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Old 30.11.2011, 16:19   #301
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Sunday, November 27, 2011
*****************************************
Q/A
********************
I cannot think of a single important decision or judgment
that I have made in the past
that did not contain a 99% margin of error.
Let that be a warning to all those with whom
I share my wisdom.
*
What do the Pope of Rome and Stalin have in common?
Infallibility.
*
When asked to name my favorite Armenian dish,
I identify myself as a vegetarian.
When told there are many delicious vegetarian dishes
in our cuisine,
I say I prefer to keep my answers to that subject short
because all talk of pilaf and shish-kebab bores me stiff.
*
And speaking of questions:
I don’t remember a single interview
with an African-American writer
in which mention was ever made of chicken and watermelon.
*
A question I have never been asked:
“On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate our leadership?”
The obvious answer is minus one, of course!
#
Monday, November 28, 2011
*****************************************
Why is it that some very smart and learned Armenians
confuse anti-charlatanism with anti-Armenianism?
Why is it that some very cunning Armenians
in their defense of their own selfish, narrow interests
voice reasons worthy of an inbred moron?
*
When it comes to Genocide recognition
the American question is not whether it is true or false but
“What’s in it for us?”
Call that cynicism if you like.
They call it pragmatism.
*
Whenever I write for Armenians
I remind myself that I am breaking the commandment:
“Thou shalt not share your wisdom
with wiser men than yourself.”
*
Wisdom and serenity are mutually exclusive concepts.
You can’t be serene in a world of lunatics
who think you are the lunatic.
#
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
*****************************************
It is a universally shared human weakness
to prefer flattery to criticism,
but it is adangerous addiction
to prefer lies to truth.
*
On a radio program on children’s poetry this
morning, I overheard the following quotation:
“There is some **** / I will not eat!” That’s
what I call good poetry – rhythm, music, and
words that once heard are never forgotten.
*
Belief systems have nothing
to do with reality and everything to do with the
power to shape our perception of reality.
#
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
*****************************************
BOOK REVIEW
********************************************
TWILIGHT VISIONS.
By Vahan Vahanian (Jansezian).
Los Angeles. 2011. 255 pages.
(In Armenian)
**************************************************
“I am told I go to extremes in my assertions,
to which I say, What are words for?"
The labyrinth of Armenian life in Los Angeles
is Vahan Vahanian’s territory
and he has as many stories to relate as Scheherazade.
His style is brief, to the point,blunt.
He takes no prisoners.
“With the dollar, a man who signs his name with an X
is treated as a philosopher.
Without the dollar a genius is shunned as a lunatic…”
“That’s the way it is in America.
Novelties aplenty,
real-estate developments everywhere,
institutionalized larceny rampant,
refinement an absent factor.”
Vahanian is not afraid to step on toes or,
for that matter, to kick balls.
A man after my own heart.
As the editor/publisher of a newspaper
that is distributed freely,
neither is he afraid to alienate a fraction of his audience.
He speaks of a woman who tells him
her aim in life is to have more of everything –
“more fun, more money, more jewelry and more sex with younger men…”
“In Los Angeles there is neither brotherhood nor friendship.”
Phony intellectuals, exhibitionists, megalomaniacs, and womanizers
are a dime a dozen.
Vahanian may speak of depressing things
but he does so with a friendly smile
and his smile is infectious.
“Every other Armenian you meet these days
has political ambitions.
If Raffi Hovannisian and Jirair Libaridian made it,
why can’t I?”
And there is the self-appointed genius with literary ambitions:
“Did you get my article?”
“When are you going to print it?”
“No editorial changes, please!”
“How much are you going to pay me?”
If to say what must be said were music,
Vahan Vahanian would be our Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.
(For more information, write to newarmenia ).
#


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Old 03.12.2011, 17:06   #302
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Thursday, December 01, 2011
*****************************************
What can you possibly know about a country
if you have never tried to make a living there?
What can you possibly know about the human condition
if you have at no time been dependent
on the charity of swine?
For 25 years I had to produce pseudo-Saroyanesque trash
in order to make minimum wage.
The reason why I write as I do today is that
I have declared my financial independence
and, with it, to write as I please
without fear of retaliation.
I may not be a “good” Armenian
as defined by our Ottomanized, Sovietized, and Americanized
wheeler-dealers but I like to believe
I fully qualify as a born-again human being.
#
Friday, December 02, 2011
*****************************************
A lie is like a deadly virus.
Left unattended it will poison and kill its speaker
as well as his dupes,
families as well as communities,
tribes as well as nations,
empires as well as civilizations.
#
Saturday, December 03, 2011
*****************************************
After listening to the patriotic spiel
of a fellow passenger on a train,
Tolstoy is quoted as having said:
“As long as there are men like you
we will have wars and massacres.”
Likewise, as long as there are organized religions
we will have prejudice, intolerance,
and crimes against humanity.
*
The true enemies of God
are men who speak in His name.
*
Tolerance means not only to be open to new ideas,
including ideas that contradict our own,
but also to welcome and cherish them.
*
If we admit there is some truth in all belief systems,
we must also admit that truth is not in a single god
but in all gods; or, in Gandhi’s words:
“If God is Truth even atheists are believers
because they believe in God’s non-existence.”
