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Old 20.02.2013, 15:56   #421
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Sunday, February 17, 2013
*****************************************
US/THEM
****************************
As a child I was told many things
that as an adult I rejected.
As a Catholic I was brought up to believe
the only reason Martin Luther had divided the Church
was to fornicate with a nun.
*
More often than not the hidden aim
of all categories, differences, and labels
is to assert some kind of phony superiority.
*
Shaw once said that the reason why
he was successful in creating believable female characters
is that he did not think of women as different from men.
When the French say “Vive la difference!”
I have every reason to suspect
they have in mind only anatomical differences.
*
An old lady from Kharpert once told me
they viewed women from Izmir (Smyrna) as sluts
because they (Izmirtsis) used make-up;
and a woman from Izmir once told me
they view Kharpertsis as Kurds.
For every label there will be a counter-label.
*
Native-born Armenians versus Diasporans
(or aghber = white trash).
As a non-native Armenian I suspect native-born Armenians
to be former Bolsheviks, even Stalinists.
*
We are all brought up to look down on our fellow men
for reasons that on closer inspection reveal themselves to be
based on ignorance, prejudice, fear, and fallacies.
I feel therefore justified to formulate
the following categories of my own:
human beings who view their fellow men and women as equals
and dupes who suffer from a psychological aberration
known as infantilism which consists
in clinging to illusions, lies, and prejudices instilled in them
when they could not yet think for themselves and
whose hidden aim is to make them feel superior or privileged.
#
Monday, February 18, 2013
*******************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*******************************
Why is it that people who view abortion as murder
don’t see war as murder?
*
The Enlightenment did not put an end to the Dark Ages;
neither did Christianity expose false gods.
*
Whenever a reader calls me pro-Turkish
I know he has run out of arguments.
If memory serves, it was Goebbels who said:
“Making noise is an effective means of opposition.”
*
As a pessimist I hate to be right.
*
Because I make Armenianism
(its cheap, loathsome variant) look hateful,
I am accused of hating myself.
*
Be a dupe, join a group.
*
The contempt of idiots and fanatics
is as valuable an asset as the affection of good men.
*
When Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is within you,”
the rabbis thought, there goes my bread and butter.
*
Among us success is harder to survive than failure.
*
In real life all stories have an unhappy ending
if only because at the end everyone dies.
#
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
*****************************************
ON PATRIOTISM
*************************************
The most patriotic Armenian is neither
the devout church-goer nor
the dedicated partisan
but an honest man.
*
If you can’t think of me as a critic
(someone who exposes contradictions)
think of me as the devil’s advocate.
As far as I know no one has ever identified
a devil’s advocate with the devil.
*
Where there is money there will be prostitution
in one form or another;
and where there is patriotism, there will be treason,
and more often than not it will the real traitors
who will accuse the real patriots of treason.
*
Armenians who criticize no one and nothing
(except perhaps Turks and Kurds)
will criticize critics and their favorite mode of criticism
will be slinging mud in the hope that some of it may stick.
*
Our critics – and we have had our share of them –
have made no difference in our collective existence
probably because our idiots outnumber the rest 99 to 1.
I may be wrong in this.
The correct ratio may well be 98 to 2.
#
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
******************************************
WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING
**************************************
“In their place I would have done a better job.”
That’s not what I have been saying.
What I have been saying is
having committed blunders
I would not spend the rest of my life
trying to cover them up
in an effort to project a positive image.
Neither would I declare myself to have been
a proud member of the Communist Party
(as Sylva Kaputikian is said to have done).
or any other party, for that matter.
Or having divided the community
I would not portray myself as a statesman of vision
whose number one concern is the welfare of the nation.
Neither would I judge a regime or a power structure
by the number of privileges and powers it bestows on me
and to hell with everyone else.
As for brainwashing children into believing
we never had it so good because we are in the best of hands:
I would consider that adding insult to injury
and raising another generation of brainwashed idiots.
Now then, go ahead and accuse me
of making too many demands on our “betters”
who may not be perfect but are doing their best
under difficult conditions:
and if you believe that you will believe anything!
#

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Old 23.03.2013, 16:13   #422
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Sunday, February 24, 2013
***************************************
TRUTH AND LIES
********************************
We love the truth and hate lies
or so we say and like to believe.
But truth is one and elusive
and lies are real and without number.
*
The 99% don’t think.
They let the 1% do the thinking for them.
Until very recently the 99% didn’t even know
they were 99%.
*
The 1% may know better
but to know better is not the same as to know.
The 1% is the most dangerous people on earth.
