August 17, 2012

"Who is to blame for the performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and for our being put on trial after the concert? The authoritarian political system is to blame. What Pussy Riot does is oppositional art or politics."

"Who is to blame for the performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and for our being put on trial after the concert?"

Political argument in defense at the criminal trial of Pussy Riot in Russia. Also: "To my deepest regret, this mock trial is close to the standards of the Stalinist troikas."

The protesters got a 2-year sentence for "hooliganism." They've gotten a lot of international support, because the government seems to be coming after them for their free speech and their music, but — as the NYT puts it — they "have never released a song or an album, and they do not seem to have any serious aspirations to do so." And the prosecution accused them of acting out of "religious hatred" (as well as "committing 'moral harm' and even of practicing Satanism"). They did "prance around in front of the golden Holy Doors leading into the altar, dancing, chanting and lip-syncing for what would later become a music video of a profane song in which they beseeched the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Mr. Putin."

84 comments:

Wally Kalbacken said...

Pussy Riot under glass.

AprilApple said...

Putin is scared of girls and he has a little dick.

Alex Ignatiev said...

As an Orthodox Christian, I find their behavior and the sentence offensive. They should be sentenced to community service, either in soup kitchens, or cleaning churches, or something non-punitive but instructive. This trial is a sham, and their inability to understand how they have offended literally millions of people is distressing.

shoutingthomas said...

There is nobody to like in this farce.

On on side, a boring group of PR hustlers who don't even know how to play music. The Kardashian-ization of Russian.

On the other side, old fashioned Russian autocrats.

History replays itself. The 19th century Russian revolutionaries were equally nihilisitic and stupid. As Solzhenitsyn often pointed out, the failure of the revolution was inevitable because the revolutionaries were just bloodthirty assholes bent on revenge.

Time to re-read Mikhail Lermontov's "A Hero of Our Times."

Darrell said...

When Putin gives them a "compassionate release" to make this go away, maybe they can come here and take over The Academy Awards broadcast to protest the 95-year whitewash by Hollywood of Soviet crimes against their own people.

Sorun said...

I agree with April. All of that manly posing by Putin says small penis.

Dave said...

Putin is feeling no meaningful outside pressure, so he can do as he pleases.

Sloanasaurus said...

Didn't we press the reset button with Putin?

Another example of Obama's failed foreign policy.

Scott said...

The girls live in a society where everything is viewed through the lens of politics. This is the kind of society that progressives want.

shoutingthomas said...

Scott, Russia is an entirely different society.

You can't draw any conclusions from the Russian experience that shed light on the American politic sphere.

To be blunt. The Russians are fucking crazy. Maybe it's the lousy diet. Or too much cheap vodka. They're drunk all the time.

creeley23 said...

Riot police officers arrested dozens of them, including the former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is active in the Russian political opposition. Mr. Kasparov fought with the police and appeared to be beaten as he was bundled into a paddy wagon.

Garry Kasparov is arguably the greatest chess player of all time. Since his retirement from chess he has put his life on the line as an outspoken critic of Putin's regime.

Ordinarily I don't have much patience for the antics of rock musicians using revered symbols as backdrops for their political expressions. The pleas from the Madonna and Yoko Ono on Pussy Riot's behalf don't help.

However, Russia is a complex and brutal country. I know the stakes are high but I don't claim to understand the ramifications of something like Pussy Riot's protest. That Garry Kasparov stands up for Pussy Riot forces me to reevaluate.

Bob_R said...

Alex - Their claim is that the Russian Orthodox church has allow itself to be co-opted by Putin's police state. If so this is a greater desecration than anything they did in their protest.

Tim said...

Thomas Friedman will undoubtedly instruct us all as to why Putin's apparatchiks were correct in prosecuting Pussy Riot, and how the sentence is lenient, all things considered...

edutcher said...

shout is basically right.

And I like the line, The Kardashian-ization of Russia.

Darrell said...

When Putin gives them a "compassionate release" to make this go away

More like a big "if". Vlad describes himself as a "Chekhist" and I have a feeling it's a philosophy of life.

AllieOop said...

I really Iike the new mellow shoutingthomas and he makes good sense. Old dawgs sometimes do learn new tricks.

Bob_R said...

Anyone have a link to the band actually playing music?

Scott said...

You can't draw any conclusions from the Russian experience that shed light on the American politic sphere.