*
God is either on no one’s side or on everybody’s side.
To say, like the Nazis, “God is with us,”
is not theology but pathology.
(For more on this subject,
see Toynbee’s STUDY OF HISTORY, volume x.)
#
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Old 07.12.2011, 16:00   #303
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Sunday, December 04, 2011
*****************************************
CONTRADICTIONS
*******************************
Thomas Mann on creativity:
“By creation we understand
not making something out of nothing
but rather the kindling of spirit in matter.”
It must have been an extremely painful
and degrading experience for Mann
to realize that
a morally and intellectually inferior contemporary of his
could be superior to him in the business of kindling….”
*
Wars are fought in the name of certainties,
which may suggest that
(a) all certainties have contradictions, and
(b) all certainties may well be inventions of the devil.
*
Organized religions create an environment
in which voicing contradictions is called heresy,
and heresy is thought of as a capital offense
punishable by death or eternal hellfire.
*
What Marx said on politics applies to religions:
“Whatever class is in power
dictates the moral code which will support it
and keep it in existence.”
Some day when mankind awakens,
religions will be seen as collective nightmares.
#
Monday, December 05, 2011
*****************************************
POLITICS
*******************************
My morning paper informs me
Russians call their present rulers
“crooks and thieves.”
If our own rulers are also “crooks and thieves,”
I suspect they are a better class
of “crooks and thieves,”
and by better I don’t mean morally superior
but smarter – more greedy, ruthless and cunning.
I say this on the grounds that
as far as I know no one has ever dared
to accuse Armenians
of being dumber than Russians.
*
On the positive side:
I don’t know about you
but I am having a lot of fun
following the slow suicide of the Republican party
in the United States.
#
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
*****************************************
SHOP TALK
*******************************
On rereading the ten pages
that I wrote last night
in a burst of inspiration
I search in vain for the one or two lines
that may or may not be worth publishing.
*
When you preach to the converted
the temptation to believe in what you say
becomes irresistible.
*
Follow youR dream
until it turns into a nightmare –
as dreams have a tendency of doing.
*
Sometimes we get so involved
in defending ourselves that
we lose awareness of the damage
we inflict on our adversaries.
That’s one way to explain our genocide –
and please note,
to explain does not mean to justify.
#
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES AND COMMENTS
*******************************
We have had so much history rammed down our throats
that we haven't yet had a chance to digest it.
We are a nation suffering from chronic constipation.
*
My country right or wrong
and myself right or wrong
might as well be synonymous.
*
More often than not "I am right, you are wrong," means:
My self-interest or ego is more important than yours.
*
On the origin of the universe:
was it an accident?
was it by design?
was it designed to look like an accident?
Why?
Who benefits?
*
Armenians with their perennial demands
of Genocide recognition and territorial claims
are like sheep preaching vegetarianism
in a world run by wolves.
#
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Old 10.12.2011, 16:36   #304
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Thursday, December 08, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES AND COMMENTS
*******************************
A good line once read is never forgotten.
It is my ambition in life to produce such a line.
Call me a megalomaniac.
*
In our environment agreement means
sharing the same bias.
*
When a man sees the light
he assume everyone else is blind.
*
I once met a born again
who thought I was a dead man walking.
*
Because I did not worship his God
he thught I worshipped the Devil.
*
Whenever I see the photo of an Armenian writer
in the company of a boss or bishop,
I can't help thinking,
"There goes the neighborhood."
*
To those who say I repeat myself:
Only if you insist on reading me –
for which many thanks!
#
Friday, December 09, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES AND COMMENTS
*******************************
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
I am informed this morning on the radio,
is the most widely translated document in the world;
also (my guess) the most ignored.
Has it been translated into Armenian, I wonder.
I am not casting aspersions;
only sharing my ignorance and need for answers.
*
Bias is universal.
Resistance to bias
a slowly and painfully acquired asset.
*
All nationalists are brought up to believe
they are all white and their enemies all black.
When in fact they are not even gray but brown --
the color of @#$%.
*
Crude, you say.
So is life.
We have no choice but to deal with it
on its own terms.
*
My parents survived the Turks.
I am now busy trying to survive my fellow Armenians.
#
Saturday, December 10, 2011
*****************************************
WE ARE THE 50%
*******************************
What we need is a revolution
and I don’t believe in revolutions.
At best we may get reforms
but if the past is an index
we have no reason for optimism.
*
Subtract the brown-nosers, the yes-men,
the hirelings, the brainwashed, the dupes,
the alienated and assimilated,
we may be closer to the 50%
rather than the 99%.
*
We are no longer at the mercy of our enemies
but of a far more invincible and insidious adversary:
our own leadership.
Our Wall Street is in the convolutions of our cortex.
*
The only way to describe our situation is to say that
we are committing slow-motion suicide
by self-inflicted ten thousand cuts.
In that sense one could even say that
Turks were more merciful than
our own bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
*
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Old 17.12.2011, 17:06   #305
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Thursday, December 15, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES / COMMENTS
*******************************
The only time what you say offends no one
is when you say nothing.
*
In our environment the fools speak, shout, sing,
speechify and sermonize
and the wise are silent.
*
This year too I made several new friends
and twice as many enemies.
*
Armenian friends are a sometime thing,
but Armenian enemies, like diamonds, are forever.
