Film Capsule: Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

FREE PUSSY RIOT!

Go ahead, say it. As a matter of fact, scream it. Just let that shit roll off your tongue. Do it because it’s fun and funny; because it’s vulgar and edgy, because it’s off-putting and it’s awesome. Do it because it’s sociopolitically relevant; because it speaks to the very heart of separating one’s church and state. Do it because it is indicative of the mass hypocrisy that ensues when party politics give way to Putinism. Do it because Putinism is really nothing more than a bolshevik term for Hooliganism. Do it because Hooliganism is the primary offense that three members of the punk group Pussy Riot were charged with. Do it because Hooliganism – defined as unruly and destructive behavior, usually perpetrated by gangs of young people – is really nothing more than a catch-all term that dates back to 19th Century London. Do it because – in this instance – Hooliganism was a term used to categorize the peaceful actions of a minor faction of staunch feminists, a handful of whom rushed the altar inside a capitol Cathedral. Do it because these rabble rousers were actually standing on the altar for a little under one minute. Do it because they were each originally sentenced to more than two full years in prison. Do it because they dressed up in brightly-colored balaclavas and sang a silly punk song about the wacked-out, crazy Jesus people. Do it because we all remember what the religious right did immediately after Jesus went kablooey in the marketplace. Do it because one man’s altar is another man’s performance space. Do it because the media turned this into an international incident. Do it because Pussy Riot has become a cause celebrity; because Madoonna and Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga and Yoko Ono have all offered their support. Do it because there’s a significant difference between a mortal sin and a minor crime. Do it because it’s time to compensate for all the witches that were burned in Salem. Do it because progress only occurs once people tip their sacred cows. Do it because provocation is at the heart of every protest. Do it because God has yet to offer a single thought on the whole incident. Do it because the dust has long since settled; because two members of that feminist group are still left languishing in prison. Do it because it is altogether right and proper and fitting. Do it because the punishment has long since overshadowed the crime.

FREE PUSSY RIOT!

And watch this documentary while you’re at it. It does a pretty effective job of covering all the bases.

(Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer premieres Monday, June 10th on HBO.)

PR