By Kevin OKeeffe
Originally published on Advocate.com February 21 2014 3:02 PM ET
One can say a great many things about the Sochi Olympics — they're disastrous, they're a PR stunt for a country committing horrifying human rights abuses, they've been doomed to fail from the start — and it would likely all be true. But there is some good coming from Sochi amid all that bad: hilarious, powerful, and inspiring viral videos.
From Pussy Riot to Broadway actors to a collection of YouTube stars, plenty of media figures have found ways to lampoon and protest Sochi this season. Here are some of our favorites:
1) The Mother Russian Version
The members of punk protest band Pussy Riot don't let a little thing like two years in a labor camp stop them from immediately turning around and taking a stand. In their first video since the release of two of the members for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," the women take sharp aim at Russian president Vladmir Putin and the 2014 Winter Olympics, dancing in front of the Olympic rings in Sochi and getting whipped by Cossack guards. Watch the official music video for "Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland" below, and see a translation of the lyrics here. It's quintessential Pussy Riot — as if we'd expect anything less from these unstoppable activists.
2) The Broadway Version
Leave it to stars on the Great White Way, like Harvey Fierstein, Jonathan Groff, and Andrew Rannells, to make something as depressing as Russia's human rights violations utterly hilarious. The stars gathered in January and recorded an 11-minute video protesting the infamous gay propaganda law with humor. Groff and Smash's Jeremy Jordan even play Olympians in love. It's the cutest response to a deadly law we've ever seen.
3) The Kylie Minogue Version
How can a 14-year-old song be a fresh addition to the fight against homophobia in Russia? Just add plenty of gay YouTube stars, mix until frothy, and you'll create a sharp, entertaining statement. The video, which features an irascible Putin ordering the arrest of any Olympians who share any sort of physical contact, is set to Minogue's "Your Disco Needs You." It's utterly inspiring and makes us want to both dance and protest — the best of both worlds.
4) The Catchy Hippie Jingle Version
Need an antidote to Coca-Cola's sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics? This old Coke ad, recut with shots of Russian protesters being arrested, pairs the harrowing imagery of the present with a carefree, low-calorie ditty from the past. The dissonance is cutting — not to mention effective.
5) The Satirical Version
If you need to laugh about the Sochi situation, but the Broadway version wasn't quite to your taste, there's a sharp satirical version by other YouTubers to enjoy. This original tune features devilishly catchy rhymes ("Mother Russia, antigay / We won't stand for your moral decay") while pointing out what has been made quite obvious throughout the Olympics: Russia's pretty gay. In fact, from an avalanche of bears to homoerotic bobsledding, it's all just so gay.