*
Scientists claim they are very close
to discovering the “god particle”
that will explain what has been incomprehensible so far.
We may be almost there but no cigar.
*
When I was young and ambitious
I wanted to write “literature.”
All I hope to do now is produce an honest line.
#
Friday, December 16, 2011
*****************************************
TOLSTOY
*******************************
Reading a new biography of Tolstoy
is like visiting an old friend.
After cross-examining theologians of the Orthodox Church,
Tolstoy notes in his diary:
“The Church, from the present day
all the way back to the third century,
is one long series of lies, cruelty and deception.”
See TOLSTOY: A RUSSIAN LIFE
by Rosamund Bartlett (New York, 2011, page 278).
*
THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL
********************************************
That’s the title of a Mongolian film.
I enjoy foreign films because
they tell much more than a story;
they also show how the other half lives.
*
CLASS-WARFARE
***************************
When the 99% assert their right,
they call it class-warfare.
When the 1% get richer
they call them “job creators.”
Which raises the question:
If they are job-creators
why is it that the unemployment rate
hasen't been going down?
*
POLITICS
************************
If you want to know more about a political party,
speak to its opposition,
because everything a partisan says
will be contaminated by partisan propaganda.
#
Saturday, December 17, 2011
*****************************************
OF GOD & MEN
*******************************
We should be careful not to contaminate God
with human attributes or
to create God in our own image.
God does not have to exist in order to rule.
That’s the true meaning of being Almighty.
*
Money is power,
and power means manipulating the law,
and manipulating the law means
getting away with murder.
When they don’tlegitimize slaughter by declaring war,
the 1% **** the blood of the innocent and the weak.
Remember the Ottoman Empire
or any empire for that matter.
Not that nations are morally superior.
*
Where there is power,
there will also be abuse of power
and it makes no difference whether the man at the top
is a sultan or an imam or a pope
acting in the name of a merciful and compassionate Allah.
#
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Old 21.12.2011, 16:11   #306
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Sunday, December 18, 2011
*****************************************
STATUS REPORT
*******************************
One reason why I classify myself as
a 5th-class Armenian celebrity is that
4th-class celebrities sometimes ask for my help
in order to catapult themselves into 3rd-class status.
*
When I insulted our bishops,
I galvanized the Church against me.
When I insulted our bosses,
I galvanized our brainwashed dupes.
And when I insulted our benefactors,
I galvanized our brown-nosers.
And now that there is no one left
to insult and galvanize I feel disoriented.
If I knew how to pray,I would say,
“Give me somebody!”
Please note that I am now talking about our 1%
who may or may not be aware with my existence.
As for the 99%:
if you were to mention my name in their presence,
they would probably say, “Who the &@#$ is he?”
#
Monday, December 19, 2011
*****************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*******************************
To those who say, “To criticize is easy,” I say:
Don’t think of me as a critic
but as someone who is trying to keep alive
an old Armenian tradition that goes back
to the 5th-century AD – that of dissent.
*
North Korean leader Kim Jong II is dead.
Who is going to miss him?
Only brainwashed Koreans.
Next question:
Which one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
will be missed?
*
There is a natural tendency in all oppressed people
to resent not the oppressor
but his next-door neighbor.
All Armenians carry within them
the seeds of anti-Armenianism.
*
A Muslim scholar in Canada
has written a book critical of Islam
and now lives in fear of assassination.
*
OVERHEARD
"A single wolf is a dog,
a pack of wolves is a mafia."
*
"Suffering is a bad companion
but an excellent teacher."
*
#
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
*****************************************
AT THE BEGINNING
*******************************
Propaganda is conceived by second-raters,
recycled by third-raters,
and believed by fourth-raters.
*
I was taught humility by arrogant fools
whose true intent was to intimidate and moronize me
in the name of God and Country.
*
All nations and empires begin as a small tribe.
God did not create many Chinese or Turks
and only a handful of Armenians.
The different between them and us is that
throughout our history and especially
during the last fifteen centuries,
we have been systematically massacred, raped,
and coerced into assimilation by a variety of people,
including our fellow Armenians.
This is not something you will be taught by our historians who,
like all historians, have a tendency to cover up and ignore
the most important aspects of the past.
Whoever said “Nothing gets ignored as easily as the essential,”
knew what he was saying.
*
Our Toumanian is right when he said
“You must burn in order to enlighten.”
The Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi
did exactly that a year ago:
he set himself aflame providing the spark
that ignited the Arab Spring.
#
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
*****************************************
TWO COMMENTS
*******************************
The problem with ascribing all our
problems, defeats, tragedies and
catastrophes on outside agencies is that
this allows us to adopt a passive stance
and do nothing,
in other words:
to be dependent on the goodwill of others --
including those who may or may not be
favorably disposed towards us, which means
to surrender our destiny as a nation into
foreign hands, which,
according to an old Armenian saying,
"will harvest nothing but thorns."
The common sense of our peasants
contains more wisdom than the calculations
of our self-assessed cunning political leaders.
*
If present-day Greeks share anything in common
with their illustrious ancestors of ancient Greece,
it is not with the likes of Socrates, Plato and Diogenes,
but with those who persecuted them.
What about us?
What do we share with
Abovian, Baronian, Bakounts, Massikian and Zarian?
