Words, Words, Words!

Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one’s never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.—Aldous Huxley

The Outrage Machine

The members of Pussy Riot behind bars

I am tired of writing blog postings about my outrage at the misdeeds of others, most particularly the political Right in America. So today, instead of the usual fulmination over the misdeeds of ignorant Confederate Yahoos, I want to bring to your attention three brave and beautiful young women who form a punk rock group in Russia who calls itself Pussy Riot. They are, from left to right in the above photo, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Maria Alyokhina.

Their own particular outrage is against Vladimir Putin, particularly his hypocritical attempt to suck up to the Russian Orthodox Church.

On February 21 of this year, Pussy Riot staged a performance in front of the iconostasis of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow a few blocks away from the Kremlin. The concert was stopped by church security guards. When videos of the event were circulated the following month, the girls were promptly arrested and charged for hooliganism, a sort of ill-defined catch-all crime in Russia. As of last week, they have been sentenced to two years in prison, despite pleas for clemency from the Orthodox clergy.

If you’re interested, below is the video of their performance on YouTube:

There is a CC button at the bottom which allows you to select English subtitles of the lyrics the group is singing. While some Rightist-leaning media in this country have come out against Pussy Riot, I personally am for them. Organized religion and its sometimes dubious ties to the regime need to be exposed. The group did this with humor, artistry, and some slight blasphemous language which is pardonable under the circumstances.

There are dangers in the group’s course of action: I keep thinking of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was shot to death in the elevator to her apartment for daring to expose the utter corruption of Putin’s government, particularly in its policy toward Chechnya. There was a big show trial with some obvious fall guys, but nothing much came of it.

So, rock on, girls! I hope you can beat the rap.