Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pussy Riot - a different perspective


I suppose readers could hardly have escaped the outpouring of maudlin sympathy and overflowing emotion from many 'useful idiots' at the two-year prison sentence handed down to Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot.  However, in Russia it seems a different perspective prevails.  Taki's Magazine reports:

Western analysis of the stunt pulled in Moscow by the cretins known as Pussy Riot cannot convey the visceral rage their act has elicited from the typical Russian.

I don’t mean the typical Russian of central Moscow or St. Petersburg, but those from the endless cinderblock apartments that ring each city and fill in the rest of the largest geographic country on Earth. They are not commonly interviewed on television, and Western media hardly ever quote them. However, they do most of the nation’s working and slaving and living and dying. They also do the believing.

There are many things one does not do in a Russian Orthodox church. In many colder climes—basically all of Russia much of the year—adherents do not remove coats. Congregants remain standing throughout the ceremony. You cannot put your hands in your pockets and if you do, someone will tap you and wag his finger.

The clergy will not look at you. Their backs are to parishioners because Orthodox services honor the Almighty instead of trying to entertain those who pass through the archway. The service is not about you and it will proceed whether you are there or not.

. . .

... many Russians apparently would have felt no qualms about kicking in every last one of these girls’ teeth. This is the degree to which their stunt offends typical Russians. Few would object to the same reaction at a neo-Nazi rally at Auschwitz, a pro-Khmer Rouge carnival at a Cambodian temple, or those insufferable jackasses who denounce homosexuality at soldiers’ funerals. Some people beg to have hell beaten out of them. That they generally don’t is a true crime against humanity.

. . .

Lamentably, there was no end to the insufferable idiots spouting off about this lack of Russian liberty.

One of them was Madonna, taking reprieve from showing the ravages of time to tell the world we must respect freedom. Not freedom of religion or freedom of association evidently, but freedom to spit on others’ most sacred beliefs in a place specifically designed for them to retreat from a world which already does that with glee at every opportunity imaginable.

Another was the defiler Khodorkovsky, who ought to be disqualified from giving any statement about Christ’s sanctity. Yet when did courtesy or common sense ever convince one of his ilk to keep its mouth shut about anything? On the contrary, the Oligarch Who Didn’t Get Away felt at ease questioning the morality of a country from which he stole billions.

There were other “musicians” and intellectual lightweights who deigned to make digs at the deity. If you are ever in a committee meeting where Sting, Yoko Ono, and Madonna agree, back quietly out of the room and run until you’re out of breath.

There's more at the link.

I think the author is somewhat 'over the top' in his condemnation of Pussy Riot - as much over the top as they were to protest in a church in that fashion.  If I'd been there that day, I'd certainly have stopped their protest by grabbing them by the scruffs of their necks and physically ejecting them from the cathedral.  However, I wouldn't have brought charges against them or sought jail sentences for them.  That's only made them martyrs in the eyes of the 'useful idiots' of the world.  Nevertheless, I can't help a certain sympathy for the author's perspective.  One hopes that the young ladies (?) will learn something during their time behind bars, and not be so disrespectful of others' rights and beliefs in future.

Peter

11 comments:

Suz said...

Petty thugs and vandals. Attention whores as well. Jail or not, they'd find a way to spin it for sympathy.

Peter B said...

The religiosity of the Russian people is one thing. The church hierarchy's collaboration with Putin - and its exploitation of the Russian people's loyalty to its church - is what's truly obscene. These women are pikers.

Toejam said...

Madonna has some cheek butting into an internal Russian situation.

Especially since she's the disgusting icon of deviant behavior.

Anonymous said...

Pussy Riot could have done the same protest in a different venue. While the article's author is over the top, the "band" only pulled their stunt in a church for the shock effect. I agree with our host - toss them out, followed by their equipment, but don't turn them into martyrs.

And please do not get me started on the rather tight connections between the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church and the head of the Russian state, going back to the 1940s . . .

LittleRed1

Bob@thenest said...

I'm not so sure which I think is the real operative here -- martyrdom or deterrence. Guess we'll have to wait and see. I don't think the average Russian care much about what Madonna thinks, however. Music, maybe, political opioion, not so much.

Graybeard said...

While I don't know if the Russian constitution (or whatever they're working to these days) has a right to free speech or expression, that's the issue, not whether or not they did contemptible things in a church.

In my simplistic view of the world, toss them out (as you say), maybe fine them for disorderly conduct, but imprisonment for what's essentially a thought crime is too reminiscent of things 30 years ago.

From the standpoint of offense to religion, I don't find much difference between what I know about their acts and the "artists" submerging a crucifix in urine or smearing a painting of the Virgin with elephant dung. Freedom of speech doesn't mean much if everyone agrees with the speech.

LabRat said...

"Some people beg to have hell beaten out of them. That they generally don’t is a true crime against humanity."

So not only do they deserve to be arrested for offending sensibilities, it's a crime against humanity they weren't also beaten to a pulp. Yeah, that's "over the top".

I like how there's not a flicker of irony that all this is about outrage on behalf of Christianity, which last I heard was broadly against this sort of thing.

Mikael said...

Note that Russia is still a country where being critical of the regim can get you killed, a price some journalists have payed(look up Anna Politkovskaya for example).

In any case causing a disturbance in church is hardly something worth a 2 year jail sentence, and make no mistake, it's a political sentence: don't fuck with Putin.

There is no real freedom of speech in Putin's Russia.

Mikael said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

Anonymous said...

First off, I have no idea whether or not what the women did deserves imprisonment under Russian law. I'm an American and as such my viewpoint of this will always be that of an outsider. I can, however, say that as someone who believes in free speech I commend those women.

They had a point to make, they made it, and they called a considerable amount of attention to themselves in doing it (an ultimate goal of activism). Personally I find their choice of venue offensive, but that's free speech for you.

These women essentially risked their lives (as others above me have pointed out) to make a point about free speech. The die hard, constitution loving American in me can't help but respect that.

Anonymous said...

Not being an expert on Russian law... but it seems to me that in most western countries it ought (I won't say it would) go like this. The property in question belongs to an organization, and is not legally a public space. If therefore, person Y enters and vandalizes that space, it is Not a protest. It is assault. It doesn't matter if it is a home, an office, or a cathedral.
I'd be quite happy to by sympathetic if the band had been arrested for a protest in a public space, otherwise no.