Nothing!
With those who betrayed and silenced them?
Everything!
#
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Old 24.12.2011, 15:41   #307
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Thursday, December 22, 2011
*****************************************
ON LOVE AND HATE
*******************************
Love has inspired many songs
but we owe our wars, revolutions, and massacres
-- that is to say history – to hatred.
Hatred plays a much more important role in life than love
or any other factor you care to mention,
including indifference and boredom.
Boredom and indifference may be said to be ahistorical
only in the sense that they allow hatred to shape reality.
Boredom and indifference victimize no one,
they only allow victimizers a free hand.
*
A man of power believes history to be on his side.
But history does not takes sides.
Even a solitary, unarmed and anonymous street fruit-vendor
has the power to topple brutal regimes like dominoes.
It is all a matter of time,
and in cosmic terms, a fraction of a second.
Only Almighty God is secure in His place
and He doesn’t even have to exist in order to rule.
#
Friday, December 23, 2011
*****************************************
AS I SEE IT
*******************************
The average Armenian is an idiot
who has been brainwashed to believe he is smart.
If you can’t see this clearly
it may be because you have been systematically moronized.
And if you think I am different
I will be more than happy to quote Flaubert:
The average Armenian “c’est moi.”
*
I have collected so many grievances against my fellow men
that I am beginning to suspect Alzheimer’s may well be
a blessing in disguise.
*
If it weren’t for past grievances
not only Armenian would live in peace with Turk
but also with fellow Armenian.
Maybe that’s what mankind needs:
a drug that will kill bad memories
without damaging any other vital organ.
*
Armenia is the site of the Garden of Eden
with one difference:
in the original Garden humans outnumbered reptiles….
#
Saturday, December 24, 2011
*****************************************
THE ROOT OF INTOLERANCE
*******************************
Authority will never sanction anything
that may question its legitimacy.
One could even say authority and intolerance
might as well be one and the same.
To speak of the tolerance
of a boss, bishops, or benefactor is
like speaking of the shadow of a black hat
in a dark room.
*
ON LOVE
**********************
Cesare Pavese: “One does not kill oneself for love or a woman,
but because love – any love – reveals us
in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.”
It is to be noted that Pavese, an Italian novelist,
fell in love with an American actress,
was rejected, and killed himself.
*
ON IMPERIALISM
***************************
Imperialism may be justified on the grounds that
if we don’t do it to them they will do it to us;
and as everyone must know by now,
in politics and world affairs in general
it is not always the best man that wins.
History provides us with many examples
of this aberration,
beginning with Turks versus Armenians,
or for that matter, the rest of the world versus Armenians.
#
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Old 28.12.2011, 15:52   #308
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Sunday, December 25, 2011
*****************************************
IN BRIEF
*******************************
The victims of politicians
outnumber the victims of criminals.
*
There are two gods:
the god of priests and the other one.
We know a great deal about the first,
nothing about the other.
*
Turks are brainwashed to believe
they are noble specimens of humanity
to the same degree
that we are brainwashed to believe
we are smart.
Why should we be surprised
if the encounter of these two big lies
resulted in massacres?
*
I should like to read an interview
with a political or religious leader
that begins with the question:
“Let’s cut the crap, shall we?”
*
“What the hell happened to you?”
would be my first question
to one of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
*
Violence works but only at first.
Lies convince but only dupes.
#
Monday, December 26, 2011
*****************************************
AS I SEE IT
*******************************
Sometimes I am misunderstood
not because I am difficult to understand
but because the brainwashing has been
too systematic, thorough, and successful.
*
To speak of the “Red” Genocide
in order to cover up the “White” one,
or to speak of past violations of human rights
in order to cover up present ones:
what could be more horribly cynical?
Or rather: what could be
more quintessentially Armenian?
*
Animals defend their territory.
Men do too. But men also defend
their prestige, pride, vanity,
prejudices and ignorance.
*
Speaking with a forked tongue
comes naturally to most lawyers, politicians,
statesmen, religious leaders, businessmen, and so on.
And the higher their position in the hierarchy
the more transparent their double-talk.
#
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
*****************************************
ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES
*******************************
There are two kinds of actions:
planned and spontaneous.
The Tunisian fruit vendor’s self-immolation
was spontaneous;
the actions of our revoltuionaries
at the turn of the last century in the Ottoman Empire
were planned.
The first was a success beyond anyone’s imagination;
the second resulted in one of the greatest disasters
in the history of mankind.
*
History is unpredictable.
God laughs at man’s plans and calculations.
The selfless act has a much better chance to succeed,
and sometimes to succeed beyond anyone’s imagination,
than the cold-blooded, carefully planned and calculated act.
*
Marx thought he had discovered the way history works
and he created the nightmare of communist regimes.
When Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you,”
he should have added,
“so is the empire of the Devil.”
*
“Existence is a vicious abstraction,”
Bertrand Russell tells us; which means
our actions will inevitably end
in an existential labyrinth of consequences
whose end result will be totally unpredictable.
*
Elsewhere Russell writes:
“Since men tend to value present pleasures
more than pleasures in the future,
the wise man will exercise prudence and self-restraint.”
He should have added, “by which time the wise man
may be too old to get it up.”
*
Moral: No matter what you decide to do,
you may regret it.
