It’s been pointed out to me on a few occasions that a chunk of the links I post on facebook essentially do little apart from highlighting the level of twattishness that humanity reaches. I don’t think this should go to waste. Rather than limit this exposure to people on facebook who tolerate me, it might make the planet slightly better if I inflict it on everyone else. Hence, I’m planning on making this a weekly event. Obviously, there are but 52 weeks in a year so once a week isn’t nearly enough to cover the swarms of idiots that do idiotic things in public. It’s a start though. It’s worth noting a few things in advance. Someone generally acknowledged to be an idiot doing something typically idiotic isn’t necessarily noteworthy. Sometimes the fun is when someone who shouldn’t be an idiot starts acting like one. Sometimes it’s worth highlighting an event when someone performs true to their nature. Idiots occasionally do good things, if only by accident, and non-idiots do idiotic things. I wouldn’t take it personally. Except when I specifically advise that it should be taken personally. Enough. On with the finger-pointing.

The winner:

Marina Syrova, judge in the Pussy Riot case. Her arms are activated by two long strings, running directly from the Kremlin.

This week’s Idiot Award goes to Moscow judge Marina Syrova. Ms Syrova has been presiding over the Pussy Riot case in Moscow. Three members of Pussy Riot, a punk collective trio, were on trial during the past few weeks for “premeditated hooliganism performed by an organized group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” They sang a song about Vladimir Putin in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral, on February 21. This performance came two weeks after a similar protest and arrest in Red Square on February 8, at which they also played a song mocking Putin. They were convicted last Friday (August 17) and sentenced to two years imprisonment in a penal colony. Passing sentence, Syrova said that the three group members had “crudely undermined the social order” with their actions. Defence lawyer Mark Feygin announced that the decision would be appealed but that the group would not seek a pardon from Vladimir Putin (what he actually said was: “They will not beg and humiliate themselves before such a bastard.”).

Syrova wins the award for two reasons. Firstly, the sentence that she imposed is stunningly disproportionate to the offence. Assuming that the decision is merely following Russian law on inciting hatred against religion, it’s a two year sentence for acting the ass in a church. Secondly, using a law against religious hate incitement to prosecute people who were taking part in a political protest makes a mockery of the law against incitement of religious hatred. Show trials were a feature of the old Soviet Union and this was little more than a show trial as a warning to other potential protesters and dissidents. Marina Syrova’s ruling and sentencing have highlighted that Putin’s sales patter of Russia being a healthy democracy is little more than a myth.

Here‘s the video of the Pussy Riot performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral. It’s not exactly on a par with Arlo Guthrie but very few things are.


Dishonourable mentions:

Thai MP Boonsong Kowawisarat got in a spot of bother last Sunday night when he accidentally shot his ex-wife dead with a submachine gun at the dinner table. The victim, Chanakarn Detkard, was also his secretary. While waiting for his food to be delivered, he took out the gun and it discharged into her stomach. He told police that it was an accident. Who knows what thoughts were going through his head before he whipped out the gun. I assume they went something like: ‘I know what’ll impress her. I’ll just wave my Uzi around. Seeing as I’ve brought it with me to the dinner table anyway.’ Thai police have stated that the MP will be charged with negligence. As he has parliamentary immunity (which apparently stretches to discharging an Uzi at the dinner table), police told The Australian that “he will probably be called to hear the charge after the end of the parliamentary session”.

Some Russian anti-gay activists have sued US singer Madonna in a St Petersburg court due to her criticism of a city law adopted in March that imposes fines for “spreading homosexual propaganda”. Madonna spoke out against the city ordinance during her St Petersburg concert on August 9. Their lawsuit says that she “insulted their feelings” and they’re looking for ten million dollars to make it all better. Georgy Poltavchenko, governor of St Petersburg, signed the law last March. Anyone found guilty of “public action aimed at propagandising sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors” in the city may be fined an amount from 5,000 roubles (€126/$156) to 500,000. The law does not include a section where people whose feelings have been insulted are entitled to a large cash prize.

Todd Akin, currently running as a Republican for the US Senate in Missouri, dropped a bombshell today (Sunday) in a TV interview where he claimed that rape victims have biological defences that stop them getting pregnant (link includes a video copy of the interview). If you don’t have time to watch the video, what he said was: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” You can focus on the biology part. Or focus on the term “legitimate rape”. Either way, Todd Akin (it’s Akin, by the way, not Atkins – I can see plenty of search results on google for “Todd Atkins”) isn’t doing himself any favours by flaunting his stupidity like a kid with a balloon. He’s still hoping to be elected on November 4. With today’s quote in mind, it’s difficult to understand Rep. Akin’s current position as a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology in the House of Representatives.

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