Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Guardian - A conservative fist in a liberal glove?

Like many national newspapers, The Guardian has been covering the Pussy Riot story and has made an editorial contribution under its infamous (at least as far as we are concerned) 'Comment Is Free' page.  The article seems to split in two sections, one applauding the feminist group for its stand against Putin, the second however almost seems to try and justify the legal reaction to the situation. Lets have a look at what they said...

Pussy Riot must have offended many Russian Orthodox believers by screaming lyrics such as "Shit, shit, the Lord's shit" behind the iconotasis of the Church of Christ the Saviour. An opinion poll released by the independent Levada research group found that only 6% of Russians polled sympathised with the women and 51% felt either indifference, irritation or hostility. Similar umbrage would have been taken inside St Paul's or the Vatican. And those who doubt that may well wonder what tension would have been caused by a flash-mob invading a mosque at Friday prayers.

How many museums around the world would have looked the other way as a number of couples – including a heavily pregnant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three convicted on Friday – were filmed having sex to illustrate how Muscovites were being screwed by their government? The British Museum? The Louvre? The Metropolitan? The wish to punish anarchists is not Russian alone.

If we look at the video, it is possible to see that Pussy were actually in front of the iconostasis (a wall featuring religious icons and paintings and note that the writer of the piece cannot even get the spelling correct).  If they had been behind the iconostasis, no one would have been able to see them, which would  have rendered their stunt somewhat pointless.

The writer also plays with statistics Lilith style when they state that 51% felt either indifference, irritation or hospitality toward the band. Well that's interesting, what did the other 49% feel? What I find particularly offensive is the implication that had Pussy Riot undertaken their protest at St Pauls in London, that the reaction of the public would have been comparable. Somehow I doubt it, it may have made the news and the performers would have been carted off by the police, but they would have been released some hours later and no way would they have been facing a 2 year jail sentence after a show trial in front of a corrupt judge.
What is more outrageous is the utterly racist assumption that if they delivered their performance in a mosque, that things would have been worse.

Then we move onto the core of the matter, that is Pussy Riot museum sex performance, one that by the way did not earn them a prison sentence. Once again, if that had happened in the British Museum, the police would have been involved and there would have been fines, but nothing earth shattering.

The writer (and I really suspect Polly Toynbee of writing this piece), goes onto to state that 'the desire to punish anarchists is not Russian alone'. Really can't work that out actually, as I and I suspect the great bulk of the public have no desire to see women locked for singing a protest song in a church. But the issue here, as I said at the start of this article is that although The Guardian approves of the attack on Putin, it disapproves of the methods used. This if nothing else signifies the conservatism that lies at the heart of the paper and reflects the silence of Object, the Guardians favourite 'human rights' organisation.

To ensure I was being fair about Object and its cohorts, I popped onto the site of UK Feminista and found that they did mention the Pussy Riot trial in the Twitter update column. They have no editorial that I can find though, but at least they gave a mention to the 'Armpits4August Collective', which is so hilarious that I am going to blog about it today....


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  2. "The wish to punish anarchists is not Russian alone." - that almost reads like a threat; perhaps one which the authoritarian 'left' expects to see 'New' Labour carry out when they (presumably) return to power in 2015. Political pluralism, anyone?

    As for political protests on religious sites (such as St Paul's Cathedral)...remember Occupy?

    1. I do remember Occupy, but sadly forgot it when I was writing the article. But Pussy Riot are nothing compared to the movement that is the 'Armpits4August Collective!!!