Monday, August 20, 2012

Free Pussy Riot Right Now!!!

Ok, I'm going to weigh in on this Pussy Riot saga, because I know the whole world is waiting on pins and needles for me to do that.  So, here I go.  I hope I type something worth reading.

For the benefit of the two people who may have just recently had WiFi installed in their caves (finally) and have not heard of this entire scandal, here's a link to an article about it.  Now for my 2¢ about it.

My assessment of all of this is that the band Pussy Riot is being unbelievably harshly punished for disobeying a law that shouldn't even exist.  Come on!  Hooliganism???  Is that the charge the Russian police are going with here?  Smashing a window display or vandalizing some kind of landmark with aluminum bats, crow bars, or fire (or all 3), THAT'S hooliganism.  It's especially bad when it results in physical injury or even death.  If these ladies had done anything even close to that, then they'd be rightly imprisoned.  Simply saying the unsolicited thoughts that enter your mind about the country's leader in a public place is NOT HOOLGANISM!  It is simply free speech!  In a healthy democracy, people are applauded for that, not punished.
It seems to me that Mr. Vladimer Putin is too much of a big cry-baby that can't handle criticism.  If that's true, then he is not fit to hold office.

And it really feels odd to me that part of the reason for their arrest is for blasphemy.  Here in Canada, we can't go 5 minutes with being blasphemous in one way or another.  In the animation school from which I graduated, there was a student there who drew up a storyboard in-which, in the background, Jesus Christ could be seen selling crack cocaine to little kids.  As I recall, jaws were on the floor but no police were called.
And here's sketch from a great Canadian comedy troupe, the Kids in the Hall, where they combine the Bible with Dr. Suess:

I know.  Pretty sacrilegious, right?  How could they desecrate Dr. Suess like that?  (Oh yeah, and for any Religious Right members watching this, the guy playing Jesus in that sketch is very much a homosexual and proud of it.  Is he going to Hell?  If they have $5 margaritas, he hopes so).  As of right now, all 5 kids in the hall still walk the streets with no fear of indictment.

And, of course, there's me.  I made a comic book called Jesus Needs Help which angered this preacher enough to speak out against it not just once but twice (and about 8 other times in private emails).  I'm sure if he had his way, I'd have been arrested by now.  But, I still definitely walk the streets and I still have the freedom to blog about anything I choose.

The only criticism I could give to the girls at all is that the statement that got them in trouble doesn't really make sense.  Urging "the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin"???  What kind of a weak sauce threat to a world power is that?  She's just a 2027 year old virgin.  What is she going to do to Putin, have sex with him that is so tense and awkward that he kills himself?  There are other biblical figures who would be much more of a threat I'm sure.  David could easily throw a rock at his head.  Hey, maybe even Goliath could wear a rock-proof head band and stomp Putin's dumb ass into the ground.  I'm sure if Delilah let Sampson grow his hair down to his ankles, he'd be more than strong enough to bring the entire Russian government to its knees.  Daniel could unleash his lions.  Jonah could lure him into a whale's belly.  Any one of the four horsemen could make short work of him easily.  Or, the best idea would be to take an actual Bible, one that's really thick and heavy, and just simply club Putin on the head with it.  I know, ironically there's a passage or two in that Bible that preaches against that, but double ironically there are other passages in that same Bible that contradict them so it all evens out.  But, out of all the possible threats they could have made, they went with the Virgin Mary.  Okay!

Like I mentioned before in this blog post, there is no such thing as being arrested for blasphemy in Canada.  Therefore, I hereby urge the members of Pussy Riot and all of their management staff to relocate this band to Canada.  They will definitely have an audience here.  Although, according to some recent findings, one of the girls DOES have citizenship in Canada.

So, it looks like them moving here to work and perform in complete artistic freedom might just be possible.  For their sake, and the world's sake, I hope so.

In conclusion, I would just like to add my voice to the Free Pussy Riot brigade.  I'll end this post simply with one of their songs.  Ladies, this is the best publicity you could ever get.  I wish you all the success in the world.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix

It's my birthday again.  On this day, I've enjoyed going onto the blogosphere to talk about some woefully misunderstood things.  In the past, they've all been cartoon characters, namely Daffy Duck, Pepe Le Pew, and Tweety.  This year, I'd like to try something in a different vein.  So, as a birthday present to myself, I will talk about a woefully misunderstood non-cartoon related thing, Jimi Hendrix's version of the Star Spangled Banner.  Of course, before you read even one thing I have to say about it, listen to it in the embedded video below:

Most people don't quite understand what Jimi was trying to say with this song.  They're not at all sure if this is for or against America.  I have known some people who think it is just a blind jingoistic tribute to  "Yankee Doodle Land" and it makes them sick.  (Always sticking feathers in their hats and calling them macaroni.  Sheesh!)  And there's others who feel that Jimi took a cheap stab at America by simply converting the Star Spangled Banner into the raukus "noise" of his guitar.  This attitude was portrayed brilliantly in Pixar's first Cars movie, by the way.  (Yes, the clip below is in Spanish)

However, most people simply just don't understand the song and dismiss it as Jimi just making noise for random reasons.  I remember one stand up comedian talking about it.  His comment on the part where Jimi breaks into Taps was "do you get the feeling he forgot what song he was playing part way through?"  Well, if I could find that comedian, I would tell him that Jimi was very much aware of every single sound he was playing during the entire song.  It all added up to one, not cheap knee jerk, but rather a very brilliantly, scathing satirical assault on America.  "How?" you ask.  Well, I think I've got it figured out.  If you want to know as well, read on.  (Although, if any of you reading this had it figured out already, that is awesome for you.  You're invited to read on and possibly add a few points I may have missed.)

The clue for the song's message is in the "noise" Jimi interjects at different parts of the song.  Go back to that youtube clip and listen to it again.  Those aren't just random sounds.  They are the sounds of war, specifically the Viet Nam War.  They are sounds of:

Bombs dropping!

Tanks muscling their way around!

People screaming in terror!
And the basic anguish most of the people felt for being in that impossible situation.

Notice he starts playing all of that right after the part where the song usually says "and the rocket's red glare".  This of course is how he shows that war has always been a part of America's anthem.  (By the way, for those who aren't aware, the rocket's red glare in the original anthem is a refernce to another war that America lost, namely the War of 1812.  Here's a fun song about that:

Tee hee)

So, the playing of Taps is to commemorate all of the people who were needlessly killed in that muddled conflict.

Sadly, very very sadly, Jimi's message in that song is just as relevant for America today as it was in his time.  The evidence for that is painfully clear.

I guess it'll take more than song and a few thousand deaths before America will finally learns its lesson. Oh well, maybe after America invades Iran or Syria and some other musician writes a song against that will America finally squint their eyes passed that "rocket's red glare" and see the light.

Come on, Ms. Gaga.  You can do it.

I'll end this post with a similar misunderstood song about the whole Viet Nam situation.  Most people stupidly assumed it was a partiotic song about the good ol' U.S.A. when it's actually putting down the way the U.S. government treated the veterans of the Viet Nam War.  President Reagen even used that song for his re-inaugeration when he was re-elected president in 1985 (and some people look back with fondness at him???????)  Anyway, enjoy the song:

And always:

(aaaaaaaaaaand.............. Happy birthday to me!)