Has the Dalai Lama gone Hollywood? I received this advertisement from my alma mater, Emory University, today, stating that the Dalai Lama is appearing at Emory next month. I'm very happy that Emory has lured His Holiness to the faculty as a Presidential Distinguished Professor. When I was at Emory in the 1980s, ex-President Jimmy Carter joined the faculty. I love going to a school whose reputation keeps rising, and that, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, would not accept me as a member today.
But something does not sit right with me about the ad. The photo of the Dalai Lama looks like a standard publicity shot. It looks completely staged, down to the clasped hands. I know that the Dalai Lama is an important peace messenger, and that he makes appearances all around the world. But does he really need to have Hollywood-style publicists, agents and handlers, and a slick-looking publicity shot, as if he were Madonna?