Bouazisi did not live long enough
to witness his final victory.
#
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
*****************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
*******************************
Anyone who is committed to an ideology or religion
will have his own version of the past.
Believers are natural-born revisionists.
*
All political parties,
regardless of nationality and ideology,
have a tendency to promise more than they can deliver;
sometimes they even promise heaven and deliver hell.
*
It is only natural for those who are part of the problem
to pretend not to see the solution.
*
Never insult an Armenian writer:
being one is insult enough.
#
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Old 31.12.2011, 16:56   #309
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Thursday, December 29, 2011
*****************************************
DEMOCRACY
*******************************
On more than one occasion
I have heard it said that we Armenians
are not yet ready for democracy.
What does that really mean?
Our leaders prefer to behave as our masters
rather than our servants?
Given the choice, who wouldn’t?
*
We have been so systematically and thoroughly moronized
by Turks, Russians, and our own
Ottomanized and Sovietized leadership that
by the time we learn to think for ourselves
we might as well be on the verge
of senility, dementia, or Alzheimer’s,
and probably all three at once.
*
If any one of our “Dear Leaders”
were to drop dead today,
who would shed a single tear?
What is the difference between North Koreans and us
when it comes to brainwashing?
They don’t have a choice.
We do.
We live in democracies
and we know what freedom and human rights are.
They don’t.
*
Tunisians and Libyans are ready for democracy,
and we who are smart, progressive and westernized are not?
When we say Armenians are not yet ready for democracy,
is that we speaking or our moronized, mangled, tortured,
and degraded, political awareness?
#
Friday, December 30, 2011
*****************************************
IDEAS
*******************************
Our most important ideas,
the ones that shape our worldview,
are not ours but those of the establishment
within which we were born and raised.
These ideas have been systematically and carefully divested
of all doubts and inherent contradictions.
They are like skeletons – unthinking, cold, dehumanized.
It is this corrupt and degenerate abstractions
that are at the root of all prejudices and intolerance.
So that when we speak of ways of thinking,
what we really mean is ways of non-thinking.
It follows, the irrational element in our thoughts
far outweigh the rational.
We don’t shape our ideas.
They shape us.
And because they are irrational,
they distort and pervert our reason.
When we disagree with one another,
we should teach ourselves and our children to say
not “I am right and you are wrong,”
but “Very probably we are both wrong.”
#
Saturday, December 31, 2011
*****************************************
WAR AND PEACE
*******************************
Overheard: “The war is over
but there is no peace.”
*
We have declared our independence
but we are not free.
*
I repeat myself?
Our propaganda repeats itself too.
So does my counter-propaganda.
*
What is the difference between propaganda
and counter-propaganda?
Propaganda is a lie that flatters.
Counter-propaganda is the truth that hurts.
*
Flattery pays.
That’s why our bosses and bishops are millionaires
and our intellectuals are dependent
on the charity of swine.
*
Their sultans and commissars are dead.
Long live ours!
*
As for corruption: we have so much of it
that we could export it,
if it were an exportable product, like Arab oil.
*
According to a pundit in my morning paper,
until very recently Muslim countries seemed
remarkably impervious to democracy.
Thank God we are not Muslims;
we have only been muslimized and sovietized.
#
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Old 04.01.2012, 16:02   #310
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Sunday, January 01, 2012
*****************************************
IS THE CUSTOMER
ALWAYS RIGHT?
*******************************
To readers who are brought up to believe
it is a writer’s function to instruct, to entertain,
and to be original, I say,
he who has been brainwashed as a child
cannot be open to instruction.
My aim is not to entertain but the exact opposite:
to make you aware of your own degradation.
As for being original:
in so far as I speak
of the origins of your degradation,
I am being original
even when I bore or irritate
the hell out of you by repeating myself.
*
Don’t think of me as a writer.
Think of me as a counter-propagandist.
As for readers who like to inform me
that I know nothing and I understand even less,
I say: I ascribe that to Armenians like you
who refuse to share their knowledge and understanding
with the rest of us.
Knowledge and understanding are not things to keep,
like money, but things to share, like love.
And if after reading this
you decide to continue reading me,
have the decency not to bitch
and make unreasonable demands on me.
But if you do, don’t be surprised if I ignore you.
#
Monday, January 02, 2012
*****************************************
REFLECTIONS
OF A NON-BELIEVER
*******************************
Einstein: “I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.”
*
You can be a born-again believer
as well as non-believer.
You can be a born-again anything.
The only thing you cannot be
is a born-again cadaver.
*
All men of faith are convinced
of the 10,000 gods that men have created
9,999 are phonies.
*
Men of faith believe non-believers will go to hell
because they denied the existence of the Almighty.
Now then, if an ant or a worm were to deny my own existence
would I step on it?
Would such denial even register on my consciousness?
*
May I also add that I am not the forgiving type.
My greatest hope is that
anyone who has ever done me any dirt
will burn in hell for all eternity
#
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
*****************************************
UNFORGETTABLE LINES
FROM SARTRE
*******************************
The two things that make a line unforgettable are
(one) once read it is never forgotten, and
(two) it’s like a key that unlocks a door
to reveal not another room but a new horizon.
************************************************
“Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims,
but by the way it kills them.”
*
“…the anonymous desirability of all flesh.”
