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Old 15.08.2009, 18:01   #151
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Thursday, August 13, 2009
*******************************************
RAFFI AND I -- (Q/A #3)
***************************************
Q: The difference between a writer like Raffi and you is that--
A: He is a 19th-century giant and I am a 21st-century midget.
Q: That wasn't my question. My question has nothing to do with literary greatness and everything to do with a balanced and fair view of reality. In Raffi's writings there are bad as well as good Armenians. In your writings there are only bad ones. Why?
A: That's because I write about our problems.
Q: And Raffi didn't?
A: Only obliquely and in the context of historical fiction.
Q: What is your context?
A: Analytical commentaries.
Q: Does that mean good Armenians don't exist?
A: They exist only as victims of humbuggers or as ineffective players.
Q: You say you write about our problems. If we have problems, and I agree that we do, don't we need solutions?
A: Only one: solidarity.
Q: How do we go about developing solidarity?
A: By ending divisions.
Q: How do we do that?
A: By realizing and admitting to ourselves that dividers are our real enemies.
Q: It seems to me we are going in circles here. Let me approach this question from a different angle: If we need solutions, it must be solutions that work, right? When a solution doesn't work, we should discard it and search for one that will do the job?
A: Excellent idea. If we are a failed nation, let's consider the case of successful nations...such as the United States of America.
Q: But there are all kinds of divisions in America – the rich and the poor, whites and blacks, pro-war and anti-war, pro-abortion and anti --
A: There is also a mechanism designed to resolve differences, it's called democracy. Now, throughout our millennial existence we have at no time experienced democracy. We have been and continue to be at the mercy of paternalistic, authoritarian, fascist and self-appointed pseudo-elites who place their own powers and privileges above the welfare of the nation.
Q: Maybe so, but you still haven't convinced me that emphasizing the positive is wrong.
A: It is wrong if it means covering up or minimizing the dangers and challenges we face.
Q: Is that what Raffi did? -- minimized and covered up?...
A: You seem to have adopted Raffi as a model. If all writers had done that, they would have written nothing but historical novels. Writers like Baronian, Odian, and Massikian wrote satire, where the emphasis is on bad characters. If we were to judge a writer's merits by how successful he has been in solving our problems, as you seem to suggest, we shall have to conclude that our literature as a whole, from Khorenatsi to our own days, has been a gigantic failure. If we are to assign failure, let's begin with our leaders and the dupes who support them. That is why I never get tired of saying and repeating, the smart, progressive, civilized, and westernized Armenian is not just a lie but an absurdity.
Q: Are you saying there are no smart Armenians?
A: If there are, they have been marginalized and rendered ineffective: they are, in other words, ahistorical. They neither formulate nor implement policies, and in that sense they are double victims – victims of foreign aggression as well as victims of domestic corruption and incompetence. Let's end this interview on a positive note, shall we? Let's consider the case of Naregatsi. There is only one positive character in his LAMENTATION, namely God who, as everyone knows, is an Armenian. But the problem with God is that He has always been on the side of the powerful and against the weak, or rather, against dividers, their dupes, and fools who think they are smart.
#
Friday, August 14, 2009
*******************************************
MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
***************************************************
If American presidential candidates promise to recognize the Genocide and when elected they recant, it may be because they are exposed to the other side of the story and recognize themselves in Turks.
*
The expression “Young Turks” does not have a sinister connotation in English. It means enthusiastic or single-minded dedication to a cause or policy that may be unpopular in some quarters.
*
I remember, the first time I heard an Armenian say “The Turks won because they were better organized,” I was outraged. That's when I knew only one side of the story.
*
To know only one side of the story is more dangerous than to know nothing.
*
Empires do not speak the same language as tribes. Americans and Turks understand one another better than Armenian understands Armenian.
*
When our “betters” divide us, they do so with the certainty their real motives will never be uncovered, and so far they have been right but only with an increasingly diminished fraction of the people.
*
We blindly trust those who make us believe, no matter how absurd the belief system, even when they have done nothing to earn our trust.
*
It pleases us to think what others believe is a lie, and what we believe is not.
*
I began to recover my Armenian identity on the day I became aware of the Turk within me.
#
Saturday, August 15, 2009
*******************************************
WAS THE GENOCIDE INEVITABLE?
***************************************************
A survivor: “Turks are nice people provided you don't step on their tail.”
*
Roupen Sevag, prominent author and victim, in a letter to his German fiancée. “The Turks are nice people if you get to know them.”
*
An Armenian: “Our revolutionaries were no better than a frog trying to rape an elephant.”
*
General Antranik: “Our revolutionaries should hang from the nearest tree.”
*
Philip Mansel, author of CONSTANTINOPLE: CITY OF THE WORLD'S DESIRE (London, 1995): “Some Armenians hoped for a massacre in the belief that it would provoke the intervention of the great powers.”
*
Christopher J. Walker, English historian: “Anyone who has studied the history of the Armenians will know that perhaps the single most dangerous illusion that the Armenians entertained was that 'Christendom' (meaning France and Britain; Italy, Germany or Russia didn't quite count) would come and rescue them.”
*
Artin Dadian, Armenian diplomat who in 1896 was appointed by the Sultan president of a commission to resolve the conflict between the Empire and the Armenian revolutionaries, in a letter to Tashnak leaders: “First, Europe shows complete indifference and says there is no Armenian question as far as they are concerned. Second, the threat of the complete annihilation of the Armenian nation has not yet entirely passed, and third, the people are tired of revolutionary actions and are ready to patch up their differences with the government in order to remain safe from further reprisals such as have almost wiped out our people from the face of the earth. Fourth, various organizations are fighting different causes, each in their own way, and in the middle of all this stands one pitiful Artin Dadian, who on the one hand begs the Sultan for mercy by telling him that this would be the best thing for his empire and on the other hand fights base individuals who in order to attain their selfish aims are willing to sell their nation.”
*
Philip Mansel again: “In 1895-6 both the Sultan and the Armenian revolutionaries treated the Armenians of Constantinople as pawns without regard for human life.”
#
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Old 19.08.2009, 18:51   #152
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Sunday, August 16, 2009
*******************************************
CROSS-EXAMINATION
***************************************************
Q: You have been saying some very strange things lately.
A: Are you going to quote me now? I hate to hear my own words thrown back at me.
Q: In that case I will paraphrase you.
A: Much better, much better!
Q: Are Turks smarter than Armenians?
A: Smarter? Probably not. Luckier? Certainly.
Q: Luckier, in what way?
A: Better leadership. Or, if you prefer, more disciplined, more experienced, more professional leaders.
Q: Was the Genocide justified?
A: Justified? Certainly not! Explainable, maybe.
Q: What's the difference?
A: To explain is not to justify. You may explain a volcano. You may explain cancer. You may even explain a war. But you don't necessarily justify them.
Q: Does that make the crime of genocide less evil or the Turks less responsible?
A: No, certainly not. It may however make our leadership more incompetent.
Q: So you agree that the Turks behaved like bloodthirsty savages.
A: The few criminals among them did, yes, certainly. Did they represent the nation? I don't think so. Did Talaat represent the will of the people? Of course not. He was not democratically elected. But then, neither were our revolutionaries. The overwhelming majority of Turks were not guilty or responsible for what was done in their name, in the same way that the overwhelming majority of Armenians did not deserve to have fools as leaders..
Q: Is it possible that I have misunderstood you on all these points?
A: Either that or, as one of my critics once pointed out to me, I don't know how to write.
Q: Which is it -- my fault or yours?
A: Hard to say. What I write, what you read, what you understand, and what you remember are four different things. And sometimes to read can be more challenging than to write. It took me several decades to write as I do. It took you a few minutes to read me. You cannot expect to cover the same ground that I covered in, say, thirty years in thirty seconds. If I write objectively and you read me emotionally, the twain shall never meet.
Q: Some of your readers are convinced you are anti-Armenian and pro-Turkish. True or false?
Q: I have also been accused of being in the pay of the Turkish government. My answer is an old one: My poverty is proof of my honesty. I don't judge people by their nationality. There are good Turks as surely as there are bad Armenians. My quarrel is with leaders and their dupes – regardless of nationality.
Q: If true, why do you criticize Armenians more than Turks?
A: Because Turks have their own critics. How many critics do we have? We have countless accounts of our recent history in which Turkish criminal conduct is described in great detail. Can you name a single book written by an Armenian that exposes the blunders of our own leadership?
Q: ...
A: That's what I thought.
#
Monday, August 17, 2009
*******************************************
UNDERSTANDING ARMENIANS
***************************************************
“I know all I need to know.”
The words of a self-satisfied ignoramus who had an ignoramus as teacher.
*
“The universe is comprehensible,” Einstein said.
So are Armenians. And we don't need an Einstein to explain them.
*
We like to say – it pleases us to say – it flatters our vanity to say, we were harmless prey and they were bloodthirsty predators; we were civilized herbivores and they were carnivorous barbarians. Which, in addition to being racist talk, is nonsense. Our ancestors, the Urartians, though inferior in numbers and military might, never surrendered to the Assyrians, the most formidable carnivores and bullies in the block.
In the Middle Ages, Armenian mercenaries were the most feared and expensive fighters money could hire.
Our Byzantine emperors and their Armenian generals were quintessential predators of Napoleonic dimensions (Spengler).
If we became prey it may be because we picked the wrong fight with the wrong enemy at the wrong time and place. And as if that weren't enough, we were divided against a united enemy.
*
More on divisions:
Imagine Prince Hamlet confronting the Fool.
Hamlet has a large variety of the most advanced weapons at this disposal, and the Fool only a club, but since he cannot make up his mind which weapon to use, he is clubbed to death.
Or consider the case of two retards confronting two smart operators with genius-level IQs who cannot decide on their strategy and end up fighting each other. Who wins?
*
Empires, civilizations, and nations are not killed, they commit suicide.
*
To those who say I quote things out of context, I suggest they read the books I cite; they will get all the context they need and more.
