguistic and cultural aspects of this meeting, reductively sexualized and sensationalized in Western anglophone media. When I saw the clip, memed with a sort of gleeful meanness, the first thing I thought of is the trope of Buddhist monks and nuns in Chinese culture as lascivious, a sort of a parallel to Catholic clergy in European gothic literature (Lewis’ The Monk is the most well-known version but of course, the Catholic Church has its own historical cross to bear in this regard). The opera “The Little Nun Goes Down the Mountain,” a story of desire for the secular life, is one version of this. A fish-plank beating Buddhist monk is murdered by Shi Xiu in Outlaws of the Marsh for seducing a brother’s wife. And a similar lascivious Buddhist monk trope gets repeated when grandpa murders his mother’s Buddhist monk lover in Mo Yan’s Red Sorghum centuries later.
Maybe we need a social analysis of cancelling, which operates like a secular form of shunning in contemporary media, minus the semblance of consistent moral rationale, and with a multiplicity of actors possessing varying degrees of clout.
Sean Macdonald <firstname.lastname@example.org>