*
[To write about genius is] “to retrace in detail
the history of a liberation.”
*
“I plunged into humility to evade humiliation.”
*
“To love is to hate the same enemy.”
*
“I turned rebel later only through having pushed submissiveness
to the extreme.”
*
“The ascetic is a man rich enough
to choose his poverty freely.”
*
“Psychoanalysis has no principles.”
*
“…for no man is ever anything but a swindle.”
*
“Human life begins on the other side of despair.”
*
“Mysticism suits displaced persons
and superfluous children.”
#
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
*****************************************
NOTES / COMMENTS
*******************************
The secret aim of our political leaders
is to be better charlatans.
*
I once heard one of them say:
“I have said this before, many times,
and I am going to say it again!”
And I thought, has anyone ever accused him
of repeating himself?
*
“If you are with me you are a friend.
If you are against me you are an enemy.”
Provided of course your judgement is infallible.
*
The support of a writer
by a political party is as good as a kiss of death.
*
Blood may well be thicker than water
but common sense goes farther than chauvinist crapola
and common decency is superior to mumbo jumbo.
*
A charming man does not waste his charm
on someone he considers useless to him.
#
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Old 07.01.2012, 16:32   #311
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Thursday, January 05, 2012
*****************************************
MEMOS
*******************************
Don’t believe everything you hear.
Don’t believe everything you read.
But above all,
don’t believe everything you believe.
Remember, the Greeks believed in Zeus
and they were just about the smarted people
that ever lived.
*
Actions have consequences;
so do inactions.
Case in point:
600 years of inaction under the Sultans.
*
God created believers as well as non-believers.
Now consider the case of a believer who kills
and a non-believer who is a pacifist.
On whose side will God be?
*
I am in no position to penalize anyone.
I just speak the truth and let
them suffer the consequences.
Did I say “the truth”?
Strike that.
Make it “my side of the story.”
Or even better,
“I just state the facts as I see them.”
I have no desire to be accused of megalomania
or of harbouring prophetic ambitions.
#
Friday, January 06, 2012
*****************************************
WISHFUL THINKING
*******************************
“A journalistic terrorist
of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.”
That’s how I am identified in a recent blog
by a gentle reader who probably thinks I am dead –
no doubt a clear-cut case of wishful thinking.
*
Never antagonize someone who can afford a better lawyer.
Even if you are 100% right
and he is 100% wrong, you will lose.
That’s justice, American style.
*
When the subject of the poor and unemployed
comes up in Yerevan, my guess is
members of the regime say:
“Let our ‘aghbers' of the Diaspora deal with them –
they can afford it,” or words to that effect.
To our ‘aghbers’ I therefore say:
what if all your charity does is
to postpone the final showdown
between the 99% and the 1%?
Your charity will make sense only if
an equal amount of effort is chanelled
into excposing the crooks and thieves.
#
Saturday, January 07, 2012
*****************************************
IRRELEVANCE
*******************************
In a commentary titled “Eight nations are on the endangered list”
by Zbigniew Brzezinsky, we read the following about Georgia:
“American decline would leave this tiny Caucasian state
vulnerable to Russian political intimidation and military aggression.”
Elsewhere the Baltic states are also mentioned and discussed
but Armenia is ignored.
My first thought:
We have finally achieved a state of total irrelevance
in the eyes of the world.
Who gives a damn what happens to us?
Not even Armenians.
#
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Old 11.01.2012, 16:21   #312
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Sunday, January 08, 2012
*****************************************
JACK S. AVANAKIAN
STRIKES AGAIN
*******************************
“I write all the time and
I never run out of things to say,”
one of our writers
(let’s call him Jack S. Avanakian)
once bragged to me.
“I can write about anything,” he went on.
“I can even write about not being able to write.”
Maybe so, I remember to have thought.
The question is, is what you write readable?
I for one have never heard anyone say.
“Last night I had some fun reading Jack S. Avanakian
and came across the following interesting line...”
Only the intellectually bankrupt brag.
*
One of the worst things that can happen to a man
is saying or even doing the wrong thing
with the conviction that it is the right thing.
And if you think that’s exactly my case,
allow me to remind you that
everything I say has been said before
by far better men than myself.
Originality is not one of my priorities.
My aim is to remind readers of things
they no longer remember or they prefer to forget.
Our educational system is designed to promote amnesia.
As a result we are a nation that suffers
from collective and self-induced
and departmentalized Alzheimer’s.
We have the memory of elephants
when it comes to what others have done to us,
but we pretend not to remember
what we have done to ourselves.
Which is where I come in.
#
Monday, January 09, 2012
*****************************************
IF
*******************************
If the thing you need most is money,
prepare yourself to be exploited.
If what you need is understanding
prepare yourself to be misunderstood.
If you need respect,
prepare yourself to be insulted.
What we need and what we get
might as well be black and white.
*
I believe there is life after that.
I have no doubt about that.
It’s one of the very few certainties that I cherish.
Just because I die,
it doesn’t mean everybody else does.
Life goes on.
*
If they have jackasses as leaders,
even the smartest people on earth
will be defeated by the dumbest.
*
The greatest obstacle to progress
is the sensible man who says:
"You cannot change human nature.
Nobody listens. Nobody gives a damn.
You are wasting your time."
