I bring you this New York Times story, "Punk Band Feels Wrath of a Sterner Kremlin," for two reasons.
When four young women in balaclavas performed a crude anti-Putin song on the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February, it seemed like just one more episode in a season of audacious, absurdist and occasionally offensive protest.As Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh pointed out on Facebook the other day, "Given the NY Times' notoriously idiotic self-censorship policy, I'm dying to know how Pussy Riot slipped through. Did some editor think maybe the band is named for a mob of violent cats?"
Instead, the case of the young punk rockers, whose group is called Pussy Riot, is becoming a bellwether event in the Russian capital ....
And indeed, the self-censorship crusade at the Times is pretty crazy. In the Arts & Leisure section on Sunday, in an interview with Rain Pryor, daughter of Richard Pryor, we have this truncated quote: "I dyed my hair pink when I was 13, and my dad threatened to kick me out of the house. He was like, 'There will be no punk rockers here.' I was like, 'You just snorted coke off a [prostitute’s chest].'" OK, fine, the Times doesn't want to print "tits." But the other word? Pryor has confirmed it's "whore's." Yes, the Times needs to shield its readers from the word "whore." Seriously, "prostitute's chest"???
Anyway, the other reason I wanted to point out this story was this passage:
Both of them were active in Voina, a radical art collective that gained widespread popularity recently with a series of politically tinged actions, like a punk-rock performance in a Moscow courtroom, or a 210-foot penis painted, guerrilla-style, on a St. Petersburg drawbridge, so that it rose up pointing at the offices of the F.S.B., the state security service. But the penalties had turned out to be mild; the penis project actually won a contemporary art prize sponsored by the Ministry of Culture.Gotta love the arts.