*
We are not survivors.
We are dead men walking.
So is all of mankind.
*
The real aim of justice is to legitimize injustice.
Slavery and the torture of heretics
were as legitimate undertakings
as the massacre of innocent civilians was
and continues to be today.
*
Our real enemies are not other people.
Our real enemies are politicians beginning with our own.
*
Literature is powerless against propaganda.
A ballpoint pen is not mightier than a tank.
Writing is a waste of time.
#
Monday, February 25, 2013
************************************************
ON BEING SMART AND PROGRESSIVE
****************************************************
History is not written but rewritten,
and rewritten history is a political tool.
*
Where politics enter,
deceivers and dupes are sure to follow.
*
We like to believe we are smart and progressive
and that it was these two attributes
that allowed us to foresee
the advent of Christianity as a universal religion.
The question is:
Why is it that we failed to foresee the Genocide?
*
Not only did we fail to foresee it,
we also ignored the warnings of those who did.
“Zohrab effendi is exaggerating,” some said;
and “the Turks wouldn’t dare!” said others.
*
One is therefore compelled to conclude that
being smart and progressive are not
permanent but ephemeral conditions
and worse: even the smart can be systematically moronized.
*
Now then, imagine if you can a political candidate
running for office on a platform that says
we are or have become a bunch of moronized dupes.
My progressive instinct
(whatever traces are left in me) tells me
such a candidate will have a far better chance to be elected
if he runs as a deceiver and treats his supporters as dupes
by saying they are the opposite of what they really are–
namely smart and progressive.
#
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
**************************************
HOMO IGNORAMUS
********************************
Turks are brought up to believe
they are noble specimens of humanity
and it is their patriotic duty to be proud
of who they are.
*
Armenians are brought up to believe
they are smart, progressive, civilized, compassionate
and so on and so forth
and an Armenian who is not proud of his identity
must be classified as the lowest scum on earth.
*
More often than not conflicts and disagreements arise
from the clash of two sets of lies
as opposed to lies and the truth.
The bigger the lies
the more ferocious the disagreement.
Hence Voltaire’s dictum:
“Since it was a religious war there were no survivors.”
*
The biggest and most universal lie is
to speak in the name of God (in theory)
and to do the Devil’s work (in practice).
*
Religious and political leader may disagree
on many important issues but they are unanimous
in the necessity of brainwashing children
and deceiving the masses.
*
More often than not our choice is not
between a lie and the truth
but between a lie and a bigger lie.
#
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
****************************************
THEORY AND PRACTICE
******************************************
God is love.
Justice for all.
All men are created equal.
Generalities, abstractions, and theories are one thing,
reality another.
*
The unspoken aim of all ideologies, belief systems,
and political parties is to moronize the masses
and turn them into dupes.
*
Justice favors the mighty.
Justice is on the side of top dogs.
Justice is with the more competent lawyer or dream team.
Justice is for the 1%.
Justice is anything but justice.
Justice is full of holes.
*
Marxist theory contradicts Marxist reality.
Communism is state capitalism.
Or, in the words of a Polish slogan:
"In capitalism man exploits man.
In communism it’s the other way around."
*
To the 99% I say: Don’t be duped by the 1%;
and it makes no difference if his first name is Serge or Raffi.
#
Thursday, February 28, 2013
*******************************************
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…
*******************************************
Nothing changes.
Life continues to be one damn thing after another.
Everybody tells a writer what to write
and writers tell everybody what to think.
Result: no one profits from the other’s advice.
There you have it:
a profile of our history and culture.
*
Our destiny as a nation has been shaped
not by statesmen or philosopher-kings
but by sultans, shahs, pashas, padishahs,
czars, commissars, our own wheeler-dealers,
and mass murderers
like Abdulhamid II, Talaat and Stalin.
The only variable in this equation has been
the number of victims per year.
*
Will anything change in the foreseeable future?
Can anyone see the distant glimmer of a light
at the end of our endless tunnel?
You say we have survived
and we will continue to bugger on –
or is it buggered on?
You may call it survival if you are so inclined;
I call it the death of ten thousand cuts.
#
Saturday, March 02, 2013
************************************
ON PRIDE
************************
If proud Turks, Armenians, Americans, Germans,
Greeks, Russians, Jews, and the rest of mankind
were to spend five minutes reflecting
on their own failings, blunders, and unsolved problems,
they would have a thousand reasons
to be humble and not a single reason to be proud.
