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On February 21st, about a few weeks before Vladimir Putin won his third presidency, a group of women in a band called Pussy Riot, boldly barraged into Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow, Russia, and performed a “punk prayer” while holy services were going on. They sang lines that outraged both the Orthodox church and the Russian authorities:

“Virgin Mary, Become Feminist / Virgin Mary, Hash Putin Away.”

We might view the incident with Pussy Riot as anti-religion. It might be anti-fundamentalism, but it’s not anti-religion. Madonna wrongly thought she was supporting the cause of the band by writing the group’s name on her back and stomping on a cross while on stage at a performance in Russia. Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN, who are anti-religion, misrepresented their support as well by cutting a cross in half with a chainsaw. I myself thought that Pussy Riot did not have an ounce of righteousness in them, but I misunderstood. The people who support the Free Pussy Riot movement might have different perceptions of the band’s motives and goals, but they all agree on one thing—the severity of their punishment was unjust.

Besides reading the news articles, I have read what the women in the band had to say. I read their lyrics and their letters. I was impressed. It wasn’t just their intellect that interested me, or the way they articulated their thoughts, but it was the irony that these women talked more about Christ than Russia’s Patriarch Kiril.

On March 24, Patriarch Kiril delivered a speech that said,

“These days we are observing Lent. The devil has had a good laugh over us, having brought us so many sorrows in the days when we should be distancing ourselves from worldly worries, when we should be deep in prayer, observing Lent, confessing our own sins. But perhaps the Lord is making us go through such tribulations in the holy days of Lent so that we all become conscious of our responsibility for our land, for Holy Russia, and for the Orthodox faith. For the Orthodox believer this sense of responsibility is expressed primarily through fervent prayer to God. These other people do not believe in the power of prayer. They only believe in the power of propaganda, lies and slander, in the power of the Internet, in the power of media, in the power of money and weapons. We believe in the power of prayer. And I urge the entire Russian Church to pray fervently and diligently about our country, about our faith, about our people, so that the Lord will absolve us of our sins and once again fill us with His grace, strengthen us with the Divine Grace of the Holy Spirit, so that, having gone through temptations, we have emerged from them cleansed, stronger, and capable of arranging our future in conformity with God’s commandments and human conscience.”

Pussy Riot responded by saying,

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Your Holiness, Patriarch-

A fervent and sincere prayer can never be a mockery, no matter in what form it occurs, therefore it cannot be said that we jeered at, or mocked, the shrine.

We are plagued by the thought that the very shrine, which you consider so defiled, is inseparably linked to Putin, who in very words, brought it back to the Church. And because the [sic] of our prayer, asking our Holy Mother to drive out those who defile the brightest ideals of human life in Russia and all possible precepts of the Orthodox Faith, you are perceived as a mockery of the sacred.

In prayer it is evoked that, as millions of Christians were seriously grieved that you allowed the Church to become a weapon in a dirty campaign of dirty intrigues, urging the faithful to vote for a man whose crimes are infinitely far from God’s Truth. We simply cannot believe the representative of the Heavenly Father if he acts contrary to the values for which Christ was crucified on the cross. As said by Pushkin, “ It is impossible to pray for King Herod; the Mother of God forbids it.”

You were endlessly wrong in saying in your sermon that we do not believe in the power of prayer. Without belief in the power of prayer and of words, we would never have offered our prayers so desperately and fervently, in anticipation of the serve persecution that could be dealt to us and our loved ones. The repressive powers that simply waited for the right moment to take revenge on our group for our tough Civic positions we have taken with our art. The power and truth of our prayer did not shame the Faithful, for surely the faith of a true believer, as the feelings of Christ, are too deep and universal—too filled with love—to be shamed. Our prayer shamed only Putin and his henchmen, and now three women have been thrown in prison, taken away from their young children, and now daily calls for arrests and punishments are issued forth from the higher bureaucracies. It is Putin—not a believer—who, through domination and division, needs to keep the women in jail.