Begin with Toynbee's STUDY OF HISTORY and Philip Mansel's CONSTANTINOPLE. Both are big books but both also come with an index. Which means, no need to read them from beginning to end, just the pages in which Armenians are discussed. Needless to add, those who already know all they need to know, need not apply.
*
It never pays to sling mud hoping some of it will stick. That's not an argument but a tactic worthy of a self-satisfied ignoramus.
#
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
*******************************************
ON TRIBALISM
***************************************************
Nikol Aghbalian: “We Armenians are products of the tribal mentality of Turks and Kurds, and this tribal mentality remains stubbornly rooted even among our leaders and elites.”
*
When it comes to understanding our history and the forces that went into shaping our identity, we might as well be at the Neanderthal stage.
*
No one can be as naïve (a euphemism for stupid) as a self-assessed smart Armenian, if only because he believes in his own assessment of himself.
*
When we speak of solutions, we think of a paragraph or even several numbered paragraphs of verbal formulas that, after convincing us we are on the wrong path, will lead us to the right one. Whereas I think there are no paragraphs, or books, or even entire libraries that can convince a deceiver that deception is wrong or a dupe that he is a fool. Mankind has been blessed with a large number and variety of reformers, messianic figures, prophets, thinkers, philosophers, and teachers none of whom appears to have had any discernible effect on deceivers, including our own. But if you insist on numbered paragraphs, I submit what follows for your consideration.
*
1.
Our problems are national but our loyalties are tribal.
*
2.
Loyalty to the tribe and loyalty to the nation are mutually exclusive concepts.
*
3.
When a tribal leader speaks, he is believed by his tribe, and a tribal leader will never say tribalism is wrong.
*
4.
Tribalism is wrong because it divides the nation thus making it more vulnerable to foreign aggression.
*
5.
What's uppermost in the minds of tribal leaders is not the welfare of the nation but their own powers and privileges.
*
6.
Tribal leaders would gladly sacrifice the nation in defense of their powers and privileges.
*
7.
Tribal leaders may concede that as human beings they have made mistakes but they will never admit that their greatest mistake is their own continued existence.
*
8.
Even when they speak the truth, tribal leaders do so in defense of a big lie.
*
9.
Politics favors deceivers but not all deceivers and not all the time.
*
10.
We will begin to solve our problems on the day we drive tribal leaders out of business.
*
11.
Neanderthal man was tribal.
#
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
*******************************************
ARMENIANISM
***************************************************
Eliminate all traces of Ottomanism and Sovietism from Armenianism – what's left? A blind man looking for a black hat in a dark room.
*
It has been the destiny of Armenian writers to write for Armenians and to be read by fools.
*
Don't get me wrong.
I don't write against you.
I write against myself.
I was a liar.
I was worse than a liar.
I was the dupe of liars.
I trusted my “betters.”
On what grounds?
I no longer remember.
I was too young and ignorant to need grounds.
I needed a lawyer at a time when I didn't even know lawyers existed.
*
If what I say is wrong and you correct me, where's the harm?
*
I write what I think for readers who want to read what they feel.
*
Just because no one writes as I do, it doesn't mean no one thinks as I do. It only means they have given up on us.
*
Armenians excel in one field of creativity: misunderstanding simple sentences in the English language.
*
I was brought up to believe three things:
The world is a rotten place. (It is).
I am smart. (I am not).
My betters know better. (They do not).
*
To resurrect the dead is easy.
To resurrect the living more difficult.
To resurrect the brain-dead, impossible!
*
You need the combined strength of Hercules, Atlas, and Samson to open a closed mind.
#
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Old 22.08.2009, 17:48   #153
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Thursday, August 20, 2009
*******************************************
USEFUL IDIOTS
***************************************************
Hegel is right. Those in power will never give it up without a bloody fight.
My critics call me anti-Armenian and pro-Turkish.
They say I am damaged goods in need of psychiatric care.
They say I collect everything negative that has ever been said about us and I quote out of context.
They say my knowledge of history, unlike theirs, is one-sided and defective, my judgment untrustworthy, and my sense of fairness perverted.
And now, consider what's happening in America today.
They go to town-hall meetings armed with guns.
They call Obama a Nazi.
If Obama is a Nazi, so were FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton, because all of them were for comprehensive and universal health care.
If being critical of the status quo were pro-Turkish, then all of our writers, from Khorenatsi and Yeghishé to Zohrab and Zarian were pro-Turkish. Which is not just wrong but absurd in view of the fact that both Khorenatsi and Yeghishé (5th century) lived and wrote at a time when Turks had not yet appeared on the horizon.
To paraphrase Lenin, a dupe is a dupe, and a useful idiot is a useful idiot regardless of nationality. The average Armenian, very much like the average American, is brainwashed to believe he knows all he needs to know and armed with that conviction and with the blessings of his “betters” (which in our case, are no better than wheeler-dealers, and in the case of Americans, private insurance companies, all 1300 of them, each with its own chief executive officer and fat annual bonus) demonize the opposition, sling mud hoping some of it will stick, and entertain the illusion that since this tactic has worked in the past, it may work again.
#
Friday, August 21, 2009
*******************************************
TALAAT & CO.
***************************************************
There is only one victim mentioned in the entry on Talaat Pasha (spelled Talat Pasa) in the ENCYCLPAEDIA BRITANNICA (1979 edition): himself; and only one Armenian, his assassin.
Please note that, entries in reputable reference works like the BRITANNICA are, as a rule, penned not by nationalist historians with an ax to grind but by so-called objective, impartial, and internationally respected scholars.
As for our great revolutionary heroes: as far as I know, none of them is accorded an entry or even a single line in the BRITANNICA.
Moral: Don't believe everything you read, especially when the subject is politicians and their place in history.
*
All talk of good and evil in a political context is relative and dependent on whose ox is being gored. Who could be more evil than an honest politician (assuming of course he exists) who leads the nation to war, defeat, and genocide?
*
We like to speak of Lincoln and FDR as shining examples of great statesmen. But in the eyes of millions of Americans Lincoln is no better than Talaat, FDR might as well be a brother to Stalin, and Obama another Hitler.
At one time or another even Nobel Prize winners like Hamsun, Shaw, Churchill, Sartre, and Malraux were taken in by the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Mao.
*
Sometimes knowing only one side of the story is worse than knowing nothing if only because total ignorance may lead to curiosity, and partial knowledge may lead to prejudice, hatred, war, and massacre.
In this context it is safe to assume that the brainwashed outnumber the objective, impartial, and honest a thousand to one (assuming he exists).
I am reminded of Hegel's famous last words: “No one understood me except one, and even he didn't understand me.”
But according to Schopenhauer, Hegel was one of the greatest charlatans that ever crawled between heaven and earth.
*
Whenever there is any talk of good and evil in human affairs, I am reminded of the African chieftain as quoted by C.G. Jung: “When I steal my enemy's wives, it's good. When he steals mine, it's bad.”
*
General Antranik is known to Azeris as an “ethnic cleanser” or their Talaat. Propaganda? Not quite. A Tashnak leader once confided to me: “We had to get rid of him (General Antranik) because he went on a rampage massacring indiscriminately defenseless women and children.”
The same General Antranik once stated: “I am not a nationalist. I am on the side of the oppressed regardless of nationality.”
*
Whom can we trust?
My answer: Keep an open mind and trust no one, especially someone with an ax to grind, a score to settle, and a blunder to cover up.
#
Saturday, August 22, 2009
*******************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
***************************************************
The perpetrators of the Genocide saw all Armenians as their mortal enemies. We make the same mistake when we see all Turks the same way.
*
“No one understands Turks as well as we do,” bragged Oshagan. What he didn't say is what exactly did he do with his superior brand of understanding.
*
What matters is not what we know but what we do with our knowledge -- beside dropping our pants and bending over – if you will forgive my French.
*
It is because we don't understand our enemies that we don't understand one another; and because we don't understand one another we view dissent as treason. Every failing or transgression has its own inbuilt punishment.
*
I cherish my mediocrity if only because I owe my continued existence to it. We all know what happens to those who dare to achieve excellence.
*
Panturkism: a movement whose aim is to unite Turks of the world.
There is no corresponding Armenian movement.
*
We like to speak of treaties as if they were Holy Writ carved in stone. “Treaties,” General de Gaulle has said, “are like girls and roses: they last while they last.”
And sometimes, unlike girls and roses, they don't even last.
*
We recognize two ways of solving a problem:
(one) to pretend it doesn't exist, and
(two) to classify it as insoluble.
*
We use the phrase “We need solutions” as synonymous with “Shut up!”
*
A fanatic is one in whose Decalogue there is only one commandment: “Thou shalt hate unto death anyone who dares to disagree with the party line.”
#
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Old 26.08.2009, 18:54   #154
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Sunday, August 23, 2009
*******************************************
SERMON
***************************************************
As you grow older, your childhood acquires a different complexion. You begin to realize that those
who shaped your worldview were fallible human beings like yourself and most of what they said was
nonsense motivated by uncertainty, confusion, and fear. That's when you begin to think for yourself
and rely less on someone else's version of the story.
*
Nationalist historians are children who refuse to grow up. They continue to classify their fellow men
as friends and enemies. They continue to preach patriotism even after they recognize it as the root
of all prejudice, xenophobia, lies, conflicts, wars, and massacres. Some of them may have second
thoughts but by then it may be too late because propaganda is the only field of human endeavor in
which they excel. It is, in other words, their bread and butter, and you will be surprised what men are
capable of doing in defense of their source of income and their ability to provide for their family.
*
Generally speaking, people are not disposed to hate or harm men they know nothing about. But
expose them to propaganda and they turn into killers and are admired as heroes.