*
If you were to say Russians could be proud of their literature,
I would say, if we were to take a closer look
at the lives of their great writers
we would discover that most of them
were persecuted, excommunicated, misunderstood,
rejected, exiled to Siberia, murdered and on the whole
treated the way most other nations,
including Armenians, have treated their own great writers
and thinkers beginning with Greeks and Socrates.
*
Why do nations treat their best and brightest abominably?
The answer must be,
because those in power are almost always hopeless mediocrities
and moral midgets whose greatest enemy is excellence.
To cover up their status as nonentities
they preach, promote, and legitimize pride,
that is to say, prejudice and contempt for others
and ultimately hatred, war, and massacre.
#
Saturday, March 02, 2013
********************************************
ON NATIONALISM
*****************************
The first time I heard a Canadian say
“We stole the land from the Indians fair and square,”
and no one contradicted him,
I remember to have thought:
“So it is possible to be objective about one’s homeland
without being accused of treason!”
*
One way to judge your degree of objectivity
is to consider the distance that exists
between your infantile illusions
and adult convictions.
The greater the distance,
the more objective the judgment.
*
How did Urartu become Armenia?
Was it marriage or rape?
*
An empire without plunder
is like an omelet without eggs.
*
In the 19th century nationalism made perfect sense
because it was an ideology
that opposed imperialist oppression.
*
An infallible dupe is a contradiction in terms,
and yet, there are so many of them!
#Sunday, March 03, 2013
**************************************
HISTORY: WRITTEN AND UNWRITTEN
****************************************************
When Madoff and his most important clients
were identified as Jews, my first thought was:
“They trusted Madoff; they did not trust Jesus.”
*
Has anyone ever written an autobiography
in which the stress is not on what was done
but on what was not done
out of ignorance, stupidity, and fear?
Sartre came close with his memoir, WORDS,
whose final message is:
literature is a useless passion
and writers are dreamers
who hate to give their infantile illusions.
*
What happened to Urartu?
Until the appearance of the Armens,
Urartu was an empire that successfully resisted
one of the mightiest military powers
in the history of mankind,
namely the Assyrians next door.
*
When the Armens appeared from the West
they were either welcomed or tolerated;
and that, in retrospect, may have been
the worst political blunder Urartu made.
*
For unlike Urartians, Armens were not warlike and,
to compound the felony,
their sense of solidarity was deficient.
Again unlike Urartians,
they were not a single entity with its own
clearly defined ethos and character,
but a collection of wandering tribes
that either refused or could not give up their tribal ways.
The rest, as they say, is history.
*
And that is the kind of unwritten history
I would like to read – a text in which
the emphasis is on blunders as opposed to victories,
be they military, moral, or imaginary.
A text moreover in which all facts
would be as clearly seen and accessible
as traffic signs.
#
Monday, March 04, 2013
**************************************
ENCOUNTER WITH A PARTISAN
******************************************
One of our elder statesmen came to see me once.
During the course of our conversation I noticed two things:
(a) he didn’t agree with my definition of words, and
(b) he couldn’t stand being contradicted.
At one pointed he even raised his voice and lost his temper
reminding me of the Chinese dictum
“He who loses temper has wrong on his side.”
*
I never saw him again.
Shortly thereafter he died
(may the Good Lord have mercy on his soul).
*
Who among us will dare to suggest that
(a) in political action we have been consistently guided
more by reason and knowledge
and less by emotion and ignorance; and
(b) emotion is a more reliable guide to action
than objective judgment, knowledge, and understanding?
#
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
***************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*************************************
Dashiell Hammett on speechifiers:
“The cheaper the crook,
the gaudier the patter.”
*
Syria today: what happens to a country
whose leaders cease to think of themselves
as public servants.”
*
Armenia today: Syria without the bloodshed.
*
A world without Turks:
What a subject for an Armenian science fiction novel!
*
When God created angels,
he also created devils, which may suggest
God rates balance or equal opportunity
above love, truth, mercy, and justice.
*
He who trusts liars
cannot be an honest man.
#
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
******************************************
AS I SEE IT
*************************
Individually we have excelled in all fields of human endeavor;
collectively we have developed the profile of useful idiots.
For 600 years we were faithful servants to Turks
and for 60 years little brothers to Russians.
*
To console ourselves we count the number
of tribes, nations, and empires that have ceased to exist.
*
What matters in writing is to say
what everybody thinks but refuses to say it.
*
No one knows all there is to know or, for that matter,
knows enough to form an infallible opinion.
*
There is an old saying:
“If you sit by the river long enough,
you will see your enemy’s carcass float by.”
The opposite is also true:
the carcass may be yours
and the fellow by the river your enemy.
