After being taken offline after its August debut, one video that made its way around Buddhist circles is back. A somewhat-loving look at spiritual-materialist Buddhists, “The Sickest Buddhist” (a rap-based satire of sorts by comedian Arj Barker), with its cursing and sometimes off-target jabs, has made some folks cringe. Is that part of the joke? I’ve rounded up some of the more notoriously cringe-worthy Buddhist video moments. You’ve been warned!
Note: you’ll find language here (and in some of the other videos) that… well… let’s just say that Right Speech may not be a big motivator for the creators of some of these video moments.
Here’s “The Sickest Buddhist”:
There is of course a whole sub-strata of comedy known as “cringe comedy.” (Think Elaine on Seinfeld doing her “little kicks” dance, or The Office, or Curb Your Enthusiasm.) And there’s no shortage of Buddhism and cringe-video. Here are some of the most notable — intentionally and not-so.
Yogi’s Treasure Hunt: Beswitched, Buddha’d, and Bewildered comes complete with mildly “Asian” music, geisha and sumo stereotypes, and a reference to “the mysterious Orient” (when was this written, anyway?). Also notable: the way the cartoon seems to encourage the thieving of priceless religious relics, and the two strange, seemingly sexual innuendos included. It’s also woefully unfunny. As Top Cat himself says in this cartoon, “The Buddha you found ain’t the real McCoy.”
[Sorry, but you'll have to trust me on that; Yogi's Treasure Hunt is no longer online. But to make up for it, here's a new Benihana ad that's gotten a couple of groans out of readers over at The Worst Horse:]
Next up is a music video from the Thai boy-band, “Buddha Bless.” Maybe the difference here is cultural, but yee-gads:
This next one comes from MADTV, a now-defunct sketch show that hoped to compete with Saturday Night Live, and did admirably well for a number of years. It was sometimes quite funny.
This video, wherein “Steven Seagal” meets “the Dalai Lama,” was not one of those times.
See if you can count the inaccuracies!
Finally, the last video in our roundup gets back to the idea of “Buddha Bless,” and proves Mad magazine’s adage, “You never can win with a bigot.” It comes from the classic American sitcom, All in the Family (1971-1979). AitF practically invented (and perfected) cringe comedy, and here, Archie Bunker does his ignorant best to answer the age-old question, “What do the Chinese say when they sneeze?”(Warning: Archie’s language was always offensive, and it’s still as potently so today.)
All I have to say is, Go, Meathead!
…Now: if you have a cringe-worthy (or legitimately funny!) Buddhist video to share, be sure and let us know in a comment. You can post a YouTube video right in your comments!
By the way: Ethan Nichtern also posted his thoughts about “The Sickest Buddhist” (and spiritual materialism) over on the One City blog. Check that out here.