On Friday, along with the rest of the world, our little corner of the VICE editorial office here in Brooklyn learned that three members of Pussy Riot had been found guilty of "hooliganism", and sentenced to serve two years in a Russian prison. We all shared a general sentiment of "what the fuck? How can this be happening?" But it's safe to say that the Music Editors housed here took it the hardest. As the morning wore on, we exchanged examples of acts similar to the ones that Pussy Riot committed, and tried to imagine what would happen to us here in the United States if we did them.
"Let's say I went into Manhattan, dressed in a cotton onesie, and started scatting about how I hate Obama while playing a banjo on the steps of a church. What would happen to me?"
Nothing. Nothing would happen to us. At the very worst we'd be arrested for a few hours and still make it home in time for nachos. We certainly wouldn't be looking at a two-year prison sentence. We take for granted that we can be loud here. At the very least, we can be loud, and colorful, and play punk music that says any damn thing we want it to say. Some people can't. A LOT of people can't.
The more I thought about all of this, the more upset I got. I reverted to my high school self and did random things, like tweeting at Kathleen Hanna, figuring if I saw her as knowing best for me back then, it would work for me now. But no amount of bitching, or blogging, or tweeting was making me, or any of the rest of us, feel like we were doing enough to show that we felt something about this. That we cared.
"Fuck it. Let's get tattoos."
We decided that, although nowhere near as impactful as a protest in large scale, we'd get tattoos as an act of solidarity. At first we were gonna get "hooliganism," poking fun at what the girls were charged with, and then that switched to just "hooligan," figuring that if it's one thing we'll never have to worry about growing out of, it's being a hooligan, and then finally we decided to do it in Russian.
We put out the call that we were looking for a place to tattoo us for free/or cheap, and some friends helped.
Shannon and Jon at Triple Diamond Tattoo answered our call and offered their (not even officially open for business yet) shop to us, and tattooed five VICE staff members for $25 a pop.
Annette was the only non-music editor to get a tattoo. She even went first, because she's a trooper.
Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of Noisey, got his on his ribs.
Josh works for Noisey as well. He concentrated on his beer during the ouchy parts.
Sasha Hecht, girl reporter, gave nary a fuck about getting a tattoo. She's the associate editor for Noisey.
Here's me, the music editor for VICE. I look pleased as punch while getting a tattoo. Not un-like a serial killer.
With blood and ink, the only way we know how, we're with you, Pussy Riot.
Thanks for all your hard work, Jon and Shannon!
Go to Triple Diamond for all your political and non-political tattoo needs.