08/23/2012 08:14 am ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

Protest Songs Are Pointless

Can music be successfully used as a political weapon? Last week offered evidence both for and against. On Friday, three members of Pussy Riot, an offshoot of a longtime group of activists, were sentenced to two years in prison for their performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They've became a focus of international outrage at the Russian government, prompting protests from citizens, musicians and governments alike. On Thursday, meanwhile, Tom Morello published a scathing piece excoriating Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan for describing himself as a fan of Morello's band Rage Against the Machine. "Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening," Morello wrote.