Again, TIME magazine is preparing to bestow its semi-venerated Person of the Year title on one world-changing newsmaker this year, and, again, they're sorta asking for your participation. As they say, "TIME's editors will choose the Person of the Year, but that doesn't mean readers shouldn't have their say." Sounds dubious, but we'll bite. Via the mag's up-and-running online gallery you — yes, you — can choose which of over two dozen candidates is worthy of the only honorific shared by Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, Mark Zuckerberg, and Hitler. But we've already made our choice, and we're asking you to make it along with us. Come on, people, let's make Pussy Riot TIME magazine's Person of the Year.
You only have to read our brief on these wonderful Russian musical agitants to know why we love them. They're outspoken opponents of political, social, sexual, and religious oppression who do their best work in pastel ski masks. They're feminist punk activists who can barely play their instruments, but speak with truly inspiring passion and eloquence on art, freedom, and the state. Moreover, a vote for them acknowledges that, for better or worse, progressive movements are now bundled in the trappings of new media. In Egypt, it was Twitter. In Iran, it's blogging. In Russia, it's a bunch of punks whose antics are about a step-and-a-half away from Improv Everywhere.
As televised speeches have become old hat in most of the world, radicals need more to cut through the clutter, something Pussy Riot has done with everything from their actions to their very name. But, more so than all of this, they're young women right in the middle of our own core demographic who completely entranced one of the planet's major powers through an act of hooliganism and caused its leading demagogue to blink more than a few times through their international support. Pussy Riot is a small rock group that, argued by so many, had to be imprisoned for the sake of the nation — a judgement that revealed more about the changing state of Russian society than anything we've heard in a long time. Pretty compelling stuff considering how truly DIY and openly silly they are.
Also, and this isn't really important, we totally love Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's haircut.
Now, of course, there are candidates at least as worthy as Pussy Riot (some would argue more so). The president, dissident artist Ai Weiwei, surprisingly potent tyrant Kim Jong Un, women's rights activist and assassination survivor Malala Yousafzai, Burmese reformers Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein, Secretary of State Hill Dog, and others show up. But, Obama was POTY in 2008, Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Prize already, and Kim has his own country, so let's spread the wealth a little, shall we? As for Weiwei and Yousafzai, both are compelling representatives for individual rights with particular focus on artistic freedom and women's empowerment, respectively.
But our pals Pussy Riot offer all of that in one bright, loud package. A vote for them is, in some limited respects, a vote for Weiwei and Yousafzai. Something to think about. As for other worthy contenders, well, honestly, we're going with Pussy Riot over them on aesthetic grounds. So, sue us, we're a fashion site.
It almost goes without saying that Pussy Riot is a superior choice to the many failures, also-rans, long shots, lesser lights, and public cancers that make up the rest of TIME's short list. Super PACer Sheldon Adelson, graceless loser Mitt Romney, the increasingly irrelevant Karl Rove, hated NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, sandwich salesman Michael Phelps, dudish electoral sidekicks Paul Ryan and Joe Biden (sorry, bros, ain't yer year), and many others are not only unworthy, they can't rock the mic. Also, unlike candidates Mars Curiosity rover and the Higgs Boson, Pussy Riot are actually, y'know, people. We don't know about you, but we consider a world where soulless robots or elementary particles win Person of the Year automatically post-apocalyptic.
Thing is, if we're going to make this happen, we've got a long way to go. As of this writing, Pussy Riot has only a 34% approval rating — lower than the "Gangnam Style" guy, lower than the sky-diving record breaker, lower than E.L. James. Yep, E. L. James. Obviously, someone has to get the word out.
So, vote early and often, then refer your friends to our Pussy Riot primer and try to get them on board with our little cause. Oh, and if any of the above has failed to persuade you, consider this: Should Pussy Riot garner an obscene amount of popular votes, an esteemed landmark of American publishing — founded by none other than the great and godly Henry Luce — would have no choice other than to put the word "Pussy" on their cover in big, bold type. That's something you can tell your grandkids about.
Photo: Via Pussy Riot.