By Tom Bethell on 8.22.12
For Pussy Riot, and for Western intellectuals, desecration counts as freedom of expression.
Vladimir Putin has been widely criticized for throwing that trio of Pussy Riot punk rockers into a Moscow prison. Maybe prison was too severe, but there is another side to this story. But as a friend said, it is difficult to express that other side “without invoking ideas that have been systematically discredited by our own intellectual class: Blasphemy, vulgarity, profanity, nihilism, sexual exhibitionism, tastelessness.”
Back in February, the Pussy Rioters entered Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, in disguise, regarding it as a venue well suited to their peculiar brand of nihilism.
Here are a few of their lines (and I’ll allow that they may have made more sense in the original Russian):
All parishioners crawl to bow,
The phantom of liberty is in heaven,
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains
The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend His Holiness
Women must give birth and love
S–t, s–t, the Lord’s s–t!…
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist
Become a feminist, become a feminist
Clearly the goal was to give offense, and if that happened in a cathedral, without anyone’s permission, well, by our debased standards, that raised it to the level of art.
On its front page, the New York Times was indignant about their imprisonment because the punks’ “rights” had been violated. Their cause became “a cause célèbre championed by artists around the world.” The Washington Post dignified the group as an “artistic collective,” and the State Department expressed concern about “the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia.”
It never seems to have occurred to our diplomats that what the punks did might itself have had a negative impact on the freedom of expression in Russia, just as the indulgence in public nudity would tend to have a negative impact on the cause of nudism.
Read the rest at The American Spectator: http://spectator.org/archives/2012/08/22/blasphemous-chic