Let’s just say right away that there’s lots and lots of depressing and infuriating shit in the news that the Russian band Pussy Riot has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for protesting the fucked up reign of ole Vlad “The Body” Putin. Specifically, protesting with this performance:

Honestly, there aren’t that many absolutes in the world, but when your music video shoot has to be broken up by a combination of the Moscow Police and a nun (I think? I’m not going to look up if they actually have nuns) from the Russian Orthodox Church, it’s probably safe to assume you’re in the right. Honestly, Putin, if your government can’t stand up to this level of wack-dancing-based political discourse (side note: I am a fan of freedom and free speech, but I am not a fan of their dancing. Sorry.), then maybe it’s time to hang up the jackboots and go back to doing MMA against bears or whatever it is the fuck you do to prove you’re a man who definitely isn’t scared of three ladies in a band.

But, as usual, when shit goes down at the intersection of art, politics, and protest, celebrity is probably not that far behind.

While Madonna’s speech at a recent Moscow performance comes from what is undoubtedly a good place, it’s also kind of legit hilarious a) every time she says “Russia” in a different accent, and b) how she keeps working in some variation of the phrase “express yourself” like it’s some kind of product placement deal, which, I guess, it kind of is.

I guess if there’s any bright side to this story, it’s that we got and will get to hear the word “pussy” on the news like 18.5 million times.

How Racist Is This?

  • Vladimir Putin: so racist, obviously
  • Pussy Riot: not going to do the research, but hopefully none
Comments (56)
  1. Based mostly on the frame ads, I think we should overthrow the Russian government with bows and arrows. and FIRE!

  2. when leaders of your religious group drive BMWs and wear really expensive watches in the name of Jesus you don’t really have any right to talk about morality.

    but ugh, can we talk about something happy today, guys?

  3. But isn’t being thrown in jail for two years THE MOST punk thing?

  4. Regardless of personal opinions regarding this issue, I think we can ALL agree that anybody who publicly protests Putin and walks away with only two years in jail is PRETTY LUCKY.

  5. someone has to amp up the hardcore now that mustaine is working for the facists.

    • That made me so sad. Also, did you see that Rage Against the Machine is Paul Ryan’s favorite band? I am not sure that he has ever paid attention to anything they have ever said, did or thought.

      • tom morello said as much on rollingstone.com

      • This is why so many conservatives read Ayn Rand. If you can’t like art with a “liberal message,” you are left with her, Ted Nugent, painting from 1255 to 1490, and the Pyramids. That makes you an ideological moron.

        Your other choice is to be a hypocritical moron. Paul Ryan made his choice.

        • it makes you an idealogical moron with bad taste. it’s just a sad life i imagine. read the tom morello article. it’s awesome the way he just backhands ryan.

        • I don’t think it’s necessarily hypocritical. Particularly with music, you can enjoy it without agreeing with the message being delivered. I don’t have to want to Wang Chung tonight to rock out with those that do.

          • but when the whole point of the music is to put across a political message, then yeah, your consumption of it inherently endorses that message. wang chung is pop music that doesn’t have an over arching political ideology or identity. that argument is like saying that you can listen to white power music just for the awesome riffs, and that you don’t get down with the message, like thousands of deluded morons who think the first skrewdriver record is “pretty good” before they got all hitler-y. if you are listening to straight up politically driven music and you’re saying that you’re not inherently approving the message, you are an idiot.

          • Oh, I’m SURE Zach De La Rocha is just steamed that this dude likes his music. But if you think it’s catchy, if it makes you smile and tap your feet, you like it. You don’t have to agree with the lyrics.

          • Facetaco, I was set to violently disagree with you, but the mere mention of Wang Chung sent me into a nostalgia spiral that is likely to last beyond the span of this thread.
            I’ll drive a million miles…to be with you tonight…

          • Huh. facetaco and southernbitch both make good points. Yesterday I read a conservative blogger up in arms because Devo wrote an anti-Romney song. It’s catchy, but POLITICS! I guess maybe he thinks Devo should just wang-chung it, even though they’ve always been an explicitly political band? Or maybe Devo should be more Fair and Balanced and write a song that attacks Obama for smoking. Who knows. Here’s an article about a guy who thinks we should hate “This Land Is Your Land” because Woodie Guthrie was a communist:
            http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2012/07/todays-child-of-zhdanov-is-one-lee.html