Sure you can. You can draw lots of conclusions about totalitarianism and political culture. And to the extent that progressive ideology is rooted in Leninism, most of them would be correct.

To be blunt. The Russians are fucking crazy. Maybe it's the lousy diet. Or too much cheap vodka. They're drunk all the time.

That's not being blunt, that's drawing a cartoon of Russians as "the other" with a rather thick grease pencil.

TMink said...

Bob, that is an important point. When the "church" rejects Christ, it is no longer a "church."

Trey

Gaijin42 said...

Russia is a bad place, deserving of protest. This was not protest. This is a group of attention-whoring "performance artists" who drape themselves in politics.

They got what they asked for (literally and figuratively!) Their goal was attention, and arrest. They shouldn't complain that they were successfull.

Other demonstrations of theirs involved stripping naked and having group sex in a museum (while one of the members was 8 months pregnant), and masturbating in public with a raw chicken.

That said, 2 years is probably excessive

Darrell said...

Didn't we press the reset button with Putin?

Nah. We pressed the "Overload/Overcharge" button due to poor translators in Hillary's "smartest people ever" entourage. They used an electrical term, closer to "circuit breaker" in American English (and practice).

Richard Dolan said...

The notion of 'free speech' as a limitation on the powers of gov't is, in many ways, a uniquely American idea. In many other countries, it is mostly just a platitude, something that shows up in legal codes and constitutions where it is usually followed by a proviso to the effect that free speech ends at whatever line the gov't deems necessary to preserve good social order. It's not just places like Russia and China. You find similar approaches throughout the EU, and even in the UK and Canada. How far the gov't pushes the idea of 'good social order' as a restriction on speech will vary from country to country, but the power to restrict speech (by imposing criminal penalties and civil fines) where speech is deemed a threat to that order exists in most of those countries.

Even in the US, speech is sometimes less free than you thought. For much of our own history, the First Amendment was mostly toothless and courts were very unreliable in recognizing it as a limitation on gov't power. The 'clear and present' danger test used by US courts in the first half of the last century was a particularly weak, almost pathetic, standard. Today we tolerate gov'tally imposed limitations on speech for all kinds of odd reasons -- e.g., political speech can be banned or capped in the interest of preventing corruption (without any proof that the cure actually cures something), or the appearance of corruption or from a desire to diminish the power of the 'rich' to dominate the conversation, blah, blah, blah. Privacy laws can be used to criminalize attempts to record and publish one's interactions with gov'mental actors (usually the police); vague doctrines intended to protect against threats and incitement are being used to try to police the internet. The impulse to impose speech codes and ban un-PC viewpoints keeps popping up. One could go on and on.

On the virtues of free speech, America as that shining city on a hill still beckons but few choose to follow. But it would be best first to get our own house in order. (Anyone out there want to be the Paul Ryan on this one?)

The Crack Emcee said...

"Who is to blame for the performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour,..."?

Um, dumb question:

Pussy Riot

And I don't think a collective, with no aspiration to do music, can really be called a "band."

Sorry, girlfriends, but I tend not to defend those who are known more for their antics than their music.

Just ask Madonna,...

phx said...

The girls live in a society where everything is viewed through the lens of politics. This is the kind of society that progressives want.

You should see Althouse's blog.

traditionalguy said...

What the Russians really need is several million rounds of 40 Cal hollowpoints, only for guarding the Orthodox Church from rock and roll singer attack.

It's Red herring time in Putin's Moscow and in Obama's DC that now think a lot alike.

John said...

I'm with Adam Curry on this one. (No Agenda Podcast www.seanhannity.com)

The best part of this whole foofaraw is that it makes newsreaders like Erin Burnett say "Pussy Riot" on the air.

He has played several clips of her saying it and she sounds a bit uncomfortable.


John Henry

The Crack Emcee said...

AprilApple,

Putin is scared of girls and he has a little dick.

Yawn.

Do women ever wonder about their brains shrinking? I'm serious, because so many seem stuck on this one put-down, it's got to be a symbol of mental incapacity of some kind.

I know it's a penis envy-fetish thing, but what else?

Clearly, like feminism, they're trapped in the '70s - and being over 40 years out-of-date isn't good.

And then you have some women who've said they can't even cum.

Jesus Christ, people, it's like they're broken,...

shoutingthomas said...

"That's not being blunt, that's drawing a cartoon of Russians as "the other" with a rather thick grease pencil."

