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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 97 POP- AND SUBCULTURE SIGHTINGS BY ROD MEADE SPERRY FROM THE WORST HORSE’S MOUTH ROD MEADE SPERRY is editor of the “pop-/sub-/dharma-culture” website TheWorstHorse.net. USE YOUR FREEDOM WELL! When I first launched “the Horse,” I knew its focus on Buddhism and pop- and subculture would mean I’d have the singular pleasure of writing about silly things like du- bious dharmic knick-knacks and rap songs. Who’d have thought things would get so serious all of a sudden? But with the rise and seeming fall of Burma’s “Saffron Revolution,” the ongoing hor- rors of Cyclone Nargis (which has left more than 130,000 Burmese dead), and the protests against Chinese oppression in Tibet, Buddhist concerns suddenly are mainstream concerns. The Dalai Lama was featured on the cover of TIME, and was named one of the magazine’s top “Leaders and Revolutionaries” in a profile written by the ever- industrious Deepak Chopra. His Holiness was also interviewed by Newsweek, where he said, “Every night in my Buddhist practice I give and take. I take in Chinese suspicion. I give back trust and compassion. I take their negative feeling and give them positive feeling. I do that every day.” Burma’s plight was front-page news, too. Celebri- ties including comedians Will Ferrell and Sarah Silverman contributed time to make videos in support of U.S. Campaign for Burma, and the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal. (You may recall that the Dalai Lama received this honor last spring.) The leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma is the first person in the award’s 232-year history to be granted the honor while im- prisoned. Let’s hope that the news of the moment remains of the moment. Do what you can. If you can’t contribute money, contribute your atten- tion. Talk about it. Blog about it. Practice about it. As Aung San Suu Kyi herself said, “Please use your freedom to promote ours.” O THER DHARMABURGER S IGHTINGS A stunning image, generally attributed to street artist Banksy, of the Buddha sitting peacefully, despite wearing a neck brace and bandages • The “Dharma” sneaker from skateboard gear company Ipath • The “Dharma” shoe from sustainable footwear com- pany Terra Plana • Deer Park-brand bottled water • Test-prep company Kaplan’s “You can redefine what it means to be a lawyer” ad, which features a suited graduate meditating in front of a financial building • San Francisco’s latest “Buddha bar,” Temple Night- club (complete with sections called the “Shrine Room” and the “Zen Compound”) • Classic print ads for Taster’s Choice Instant Coffee (“Some meditate for hours search- ing for inner peace. Others find it instantly”) and Playtex’s “Body Zen” bra. These last two ads are from a few years back, but it should be no surprise that even then Madison Avenue knew we could be seduced by the notion that enlighten- ment was just a cup—or, two—away. DHARMABURGER OF THE ISSUE: “ZENCORE PLUS” Just when I thought I’d seen it all comes the com- mercial for the “natural male enhancement” pill “Zencore Plus.” In addition to its particularly gross appropriation of “Zen,” the ad depicts a dude in an elevator who’s just taken the pill, clearly has sex with a female co-passenger, and after she gets out, is clearly about to have sex with a new female co-passenger. (Did I say gross?) Zencore Plus is manufactured by a company called Bodee, LLC. LL! u- d t of difllf DH “ZE Just mer “Ze app jus aft ab new (Di r SEPT 80-99.indd 97 SEPT 80-99.indd 97 7/3/08 1:35:06 PM 7/3/08 1:35:06 PM