*
My critics tell me I repeat myself. But I suspect, deep down it is not my central message that bores
them but their fear of losing their infantile illusions. They say the same prayers every day and listen
to the same sermons against sin every Sunday; they read the same anti-Turkish editorials and
commentaries in our weeklies; and it doesn't even occur to think of them as repetitions. But confront
them with a different message for the second time, and immediately they recognize it as repetition. If
they go on reading me, it may be because the strange and the unknown have always been sources of
fascination to all men regardless of race, color, and creed. It is what drives them to explore,
experiment, and discover. And even when they fail to discover a new continent or theory, they may
discover something even more important. They may discover that the human mind is a universe in its
own right and most of it is shrouded in mystery.
*
Freedom, real freedom, does not mean the freedom to do this, that, or the other, but to explore the
unknown. And by contrast, clinging to the familiar and the known is subservience and slavery –
Ottomanism and Sovietism by other means.
*
At the end of everything I write, I would like to add: I could have said this better. Forgive me if I relied
too much on your willingness to work with me.
#
Monday, August 24, 2009
*******************************************
ON WAR
***********************
People don't declare war, politicians do.
Collective evil is an extension of individual evil
as surely as massacres are extensions of serial killers
even when they call themselves kings, sultans, emperors, and presidents.
People do not consent to being victimizers and victims.
Victimizers and victims are manufactured as surely
as products displayed on shelves in department stores and supermarkets.
*
ON LABELS
**************************
To those of my readers who hang all kinds of nasty labels on me, I say:
You are barking up the wrong tree.
I am against labels as surely as I am against chief executive officers
who manufacture them.
God created man.
It is my ambition to be born again as a human being.
To those who find my ideas unpatriotic or anti-Armenian, I say:
Give yourself another decade or two;
and if you are as slow as I am,
add another decade for good measure.
*
ON BLUNDERS
******************************
I have committed my share – make it, more than my share – of blunders
and I know how easy it is to commit them and,
having committed them,
how hard it is to admit them.
*
ON SUBSERVIENCE
************************************
As long as you remain subservient,
you will never discover who you really are
and how much power you have.
*
LITERATURE AND PHILANTHROPY
********************************************
When I went into this business
I made a vow never to be unkind to anyone.
I ascribed most of our problems
– divisions, intolerance, dogmatism and so on –
to individuals with poor manners
acquired in the Ottoman Empire or the Soviet Union,
both of which I considered quintessentially unArmenian.
For a while I kept my promise.
I was kind even to unkind readers
until I realized that I was confusing literature with philanthropy.
I am not talking an eye for an eye now.
I am saying speaking truth to power
even if it means exposing liars, frauds, and blood****ers.
#
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
*******************************************
A HUMBLE REQUEST
*********************************
Abovian committed suicide,
Baronian was betrayed to the police,
Bakounts was shot,
Mahari was sent to Siberia,
Shahnour survived on $8.00 a month
(compliments of a national benefactor),
Zarian was treated as a madman in the diaspora
and a non-person in the Homeland.
Please, don't call me an Armenian writer.
Call me a marginal scribbler;
but if that's too much to ask,
call me a face in the crowd
whose sole ambition in life
is to be an honest witness.
I may have a better chance to survive that way.
*
WISDOM
*****************
Treat your friends as potential enemies.
*
DIPLOMACY
***********************
Treat your enemies as future friends.
*
IF
**************
If I were to write things with which you agree,
I would be only your echo
and you would be a fool
wasting your time reading yourself.
#
WEDNESDAY, 26 AUGUST, 2009
***********************************************
ON UNDERSTANDING
*****************************
We don't understand ourselves
and the forces that shaped our identity
not because we are incomprehensible
but because those whose task it is
to explain things to us
have done their utmost to muddy the waters.
*
You want to know more about a man?
Ask him questions.
You want to know him better?
Ask his friends.
But if you want to have a balanced view,
cross-examine his enemies.
#
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Old 02.09.2009, 18:58   #155
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Sunday, August 30, 2009
***********************************************
A DEFINITION OF FASCISM
********************************************
#
WHAT WE NEED
**********************
-Foreign investments, economists, entrepreneurs, industrialists.
-A police force with the latest computerized gadgets.
-A disciplined and well-trained army with the best hardware and delivery system money can buy.
-Law-and-order judges.
-Medical doctors, specialists, and hospitals with up-to-date diagnostic tools.
-Experienced and competent mechanics and repairmen.
-Architects, artists, and sculptors,
-Four-star chefs.
-Athletes of all kinds.
-Actors, directors, singers, dancers, and choreographers.
-Composers, conductors, and instrumentalists.
-Novelists, poets, playwrights.
-Experts in all fields of human endeavor.
*
WHAT WE DON'T NEED
*************************************
Dissidents.
#
Monday, August 31, 2009
***********************************************
COVER UP
********************************************
There is only one way to never make mistakes and that is by not admitting them.
*
Watergate was exposed by a free press and an independent judiciary. We have neither the first nor the second. As a result, our blunders can safely remain covered up and our blunderers can continue to parade as men of integrity and able statesmen worthy of universal respect.
*
When after the collapse of the Soviet Union a KGB agent established himself in America, published his memoirs in which he said they (the KGB) had been successful in planting their own agents into the ARF leadership, and I quoted the relevant passages in my review of the book, a very angry insider called and started yelling at me, “How dare you write such nonsense!”
*
When Antranik Zaroukian, as a member of the Party, asked permission to edit a literary periodical independent of Party control, permission was denied. Result: a moribund literature and a stagnant press monopolized by Turcocentric editors and ghazetajis.
*
Something similar could be said of our political parties in the Homeland, whose main function appears to be to cover up their collaboration with the Kremlin and the systematic extermination of our ablest men. Result: the nation remains at the mercy of leaders who are the offspring of criminals who got away with murder.
*
Now, consider what happened in France immediately after World War II. All those guilty of collaborating with the Germans were immediately arrested, tried, found guilty, and condemned to death as traitors. Marshall Petain (called “Putain” = whore), former minister of war, hero of World War I, and head of state during the occupation, was among the condemned. Result: the French judiciary recovered its independence, the French press is flourishing, and French literature is so alive and well that writers of all nations feel welcomed enough to give up their mother tongue and write in French. Ionesco (Romanian), Beckett (Irishman), and Adamov (Armenian), three of the most influential playwrights in world literature, wrote in French.
*
And speaking of Armenian writers writing in French: A best-selling writer by the name of Mamikonian (I forget her first name) was recently approached by Armenian monarchists who urged her to be the queen of Armenia. When she rejected the offer, they threatened to abduct her children. For a while she and her family were under police protection. For all I know, they still are.
Moral: Some Armenians would rather be a second-rate French writer than the first-rate queen of a nation that was first to convert to Christianity and first to be almost exterminated in the 20th century (and why we like to brag about that, I will be damned if I know).
#
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
***********************************************
CONFESSION
********************************************
We have spent millions on Genocide recognition,
but not a single penny on Genocide prevention.
And when I speak of genocide
I speak not only of what happened in the Ottoman Empire
nearly a hundred years ago,
(and thus belongs to the irrevocable
and irreversible past)
but also of what is happening today even as I write
(that is, alienation and assimilation in the Diaspora
and exodus from the Homeland).
When it comes to the “red” Genocide,
not only we pin the responsibility on the Turks,
we also paint them all black
(Asiatic barbarians, bloodthirsty savages, jungle predators),
and ourselves all white.
But when it comes to our own “spitak chart” (white slaughter)
we plead not guilty
by reason of historic, political, social, and cultural conditions
beyond our control.
I submit that to be a big lie!
I could make a long list of indictments
that may suggest otherwise, among them,
useless internecine conflicts, divisions, incompetence,
corruption, dogmatism, intolerance, double talk,
waste of valuable resources, mismanagement,
misrepresentation, contempt for free speech,
violations of human rights,
the need for a free press,
absence of vision
(remember, “where there is no vision, the people perish”),
and charlatanism.
Conditions beyond our control?
Not guilty?
Not responsible?
Bare-faced lies and worse.
Much worse!
Lies told by idiots and believed by dupes with negative IQs.
But this is not so much an indictment as a confession.
Until very recently I too spoke like an idiot
and believed everything I was told by my “betters,”
whom I now believe to be our worst!
#
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
***********************************************
DIARY
(Parental guidance is advised)
********************************************
A quiet day. On the Internet, only three hostile comments which make me think of Koestler's remark – “Nothing can be as sad as the loss of an illusion.” To grow up might as well be synonymous with to lose illusions. What is life if not a cemetery of buried illusions? If the first act of a play is about an illusion, the final act is bound to be tragic.
How to explain the fact that even after a century, Armenians continue to cling to the illusion that they are as white as snow and it is the rest of the world that is rotten? My only explanation: what J.S. Bach is to music, what Paganini was to the violin, what Casanova was to women, what Casals was to the cello, what Bobby Fisher was to chess, and what Tiger Woods is to golf, we are to the blame-game.
*
Reading a big biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I still cannot connect his life to his work. Where did ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE come from? A paragraph from Balzac married to a plot by Faulkner written with a touch of Kafka?
Also reading Richard Price's LUSH LIFE. His fast-moving dialogue fascinates me even when there are times when I cannot follow its logical progression and slang.
*
Helene Mercier: “Music opens before us a realm in which it is emotions that give meaning to life.”
*
A headline in my morning paper: “Turkey, Armenia to set up diplomatic ties.” Let others see progress here. I see nothing but the prescription of a placebo to a patient suffering from terminal cancer.
#
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Old 05.09.2009, 17:58   #156
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Thursday, September 3, 2009
***********************************************
AUTOCRACY VERSUS DEMOCRACY
(Parental guidance is advised)
********************************************
If nothing else, our Ottoman and Soviet experiences should have taught us the dangers of autocratic rule and the values of free speech, an independent press, and respect for human rights. Instead it seems to have done the exact opposite. In other words, it has reinforced and legitimized our Ottomanism and Sovietism.
*
It is not the function of a writer to serve the interests of a political leader and his supporters. Neither is it his responsibility to encourage or exploit the animal instinct of the unthinking or traumatized masses. Rather, his role is to share what he has learned not only from life but also from the experiences and ideas of the best intellects in world literature.
Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that a writer decides to give up his freedom and support the leadership. The question that must be raised at this point is: Which leader? When was the last time our leaders agreed on anything? If he supports one side against the other, he will be labeled an enemy by the opposition. And if the opposition assumes power, he may end up as an exile at best, and at worst, arrested, tried, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, found guilty.
*
Don't call me a writer or even a scribbler. Call me – if you insist on calling me anything – a face in the crowd who has been doing his utmost to be an honest witness. Prone to error? Certainly! But honest. (Such a pity that we don't have a word for honesty in Armenian.)
#
Friday, September 4, 2009
***********************************************
IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME
(Parental guidance is advised)
********************************************
When Comrade Panchoonie dies it is not Odian who pens the obituary but a faithful member of the Party. And when Jack S. Avanakian, Panchoonie's Armenian-American counterpart, dies the eulogy is delivered by -- who else -- but a fellow avanak. And when one avanak eulogizes another, every other sentence will contain such expressions as “a dedicated patriot,” “a role model to our youth,” “a man of vision,” “a Renaissance man,” “a source of inspiration to all of us,” “a man of contemplation as well as action,” “under his leadership our community life experienced a golden age,” and “we shall not see his like again!”
If only that were true!
Odian couldn't have been more wrong. Had he known the truth, he would have written a lamentation rather than a satirical novel, or a tragedy rather than a farce.
Did you know that all of Odian's works were published in the Homeland during the Soviet era, except COMRADE PANCHOONIE? That to me is as clear an admission of guilt as a signed confession that says “We are all Panchoonies.”
Who would have thought a hundred years ago that our Panchoonies and Jack S. Avanakians would conspire and successfully exterminate our Odians on the grounds that they (our avanaks) are builders and our Odians are destroyers?
Sartre is right. Literature saves nothing and no one. We are all condemned to be at the mercy of meddlers who are at it 24/7 speechifying, proselytizing, brainwashing, organizing, fund-raising, starving and silencing. They may speechify about life but their real business is death.
#
Saturday, September 5, 2009
***********************************************
PONZI SCHEMES
(Parental guidance is advised)
********************************************
Because they cannot convince the opposition,
they brainwash children.
*
Some of the worst liars I have met
were honest men who believed they were speaking the truth.
*
I believe in doubt,
therefore I am not easily taken in
by popes, presidents, kings
and their assorted hirelings and flunkies,
especially when they contradict one another
in defense of what's mine is mine.
*
What's mine is mine
is a bad argument because sooner or later
it morphs into what's yours is mine too.
*
To speak louder,
to have more money,
or to carry a bigger stick
are not arguments that prove anything.
And yet mankind has always been at the mercy
of philistines, frauds, and bullies
who use them as self-evident and irrefutable truths
and they are believed.
*
Millions have killed and died for a belief system
that has as much merit as
the shadow of a non-existent black hat in a dark room.
*
A belief system is a Ponzi scheme.
#
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Old 09.09.2009, 19:15   #157
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Sunday, September 6, 2009
***********************************************
A VIPERS' NEST
(Parental guidance is advised)
********************************************
We now have a new definition of patriotism: “To make the Homeland a better place to visit.” To that end, we spend millions building new villages, highways, churches, museums, hotels, and schools on the assumption that new schools will bring forth new Armenians, and better classrooms will generate greater intellects.
*
I am myself a product of an Armenian education, that is to say, an authoritarian educational system in which the emphasis was on respect for and obedience to authority. I don't remember a single mention of human rights, the right to dissent, and the value of free speech.
*
When during the Soviet era a politician from Ottawa visited one of our schools and discovered that some of the textbooks used there were of Soviet provenance, he was outraged and demanded an immediate end to that practice.
Our philistines don't mind spending millions on new walls as long as their name is emblazoned on them, but they wouldn't even spend a penny on textbooks.
*
And now, allow me to recount in my own words a story that I first heard when I was three or four.
A man once said to his servant: “Go to the bathhouse and see if it's crowded.” The servant does as he is told and sees a long line at the gate of the bathhouse, but he also observes on the path leading to the gate a rock to which everyone bumps and hurts his foot, until one man takes it upon himself to clear the path. Upon his return to his master, the servant says: “I saw only one man by the gate of the bathhouse, sir.”
End of story.
*
I once asked the lawyer of a national benefactor why do they support a regime that is a vipers' nest?
His reply: “If we don't support the regime, we will not be allowed to help the people.”
“You mean to tell me they will let the people starve and freeze? You mean you are supporting a bunch of blackmailers?”
I got no answer to my question, only a curt: “I am not talking to you!”
*
Moral I: When our Panchoonies and Jack S. Avanakians build schools, the chances are the teaching will be done by lesser Panchoonies and Avanaks.
*
Moral II: In a crowd of Panchoonies and Avanaks, you cannot always count on a single human being to do what must be done.
*
Moral III: From a vipers' nest, all you will get is more vipers.
#
Monday, September 7, 2009
***********************************************
BRAIN DRAIN
********************************************
A headline in NEWSWEEK reads: “Venezuela's brain drain.” Who speaks of Armenia's brain drain? Not even Armenians, probably because every Armenian believes he has a surplus of that particular commodity and would gladly share it if asked.
*
It is easy for two fools to convince each other that they are not just smart but much smarter than others. On this point, Armenians have no trouble reaching a consensus.
*
Teach yourself to say, “I am a fool,” for that is the beginning of all wisdom.
*
A good Armenian is one who loves those who have brainwashed him and hates those who speak of reality, as if reality were anti-Armenian and pro-Turkish.
*
I learn something from everyone I meet, except my critics. All my critics succeed in doing is expose the Turk in themselves and, in doing so, they remind me of the Turk in me.
*
We learn from our mistakes only in the sense that we learn ways to avoid getting caught red-handed – until making mistakes becomes a habit, and that's when we get caught.
*
The right to be wrong is also a human right. Be aware of the man who is never wrong.
*
There is a type of reader who is disposed to agree with me only if I were to say Armenians are the first people to convert to Christianity and the first nation to be targeted for extermination in the 20th century. Beyond that, no matter what I say, his first impulse will be to contradict me.
*
Most Armenians will never take me seriously as a writer simply because I say things they have known all along without taking the trouble to verbalize them because doing so would amount to adding insult to injury, which may suggest that they view criticism as massacre by other means.
#
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
***********************************************
FROM HEROES TO ZEROS
********************************************
Don't be afraid of those who exercise
their human right of free speech.
Be afraid instead of those who violate that right.
Because if they can violate one right today,
they can violate others tomorrow.
And if they can violate my right today,
what makes you think they will not violate yours tomorrow?
Unless of course you think you are
-- unlike czars, kings, and heads of state – invulnerable.
*
All crimes against humanity begin with censorship.
*
Nothing could be more absurd than to think,
If God is on my side, I have nothing to fear.
God does not like braggarts and
He seems to take a malicious pleasure in disappointing those
who believe Him to be on their side.
*
A hundred years ago
we challenged the might of an empire.
We are now afraid of words.
This to me is as real a development
as the Genocide -- and as tragic.
If Naregatsi were alive today
he would write a much longer lamentation.
*
The cowardice of some of my critics is such
that they insult me anonymously,
and they are too slow to see the connection.
*
We are not a nation of heroes.
We are a nation of victims.
And worse!
We are a nation at the mercy of cowards
who love to speechify about our heroic past
to cover up their own cowardice.
They brag about our heroes
to cover up their status as zeros.
#
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
***********************************************
PANCHOONIE IS DEAD,
LONG LIVE JACK S. AVANAKIAN!
********************************************
Comrade Panchoonie is a bundle of contradictions
and he doesn't know it.
In his attempt to expose bourgeois prejudices,
he exposes his own.
He pretends to be an idealist
but he concludes every one of his reports
to the central committee
with the words: “Send us a little money.”
He chastises his adversaries
for their lack of understanding
of what he is attempting to do
even as he unmasks his own
much greater limitations and fanaticism.
His Truth is a Big Lie.
His promised Land is our Hell on earth.
I suspect it never even occurred to Odian
that some day his Comrade Panchoonie would rise again
as Jack S. Avanakian and become
our most popular role model.
Consider the case of our Turcocentric ghazetajis
who expect us to believe their only concern is justice.
To that end they heap an endless stream of accusations
on our enemies but they refuse to utter a single word
about our own abuses of power,
violations of human rights, corruption, double-talk,
incompetence, intolerance, divisions,
worship of the Almighty Dollar, and contempt for ideas.
*
There are two kinds of society
that don't feel the need of a free press:
(one)primitive, and
(two) fascist.
#
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Old 12.09.2009, 18:55   #158
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Thursday, September 10, 2009
***********************************************
MEGALOMANIACS
********************************************
The only way to understand a country is to work there for a living. Likewise, the best way to understand a man is to work for him. With occasional and brief interruptions I have worked for Armenians all my life, mostly at minimum wage, and more often than not, at less than minimum-wage jobs. I have even worked for an Oriental carpet dealer, who was so patriotic that he couldn't stand anyone using a Turkish word in his presence.
If you think I have a low opinion of my fellow countrymen, you should meet a member of our self-appointed elite, which translated into dollars and cents means the scum of the earth. I had the misfortune of meeting some of them after I translated Zarian into English. Almost every other Armenian I met after that wanted to be translated, edited, or reviewed by me. No one ever asked me to translate Abovian, Raffi, or Naregatsi, only me, me, me!
At first I tried to be nice to all of them and was overly generous in my reviews, until one of our distinguished academics said to me: “Why do you waste your time on mediocrities?” When I said something to the effect that I was trying to be positive to survivors who had been through hell, or words to that effect, he said: “If you praise nobodies, what will you say if you ever run into an authentic genius?” It took me several years to realize that this gentleman considered himself one of them.