The Russians are pretty "other." Stereotypes often have plenty of truth in them.

I practically drowned in Russians, Russian language, culture and cheap vodka during my college years. I lived with a Ukranian Jewish women for most of those years. I read the great Russian masters in the original Russian. There is something deeply attractive in the Slavic outlook. It's intensely romantic, morose and spiritual.

That said, Russians are perpetually drunk. I had to get away from them to get sober. Until the Russians sober up, nothing is going to change.

yashu said...

The 19th century Russian revolutionaries were equally nihilisitic and stupid.

Cf. Dostoevsky's Demons.

wyo sis said...

It sounds to me like these women were asking to be arrested. They shouldn't be surprised, and I'll bet they aren't. It was more of an appeal to the West for attention and they got that as well. If they manage to get a pardon they'll have another mark in their personal win column.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bob_R,

Anyone have a link to the band actually playing music?

No, but I've heard some:

It's about what you'd expect,...

John said...

Sloanasaurus said...

Didn't we press the reset button with Putin?


No, we didn't and no amount of relabeling will turn an "Emergency Stop" button into a reset button.

Any electrician will tell you what an e-stop looks like (Red pushbutton on yellow background) and that under federal law it cannot be used for any other purpose.

Day by Day gave me a shoutout on this:

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/2010/04/03/#005599

I really think that the e-stop metaphor works much better than the "reset" one anyway.

John Henry

Bender said...

Their claim is that the Russian Orthodox church has allow itself to be co-opted by Putin's police state.
_____________

(1) Putin is a Soviet thug. He strangled Russia's liberation in the crib, and he should have been deposed long ago.

(2) These protesters are not religious themselves and they don't really care about the doctrinal faithfulness of the Russian Orthodox Church. Neither do they really care about the Virgin Mary, other than to use and exploit, for their own political ends, her longtime call at Fatima for prayers for the conversion of Russia.

(3) If they are going to protest, then do it in the streets. Do it in front of the Kremlin. Go invade some nightclub and appropriate the stage for their protest. But don't use the church or Mary as political playthings.

Darrell said...

Until the Russians sober up, nothing is going to change.

I've gotten more than my share to sober up and it just gets worse. They get suicidal. I can't get them to stop looking behind--the things they've wasted, the damage they've done. They refuse to look to the future and the way that things can be better. It's hard to get socialism entirely out of their system.

The Crack Emcee said...

shoutingthomas,

"The Slavic outlook. It's intensely romantic, morose and spiritual."

And yet everyone will still beat me about the head that it's an atheist country, while I insist I've never seen such a thing in all of my travels. Hmmmm.

Personally, I'd call Russia "mystical," but potato/potahto,...

AllenS said...

I wonder how long I could prance around in front of the Althouse law lecture class, chanting and lip-syncing for what would later become a music video of a profane song in which I beseeched the Virgin Mary to rid Wisconsin of Mz. Althouse?

How many times could I do this before I faced some serious jail time?

Clyde said...

I'm going to borrow from myself, since I commented elsewhere about this:

These young women unfortunately forgot what country they were living in. Their legacy is the secret police and the gulag, not the First Amendment. While the Soviet Union may be twenty years gone, most of the same cast of characters are still there and still in charge. Those who live in Russia forget that at their peril.

Darrell said...

Hillary's team used peregruzka--overcharge(in European practice) or overload in US usage. If that happened during the cold war, the SOS would never hear the end of it--especially if he/she were a Republican. Imagine that being given to Khrushchev?

Darrell said...

Maybe Hillary wanted to use the word самоликвиди́роваться--"self-destruct" and press it herself.

She'd be more popular than Obama in Europe right now.

creeley23 said...

Here's Pussy Riot in Red Square singing "Putin Wet Himself."

Apparently Pussy Riot's MO is full-out public punk assaults. The music is better than I expected and their energy is contagious.

I don't know as much as shoutingthomas does, but I have studied Russian, love Tolstoy and Mayakovsky, and read their history. I watch this video and feel terrified for these young women.

The Crack Emcee said...

creeley23,

The music is better than I expected,...

You must've been expecting this guy,...

Chip S. said...

Gaijin42 said...
This was not protest. This is a group of attention-whoring "performance artists" who drape themselves in politics.

