In the orbit of the greater Los Angeles area, Long Beach serves a peculiar, often gritty, and vital function. A few months ago I experienced enlightenment in Long Beach thanks to two gentlemen who had just gotten out of prison for “just stabbing somebody” and were on their way back from an appointment to remove the white supremacist tattoos which were all over their faces. Slightly post-drunk on a wobbly train, they explained to me so beatifically their new lives in a halfway house: “We have meetings all the time, like ‘Dealing with Anger’ and ‘Growing Up Male’,” they said.
Since my father was, when he was living, a slightly post-drunk janitor who introduced me to more than a few ex-cons and societally marginal figures, and who himself ended up in a halfway house (in a way he never left, really), I think I was more open to the wisdom that flowed from these two men in Long Beach, even though they had horns inked on their temples. Maybe it was because they offered me some fried chicken and seemed understanding that I was, strangely, without a phone on the Long Beach rail line.
And thus, today, I was pleased to learn that another dispenser of wisdom of a sort, he of the ex-con hairstyle, and a man who lives in a perpetual state of “halfway” (between India and China, I suppose, or between mortality and sacred revolutionary immortality) arrives today in Long Beach!
Since I have been reading Huanqiu Shibao and the (ever-more attuned to the world!) North Korean Central News Agency for my foreign news these past few days, the story had almost passed me by.
As to the venue for the Dalai Lama’s arrival:
Your Holiness, Long Beach is indeed a place which is in great need of some spiritual uplift. The scientists and narcissistic TED fellows (but how would anyone know about them, were they not narcissists and hucksters of the modern age?) who momentarily clotted up its byways and convention halls were unable to transform this slow-chewing and rust-clotted industrial aperture of Los Angeles, but perhaps you, dear sir, having gone forehead-to-forehead with Chairman Mao, are up to the task.
And now for some footage of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama in Beijing, circa 1954-55!
Additional reading: JustRecently on Wang Lixiong, Tibet, and the indefatigable WOESER