Once, when a third-rate loud-mouth vodanavorji, the flunky of a national benefactor, proposed that I translate a collection of his verse -- “a minimum of no less than 600 pages,” were his specifications-- I gave him to understand that I might not be able to handle the job. Whereupon he retorted: “You translate a phony like Zarian and you dare to turn me down?”
It goes without saying that whenever you say no to an Armenian, you make an enemy for life.
Years later I met Naregatsi's translator, the late Mischa Kudian, a dental surgeon by profession. We had a long talk -- about two hours -- during which he recounted some of his experiences as translator. Had he written about them, it would have been a longer lamentation.
#
Friday, September 11, 2009
***********************************************
ANSWERS
********************************************
Everything I write is an answer to a specific question.
I have answered a thousand questions
and I expect I will go on answering a thousand more.
But there will always be those who say
I refuse to answer questions.
If they can't bitch about real things,
they invent them.
They find it difficult to reconcile the fact that
throughout our millennial history we,
the smartest people on earth,
have failed to solve our problems.
Hence the mantra:
“We don't need critics. We need solutions.”
Do we really need solutions?
I doubt it.
What we need however is a treatment for a terminal condition
whose nature we pretend not to know.
At the end of each year,
our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
should deliver a speech or sermon
that begins with the words,
“This year too we have failed to enhance our solidarity.
As a result we remain as divided and tribalized as ever.”
If so far they have not uttered these words
it's because they know they are guilty as charged
and they refuse to admit it.
If they did, they would run the risk of turning the people against them.
Which means no more fund-raising
in the name of God and Country.
Besides, admitting failure is not good public relations.
We prefer to brag.
We brag about our survival
even as we die the death of a thousand self-inflicted cuts.
We brag about the number of schools we have built,
not what it is that's being taught in them.
Next time you get a letter from a fund raiser,
you may notice that it ends with a boast
that goes something like this:
“If so far we have succeeded in realizing our goals
it is because we have had your generous support.
We need more of your support now
in order to succeed in the future.”
(Translation: “Mi kich pogh oughargetsek.”)
Comrade Panchoonie is dead.
Long live Jack S. Avanakian!
Have I said this before?
Probably.
Do I repeat myself?
Certainly.
When dealing with a recalcitrant child,
you have two options:
to resort to physical punishment
or to repeat yourself.
I repeat myself because the physical option is out.
#
Saturday, September 12, 2009
***********************************************
CHAOS
********************************************
If you want to have a more objective idea
of our real situation in the Diaspora,
consider a United States during the last four decades
without an Attorney General and a Justice Department.
Nixon would have served his full term in the White House
and members of his administration would have taught
all their dirty tricks to the next Republican contender.
To survive as a viable alternative,
the Democrats would have had no choice
but to resort to dirtier tricks.
The trouble with crooks is that
as soon as they realize they can get away with something,
the come back to get away with more.
And when crooks are in charge,
honest men live in fear.
And worse: they go underground
or join the silent and passive majority.
In a lawless land it is not the best that survive
but the most ruthless.
Deep Throat, himself a high-ranking agent of the FBI,
was afraid to identify himself and to speak up.
Ben Bagdikian lived in fear of his life
when he had possession of the Pentagon Papers.
And now, consider the number of honest journalists
who have been assassinated recently in Russia.
As for our beloved homeland:
Does anyone know the name of our Attorney General there
or for that matter whether he even exists?
Speaking for myself,
I am in no position to answer that question.
I can only say “Der Voghormia!”
#
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Old 16.09.2009, 19:08   #159
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Sunday, September 13, 2009
***********************************************
RATS
********************************************
When New York publishers rejected Thoreau's works, he said: “My bait will not tempt the rats, they are too well fed.”
*
FASCIST RATS
****************************
If the Axis powers had won World War II, there would be a law now that says, all mention of the Holocaust is a criminal offense. America being a democracy, recognizes the primacy of free speech. As a result there is no corresponding law that deals with the extermination of Indians and the slavery of blacks. No one can arrest a black minister for saying “God damn America!” instead of “God save America.” Indian, black, and even white writers are as free to write big books on America's criminal past as white racists are free to think they did to the Indians what the Indians were doing to one another and what they did to the whites whenever they had the power. As for slavery: even the Greeks at the apex of their civilization (5th century BC) had slaves. Even wealthy blacks in America had slaves. In Africa the blacks enslave one another even today. And if the blacks could enslave whites, does anyone think they would refuse to do so on moral grounds? Hence, the animus against Obama.
*
WHITE OPPOSITION TO OBAMA
********************************************
Obama is not an American. He is a Muslim. He befriends terrorists. He was born in Africa. He is an illegal President. He is a Nazi. He is a liar. The secret aim of his health care reform is to bankrupt white America. And when that happens, we will be at their mercy and they will do to us what we did to them.
*
CLOSER TO HOME
*******************************
The Jews are doing to the Palestinians what the Romans did to them. Armenians (with the help of Greeks and Kurds) will be glad to do to us what they did to the Azeris and we did to them. The natives are restless. The rats are afoot!
That's not paranoia but reality, and a reality with so many precedents in history that it might as well be as routine and predictable an occurrence as sunrise and sunset.
*
OVERHEARD
**************************
“Multitasking is a myth. You can't chew gum and fart at the same time.” Neither can you stop blaming blacks for planning to bankrupt whites long enough to blame the chief executive officers (all of them as white as la crème de la scum) for bankrupting the world economy.
#
Monday, September 14, 2009
***********************************************
ON FAITH
********************************************
To believe means to believe the unbelievable.
To believe means to believe your belief system to be the only true one.
Not to believe in what someone else believes, or not to subscribe to his belief system, does not mean to disagree with him but to be immune to his Big Lie.
Faith is a prejudice that is at the root of countless conflicts and many more victims. But people continue to cling to it as if it were a self-evident truth rather than a Big as well as a Dangerous Lie.
*
I believe the Genocide happened.
My Turkish friend believes it never did.
We disagree because we were exposed to two different sets of educational systems or propaganda.
My friend has written a big book (over 800 pages) in which he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Genocide is a fabrication of Armenian propagandists.
I have read this book and I remain unconvinced not only because I have read bigger books in which the Genocide is documented but also because I believe it happened, and he who believes is not open to reason or documentation or evidence.
*
Propaganda is worse than hearsay evidence – it is fabricated evidence. Hearsay evidence is not admissible in a court of law. Fabricated evidence is perjury and perjury is a serious criminal offense punishable by law. And yet, those who recycle propaganda outnumber those who think for themselves a million to one – roughly speaking of course. This is especially true in authoritarian regimes. It is different in democracies. There are schools of thought in the United States today that assert both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 could have been prevented.
I believe the Genocide could have been prevented too.
I believe those who assert the Genocide was inevitable are wrong. Because if it was inevitable, why is it that no one saw it coming? Why is it that no one warned the people?
“To what purpose?” my partisan friends demand to know whenever the subject comes up.
“So that the people would weigh their options and make an informed decision.”
“Such as?”
“Such as to stay put and be butchered or get the hell out.”
“And abandon all their possessions?”
This response reminds me of Paul Valéry who somewhere speaks of a man who refused to let go of his umbrella and was run over by a bus.
*
I believe the Genocide to be a result of two colossal blunders committed by nationalist fanatics and fools on both sides. It goes without saying that to massacre innocent civilians is a far more serious crime than stupidity or ignorance.
Ignorance may be the most innocent of all transgressions but in life it is the most severely punished. If there are inflexible laws in life, this surely must be one of them.
And speaking of inflexible laws, here is another: If you refuse to learn from your blunders, you condemn yourself to repeat them.
What have we learned from our genocide?
What else but to say we are at the mercy of inevitable historic conditions or forces beyond our control?
Same mistake, same propaganda, same Big Lie fabricated and recycled by men who are too lazy or stupid to think for themselves.
#
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
***********************************************
A PAGE FROM MY DIARY
********************************************
A frequently asked question: “What would you have done in their place?”
My answer: Probably what they did, but having done so I wouldn't compound the felony by spending the rest of my life pretending to be the exact opposite of who and what I am; neither would I expect others to look up to me as a role model, or a leader of men, or a noble specimen of humanity, or a man of vision.
*
If you ever ask an Armenian writer (assuming you can find one) to describe the nature of his employment, the chances are (if he is an honest man) he will say: “It is a demanding job with a negative income in a carcinogenic environment.”
*
I have dealt with too many of my fellow countrymen to be a friend of the human race.
*
I believe free speech to be a human right. I am therefore guilty of unArmenian activities.
*
Where wishful thinking enters, disappointment is sure to follow.
*
The first paragraph in the propaganda of barbarians reads:
“We are civilized.
We speak the truth.
Those who disagree with us are liars
and the world will be a better place without them.”
*
The difference between those who think and speak for themselves and those who recycle propaganda is that the propagandists are never wrong.
*
The height of luxury for me is the ability to say “Talk to my lawyer.”
*
Writers cannot silence politicians but politicians have been silencing writers for centuries.
*
I speak in defense of human rights. The opposition speaks in the name of God, Capital, and Patriotism. I have as much chance to survive as a vegetarian who is surrounded by a tribe of starving cannibals.
*
Someday I would like to meet an Armenian who is not driven by the need to prove himself smarter or more patriotic than I.
*
Judge an idea or ideology not by its definition but by its history.
#
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
***********************************************
NOTES / COMMENTS
********************************************
W. Somerset Maugham: " Suffering makes men petty and vindictive."
*
A friend writes:
“The lawyer husband of a former student of mine was part of a non-partisan U.S.
commission to monitor the last elections in Armenia. They found irregularities.
Afterward, the 'winner' of the presidency asked his defeated opponent to come see him in his office. When the ex-candidate stepped into the President's office, a bunch of thugs beat the opponent so badly he had to be hospitalized. As his opponent was being beaten, the President said, 'That's for being insolent.'
Democracy comes to Armenia."