There's your opinion, and there are the opinions of Russian political activists:

As the judge read the lengthy verdict, hundreds of demonstrators had gathered outside the courthouse and shouted, “Free Pussy Riot!”

Riot police officers arrested dozens of them, including the former chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is active in the Russian political opposition. Mr. Kasparov fought with the police and appeared to be beaten as he was bundled into a police vehicle.


I'm also puzzled by the view expressed in this thread that musical chops are a prerequisite for authenticity of protests employing music.

phx said...

Kasparov was arrested? This should be interesting.

shoutingthomas said...

Since we're talking about Old Dawgz...

shoutingthomas said...

I'm also puzzled by the view expressed in this thread that musical chops are a prerequisite for authenticity of protests employing music.

You got to draw the line somewhere, or else you end up having to put up with Ed Sanders and The Fugs for 40 years.

phx said...

This is pretty much how young people protest. As with anything most young people do, they don't always get it right. I keep a presumption in their favor, however, although it has limits.

Handling young people requires extraordinary, magnificent control on the part of wise men and women. Just a stick won't do.

Nichevo said...

Totally gobsmacked by otherwise sensible people, usually on the side of right, from wyo sis to Crack MC, not getting it. Pussy Riot is true political activism, the kind ours pretends to be and on a food day wants to be.

You know how our act-up types are always being said to be so brave? These kids are! Yeah they are loud and perhaps not selected for musical ability. What they are self-selected for is the willingness to get up into the face of real, actual evil and oppose it.

These are not the people to mock because they are profane or can't hit a middle C. Diana Krall, Kiri Te Kanawa, Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey sadly are not available to offer themselves to be beaten, raped and murdered in a totalitarian "justice" system that actually deserves the kind of venom that Robert Cook directs at America.

There is no possibility of confusion, but I really don't want to stop at "you are either stupid or evil" for not agreeing with me. I only wish the depth of my belief could convince you. Let it at least impel you to think twice. Dirty longhaired hippie profile doesn't mean there what it means here. Hooligan doesn't mean there what it means here. Political protest doesn't mean there what it means here.

Perhaps it would help you to realize that their culture of dissent is very immature, stunted, deformed, pathetic if you like, PRECISELY because they have just exited formal total communism, and all the activists with any talent have probably been executed already? Take us. Murder everyone in Hollywood, send everybody with a Blockbuster account or a Netflix subscription to thirty years busting rocks in an Alaskan prison, do this for seventy years and see if we still make the world's best movies.

These people are very truly accurately and daringly saying that their system is corrupt wicked and evil and responsibility starts at the top of leading institutions from the head of government to the head of the main church. And you berate them for their lack of style?

phx said...

Looks like Kasparov got roughed up and muscled pretty good, lots of pictures out there.

According to the site I read he wasn't there to protest, he was just trying to attend the sentencing hearing.

Former World Chess Champion Garri Kasparov is two-time offender. They could hang a good one around his neck.

Pussy Riot. Fight da power.

Nichevo said...

I will even say that Madonna and Yoko pleading for PR raises them slightly in my opinion.

shoutingthomas said...

Nichevo,

I understand what you're saying, but you've totally missed my point.

The Pussy Riot girls look to me just like the knucklehead revolutionaries of 19th century Russia.

In other words, they don't have anything better in mind that Putin does.

It's an illusion to think that feverish protest equals real, substantive opposition.

shoutingthomas said...

In fact, hasn't the historical dilemma in Russia been that the protestors and revolutionaries always end up being worse than the devil they disposess?

phx said...

"Unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all." Mario Savio

Nichevo said...

Shouty, let me agree with you in spades that Russia is one fucked, fucked-up country. And these kids were nekulturny and all that, and yes, Russia has never known how to protest. But the sonera hair-washing ones just get shot to death in an elevator, or eat polonium, so who gives a fuck if they are kulturny or not? At least this way they got noticed. Alex Ignatiev should be more worried about what the Patriarch has done to defile the Church than about these three little babies.

As for Kasparov, oh he's just a Yid, who cares. /sarc

creeley23 said...

Nichevo: I hear you.

Punk ain't my cup of meat, but Pussy Riot has the chops and raw energy requisite to that genre. They know how to create a spectacle.

I was moved by the Youtubes I watched this morning. I changed my mind about Pussy Riot.

It cannot be overemphasized that a bunch of kids in costume playing harsh, loud music in public and bad-mouthing the government means something entirely different in Russia. It's not theater over there; it's real.

shoutingthomas said...

