We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
So the Dalai Lama goes to Memphis to get a big award from the National Civil Rights Museum, and he’s greeted by the mayor, Myron Lowery, with a “Hello, Dalai!” (as in the song) and a fist bump, thus upsetting the balance of the universe.
“Barely an hour passed before reporters began calling to say my fist bump with the Dalai Lama was ‘disrespectful,’ unusual and perhaps inappropriate. Why would I do that, they asked?” Lowery wrote in an explanation posted today at cnn.com, after the video of the fist-bump exchange went viral.
How often do you get to meet an international figure as captivating as the Dalai Lama? I wanted to make an impression, and break the ice, in my Southern hospitality sort of way.
So enter the lyric from the song and the fist bump now heard round the world.
I had been told by his representatives that the Dalai Lama had a wonderful sense of humor, and would enjoy the exchange. Indeed, he did. His Holiness laughed, returned the gesture, and gave me his blessings.
A day before His Holiness came to the city, I spoke to the Dalai Lama’s protocol team and they said he would not be upset or offended being greeted this way. In fact it has happened in the past [author’s note: !!!].
So, armed with this information I decided to greet him when he arrived Tuesday in a similar fashion…. I greeted him this way because I’m a down to earth guy, who was raised by a single mother with four sons in public housing. I still tell everyone to call me Myron.
The rain-on-the-fist-bump-parade coverage award goes to Voice of America, which wrote: “The Dalai Lama laughed, but later said the gesture reminds him of violence.”