*
I believe in being diplomatic with Turks but not with Ottomanized Armenians; and I call an Armenian Ottomanized when he does with his tongue what the Turks did with their yataghans.
*
Eugene O'Neill: “[Members of the State Department] are trained to be conspirators, card sharps, double-crossers and secret betrayers of their own people."
That's what I mean when I say our “betters” are our worst.
*
When it comes to the Genocide, we agree on one important point with the Turks: if it weren't for the meddling of the West, it wouldn't have happened. It follows, the West too owes us an apology.
#
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Old 19.09.2009, 17:59   #160
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Thursday, September 17, 2009
***********************************************
OUR FATHER
WHO ART IN HEAVEN
********************************************
Readers who contradict and insult me
do so with the self-righteous arrogance
of our revolutionaries whose revolution
resulted in in one of the worst catastrophes
of the last millennium.
They may think they have God on their side
(meaning of course our bosses, bishops, and benefactors)
but I have His word on mine.
You don't believe me?
Read instead the Scriptures.
But if you are too lazy to do so,
allow me the privilege:
“Put not your trust in princes.”
For “Wide is the gate and broad is the way
that leadeth to destruction.”
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
“Where there is no no vision, the people perish.”
“What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world
and lose his own soul?”
“The wages of sin is death.”
“If the blind lead the blind,
both shall fall into the ditch.”
“The way of transgressors is hard.”
Amen!
Let us now pray.
“Our Father...”
#
Friday, September 18, 2009
***********************************************
WHO SAYS WE CANT
DEVELOP A CONSENSUS?
********************************************
When it comes to praising God
and worshiping Mammon,
we all sing in harmoney
and use the same hymn book.
When it comes to bragging about survival
and lamenting our countless victims
we are all on the same page.
We all agree to confuse reason with treason.
We are unanimous when it comes to
praising our poets when they are dead
and burying them when they are alive.
We all agree to believe in Big Lies
and to verbally abuse those who expose them.
We all agree to preach Armenianism
and to practice Ottomanism in the Diaspora
and Sovietism in the Homeland.
We are all for freedom
and dead set against free speech.
We are solidly united
when it comes to creating problems,
pretending we have none,
and blaming the rest of the world for them.
And if you say that doesn't make sense
I will also say
we all agree that
making sense
is an unArmenian activity.
#
Saturday, September 19, 2009
***********************************************
RANDOM THOUGHTS
********************************************
If Freedom or Death does not mean
my freedom and your death,
why is it that our revolutionaries had a Plan B
only for themselves?
*
Memo to our revolutionaries:
Freedom from oppression
does not mean freedom to oppress.
*
Whenever I am insulted anonymously,
I count my blessings when I think
in the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union
I would have been betrayed to the authorities.
*
If my central ideas are paraphrases
of Biblical quotations (see above)
does that mean God too is an enemy?
*
A fool's silence
is more valuable than his speech.
*
An established truth is a grave
from which only lies are resurrected.
#
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Old 23.09.2009, 18:43   #161
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Sunday, September 20, 2009
***********************************************
IN THE NAME OF GOD
********************************************
When a Catholic tells me “the Pope thinks...” all I want to know is if an imam agrees with him. Because if he doesn't, I am more than willing to dismiss both of them as charlatans. And it is not enough for them to agree on the essentials – God is one, God is our Father, God is love, God is compassionate, We are His children, He owns the Day of Judgment, and so on and so forth – they must also agree on the inessentials and the irrelevant. Because in the past, even Christians have slaughtered Christians on account of a single word. Which may explain why there is a school of thought that believes the Earth is the insane asylum of the galaxy.
*
I hope you will agree with me when I say a single wrong word does not justify the murder of a single innocent human being. And if you disagree with me today, you may agree with me tomorrow. Not only disagreements, unlike diamonds, are not forever, but they are also cheaper than a dime a dozen.
*
I suggest it is wrong to say “I think...” It is more accurate to say “There is a school of thought...” or even better, “There is a propaganda line...” And as we ought to know by now, for every “school” or “line” there is another that will contradict it. This applies not only to politics, history, ideology, religion, and philosophy, but also to science. According to Popper (the greatest 20th-century philosopher of science) there is no such thing as a scientific theory that is not wrong for the simple reason that progress in science is made by exposing the errors of past theories -- as when Einstein corrected Newton, and as no doubt Einstein himself will be corrected in the future.
*
What does the Pope or an imam think?
Rather, why should anyone give a damn?
If a pope were to agree with an imam, one of them would be out of a job.
Which may suggest that most disagreements, the most important ones on which the survival of millions may depend, are direct results of the fact that two charlatans refuse to share power.
#
Monday, September 21, 2009
***********************************************
THE MONKEY ON MY BACK
********************************************
Don't get me wrong.
It is not my ambition
to save the nation.
The very best I may succeed in doing
is giving one or at most two charlatans
a little insomnia --
and when I say a little
I mean a fraction of a second.
Save the nation?
That would be megalomania run amok.
Think of Russia:
after Tolstoy and Dostoevsky,
Lenin and Stalin.
After Thomas Mann and Gramsci
Hitler and Mussolini.
And closer to home:
after Baronian and Odian,
deportation, starvation, and massacres.
No one, not even a messiah
can save a nation on its way to the devil.
No one can stopper a volcano
or arrest an avalanche
on its downward path
or appeal to the common sense
of an earthquake
or reason with a tsunami.
No one can edit or amend
the Writing on the Wall.
I write because writing has become
a habit and habits are easier to keep
than to give up.
#
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
***********************************************
CULTURE AND BARBARISM
********************************************
Culture is not a single unified and harmonized concept but a collection of contradictory traditions, habits, and values. Culture also means anti-culture. Every culture contains the seeds of its own destruction, in the same way that every tradition and value that does not evolve condemns itself to the dustbin of history.
For one thousand years the Bible was seen as the Word of God and the Pope as God's sole representative on earth; and as such he could do no wrong even when he legitimized the torture and death of heretics or anyone else who dared to think for himself. As a result, all the scientific advances made by the Greeks were destroyed, buried, and forgotten.
*
Most of my critics attack me on cultural grounds because they confuse my defense of human rights with contempt for our traditional values as embodied by our bosses, bishops, and benefactors. They define a good Armenian as one who says “Yes, sir!” to authority figures who themselves said “Yes, sir” to the Sultan and to Stalin. A good Armenian is thus one whose Armenianism is a direct offspring of Ottomanism and Sovietism. He is quintessentially anti-democratic, narrow, obscurantist, oppressive, tyrannical and doomed to extinction as surely as medieval papacy, the Ottomanism of sultans, and the Sovietism of commissars.
Don't get me wrong. I am not engaging in prophecy. I am simply describing what I see – namely the high rate of alienation and assimilation in the Diaspora and exodus from the Homeland.
*
Moral I: If the popes of Rome could be wrong for a thousand years, so can our bishops for ten thousand years.
*
Moral II: What matters is not what others (including myself) tell you, but what you really think.
*
Moral III: The only way to discover what you really think is by not allowing anyone's authority to blind your critical judgment.
*
Moral IV: The ultimate aim of all authority is to grind you to dust.
*
Moral V: There is only one way to assert your freedom and that is by resisting authority.
#
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
***********************************************
THE OPPOSITION
********************************************
To wear down the opposition may not be victory
but I like to believe it is not altogether without merit.
*
Everything that is worth saying has been said.
What remains to be done is to repeat and emphasize.
*
Because we agreed on ninety-nine things
and disagreed on one,
he became my mortal enemy.
*
Because I refuse to share their narcissism,
they tell me I hate myself.
*
Overheard on the radio:
“There is more money in delivering pizza
than in being a philosopher or writer.”
*
My venom, if you want to call it that,
is nothing but concentrated reality.
*
Their two favorite ways of solving problems:
to cover them up or to pretend they are not there.
*
In the eyes of those who judge people by their income,
I am no better than white trash,
and I'd rather be white trash on financial grounds than
on moral grounds.
*
I understand them because once upon a time
I believed them,
I looked up to them,
I wanted to be one of them.
#
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Old 26.09.2009, 18:01   #162
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Thursday, September 24, 2009
***********************************************
OBSERVATIONS
********************************************
Once upon a time they challenged the might of an empire. They are now afraid of the words of a minor scribbler. They preach heroism but practice cowardice.
*
My ambition: to expose that which is covered up and to state clearly and briefly that which everyone almost thinks.
*
Failure is a better teacher than success.
*
To succeed in one field means to fail in a thousand others.
*
In an ideal society everyone would be a success because everyone would be allowed to find or invent his own field.
*
Armenians are sheep with odars, wolves with one another.
#
Friday, September 25, 2009
***********************************************
POWER
********************************************
Because they couldn't get at our revolutionaries, they went after the defenseless civilians. This is an aspect of the Genocide that is covered up by both sides.
Our revolutionaries preached heroism (they still do) but practice taking care of number one (ditto). Which may suggest that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” but not always in the same direction.
I am not casting aspersions. All I am saying is that sometimes the instinct for self-preservation trumps all other political and moral considerations. That may well be the secret of our survival.
As for our intellectuals: the very few that survived (Zabel Yessayan among them) were later betrayed to the authorities by another set of our so-called “revolutionaries.”
In their national anthem, the English sing: “God save our gracious Queen.”
We would be justified in singing : “God save us from our revolutionaries.”
*
Moral I: Power means first and foremost the power to redefine words, and when power redefines words they end up meaning the opposite of what they say. As when freedom is redefined to mean the freedom to indoctrinate, intimidate, and enslave.
*
Moral II: Even in the most benevolent leader there is a vampire who loves the taste of blood.
*
Moral III:
Without indoctrination and intimidation, a power structure collapses like a house of cards in a windstorm.
*
Moral IV:
If we are unteachable, it may be because we are eminently brainwashable.
*
Moral V: When it comes to their own historic experience, both Armenians and Turks are denialists.