Nichevo,

There's a way in which I agree with you. I just don't think political theater is what will pull Russia out of the negative spin.

First, people have to get sober. This is pretty difficult, because everybody's drunk to try to forget the horrific memories of the slaughter, torture and madness of the past. The desire for revenge against the torturers blurs everybody's vision, especially when you're drunk.

So long as everybody's drunk, it's tough to develop respect for the rule of law. And the rule of law is what's missing.

I don't have the answer, but I suspect Pussy Riot is not it. Having the West intervene to lecture Russians has historically been a negative,too. That has only made things worse.

Chip Ahoy said...

Crack, you misread AprilApple.

This is an Instapundit item
AprilApples' is an Instapundit response.

She cracked me up with that, very clever. Insty is right, too, nothing so withering as ridicule and AprilApple's alacrity at picking up on the Insty meme and joining in the fun of delivering the wither is very funny. Putin is afraid of girls and has a small dick. Word.

Chip S. said...

creeley23 said...

a bunch of kids in costume playing harsh, loud music in public and bad-mouthing the government means something entirely different in Russia. It's not theater over there; it's real.

Shouting Thomas said...

Putin, I'll bet isn't a bit afraid of these girls or of the response of the West.

He'll kill them and dispose of them without hesitation.

And he won't give a shit how much the West protests.

The sexual references you are using are stupid, too. I don't know about Putin specifically, but men like him usually have legions of whores at their disposal and are using them to stoke up their fire. Putin is undoubtedly very proud of his dick, because he's getting blown and laid several times a day by the best money can buy.

You are looking at things from the perspective of an American.

hombre said...

They should come to the US and apply for a federal grant.

Martin said...

Amen to Nichevo & Creeley 23.

Most of the rest of this discussion makes me froth obscenities, but then I'm just an old punk rocker myself.

shoutingthomas makes a number of valid points about Russian history but, um, I don't think that Pussy Riot wants to assume control of the Russian gov't.

I've never been there, but I'd like to think that there are at least some relatively sober (but not always sober I hope!) adults in Russia who can at least imagine other ways that their gov't could operate.

But those sane individuals are not going to be able to call attention to the repression of free speech in Russia the way that Pussy Riot has. For example, how many of these names of journalists killed since the fall of the Soviet Union have you or your Facebook friends heard of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

And no, I am NOT saying that Facebook is gonna free Pussy Riot, or topple Putin, or belatedly bring liberal democracy to Russia. I'm saying that Pussy Riot is bringing some kind of Russia-wide and worldwide attention to Putin's repression.

hombre said...

"Didn't we press the reset button with Putin?

Another example of Obama's failed foreign policy."

Yes, but remember Obama's open mic promise to Medvedev? After the re-election, he and Putin can become pecker-touching buddies (so to speak).

Shouting Thomas said...

I can certainly understand how this discussion would make you "froth obscenities."

The kind of change that has to occur in Russia is extraordinately difficult to manage. I don't even know if it is possible.

I think that you are all hoping for a simple, B-movie type change in a situation that demands deep change on every level of Russian society, starting on an individual level.

You're hoping that the, at the extreme, the ruthless murder and disappearance of these young woman will induce such outrage that change will be demanded. This is a society that has endured the ruthless murders of tens of millions for decades. People are inured to torture and murder on a massive scale. That's why they're drunk.

It is not like the U.S., where the mild abuse of a few teenagers (as in the Vietnam protests) can bring down the authorities. You are fantasizing here.

The U.S. version of protest... I don't think it's the answer.

Shouting Thomas said...

For instance, there has never been a faction in Russian or Soviet history that actually believe in or supported free speech.

It's a concept that has been used quite often to score propaganda points.

But, no political faction actually supports it.

Martin said...

shouting:

I am not fantasizing here. I do not think that the kind of change that Russia needs is gonna happen overnight, and I do not think that Pussy Riot is gonna have an important role in it, either. And, to be honest with you, despite the last sentence being written in the future tense, I'm not really any more optimistic than you are that it will EVER happen. I was optimistic about Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed. Since then, not so much.

Neither, however, do I think that the correct response to the jailing of three artists is to say: oh, they make terrible music and they've never released even a single and they're "attention whores" and they offer no real alternatives and and and and

At least sign a fucking petition (no, I don't think Putin cares!) to indicate that the civilized world does not believe that imprisoning peaceful protestors for a couple years is acceptable. Is that really so hard?

