I should have added some qualifying statements in the initial post. I did notice the bit by the follower of Dorje Shugden. I do not follow the contestation about the matter and it is not my intention to engage in it here. The essay's interpretation of the films are of course contestable, as any interpretations are.
The main ideas I wanted to share are more precisely the points about the ongoing influence of Orientalism—i.e. of how media texts could sometimes, even if unintentionally, perpetuate unhelpful stereotypes which reinforce cultural hierarchies or misrepresent others. You'll note that the essay engages with the work of Donald S. Lopez Jr, who is a noted Buddhist scholar. Before anyone dismiss him as being merely an 'academic' Buddhist, it should be noted that he is also a committed, longtime practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. His scholarly work and sacred pursuit co-inform one another. If anything, based on what I've read of his work, his critiques of Orientalism reflects a desire to respect and honour Tibetan Buddhism and culture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_S._Lopez,_Jr
So, while the author's reading of the films may to some degree or another be regarded as personal opinion, Lopez's ideas are far from being groundless assertions, kirtu, developing as they have out of many years of historical research as well as study of Tibetan Buddhism and culture (but admittedly, the brevity of the essay limits a clearer understanding of his work)—not to mention that Lopez's work derives from a broader and very legitimate and respected field of postcolonial studies.
In any event, bracketing the specific matters related to conflicts in Tibetan Buddhism and culture, the argument that media texts can sometimes reproduce unskillful oppositions between the developed First World and the undeveloped Third World—ideas that champion the West as 'saviours'—and so forth, are exemplified in the counter-criticisms by African commentators on the Kony2012 campaign. As you can see in this small selection of responses by Ugandian journalists and social activists, they make similar arguments: ttp://americawakiewakie.tumblr.com/post ... actions-to
(note: I'm just citing this to clarify my point, not to start a debate about Kony2012 as such)
Let me stress again that my intention is not to cast aspersions on any aspect of Tibetan Buddhism or culture as such. Nor am I suggesting that any attempt to represent Tibetan culture in a favourable light is wrong or bad. All I wish to do here is merely to draw attention to how broader historical processes may influence construction of media representations in popular culture—and by extension, the conditions underpinning our understanding.
It is the influence of these broader historical process which, I think, might be of interest to Mawkish as well as others who are curious about the matter.
EDITED: the link I put up initially was incomplete; it works now.