Well it certainly was a busy few days for the culture warriors of the world. Here’s a little roundup of the good, the bad and the ugly.
On Friday, members of the Russian band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for performing a 40 second anti-Putin “punk prayer” inside a Russian Orthodox church in February. The song was a protest of the church leader’s support for Putin, who won his election two weeks later. At the trial, the band’s “victims”—none of whom were at the church during the performance—testified that when they heard about it or watched it on Youtube, they had a sad. WAAAAHHHHHHH! they cried, YOU HURT OUR FEE-FEES! The judge wholeheartedly agreed, and convicted the women of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” She also said the women had “crudely undermined social order,” offended the feelings of Orthodox believers and shown a “complete lack of respect.” Of course she did: Russia has a 99% conviction rate.
Madonna joined a slew of artists, including Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pete Townshend, Franz Ferdinand, Sting in condemning the arrests and now the sentencing. On Facebook she said:
“Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They’ve spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free.”
She also played her stadium gig in Moscow with Pussy Riot stenciled on her back. Putin supporters responded with disapproval: deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin called Madonna a “slut … lecturing everyone on morality.” LOL.
Madonna had already incurred the wrath of Russia’s conservatives for voicing her support for gay rights at her recent concert in St. Petersburg: ten anti-gay activists are suing her, demanding $10m for “moral damages and suffering,” apparently without any sense of irony whatsoever.
Today, we learn that Russian police are looking for two other members of Pussy Riot who participated in the performance but have so far escaped arrest.
Speaking of moral damage and suffering, Republican candidate for Senate and misogynist dumbass Todd Akin—whom we mocked just the other day for his expressed desire to ban birth control and confusing it with abortion—doubled down on the misogyny and dumbassitude over the weekend:
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
This d00d has not the slightest clue about human biology and reproduction (to say nothing of rape). I feel very sorry for his wife, since obviously the basic workings of a vagina completely mystify him. I hope she divorces his dumb misogynist ass and finally gets herself laid good-and-proper.
As we noted the other day, my statement “Todd Akin is a misogynist dumbass” is a statement of fact, not an opinion. It is just too easy to add even more weight to the “dumbass” charge:
A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency” and is “a cause of many unwanted pregnancies” — an estimated “32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year.”
That’s 32,101 vaginas—yearly—whose magical anti-rape-conception powers just didn’t work, I guess. As to the “misogynist” charge, well…
Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.
“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
That’s right: the 32,101 pregnant rape victims every year whose magical anti-rape-conception powers inexplicably fail them should be forced to bear their rapist’s baybeez.
Have I mentioned the fact that Todd Akin is a misogynist dumbass? Todd Akin is a misogynist dumbass. The scariest part of the story is this:
The PollTracker Average shows Akin leading McCaskill by a margin of 49.7 percent to 41.3 percent.
Astute readers may notice that Akin is up from when we reported the PollTracker numbers the other day, when he was only ahead 47.7 percent to 44 percent.
So last week, a gunman shot and wounded a security guard at the virulently anti-gay
Family Patriarchy Research Council’s offices in D.C. FRC’s Patriarch-In-Chief Tony Perkins has been running around blaming the violence on The Southern Poverty Law Center’s listing of FRC as a hate group, saying that by doing so it had encouraged and enabled the attack, and that the gunman “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.” Perkins said, “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.” SPLC responded beautifully:
Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
As the SPLC made clear at the time and in hundreds of subsequent statements and press interviews, we criticize the FRC for claiming, in Perkins’ words, that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem” — an utter falsehood, as every relevant scientific authority has stated. An FRC official has said he wanted to “export homosexuals from the United States.” The same official advocated the criminalizing of homosexuality.
Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.
Jeremy Hooper at goodasyou.org posted a list (with citations) of some of the many homophobic slurs and lies that have been shat forth from the mouth of Mr. Perkins and his hate group, FRC. A few of the shit nuggets:
– Says about gay people: “They are intolerant. They are hateful. They are vile. They are spiteful…pawns of the enemy.” (See 0:43 mark.)
– The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that erroneously depicts gay men and lesbians as physically and mentally ill pedophiles who can be cured.
– The Family Research Council has distributed a pamphlet that begins by likening the logic behind same-sex marriage to the logic behind man-horse marriage (complete with horse graphic)
– Compares gay people to terrorists (at 0:31 mark): “[B]ack in the 80s and early 90s, I worked with the State Department in anti-terrorism and we trained about 50 different countries in defending against terrorism, and it’s, at its base, what terrorism is, it’s a strike against the general populace simply to spread fear and intimidation so that they can disrupt and destabilize the system of government. That’s what the homosexuals are doing here to the legal system.”
Here’s a helpful suggestion: If Mr. Perkins does not wish to be called a hateful liar, perhaps he might consider refraining from telling hateful lies. Just a thought.
Of course, he’s not alone in all this whinging about the SPLC:
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the nation’s leading opponents of same-sex marriage, told The Hill the shooting was a direct result of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision in 2010 to place the FRC on its list of hate groups for its rhetoric on gays.
“Today’s attack is the clearest sign we’ve seen that labeling pro-marriage groups as ‘hateful’ must end,” [president of NOM Brian] Brown said in a statement issued following the shooting.
“For too long national gay-rights groups have intentionally marginalized and ostracized pro-marriage groups and individuals by labeling them as ‘hateful’ and ‘bigoted.’”
For the love of Dog, people! Don’t you see?! It’s the hateful bigots who are the real victims here! Poor hateful bigots!
Just for the record, the Palace stands with this statement from about 40 LGBTQi organizations in condemning the shooting:
We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers.
The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence. We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.
Finally, there was the speech given by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where he sought and has received political asylum. The full transcript is here, and I am not going to excerpt it here because I urge you to go read the whole thing. Police had previously stormed the building in an unsuccessful attempt to capture him; the action was thwarted by protests and media presence outside the embassy. The UK has now reiterated that contrary to its treaty obligations under international law, it will not allow Assange “safe passage” to Ecuador. Leaders from other South American countries are responding to all of this bullying—which the U.S. government is undoubtedly behind—by standing with Ecuador.
The Palace stands with Ecuador, and with the people in the United States and all over the world, who deserve to know when their governments are secretly engaged in corruption, abuse, crime, deceit, torture, injustice, ineptitude and/or embarrassing stupidity. If we had even a minimally functioning media—whose job used to be exposing such evils rather than protecting, sucking up to, and enabling the perpetrators—there would be no need for a Wikileaks.