Y'know, when the Ayatollah issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, there were plenty of folks in the west saying things like: "He's really a terrible writer, and a left-wing attention whore, isn't he? He KNEW that he was offending Muslims and he did it anyway so fuck him." To which I say, no. Fuck censorship.

creeley23 said...

I think that you are all hoping for a simple, B-movie type change in a situation that demands deep change on every level of Russian society, starting on an individual level.

Not me. I just know courage when I see it, even if it's foolish, and feel obliged to support it.

I'm hoping that these girls are not doomed.

wyo sis said...

Nichevo
I agree that there is real bravery in what Pussy Riot is doing. maybe I'm wrong in thinking it's self-serving. If the goal is to get attention they certainly achieved that. If it's to call attention to Putin's totalitarianism they have done that as well. It remains to be seen if it's effective. But, no doubt it is courageous.

Nichevo said...

Those kids are martyrs. Jesus got rude in the Temple too, I heard it from a moneychanger. They have no expectation of mercy; even if being poor weak little girls they would like to live, that's not why they went. Russians don't win wars with clever schemes and fourteen-point plans, they win because they throw themselves in front of tanks.

And Kiril is the new Pontius Pilate and will no doubt share a circle of hell with him. Putin? Probably thinks Satan better watch his back when Putin gets there.

Shouting Thomas said...

Sorry guys. I am both a corporate artist and a professional musician.

The tactic of producing martyrs is dear to all political movements.

You'll have to forgive me for being a cynical Old Dawg, but I'm completely fed up with the practice of producing martyrs.

Once you start down this road, every side starts toting up its martyrs. Look around the internet. Every political faction is trying like hell to manufacture martyrs so as to incite its followers.

No, I won't have anything to do with the manufacture of martyrs. It's just another facet of the problem. It's just part of the cycle of revenge that keeps the madness going.

Sound hard, I know. So be it. The solution is to step outside the cycle of revenge, no matter how justified that desire for revenge seems.

I want absolutely nothing to do with martyrs.

Shouting Thomas said...

Release from the karmic cycle of revenge is the answer.

Nichevo said...

Shouty, I promise, I swear, those girls are not waiting on you to save them.

Would it help if I said "martyr in the old-fashioned sense of the word?" What you are thinking of is them blowing themselves up, maybe with Putin. No, this is not that. They are bearing witness to the rot in Russian life and attesting to it with their souls and fates. Like St. Stephen or St. Sebastian. Yeah that guy musta been a dick to get all those arrows in him, I'm not down with that.

Shouting Thomas said...

St. Stephen is my baptismal namesake. I know his story well.

I've been through all of this on a deeply personal level. My late wife was a victim of the most unimaginable torture at the hands of the Marcos family.

She was a very brilliant woman who taught me that love and forgiveness, even of those who seem to be monsters, is the only answer.

creeley23 said...

Release from the karmic cycle of revenge is the answer.

Shouting Thomas: Sorry to hear of your wife.

Human history is infinitely messy and unsatisfactory. Changing it for the better is damnably hard but I see no proof that love and forgiveness, as wonderful as they are, comprise the only answer.

For instance, I think the world is a better place that we destroyed Nazi Germany by force, instead of following Gandhi's advice to the British:

I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions.... If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.

There were plenty of martyrs in World War II and there was plenty of revenge as well. It wasn't perfect, but it was still better IMO.

Martin said...

Shouting!

If you're gonna be all Buddhist and understanding about everything, maybe you should change your pseudonym?

Seriously, though, I can at least try to understand where you're coming from, both personally and politically, and I see merit in your position. But I disagree, and I believe that there is a need in every society for obnoxious forms of protest -- or at least a need to tolerate obnoxious protest.

Re. your earlier point that there has "never been a faction in Russian or Soviet history that actually believe in or supported free speech."

I would not be surprised to learn that this is true. Even in the West today, there are very few people who really believe "all the way" in their opponents' rights to free speech.

I could tell you stories from my decades in the book business, or I could just say that I live in Canada, and that there are many Canadians who would say that absolute freedom of speech is "not a Canadian value", and that many people have to be protected from the possibility of encountering "hate speech". And we have the laws to prove it!