            But it does bother me that so much of conservative politics emphasizes authority and tradition and money and so much of the animating spirit of art is about opposing those. I guess Paul Ryan could feel like RATM expresses the anger we feel not just against police brutality but also against the Fed and Obamacare and Xenu, but c’mon. There’s a disconnect, like Lee Atwater* producing the Willy Horton political ads designed to terrify suburban Americans about black thuggery but at the same time being a huge fan of the blues and actually playing on records with BB King. How does that music speak to him but he doesn’t make the leap to fucking not producing the Willie Horton ads?

            *Lee Atwater was chairman of the Republican party in the 1980s when I was a wee lad and he ran the campaign of the first George Bush, which featured this INSANE ad that claimed if the Democrats got into office they were going to free black murderers and rapists from prison.

        • But she’s an athiest and is pro-choice. HAHAHAHAHAHA. EVEN YOUR TASTE IN BOOKS IS COUNTERINTUITIVE, PAUL RYAN.

          Seriously, fuck that guy. Or don’t because he doesn’t think you should be on birth control and will probably call you a whore for sleeping with him because he’s Catholic and you’re inherently unclean.

          • doesn’t it just tickle you when someone you disagree with supports a position that they don’t actually support. they merely go along with it because it is fashionable, without actually reading anything or doing any research. i love having the intellectual highground. it’s the only thing i can really stand on.

          • I can’t go here today. I have to work. But believe me… this guy is just the fucking worst. Stupid, corrupt, callous, spoiled and so goddamn self-satisfied that getting into it will put me in a rage blackout. Intellectual high ground is the least of the things we can hold over him. He is just as dangerous as Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, but too dumb and isolated from anyone not in his immediate circle to realize his actions are evil. Maureen Dowd had a great piece in the NYTimes yesterday about it.

            I seriously hate him so much. So much.

          • LBT and I were just talking about how we should pool our moneys and make Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan switch places with two poor men (or possibly also a woman) of color ala The Dukes in Trading Places. Maybe for just a month? So they can learn sympathy? The bet is a Coke (or Diet Coke)… really the carbonated soda beverage of one’s choosing with the maximum total value of $1.

            Who is in?

          • i am in, my contribution to the bet are several tubes of carmex, the cherry flavored carmex you can buy at the counter at the seven eleven. so winner takes all of that.

  6. The thing that really bugs me about this (aside from the unjust politically motivated imprisonment) is that I can picture way to many people I know or have known looking at this and concluding that simply because these women broke the law, they got what they deserved.

    That kind of thinking sends a chill up my spine because I know that they’d say the same thing about it if it were happening in this country, and I know that they vote for the kind of men who would be Putins if given the chance.

  7. I wonder how many hits Videogum will get today from people searching “free pussy”

  8. ughhhhhhhhhhhhh….this is what we’re standing up for? i was kinda hoping their music would be good.

    • But that’s the thing. When I was 20 years old and angry and running around on stage in my underwear and a half-shaved head yelling about unfair expectations for women’s bodies, I was creating AWFUL art. However, no one was proposing to arrest me for it because the freedom of speech allows us to make awful art. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to consume it, or needs to agree with it.

  9. Madonna’s speech sounds like the shit I say when I want to say something smart and deep that is weighing heavy on my mind, but I’m too drunk to “express myself” coherently and everyone around me just kind of nods politely and goes “Oh, yeah, I know. Definitely.” until I shut up about it.

  10. Vladimir Pootin’

  11. Real question: Has anyone taken one for the team to see what Fox News has said about this? I’m only curious because if someone did the American equivalent to this,* they would be called terrorists and fascists, but because it can be spun into xenophobic, jingoistic nonsense… it almost seems like Fox would come to these womyns’ defense? Or are all feminist punks arrested for protesting considered man-hating nightmares, even if it allows you to put out your Tea Party talking points in that yeah, WE’D never do that! USA! USA! USA! manner to which we have all grown to know and love?

  12. just so everyone is relieved…i did tweet “Free Pussy Riot” today so I’m good.

  13. Yo but how racist is Madonna? Kinda racist right?

  14. Madonna drinks from water bottles with built in straws.

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