#
Saturday, September 26, 2009
***********************************************
PROPAGANDA
********************************************
Understanding history has been a central concern of historians, metahistorians, and philosophers from Herodotus to Hegel, Spengler, and Toynbee.
What propaganda does in effect is to assert the earth is flat and it repeats this falsehood so often that millions end up believing it.
If it were up to propagandists, the work of countless thinkers would be buried and forgotten, or viewed as dangerous heresies.
The real aim of propaganda is less to misrepresent reality and mislead the people and more to moronize the masses by paralyzing the brain and perverting understanding to such a degree that a man who cannot even lead his dog to the nearest fire hydrant is glorified as a statesman of vision.
Had the Nazis won World War II, we would now have statues of Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, and Goering in the central square of every city, town, and village. This may explain why Talaat is seen as a statesman of vision by some and our revolutionaries are glorified as heroes by others.
*
We are divided not by truth but by lies.
God does not divide.
Divisions are the Devil's department.
*
Propaganda flatters.
That is the secret of its popularity.
It flatters the fool to believe he is wise,
and it flatters the murderer to believe he is a hero.
#
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Old 30.09.2009, 19:07   #163
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Sunday, September 27, 2009
***********************************************
IF THE PAST IS PROLOGUE
********************************************
The only thing that so far has changed in our collective existence is the size and nature of our blunders.
*
To make plans without taking into consideration the unforeseen, the unknown, and the unknowable is to court disaster.
*
The apologists of the Wall Street bonus scandal call it ”an insignificant fraction of the bailout money.” That's what they said about Watergate too -- ”a third-rate burglary.”
*
I once heard an Armenian from the Homeland say, ”So what if he [Nixon] lied? They lie to us every day.”
*
I look forward to the day when capitalism will bite the dust as communism did.
*
They gave the Nobel Prize to Arafat and Kissinger but not to Tolstoy and Gandhi. And when they awarded the Prize to Thomas Mann they did so not for THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN but for BUDDENBROOKS.
Had Hitler won World War II, he too would have been considered for the Nobel Prize ”for pacifying the West after thirty centuries of almost ceaseless internecine conflicts.”
*
”After Hitler won World War II...” What a novel one could write with such a first line!
*
Before you dare to disagree with an Armenian, consider the words of an old wise man: ”When you fight with a pig, you both get dirty, but only the pig likes it.”
#
Monday, September 28, 2009
*****************************************
IN PRAISE OF BREVITY
*********************************
Better a bad haiku than a mediocre sonnet.
In writing the principle that never fails is brevity. Keep it short!
A paragraph may be admirable in its beauty and complexity,
but it is one-liners that stick to one's mind.
”To be or not to be...”
”Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.”
”A bourgeois is a bourgeois regardless of nationality.”
”An Armenian's tongue is sharper than a Turk's yataghan.”
”Once upon a time we were willing to die for freedom, we are now afraid of free speech.”
*
ONE-LINERS FROM DIOGENES
*********************************************
To the son of a prostitute who threw a stone at him:
”Be careful, my boy, you may be hitting your father.”
To a bald man who insulted him:
”I congratulate the hairs on your head for abandoning a fool like you.”
On being reprimanded for masturbating in public:
”I wish I could satisfy my hunger as easily.”
*
ON NATIONALISM
*******************************
In the Middle Ages Armenians ruled empires and they were themselves ruled by Jews (Bagratunis) and the Mamigonians (Chinese). What has nationalism done for us except to divide us further?
#
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
*****************************************
OBITER DICTA
*********************************
In the eyes of God, some wars are just.
Yes, but whose God?
*
I have been cheated by the poor and I have been cheated by the rich. The difference is that when I was cheated by the rich, they made it look like they were doing me a favor.
*
What others think of us may be as removed from reality as what we think of ourselves.
*
I look forward to the day when I will no longer look forward to anything.
*
Jesus and Torquemada, Marx and Stalin, God and the Devil: Can they be really separated?
*
There is a type of contradiction that is a symptom not of inconsistency but of ferment.
*
No one lives long enough to enjoy his immortality.
*
Our body language is invisible to us.
#
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
*****************************************
SCHOOLS OF PHILOSOPHY
*********************************
Speaking of the superficiality of the Byzantine Empire, Zarian remarks somewhere: ”Not a single school of philosophy.” By contrast, America may be said to be bursting at the seams with schools of philosophy.
The first time I heard someone say, ”Live and let live, that's my philosophy,” I thought he was being funny. It took me a while to realize that he was dead serious. If a cliché can be a philosophy, any moron can parade as a philosopher. Which reminds me of the fact that after the Americans liberated Greece and GIs were seen everywhere in Athens, a new phrase entered the Greek language: ”Do you take me for an American?” Meaning, ”Do you take me for a moron?”
*
It must be just about the oldest trick in the world. You want to fool someone? Convince him he is so smart than no one can fool him.
You want to convince an entire race of men to behave like unspeakable barbarians? Convince them into believing they belong to a superior race.
That's why ”Life is a bitch,” ”Sh*t happens,” and ”There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.” That is always why ”There are more sorrows on earth than there are stars in heaven.” (Apik Avakian)
*
Closer to home: Do you need a class of men to behave like neo-Stalinist crypto-commissars? Brainwash a bunch of bullies into thinking they have leadership qualities. That is also why our political leaders are no better than the scum of the earth.
#

Sunday, September 27, 2009
***********************************************
IF THE PAST IS PROLOGUE
********************************************
The only thing that so far has changed in our collective existence is the size and nature of our blunders.
*
To make plans without taking into consideration the unforeseen, the unknown, and the unknowable is to court disaster.
*
The apologists of the Wall Street bonus scandal call it “an insignificant fraction of the bailout money.” That's what they said about Watergate too -- “a third-rate burglary.”
*
I once heard an Armenian from the Homeland say, “So what if he [Nixon] lied? They lie to us every day.”
*
I look forward to the day when capitalism will bite the dust as communism did.
*
They gave the Nobel Prize to Arafat and Kissinger but not to Tolstoy and Gandhi. And when they awarded the Prize to Thomas Mann they did so not for THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN but for BUDDENBROOKS.
Had Hitler won World War II, he too would have been considered for the Nobel Prize “for pacifying the West after thirty centuries of almost ceaseless internecine conflicts.”
*
“After Hitler won World War II...” What a novel one could write with such a first line!
*
Before you dare to disagree with an Armenian, consider the words of an old wise man: “When you fight with a pig, you both get dirty, but only the pig likes it.”
#
Monday, September 28, 2009
*****************************************
IN PRAISE OF BREVITY
*********************************
Better a bad haiku than a mediocre sonnet.
In writing the principle that never fails is brevity. Keep it short!
A paragraph may be admirable in its beauty and complexity,
but it is one-liners that stick to one's mind.
“To be or not to be...”
“Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.”
“A bourgeois is a bourgeois regardless of nationality.”
“An Armenian's tongue is sharper than a Turk's yataghan.”
“Once upon a time we were willing to die for freedom, we are now afraid of free speech.”
*
ONE-LINERS FROM DIOGENES
*********************************************
To the son of a prostitute who threw a stone at him:
“Be careful, my boy, you may be hitting your father.”
To a bald man who insulted him:
“I congratulate the hairs on your head for abandoning a fool like you.”
On being reprimanded for masturbating in public:
“I wish I could satisfy my hunger as easily.”
*
ON NATIONALISM
*******************************
In the Middle Ages Armenians ruled empires and they were themselves ruled by Jews (Bagratunis) and the Mamigonians (Chinese). What has nationalism done for us except to divide us further?
#
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
*****************************************
OBITER DICTA
*********************************
In the eyes of God, some wars are just.
Yes, but whose God?
*
I have been cheated by the poor and I have been cheated by the rich. The difference is that when I was cheated by the rich, they made it look like they were doing me a favor.
*
What others think of us may be as removed from reality as what we think of ourselves.
*
I look forward to the day when I will no longer look forward to anything.
*
Jesus and Torquemada, Marx and Stalin, God and the Devil: Can they be really separated?
*
There is a type of contradiction that is a symptom not of inconsistency but of ferment.
*
No one lives long enough to enjoy his immortality.
*
Our body language is invisible to us.
#
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
*****************************************
SCHOOLS OF PHILOSOPHY
*********************************
Speaking of the superficiality of the Byzantine Empire, Zarian remarks somewhere: “Not a single school of philosophy.” By contrast, America may be said to be bursting at the seams with schools of philosophy.
The first time I heard someone say, “Live and let live, that's my philosophy,” I thought he was being funny. It took me a while to realize that he was dead serious. If a cliché can be a philosophy, any moron can parade as a philosopher. Which reminds me of the fact that after the Americans liberated Greece and GIs were seen everywhere in Athens, a new phrase entered the Greek language: “Do you take me for an American?” Meaning, “Do you take me for a moron?”
*
It must be just about the oldest trick in the world. You want to fool someone? Convince him he is so smart than no one can fool him.
You want to convince an entire race of men to behave like unspeakable barbarians? Convince them into believing they belong to a superior race.
That's why “Life is a bitch,” “Sh*t happens,” and “There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.” That is always why “There are more sorrows on earth than there are stars in heaven.” (Apik Avakian)
*
Closer to home: Do you need a class of men to behave like neo-Stalinist crypto-commissars? Brainwash a bunch of bullies into thinking they have leadership qualities. That is also why our political leaders are no better than the scum of the earth.
#
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Old 03.10.2009, 17:59   #164
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Thursday, October 1, 2009
*****************************************
ON THE PRINCIPLE OF CONSISTENCY
***********************************************
I don't understand why some Armenians consider the phrase ”I don't understand” unArmenian.
*
Whenever I agree with a writer, I feel as though one of us were redundant. Which is why I find disagreement more stimulating, provided of course it is not an expression of prejudice or oneupmanship.
*
How Armenian are we when our cuisine and music share more features with contemporary Turkey than with 5th-century Armenia? I don't mention art and literature because it is extremely difficult to speak of the shadow of a black hat in a dark room.
