Tibet’s political pull fades
By JOSHUA E. KEATING: Adam Yauch, who died last week at 47, will of course be remembered primarily as MCA from the Beastie Boys. But his role as the music industry’s primary advocate for Tibetan independence may be a close second.
In addition to his career with the Beastie Boys, Yauch was heavily involved in the movement to free Tibet. He was instrumental in the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park 1996, which drew 100,000 people — the largest U.S. benefit concert since 1985’s Live Aid.
Yauch, a practicing Buddhist whose wife was Tibetan, was uniquely committed to that cause. But with his passing, it’s hard not to be struck by the degree to which Tibet has faded in prominence among politically committed Americans. With over 30 self-immolations in Tibet over the past year, it’s not as if the controversy has gone away.
Pro-Tibet activists are still there. But since the last U.S. Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1999, the issue hasn’t really commanded the Kony 2012-level interest it once garnered from young Americans.
There are probably several reasons for this. The Dalai Lama, the most visible living symbol of Tibet’s national aspirations, has been gradually retreating from his political role.
Then there’s the increasing allure of China for the entertainment industry. Its $2-billion-a-year film market has made Hollywood studios a lot less likely to back projects like “Kundun” or “Seven Years in Tibet.”
That’s true of musicians as well: Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones have been on their best behavior during recent tours of China, possibly for fear of getting the Bjork treatment.(Timesunion)
I would imagine the MCA’s of tomorrow might prefer to attach themselves to global movements that don’t risk alienating a billion potential customers.