#
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
*****************************************
THE MEANING OF PROPAGANDA
*********************************************
“You don’t have to think,” propaganda tells us;
“I will do the thinking for you.
Because I can think and you can’t.
You are an ignoramus.
You are nothing.
You are what I tell you you are.”
*
It’s astonishing how many are taken in
by this line and willingly surrender
their most valuable possession
(the ability to think for themselves)
to megalomiacal and bloodthirsty charlatans.
*
By flattering our collective ego
(first nation this, first nation that,
God’s favourite, creative, progressive…)
propaganda dehumanizes us
by confiscating that which makes us human
by replacing “I think therefore I am” with
“I don’t think therefore I am a good Armenian.”
Instead of facts, propaganda gives us fiction;
instead of reality, fantasy;
instead of progress, paralysis and stagnation.
*
On the last page of Kafka’s TRIAL,
the central character
identified with the single letter K
is butchered “like a dog” and no one knows why.
Kafka doesn’t explain.
He provides no answers.
He didn’t have to.
K represent Germans, Spaniards, Russians, Jews, Armenians…
in short, 20th-century man
who was brainwashed and butchered in a ditch
for no reason at all.
That’s the real tragedy – our tragedy.
Not to die for a good cause
but to be butchered by anonymous executioners
working for faceless men
who operate on the assumption that
they know better because God is on their side.
*
Did I say God?
Make it the Devil!
There it is, the true meaning of propaganda:
“Speak in the name of God
and do the Devil’s work.”
#
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
*****************************************
VARIATIONS ON A FAMILIAR TUNE
*********************************************
An ideology or a religion should be judged
not by its dogmas and commandments
but by its propaganda:
the more propaganda the more lies.
The more systematic its indoctrination
or educational system
the more dishonest its assertions and certainties.
The more authority sources (holy scriptures and hierarchy)
the more fascist.
The more rituals the more mumbo jumbo.
The more monumental its architecture
the shakier its foundations
(remember the pyramids and
the construction of St. Peter’s in Rome).
The longer its history
the more uncertain its future.
*
If millions of Turks are brought up
to be proud of their identity,
then pride (not just theirs but all pride)
must be just about the phoniest means of achieving self-esteem.
I will go further and say,
where there is pride there must also be more reason for humility.
Where there is peace there must be a throne of blood.
The American Civil War is proof of the fact that
to defend democracy it is necessary to employ fascist means.
*
We are defined not by our assets
but by our liabilities – especially liabilities
that parade as assets.
#
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Old 14.01.2012, 16:16   #313
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Thursday, January 12, 2012
*****************************************
LEADERS
*********************************************
Who are our political leaders?
What do I know about them?
I know more about Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann
than about our own leaders.
If I try hard enough I may remember a handful of names
but afterwards I do my best to forget them.
About leaders in the Homeland
I have been told by an insider that
they are former KGB agents.
True or false?
I don’t know and I care even less.
About leaders of the Diaspora:
I remember an elder statesman telling me
some of them were Turks
who spoke Armenian fluently
and knew all there was to know about us.
True or false?
Does anyone care?
I no longer have any illusions.
I know for a fact that even in the so-called
open democracies of the civilized West
politics is a filthy business.
I shudder to think about our Ottomanized Diaspora
and Sovietized Homeland.
Poor Armenia – forever an orphan
at the mercy of manipulators
who are themselves manipulated by alien interests,
like dogs who know their master
but not their master’s master.
#
Friday, January 13, 2012
*****************************************
ONCE UPON A TIME
*********************************************
Once upon a time almost everyone I met was older than I.
Now, almost everyone I meet is younger.
*
Once upon a time I had many questions
and I believed in the answers
that I was given by my betters.
*
Once upon a time I believed everything I read in the papers.
Now, I trust our editors as much as I trust
our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
*
Once upon a time I loved to travel,
explore unfamiliar places and meet new people.
I now find solitary confinement preferable.
*
The world has become a strange place
but the strangest of all places is my own homeland
and the strangest of all people are my fellow countrymen.
*
If we don't know why things exist,
what can we really know?
*
One does not have to be an insurance broker
to know that heroes have a shorter life span than cowards.
*
Murder Inc. is a capitalist phenomenon.
Under communism murder becomes a monopoly of the state.
#
Saturday, January 14, 2012
*****************************************
MORE VARIATIONS
*********************************************
If you want to know more about Armenians,
read about Turks.
*
Very early this morning,
in a 30-minute radio documentary on Turks,
I heard a pundit say:
“Subservience to the military and amnesia
come naturally to Turks.”
*
Their unspoken slogan, like ours:
“The Sultans are dead. Long live Ottomanism.”
*
So what else is new?
The more I peer into our collective unconscious,
the less I like what I see there.
*
To some of my readers I am an enemy
because they don’t like to see their reflection in the mirror
that I hold up to them.
*
No one has ever said
confronting oneself is a pleasant experience.
*
Where there is amnesia
there will also be unspeakable memories.
*
They call us “Christian Turks,”
in the same way that the Yanks call their natives
“American Indians.”
The defeated have as much choice in identifying themselves
as dogs.
*
Solon, the Lawgiver (7th century BC)
in an address to the Athenians
(I quote and paraphrase from memory):
“Individually you may well be very smart
but collectively you behave like damn fools.”
