Skip to comments.How Pussy Riot Bamboozled the Media
Posted on 08/22/2012 4:31:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
If Justin Bieber or the Rolling Stones suddenly decided to stage an impromptu concert in a public place somewhere in America without a permit, would the authorities ignore it and shrug it off? Doubtful. Even buskers performing in the New York City subway system can't play without formal authorization from the city.
What about taking such a musical performance into a church? If Jennifer Lopez or Madonna just showed up in a place of worship, stripped down to their skivvies and started dancing around the altar, would that fly in any Western democracy? Not likely.
So why, then, are three young women in Russia getting so much sympathy from the mainstream media for doing precisely this inside a Russian Orthodox church?
Last week, three members of the activist group Pussy Riot were each sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The group's members are part of a larger protest group called Voina, which has previously been involved in various acts of public nuisance, including group sex in a museum and shoplifting a whole chicken from a supermarket by stuffing into an activist's lady parts.
Voina and Pussy Riot are the Russian version of the Occupy Wall Street protest crowd. Their modus operandi is to use "art" in its various forms as a cover for acting like jerks and flaunting police warnings. They exploit the sentiment that artists worldwide generally should be given more behavioral license than the general public because they've historically pushed the boundaries of free expression.
One would hope that the public is able to tell the difference between Pussy Riot and, say, Voltaire -- who was thrown into a French prison for criticizing government and the Catholic Church in his extensive body of writing. Voltaire's career was writing, while Pussy Riot's entire career consists of hooliganism with a sprinkling of poor-quality "music" thrown in. Voltaire published several novels, plays, poems and essays, and in doing so, just happened to tick off the powers that be. Pussy Riot hasn't even recorded an album. Their credibility as artists is poorly established, unlike their activist background.
Boiled down, the Pussy Riot case is just another example of the social media generation's demand for instant gratification and attention in the absence of any sustained hard work. The protesters chose the shallowest form of subversion possible, their rationale apparently being that by doing a lewd can-can-girl number in a church, they can successfully overturn the government of a G8 country. That's some serious stoner logic.
The longer game of subversion would have required them to spend years working to get into a key position within the power structure, then influencing and subverting the system to change what they don't like. The effects of such an effort would have been more organic, credible and durable.
Or, at the very least, they could have practiced for several years to hone their "art" in the event that they were serious about being artists and not just serious about being hooligans. That's why Madonna can say all sorts of nonsense from a concert stage and constantly push the boundaries of free speech without getting arrested -- because she's actually earned the "artist" label and the leeway society affords it.
Somehow Russian President Vladimir Putin has been dragged into all this, presumably because this story is sexier with a Bond villain -- and because it's always preferable to hold someone else responsible for one's own bad behavior. Pussy Riot supporters claim that Putin has the long knives out for the band because they mentioned him in a song. The idea of Putin sitting around blubbering over being badmouthed by some girls in a YouTube video certainly undermines any evil image. The smearing of Putin as hypersensitive and vindictive would have been more credible had they intelligently addressed Putin's policies without breaking any laws, or associated themselves with a larger group of activists known for flaunting it relentlessly and treating it as a joke. Pussy Riot didn't keep its powder dry.
It's not as if Putin just invented the Russian law against hooliganism. The penalty of up to seven years in prison wasn't concocted especially for Pussy Riot. In fact, the same crime of religious hooliganism in Germany carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment -- a year more than the sentence Pussy Riot members received.
The Western media should save its tears for those who truly deserve them.
I could have gone all day long without that image in my head.
That "lady" has been just a bit too active, methinks.
This is true, and I fail to see why they have become heroes. I think their sentences should have been lighter (for a first time offense), but that’s just how Russian law is.
You don't tug on superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't tug the mask off the ole Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Vladimir.
I don’t have a lot of sympathy for groups who protest in churches. I don’t care much for PR’s “music” (I’ve never heard it anyway), I’m just think two years in jail for pulling a stupid stunt where nothing was damaged is a tad harsh. I wouldn’t like it if Dem protesters invaded the Republican convention to stage a protest, but I wouldn’t advocate two years in prison as a punishment. Three months of picking up litter or something like that would be a proper punishment.
Ha-Ha!!!! Great lines.
the crazy bloodthirsty muslims have been very good at playing the victim and playing both super powers against each other to keep them from focusing on the REAL evil in this world.. ISLAM!
That’s true. I actually think that one of the reasons there is so much media animosity towards Putin - who is undeniably harsh and a classic Russian “strong man” - is not because of his erroneous policies, but because Washington doesn’t like his strong anti-Islamic, pro-Christian stance.
Naturally, there’s a lot of nationalism tied up with this (and the Orthodox Church is as much representative of Russia as it is of Christianity), but what Obama really doesn’t like is that Putin tries to crack down on Islamic terrorists, who as we all know, are just innocent little freedom fighters who want to wear flowers in their hair...
You dont’ get two years in prison for stripping down to your underwear and dancing around the altar in a church. This was politically motivated. Just because we condemn the sentence doesn’t mean we approve of the way these women acted. I still view this as Putin’s Russia sending a message to the opposition.
Two years in a Russian prison ought to slack them up a little.
Occupy got a small fine and were on the street before the ink was dry on the paperwork. 6 months at hard labor would have taught those kids a lesson.
“....are just innocent little freedom fighters who want to wear flowers in their hair...”
Just they way they characterized the V.C., the
North Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge, Uncle Joe Stalin,
et al, ad nauseum....
A misdemeanor trespassing or disorderly conduct charge? Yes. A felony on the level of brawling in the street and smashing shop windows with garbage cans? No.
I think the author misunderstands the Western media. Infantile sexual acting-out in public, especially in churches, is the only type of freedom or “anti-government” activity of which they approve. They want the government to crack down on every other kind of freedom: freedom to operate a business, freedom of association, free exercise of religion, freedom of speech.
I’m no big fan of Vlad RasPutin - he looks too much like that mincy Daniel Craig, for one thing - but if these trash and their fans in the media and the Zero administration (but I repeat myself) are mad about this, his government has probably done the right thing.
Preety much not guilty
Before you call them and their protest shallow and ignorant, you should read their court statements.
They are anything but shallow and ignorant. Instead, they are classic Russian dissidents.
It is the author of this column who is ignorant and shallow. The author echoes Walter Duranty in sanitizing the persecution of these women on a charge of hooliganism, and pooh-poohing the idea that Putin’s depradations might give rise to any legitimate protest.
Putin’s government is a corrupt gangster government that murders its opponents with complete impunity and does everything possible to thwart US interests around the world. These women have lost their liberty by protesting it through artistic expression. But here is this column, and here are people on this board actually taking Putin’s side in the controversy.
I think poor Rachel Marsden got this story by the wrong end. Democracy, ok I realize Russia is not exactly our idea of a democracy, is a funny thing and governments are overturned for such silly reasons as a fearless all powerful leader concerning himself with the goings on of a couple of female singers who call themselves Pussy Riot.
Putin should have had the good sense to stay completely out of it. Who would have thought that a powerful president of the US would all over a bungled burglary in an apartment building?
He could turn around and commute their sentence
at some point and look like the hero.
If folks had paid attention, the protest was in an church because PR was protesting the close relationship between Putin and the Orthodox Church in Russia which has become more or less a branch of government (which historically it pretty much was before the Soviets suppressed them).