You say that we believe only in propaganda, the media, lies and slander, money and weapons, but we don’t have faith in any of those things, as we have no faith in anything entity equal the brute powers of King Herod. You encouraged the Russian people to vote and pray for these powers, in whose name you have tried to link with prosperity of the Russian land.
First the pervasive and false propaganda on state television wrested from the people a victory for Putin. Now, through outright falsehood opposition and detractors at least is trying to assure the people that women with young children should be kept in the custody for “for violation of the laws of the Church.” On whose side are propaganda, media, lies and slander? On whose side is the belief in money? On which side are the performers of Pussy Riot, whose lives are close to the asceticism necessary for any creative thinking? Or is the belief in money on the side of those who invested the empty values of unprecedented governmental luxury in the code of conduct for any high-ranking man? Who has faith in weapons? Perhaps those who call for the killing in the name of religious feelings? On whose side were the dozens of armed men who, shouting and wielding their weapons, commanded a raid on March 3rd, having been sent to arrest two women suspected to have been in the temple- suspected of having asked Mother of God, loudly, get rid of Putin?”

Perhaps it was the way they presented their message and the choice of venue which shocked the Christians and delighted all others into thinking they were mocking God. Both groups did not seem to see the irony in which they performed the “punk prayer” at Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow. However, I am not necessarily saying that the band claim to be Christians themselves. Certainly, some of the things they believe in I do not agree with. I cannot write them off, however, by saying that they are of the devil, which is what the patriarch was implying. I also do not condemn them for their choice of venue, now that I have a clearer picture of the possible corruption within the Russian Orthodox Church and their special connection with Putin. As a National Reviewer writer said in a follow-up article realigning his original Pussy Riot article, “the Pussy Riot girls are seeking to protest not oppression by religion but the oppression of religion by the Russian state.”

The battle between all that Pussy Riot represents and Putin’s network does not necessarily belong in the same arena with the conflict between atheists or feminists and Christianity. Therefore, the cross stomping/halving misrepresents what the whole thing is about. If anything, the misconstruing of the intent of the band’s protest is a representation of how tense and in the forefront the issues between liberal and conservative Christians—gay marriages, abortion, traditional views and roles of women, etc—happen to be at this very moment. Scandals involving those issues happen every day within America. More than anything, corruption was at the center of the Pussy Riot protest. It doesn’t seem like Pussy Riot’s international supporters really understand that. Many people jump to the conclusion that Pussy Riot must have been oppressed by religion itself, because perhaps that is how these observers from afar personally feel about religion. We all usually have the tendency to have our beliefs polarized by supporting what we think already supports our belief—not to mention projecting and applying specific connotations and intents to radical actions taken by others. Many seem to have perceived that Pussy Riot, by performing seemingly anti-God statements in a church, were espousing and enacting an anti-religious agenda. What happened to our keen sense of irony detection?

So, if someone wants to “free Pussy Riot,” as the movement touts, then he or she must also believe in the band’s true, unadulterated cause, and not an incorrectly interpreted general anti-religious sentiment. He or she must believe that corruption must end. Of course, the band, through their “hooligan” antics (they were actually ultimately charged with hooliganism) of disrupting a church service, has lent to this sentiment that they are anti-religion, but if we believe their claim that the church is corrupt and under sway of a corrupt official, Putin, then really the “attack” on conservatism and religion should not be the issue. If supporters of the FPR movement wanted to do their part, they would be doing research on the corruption of Putin and his relationship with the church that was protested. And they should then do their part to try and seek his removal from office. I’m not exactly sure how international supporters could do this, but that’s really the most logical reaction—along with speaking out to free or lessen the severity of the band members’ punishment.  If Putin is using people’s faith in the church and paying the church to sway votes in his direction, then action should be taken, and PR’s message and freedom should be supported.

Below is a video put together by The Guardian with the band’s new single, “Putin Lights Up the Fires.”





Summer Blog Yard Sale

August 20th, 2012

Here are more things I have up for sale. Bid now, if you are interested in any of them! If you’d like to make a “buy it now” offer, I can accommodate you, being a reader of this blog.

 

Matching Coach Patchwork Tote & Wallet White Silver w/ Dust Bag – Bought brand new at a friend’s auction as part of a fundraiser to help pay fees for their adopted child. It’s not really my style. If you are a Coach lover, these might be for you.

Danny & Nicole Vintage Nautical Anchor Stripes Black White Sailor Dress Size 14P - I bought these brand new, and I think I still have the tag somewhere (with the extra button). I’m nowhere near a size 14, but I couldn’t resist buying an authentic vintage nautical dress. I had hopes of maybe taking it to the store to get it altered down to my size, but I really didn’t bother with it anymore.

