Riotous Pussy

A rock band (named Pussy Riot) that dared to play a song in a Russian cathedral, as a protest against Vladimir Putin and the close ties between the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox church, was sentenced yesterday to 2 additional years in prison for ‘hooliganism.’ The three band members have been in jail since their arrest in February.

This was, of course, not intended as a joke (hardassed reactions to protests by repressive governments never are), but how can one react to something like this other than joking derision. The defendants, it was reported by NBC News, “…reacted with giggles and one rolled her eyes when the judge issued the sentences after reading the guilty verdict for almost three hours.”

The bald truth is, Putin cannot, will not, tolerate dissent of any kind, not even a little performance by an all-girl punk band.

We all applauded the implosion of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Communist bloc in Europe but are the Russian people any better off under the government of criminals, thugs and tyrants they have now? Are any of us?

It’s Easter, to Some

If you’re of the Eastern Orthodox variety of Christian (Greek, Russian, Serbian, et al.), today is Easter. Last week was a kind of dress rehearsal and early opportunity to get chocolate bunnies.

A couple of things I ponder:

First, what the hell is the deal with the Easter Bunny, candy, hunting for eggs? What does this have to do with Easter? Why are these the prevailing images Americans have for the commemoration of the moment the Christian God, after taking the form of a human on earth and being crucified, was resurrected and returned to unify in Heaven with the other forms of the Holy Trinity? Is it just gross commercialization, along the lines of ho ho ho jolly fat-man present-bearing Santa Claus becoming the poster-boy for Christmas? I’m befuddled.

Second, at some point in long-ago history times, St. Gregory re-examined the Holy Bible and found an indication that calendars were wrong. He studied hard and adjusted some things and, voila, we have the calendar, the Gregorian Calendar by name, adopted nearly-universally by the western Christian church. Others, mostly from the eastern Christian church, figured the older interpretation of the Holy Bible was correct and stayed with the pre-existing calendar. As just one consequence, two Easters. Among other things, this situation leaves me to sincerely scratch my head when anyone says they know and follow a literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. I always wonder if these people suspect there’s only one possible interpretation to have. Or, if they don’t understand that serious Biblical scholars (even Christian ones) have never completely aligned on the same interpretations over the years.

Well, I’m off to start cooking. On Easter, we Greeks say “Christos Anesti,” Chist is risen, to which we respond “Alithos Anesti,” or He is truly risen. ┬áSo, as you dig into your chocolate bunny leftovers today, I wish you a very happy Easter.