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Monday, September 28, 2015

The Dalai Lama: Cancellation, Arbitrage, and a Gender Bender Announcement

Before its abrupt cancellation, the Dalai Lama’s prospective 44-day Fall American “tour” had created sellers markets on many college campuses. On my own, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. on September 16th for his October 25th appearance at the university’s Mullins Center. By the afternoon’s end, all 7,500 tickets had sold out at $10 a ticket to students and $32 to the general public.

To avoid abuse by resellers, tickets were restricted to two per customer.
Still, legit resellers like StubHub and* managed to secure a raft of tickets. The online reseller was offering nosebleed seats beginning at $100 and choice seats topping off at $6,000 within eye contact of His Holiness.

Like it or not, there will always be arbitrage at such high-demand events. The legally sanctioned resellers are necessary evils. In other words, anyone who patronized them for D.L. tickets got their money back—a fate far happier than returning a ticket purchased from a street scalper to the Mullins Center for its original value. (The night after the tickets went on sale, a friend saw two scalpers in the center of Amherst offering their wares for $500 a pop.)

Nothing Succeeds like Succession
It was exhaustion and advice from his physicians that convinced the Dalai Lama to gong the tour.  For any octogenarian, health and mortality are concerns. To these, the Dalai Lama must also add the challenge of succession, i.e., Who will be the next Dalai Lama?

To that end, it’s been refreshing to learn that His Holiness values the prospect of a female in that role. And one who is very, very attractive to boot.  

I would chalk up the very, very attractive job description to the Dalai Lama’s much-valued impish sense of humor.  But not the XX chromosomal pronouncement.  “The female biologically [has] more potential to show affection … and compassion,” he affirmed.

And escaping the press entirely in that story: The Dalai Lama may well be implying a next-life gender shift for himself. In Tibetan tradition, the same great soul returns as the Dalai Lama incarnation after incarnation. When a Dalai Lama has passed, an interregnum ensues until a recruitment cadre identifies a child who in turn identifies the D.L.’s former personal effects and other touchstones. So we now have proof positive that when the present Dalai Lama calls himself a feminist, he is walking that talk.

*Brett Goldberg of TickPick notes that his company is not a reseller but a clearinghouse where buyers and sellers negotiate. That means, he says, that the company does not secure the tickets if an event gets cancelled. It's all between the buyer and seller.

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