What a (pussy) riot


A group of new super-cool “thinking” friends is planning a get-together soon, and we were tossing around some ideas for what we should talk about. (Other than which happy hour beverage goes best with chips-and-salsa. That one’s pretty well decided already.)

Our planner is an experienced, steel-in-her-eyes nursing poobah at a kids hospital, used to facing down the most awful moments in life. So it was no surprise when she tossed out this lovely little gem: “Can anyone summarize the recent prosecution of the all-girl band Pussy Riot?”

She was joking. I think. Maybe. Could be.

But never one to shrink from a challenge, I figured I’d give it a whirl… Here goes, in 10 easy steps:

1. Female Russian musicians form punk-rock protest group, decide to call it Pussy Riot. Apparently they have no friends, loved ones or sober acquaintances to tell them that A) Russia isn’t exactly a bastion of democracy where dissent is welcomed B) “Pussy Riot” is a really stupid name and C) punk rock is dead, having expired in 1979.

2. Band performs in weird places, like on top of a bus and on a train-station scaffold, each of which help drown out their screeching, off-key notes. But they really poke the bear when they protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow with such quiet and respectful actions as jumping up onto the altar, tossing off a lot of their clothes and putting on funny hats, then bouncing around kicking up their heels and shadow-boxing the air.

3. They film their protest with high-quality cameras that cost at least $5.47 each, then make a lovely and melodic music video called “Holy Mother, Chase Putin Away!” They use bad words and beseech the Virgin Mary to get rid of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Virgin Mary cannot be reached for comment on her plans.

4. Putin, not known for his jocular, warm sense of humor, has them arrested and charged with “hooliganism.” Media around the world begins to notice, spurred by the fact that uses the word “hooliganism” anymore.

5. While waiting for trial, the band complains they are being treated poorly in jail. This surprises only an old man named Vladimir Ksnrakehnkyelskiz, who lives in the tiny village of Kropotskinkaya, where there is no TV, radio, internet or sunlight.

6. The band claims Putin is orchestrating their prosecution, which brings the possibility of a 7-year jail sentence. Jaws drop in shock across the world at this unbelievable assertion against a man of such great character and high morals.

7. The Russian Orthodox Church, afraid Jesus really might be watching their actions after all, asks the court for clemency for the band.

8. On Aug. 17, the girls are convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” (There’s that word again.) Severe punishment simply must be taken, because hatred cloaked in the name of religion must not be allowed to occur in the civilized world. Or in Russia.

9. Band members are sentenced to two years in prison. Officials claim this is a fair sentence, despite it being more time than given to 97 guys convicted of murder, 524 women convicted of selling their kids into slavery for $13 apiece, and a wolfhound that ate seven children.

10. Two other members of Pussy Riot consult a Ouija board, which makes the electrifying, startling prediction that protesting a maniacal iron-fisted president with weird performance art isn’t exactly the best idea for their future. They flee Russia, ensuring that their erstwhile bandmates will have no ready source of money dropped off at the prison canteen for cigarettes, feminist magazines or political email lists.

Did I miss anything?

It is kind of nice to see someone putting their lives on the line to effect political change, instead of just getting snarky over chicken sandwiches and posting anti-whatever e-cards on Facebook. Especially feminists who take me back to the edgy riot grrrl days of the early ’90s, when bands like Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill made you think, made you mad, made you rage against the machine. (Kathleen Hanna, where are you now?? Miss you.)

Or, carbon-dating myself as a dinosaur even further, back to the the earlier days of  Siouxsie Sioux or The Runaways.

You go, you (pussy) riotous girls. Rock on.

About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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4 Responses to What a (pussy) riot

  1. Jean Culbreath says:

    Well when i first saw the title on, FB i thought” WTF is she doing”.. .oh and( WTF means Wed Thur Fri ) ..lol but after reading and laughing i thought ” well this is cute” Good 1 Laurie …I missed out somewhere because i never heard of them …

  2. Pit bull…in Russia, I suspect it was probably a sled dog, or a wolfhound, or a Caucasian sheepdog that ate the imaginary 7 children 😉 Damn, even the Russians blame the pits for everything. 😉

    • Damn it!! I thought about you after I wrote that, and said to myself, “I’m going to go back and change that, because it’s not funny to some people I love.” Then I forgot. Now I have, though. 🙂 (Remember, I owned a Rottie back when they were the “face of evil” for a bunch of doofuses. I don’t want to be one of them, so thanks for busting me.) Hugs.

  3. The title grabbed me too! Great story, once again 🙂 You made me LOL and I love you for that!

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