*
When two people believe God or Truth to be on their side and they contradict each other, it is safe to assume it is not God or Truth that they share but Big Lies and the Devil.
*
What if God exists but wants to remain anonymous, inaccessible, and incomprehensible?
*
Isn't it absurd to think that after a burst of creativity God called it quits and retired? It makes more sense to assume that He is creating other universes in other dimensions even as I write these lines? -- if, that is, the principle of consistency (”Unless something very drastic happens, tomorrow will be the same as today”) applies.
#
Friday, October 2, 2009
*****************************************
HOW SMART ARE WE?
***********************************************
Our greatest obstacle to progress is our conviction that we are so damn smart that we can do no wrong.
*
History speaks louder than propaganda, but not to the deaf.
*
How smart are we if it took us 600 years to figure them out?
*
Being smart and being a dupe are mutually exclusive concepts.
*
No one is smart enough to tell an Armenian something he doesn't already know.
*
If I were to name my greatest enemy, it would've to be unawareness of my own ignorance.
*
Reading words, understanding their meaning, and placing the meaning in its historical context are three separate operations and require three different disciplines.
*
An idea that is against our own interests may not be anti-Armenian in the same way that being a law-abiding citizen and saying yes to authority may not be patriotic.
*
Ideas and imagination, intention and action, reality and fantasy: there are no sharp dividing lines between them. With a good lawyer one could plead not guilty, even when guilty as hell, make a good enough case to a jury of one's peers, and get away with murder.
*
There is no such thing as a sterile idea, only sterile minds.
*
Socrates and Christ have taught me, to say what must be said can be a capital offense.
*
I can't imagine anything more unpleasant and dangerous than a mind without doubts.
#
Saturday, October 3, 2009
*****************************************
IDIOTS
***********************************************
Christians believe their religion to be the only true one. Muslims, ditto.
Where there is unanimity, ”cherchez” the Big Lie.
*
We brag about being survivors. Imagine a man who survives an accident in which his entire family perishes. Would it even occur to him to brag about his survival?
We are taught to brag by idiots who expect us to see a positive needle in a haystack of negatives.
*
Zabel Yessayan and Gostan Zarian survived the Turk's yataghan but fell victim to Armenian idiots – the very same idiots who expect us to believe we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands.
*
The aim of propaganda is to moronize the masses by convincing them not to think for themselves because leaders are the brains of the nation, which amounts to saying the people are brainless.
*
The French say ”Cherchez la femme,” to point out the fact that some very smart men have committed murder because they were infatuated with a worthless slut. Our literature may be said to be a constant battle against our infatuation with empty verbiage. Hence its unpopularity with idiots.
#

Thursday, October 1, 2009
*****************************************
ON THE PRINCIPLE OF CONSISTENCY
***********************************************
I don't understand why some Armenians consider the phrase “I don't understand” unArmenian.
*
Whenever I agree with a writer, I feel as though one of us were redundant. Which is why I find disagreement more stimulating, provided of course it is not an expression of prejudice or oneupmanship.
*
How Armenian are we when our cuisine and music share more features with contemporary Turkey than with 5th-century Armenia? I don't mention art and literature because it is extremely difficult to speak of the shadow of a black hat in a dark room.
*
When two people believe God or Truth to be on their side and they contradict each other, it is safe to assume it is not God or Truth that they share but Big Lies and the Devil.
*
What if God exists but wants to remain anonymous, inaccessible, and incomprehensible?
*
Isn't it absurd to think that after a burst of creativity God called it quits and retired? It makes more sense to assume that He is creating other universes in other dimensions even as I write these lines? -- if, that is, the principle of consistency (“Unless something very drastic happens, tomorrow will be the same as today”) applies.
#
Friday, October 2, 2009
*****************************************
HOW SMART ARE WE?
***********************************************
Our greatest obstacle to progress is our conviction that we are so damn smart that we can do no wrong.
*
History speaks louder than propaganda, but not to the deaf.
*
How smart are we if it took us 600 years to figure them out?
*
Being smart and being a dupe are mutually exclusive concepts.
*
No one is smart enough to tell an Armenian something he doesn't already know.
*
If I were to name my greatest enemy, it would've to be unawareness of my own ignorance.
*
Reading words, understanding their meaning, and placing the meaning in its historical context are three separate operations and require three different disciplines.
*
An idea that is against our own interests may not be anti-Armenian in the same way that being a law-abiding citizen and saying yes to authority may not be patriotic.
*
Ideas and imagination, intention and action, reality and fantasy: there are no sharp dividing lines between them. With a good lawyer one could plead not guilty, even when guilty as hell, make a good enough case to a jury of one's peers, and get away with murder.
*
There is no such thing as a sterile idea, only sterile minds.
*
Socrates and Christ have taught me, to say what must be said can be a capital offense.
*
I can't imagine anything more unpleasant and dangerous than a mind without doubts.
#
Saturday, October 3, 2009
*****************************************
IDIOTS
***********************************************
Christians believe their religion to be the only true one. Muslims, ditto.
Where there is unanimity, “cherchez” the Big Lie.
*
We brag about being survivors. Imagine a man who survives an accident in which his entire family perishes. Would it even occur to him to brag about his survival?
We are taught to brag by idiots who expect us to see a positive needle in a haystack of negatives.
*
Zabel Yessayan and Gostan Zarian survived the Turk's yataghan but fell victim to Armenian idiots – the very same idiots who expect us to believe we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands.
*
The aim of propaganda is to moronize the masses by convincing them not to think for themselves because leaders are the brains of the nation, which amounts to saying the people are brainless.
*
The French say “Cherchez la femme,” to point out the fact that some very smart men have committed murder because they were infatuated with a worthless slut. Our literature may be said to be a constant battle against our infatuation with empty verbiage. Hence its unpopularity with idiots.
#
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Old 07.10.2009, 18:58   #165
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Sunday, October 4, 2009
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OBSERVATIONS
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George Orwell criticized Dickens for “always pointing to a change of spirit rather than a change of structure.” If Dickens did that, it may be because a change of heart or spirit must precede a change of structure. Before you convert swine, you must introduce them to themselves. In the Soviet Union the structure changed but the heart went from bad to worse.
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Dissidents win even when they lose in so far as they keep the tradition of dissent alive.
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Both Tevye the Milkman and Bernard Madoff are members of the same tribe. Now then, go ahead and generalize.
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It is easy to have all the answers if you ask the wrong questions.
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There are two kinds of divisions, (one) dog-eat-dog, and (two) Armenian, and of the two, the second runs deeper.
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Honesty and dishonesty are two painfully acquired habits.
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If perfection cannot be improvised, it can't be worth achieving. God did not create a perfect world. What's good enough for God, it should be good enough for man.
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Power means the power to get away with murder and to have the powerful on your side. Where power enters, justice is orphaned.
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Monday, October 5, 2009
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ARMENIAN TYPES
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The white-haired elder statesman,
the "mi-kich-pogh" Panchoonie,
the apres-moi-le-deluge and
what's-in-it-for-me wheeler-dealer,
the loud-mouth charlatan,
the inbred moron who assesses himself as a genius,
the phony pundit (whose wisdom
is a figment of his imagination --
sometimes even recycled enemy propaganda:
remember our chic Bolsheviks),
the brown-noser,
and the grub-first-then ethics speechifier.
If I speak with some authority on all these types
it's because at one time or another I have been all of them --
all except the white-haired elder statesman --
my hair is black with only a shake of salt in them.
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You begin to acquire a moral compass on the day you feel guilty about acts you committed without a single trace of remorse.
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If some very smart men profess very stupid belief systems, it may be because the aim of belief systems is not to make sense but to satisfy a need, like hunger. The rest is propaganda.
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God is one, but the lies spoken in His name are without number.
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To simplify matters for the simple-minded, let us say there are two kinds of people: (one) the brainwashed dupes, and (two) those whose ambition it is to be a human being.
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Most Greeks and Turks (probably the overwhelming majority) are neither Greeks nor Turks, only citizens of Greece and Turkey. As for my fellow Armenians, I will speak only for myself: On a clear day I can trace my ancestry all the way back to my father.
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History seems to suggest that the most effective way to combat a Big Lie is with bigger lies.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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LIFE IS SHORT
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Life is short,
art long, but even longer
is the list of things
that must be said and done.
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You say, “Me wrong? Never!”
and I say “How I wish I were wrong.”
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I have yet to meet a smart Armenian
who was not self-assessed
and a self-assessed Armenian
who was not a damn fool.
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How to succeed as a writer?
I don't know.
But I can tell you how to fail:
Be an Armenian writer.
Michael Arlen succeeded
because he pretended to be an upper-crust Englishman.
Saroyan succeeded because he wrote about characters
that were as imaginary as Winnie the Pooh.
Compare the characters in PAPA, YOU'RE CRAZY
and MAMA, I LOVE YOU with their real counterparts –
himself and his two children
whom he disowned like an enraged grizzly bear.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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IDIOTS (II)
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Simenon, the author of over 500 books, believed it is law-abiding citizens who create murderers.
In his ANTI-SEMITE & THE JEW, Sartre asserts that Jews are created by anti-Semites.
Goethe once said that he can't imagine a crime he is not capable of committing. But not even he could have imagined that some day his fellow countrymen would be capable of incinerating millions of innocent civilians.
Speaking of the Armenian massacres, Toynbee tells us, given the right combination of circumstances, we, all of us, are capable of behaving like Turks.
In novels like CRIME & PUNISHMENT and THE POSSESSED (sometimes also translated as THE DEVILS), Dostoevsky identifies himself with characters who commit unspeakable acts to such a degree that he leaves no doubt as to his inner drives.
Long before the writers and thinkers mentioned above, our own Naregatsi described himself as someone a respectable citizen wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.
Moral: Only self-righteous and self-satisfied idiots assert moral or racial superiority.
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