…By Any Other Name…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love — love! — the fact that NPR anchors and reporters have to say the words Pussy Riot.
These are people, the stereotyping section of my brain has concluded, who’ve never uttered the P-word before in their lives. Whereas it’s my fave appellation for a woman’s business — a pussy is, after all, warm, snuggly, and comfortable. Rather like a de-clawed cat, no?
Now, the C-word. Uh uh. That’s bad sauce, babies. It’s a harsh, hateful word. Yet, even some feminist-y women occasionally drop it when referring to a dame they particularly detest. I strive never to use it because of its hard-edge and insulting connotation.
It’s a word I imagine frat boys bandy about while sitting around and philosophizing. If frat boys use it, I have to eliminate it from my vocabulary. I’m also thinking of refusing to use the word the in my speech, which I suspect will be a tad more problematic.
In fact, if you want to distinguish between, say, odious porn and glorious erotica, simply use my handy C-word system. If the book or video uses the C-word in its title or the term is used liberally (eek, such an unfortunately choice of a word) in its content, the work likely will not be of art at all but rather a crushing, repulsive, quasi-violent put-down of the female sex.
Anyway, I’ve been wondering how media outlets like the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, or the Rush Limbaugh radio flatulence-fest refer to the two erstwhile jailed Russian members of the punk group.
Well, let’s find out, shall we? The Grey Lady (an antiquated nickname for the NYT which, in its historical stuffiness, largely eschewed photos) seemed fairly itchy when first called upon to name the band. In the story dated August 17, 2012, telling of the band’s conviction and sentence on charges of hooliganism (which, itself, is a fave word of mine), the paper waited until the second graf to even mention PR’s name and even then acted all peevish about it. “[M]embers of a punk band called Pussy Riot…,” the copy read, as if to plead, Hey, don’t blame us.
As the fairly long story continued, the paper seemed at pains to avoid mentioning the name again, only doing so three more times, once to huff, “But while the women became minor celebrities, Pussy Riot is far more political than musical: Its members have never commercially released a song or an album, and they do not seem to have any serious aspirations to do so.”
In case anybody doesn’t get the gist of that graf, the Grey Lady is saying, Good heavens, no proper young ladies who employ such déclassé verbiage should ever be taken seriously!
Guaranteed the editors of the NYT are, at this very moment, on their knees praying Pussy Riot will disappear from the Earth forthwith so subscribers can safely return to the reading of more refined topics like sub-Saharan genocide or teenage rape in Ohio.
Despite bannering a variation on the name of one billion people’s lord and savior in its very name, the Christian Science Monitor went full Pussy Riot within the first nine words of its article on the band’s conviction and sentence in 2012. And the funny thing is, as I type this, the CSM page is still up on another window and its auto-play ad is running a faux doc on meterologists, air force commanders, and other scientists and officials tracking Santa and his reindeers’ flight over this holy land. Hehe; I love funny juxtapositions, natch.
Now then, how about the troggiest of all Oxycontin-head troglodytes, Rush Limbaugh? A casual google search shows — get this — absolutely no mentions of Pussy Riot by the King of Blowhard Kings. Imagine that. Here was his chance to either slam Vladimir Putin and the hated Russkies for being such stone-headed tyrants or to savage a band of slutty sluts who had the temerity to desecrate the Orthodox home of Jesus H. Christ himself. Yet Rush couldn’t even bring himself to address the issue. Who knows? Perhaps he digs their music and is torn. Or maybe he feels young women should be allowed to make the occasional public mistake without being ripped to shreds by porcine conservative commentators?
As they used to say in my old neighborhood, Whaddya, stupid?
I’m betting Rush and his merry band of keyboard clackers were paralyzed by Pussy Riot’s very name. You know the scene in the movie The Big Lebowski where Maude asks the Dude what his feelings are on the word vagina?
Maude: Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: Um, is that what this is a picture of?
Maude: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
The Dude: Oh yeah?
Maude: Yes. They don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say….
I can see ol’ Rush reading about the Pussy Riot story the first time and then dashing off to the lavatory to scrub his hands and face.
My feeling is Rush et al would be far more comfortable had the Russian performance artists named themselves Cunt Riot.
Now, that’s a name they could get behind.