I really love this blog. “Dispirited Dave” is collecting images which show the multifarious (and sometimes nefarious) ways the iconic form of the Buddha finds his way into popular culture, and particularly into commodities. It’s a great way to explore and archive the “social life” of the Buddha as he circulates as various images and objects and finds himself in all sorts of unexpected places. And behind all this is the question of why the image of the Buddha lends itself to this kind of use, more so than any other religious figure. Sure, there’s a certain amount of Christian kitsch and commercialisation of Christian iconography but I don’t think it matches the variety of uses that the Buddha is put to. Why, even here in Göttingen we have a “Buddha Lounge” — a bar of all places. How many “Jesus bars” do you see?
And Dave is on the lookout for more images. So please contact him at his blog if you have some examples you’d like to share.