Lilian Doll “Sensitive Collection” Vintage Nautical Striped Dress 11AR / US M – This is tagged as “11AR,” which is a vintage Japanese measurement. It really is a US size medium.

KORS Michael Kors Chelsea Fur Leather Winter Boots White Pom Poms Size 4 – If you have little ones in mind, give one of them something from Michael Kors this Christmas.

Rare Roxette Demos & Spices (unreleased & released songs) CD – You might’ve seen that I tweeted this image a few days ago, because I was raving about Marie & Per’s awesome clothes on this album! I also have their North Stars album. Apparently, these albums are rare, because I couldn’t find another copy of these anywhere. If they are as rare as I think, you might want to own these if you are a big fan of Roxette. (EDIT: BOTH SOLD!)

Herbie Fully Loaded VW Bus Radio Control R/C Volkswagen Transporter Disney 1:6 – Not sure if this works still, but it sure does look good. Wouldn’t you want to own a Herbie Volkswagen? (EDIT: SOLD!)

Rare Large Vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Lady 3D Bevel Painted Breweriana Sign 20″ x 28″ – Just something I picked up that was too hard to pass up. I’m not too crazy about Pabst, but this is really something, isn’t it? (EDIT: SOLD!)

Christian Dior Rasta High Heel Boots Shoes Size 7 – I picked these up from a second hand store, because they got me really curious. I don’t think Dior ever made knee-high boots of their Rasta design, can anyone confirm? All I know is that they made Rasta booties. I don’t have a nearby Dior store where I can show these to. If you would like them however, you can contact me. Otherwise, these are going to be disposed of.

Alas, Wes Anderson has done it again. Moonrise Kingdom looks like ’60s French Pop with its soft pastels and costumes. I don’t know—I think that style has been a bit overdone the past couple of years. I still like it, but it doesn’t toot my horn as much as it used to anymore. It’s too indie-girl cute, but then again—seeing Moonrise Kingdom has somehow made me like it again. It’s  beautifully chaotic, and the kids have attitude.

Is it devious of me to get amused seeing kids on screen causing/being a riot? That particular “art form” has gotten tamer throughout the years, though. Think Bad News Bears or The Goonies. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I actually have kids of my own. Right now, it’s just downright entertaining.

Check out Bill Murray and Kara Hayward (Suzy) wearing high fashion “space suits” from Harper’s Bazaar’s photoshoots.



Besides the obvious reusing of actors, here are just some of the style theme repeats from some of Wes Anderson’s other movies that I saw in Moonrise Kingdom:

The female lead, Mrs. Fox, from Fantastic Mr. Fox wore a bright yellow dress (which I also loved):

Bill Murray’s character, Steve Zissou, from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, wore a floppy red sock-like beanie. This was also worn by one of the other characters in Moonrise Kingdom, but it was green (scroll a few photos up).

One other repeated motif was a shared problem-child personality between young Margot Tenenbaum, played by Irene Gorovaia, from The Royal Tenenbaums, and Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom. I vaguely remember Margot wearing knee highs, but I guess it was just the fact that both characters had on high-neck and short-length dresses that made me think their outfits were very similar. Besides that, they were both well groomed and were big book worms.

 

Although this outfit doesn’t seem to be very comfortable to wear during the summer, I thought I’d put something together with this lace top that Half Tee sent me. Because the lace clings to your skin and is long sleeved, this might be better to wear during the fall or spring. The idea behind Half Tee is simple—cropped tees for layering. So this lace top ends right beneath my bust, and what I have on underneath is a black tank top. Nifty. The whole thing looks like it’s one piece! They also have this in white, which I’m sure I’d like as well. Thanks so much, Half Tee!

If there’s one thing I hate about layering (as much as I love doing it), it’s feeling too warm with multiple layers on. I know layering a lot of things looks so awesome, but it’s not wise to overdo it with full length tops. Even during the colder months, full length tops also add too much bulk, which makes you look worse than modest—big. Being cautious about how you present yourself shouldn’t have to mean being negatively self-conscious about your body image.

I know for some people being modest is to be conservative, and being conservative is to not love your body. I don’t think of it that way at all.  It’s the word conservative that gets me. It’s somewhat distasteful. It means too close to plain. I dislike simple outfits as much as I dislike bland food. If I were to go on about word choices here, I think being minimalist however is beautiful, even though that means too close to being simple. Because minimalist just means avoiding being extravagant, and being extravagant  is overdoing it. Ah, forget it.

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