#
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Old 21.01.2012, 16:58   #314
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Sunday, January 15, 2012
*****************************************
MEDITATION
*********************************************
Everything makes sense.
Nothing makes sense.
Which is right?
Both!
Neither!
Or perhaps it is not up to us to decide.
*
After every school of philosophy
there will be another that contradicts it.
After Plato, Aristotle.
After Hegel, Schopenhauer.
But also Marx.
And after Marx, Stalin.
*
For every believer in the existence of God
there will be another who denies it;
or, like the Pope of Rome
(according to an old Italian proverb)
who doubts his faith in His existence
seven times a day.
*
Sartre was obsessed with the idea of freedom.
He probably wrote more about freedom
than any other philosopher dead or alive.
And yet, he also supported Stalin and Mao
to whom freedom meant
the freedom to enslave and kill millions.
Explain that if you can.
*
We are like sheep.
Are our leaders shepherds
or a pack of wolves?
We may be wise enough to raise questions
but not to answer them.
Answers may come after we die –
assuming of course we survive our death.
*
The purpose of life is not to make sense
but to do our best.
But what if our best is the worst for others?
How else to explain the execution of Socrates,
the crucifixion of Christ,
and the assassination of Gandhi?
#
Monday, January 16, 2012
*****************************************
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
*********************************************
“Democracy may suit civilized and progressive people
of the West but not Asiatic barbarians
whose character, mindset, and values
were shaped by bloodthirsty Ottoman Turks
and Stalinist ruffians.”
This indeed is the unspoken rationale
of our ruling classes.
*
Double-talk comes naturally to all
who are involved in politics.
Preach one thing, practise the opposite.
Preach family values, practise fornication.
Murder innocent civilians and say “Allawa akhbar!”
Or do the Devil’s work in the name of God.
Lower taxes on the 1% and say
you are on the side of the 99%.
*
One of the Kennedy women (a divorcee) once wrote a book
on the double-talk of the Catholic Church
which is against divorce for the poor
but more than willing to grant it to the rich
even if it means by doing so
the children of the previous marriage
acquire the status of bastards.
*
If the Pope of Rome engages in double-talk
why should we be outraged
when our own sultans,imams, and commissars do likewise?
Next question:
If the Arabs of Africa can have a Spring,
why should we behave as though
we were condemned to freeze in the Gulag
from here to eternity?
#
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
*****************************************
TWO CANDIDATES
*********************************************
Gingrich likes to identify himself
not as a lobbyist but as a historian.
My question is,
Who has ever heard of a historian
Who could make more money in a single week
than the combined lifetime incomes
of Herodotus, Gibbon, Spengler, and Toynbee?
*
As for the other one,
the Mormon moron:
he keeps saying he created 100,000 jobs
when the evidence shows he destroyed many more.
*
Why do these two candidates speak as they do?
Do they think those who are going to vote for them
are retards?
What else?
*
As for the political thinking
of the average Armenian:
it is a symptom of our pathological narcissism
to suggest that it is more developed
than that of the average Yank.
#
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
*****************************************
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
*********************************************
Because I refuse to say “Yes, sir!”
to those who tell me
“Not only you must believe what I believe
but also what I don’t believe,”
I am accused ot being guilty of a capital offense.
The only reason I am alive today is that
my accusers are toothless.
#
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Old 28.01.2012, 16:43   #315
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Friday, January 27, 2012
****************************************
DIARY
*****************************
According to a pundit in my morning paper:
...
“Obama is trying to gain a foothold in the Middle East via Turkey.”
My first thought:
Kiss ARG (American Recognition of the Genocide) goodbye.
*
According to another pundit:
“Russia today is ruled by petro-kleptocrats.”
Ditto with us, minus the “petro.”
*
ON GINGRICH AND ROMNEY
***************************************
The naked face of the 1%.
Eyeless men with a vision.
Insatiable carnivores parading as vegetarians.
They promise to solve the very same problems they created.
Imagine Turks promising to resurrect our dead.
#

Friday, January 27, 2012
/ b


**********************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
*************************************
The best thing I can say about life is that
it happens only once.
*
In his last collection of essays titled ARGUABLY (Toronto, 2011) Christopher Hitchens writes:
Turkey continues to lie about the massacre of the Armenians.”
Further down he adds he prefers
Ambassador Morgenthau’s “race murder”
to Raphael Limpkin’s “genocide”
because it’s “more dramatic and urgent.”

*
To have seen the light
is not a permanent condition but a transitory stage.
*
Where I saw the light
I now see shades of darkness.
Where I saw one meaning
I now see ambiguities.
*
Tell me what is it that you want more than anything else
and I will tell you not only will you be disappointed if you get it
but you will also miss the good old days when you didn’t have it.
# Saturday, January 28, 2012
****************************************
SPEAK THE TRUTH
*********************************
“Speak the truth and no one will believe you.”
That’s because we live in a world saturated with Big Lies
Armenians are smart.
Jews are the Chosen.
Germans are superior.
Christians are infidel dogs.
White man speaks with a forked tongue?
(That doesn’t mean Indian did not massacre Indian
in the absence of white men.)
Who believes in these lies?
Only dupes (the 99%) with a negative IQ.
You qualify?
Congratulations.
#
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