But even in the States, there are a lot of folks on the left who think, for example, that the FCC should shut down Fox News because it "lies" and there are a lot of people on the right who think that burning the American flag should be illegal. (Just to take two examples.)

If you look back at the history of the development of religious tolerance, you'll see the same thing. In England, for eg, Protestants were all for religious toleration when Bloody Mary was burning them at the stake, and then it was the Catholics' turn to act all self-righteous about freedom of conscience when Elizabeth I came to power.

Tolerance takes time to develop. But I think it starts with lip service, hypocrisy being the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Nichevo said...

Your Myra might never have met you, Shouty, had American troops not halted the Rape of Manila, and other depradations, before the IJA had quite gotten its fill of some truly unimaginable torture and murder. I'm aware of nothing Gandhi did worth remembering.

phx said...

She was a very brilliant woman who taught me that love and forgiveness, even of those who seem to be monsters, is the only answer.

And people ask me why I come here.

kentuckyliz said...

Putin can see Alaska from his house.

rhhardin said...

Some Russian commenter on a cockpit youtube of a Russian airliner said that the technology may not be the latest but it doesn't need all the parts to fly.

It's like the political system.

Economically it's a limited entry system, stable because people get rents in proportion to their power.

A rent-free system would work better but not for the people now in power.

rhhardin said...

I wonder if Kliban's "Virgin Mary Appears to a Volkswagen in Denver" or "The Spiral Notebook of the Blessed Virgin" are on the net.

I don't get being upset about such things.

Choose more robust symbols.

Peter said...

masturbating in public with a raw chicken

She actually stuck the hapless fowl all the way into her poon tang and then gave "birth" to it. The stunt worked because it was a rather small chicken. It would've been a lot harder with a big fat Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster.

Nichevo said...

Karen Finley? Who dat?

One thing about Russians, they're hardcore.

YoungHegelian said...

I want a bumper sticker that says "I support hooligan Pussy". But, I'm afraid it would attract the wrong crowd.

furious_a said...

"He's really a terrible writer, and a left-wing attention whore, isn't he? He KNEW that he was offending Muslims and he did it anyway so fuck him." To which I say, no. Fuck censorship."

Amen. The same regime that threw these girls in prison murdered Andrei Magnitsky and Anna Politovkskaya. No credit for good taste in music, which some here imply.

...and "Pussy Riot" -- just wanted to say it.

creeley23 said...

We'll take it as stipulated that the members of Pussy Riot are not to be confused with Solzhenitsyn.

creeley23 said...

Here's Gary Kasparov on the verdict:

The only surprise to come out of Friday's guilty verdict in the trial here of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot was how many people acted surprised. Three young women were sentenced to two years in prison for the prank of singing an anti-Putin "prayer" in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Their jailing was the next logical step for Vladimir Putin's steady crackdown on "acts against the social order," the Kremlin's expansive term for any public display of resistance.

In the 100 days since Mr. Putin's re-election as president, severe new laws against public protest have been passed and the homes of opposition leaders have been raided. These are not the actions of a regime prepared to grant leniency to anyone who offends Mr. Putin's latest ally, the Orthodox Church and its patriarch.

Unfortunately, I was not there to hear the judge's decision, which she took several hours to read. The crowds outside the court building made entry nearly impossible, so I stood in a doorway and took questions from journalists. Suddenly, I was dragged away by a group of police—in fact carried away with one policeman on each arm and leg.

The men refused to tell me why I was being arrested and shoved me into a police van. When I got up to again ask why I had been detained, things turned violent. I was restrained, choked and struck several times by a group of officers before being driven to the police station with dozens of other protesters. After several hours I was released, but not before they told me I was being criminally investigated for assaulting a police officer who claimed I had bitten him.

It would be easy to laugh at such a bizarre charge when there are already so many videos and photos of the police assaulting me. But in a country where you can be imprisoned for two years for singing a song, laughter does not come easily. My bruises will heal long before the members of Pussy Riot are free to see their young children again. In the past, Mr. Putin's critics and enemies have been jailed on a wide variety of spurious criminal charges, from fraud to terrorism.

But now the masks are off. Unlikely as it may be, the three members of Pussy Riot have become our first true political prisoners.

Such a brazen step should raise alarms, but the leaders of the Free World are clearly capable of sleeping through any wake-up call.

phx said...

Thanks creeley23, that was worth reading. There are indeed very courageous men and women in Russia, and Kasparov is one of them.