Ask Exene: Were the Actions of Pussy Riot Kind of a Dick Move?
Like many people, I've been following the media blitz over the Russian band Pussy Riot, who've been arrested and charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their anti-Putin punk prayer in the middle of an Orthodox church service in Moscow in February. Three of the members were given two-year prison sentences, while two others successfully escaped the country. I also see that recently, the three women who were charged are appealing their sentences (who wouldn't?!). With all the attention the band have gotten this month, I wonder what someone such as yourself, who's part of what I believe to be punk's greatest generation, thinks about the amount of attention these girls have gotten, both from the press and celebrities such as Björk, Paul McCartney and Madonna. Though I don't think they should've gotten the sentence they did, I can't help feeling annoyed that people don't seem to care that these women went into a religious sanctuary to protest. Are you conflicted by that at all?
I respect religious freedom and the sanctity of people's beliefs and places of worship. I don't, however, respect the institutionalized religions that preach hatred and subjugation of women. There are few places on this planet that offer women and girls real sanctuary from the violent crimes and hatred constantly being directed at them. Women should denounce political and religious corruption. It's killing the planet; it's killing us. Protests and demonstrations do not work anymore; they are crimes now. Boycotts work. I'm not conflicted. People are angry all over the world, and they are totally justified. I am against violence or the violation of anyone's rights. Pussy Riot weren't violent; there was no vandalism. It was a minor infraction. Two years is extremely harsh.