#
Thursday, March 07, 2013
**************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************
Our enemies come in all sizes and shapes
but their favorite disguise is
as Armenian political leaders.
*
At the beginning the Turks were few
and we many…
*
I do my utmost to avoid my fellow Armenians.
I can deal with them only in my writings
which I do at a safe distance.
*
I became an atheist on the day I realized
God was not on my side.
*
Of how many Armenians I could say,
“To contradict is a temptation he cannot resist.”
*
Isolated voices of dissent have no effect
on a brainwashed majority.
*
Madmen at the top
outnumber madmen at the bottom.
*
We were defeated by our enemies,
destroyed by our own leadership.
#
Friday, March 08, 2013
****************************************
PREDATORS
****************************
With the blessing of a bishop,
a regular paycheck from a boss
or the financial support of a benefactor,
any idiot can assert moral, intellectual,
and patriotic superiority.
There you have it:
the profile of an average fund-raiser,
Turcocentric ghazetaji, academic, speechifier
and sermonizer whose main function is
to brainwash children
and to convince the masses that
they never had it so good
because they are in the best of hands.
*
In the 19th century we were
“sheep without a shepherd” (Raffi).
Today we are sheep at the mercy of wolves
disguised as shepherds.
*
Our elites are the scum of the earth.
#
Saturday, March 23, 2013
*************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************
After we were overrun by barbarians
we became barbarians.
Some day we may be civilized.
But that is only a hope
and hope is not a policy.
*
To be an authentic Armenian means
to be constantly engaged in shedding
the impurities of alien cultures.
*
To paraphrase a Mexican saying:
“Armenians: so close to Turkey,
so far away from God.
*
“Because we hate to say we don’t know
and we don’t understand,
we have created gods, angels, devils,
and life after death –a veritable Tower of Babel
without foundations.
*
I don’t write for my friends;
I write against my enemies
beginning with myself.
*
People tend to be more fanatical when they are wrong.
One could go further and say,
fanatics are wrong even when they are right.
#
Sunday, March 10, 2013
****************************************
QUESTION
*************************
The average patriotic Armenian sees himself
through the eyes of our historians, speechifiers, and sermonizers.
I see myself as a member of a perennially divided nation
that has suffered a long series of defeats
– some of them catastrophic –
and continues to be at the mercy
of corrupt and incompetent leaders
who appear to be more interested
in their own powers and privileges
than in the welfare of the people.
*
Now then, gentle reader, tell me
who is closer to reality?
Who is more objective?
Whose judgment is more to be trusted?
Finally, who is more patriotic --
the dupe who believes everything he is told
or the other, who thinks twice before saying “Yes, sir!”
to someone whose number one concern is number one?
#
Monday, March 11, 2013
***************************************
AS I SEE IT
***************************
To be objective means to ask:
What if what others (including our enemies)
think of us has more merit
than what we think of ourselves?
*
“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”
PROVERBS, 23:9
*
How could I have said or done that?
Happy is the man who doesn’t ask that question
at least once every day.
*
The longer I live the greater the distance
between my countrymen and myself.
*
After the break-up of the Soviet Union,
we are told, over a million Russians emigrated.
Which raises the question:
Is Armenia on its way to becoming a no-man’s land?
#
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
*************************************
SLAVES
*******************
A thousand years of subservience to bloodthirsty tyrants
has taught us to value pilaf and shish-kebab above ideas.
We even have a popular saying to that effect
that has been quoted to me on several occasions by my critics:
“You cannot cook pilaf with words.”
*
If you say, “What choice did we have?”
I will invite you to reflect on the following words
of William Pitt:
“Necessity is the plea
for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants;
it is the creed of slaves.”
The creed of slaves!
Some words are worth repeating
even when they cannot produce a single spoonful of pilaf.
*
Mankind may be divided into masters and slaves
and the ambition of every slave is to be a master.
This has been said before
but it bears repeating.
Moral superiority is a fiction of our collective imagination.
*
An empty bag cannot stand upright.
Likewise, an empty brain cannot be right.
#
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
****************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
*********************************
Good laws are useless in a country of bad judges.
*
The truth is never in the lines
but between the lines – unseen, unread, ignored.
*
Lies come in all sizes and shapes – small, white, big…
and worst of all, propaganda.
*
Disagreements are almost always
between dupes and opponents of propaganda.
*
Armenians and Turks agree on nothing
because they continue to trust their propagandists
more than their dissidents.
*
We are divided because we see all our hidden failings
in the opposition.
*
I judge my success by my degree of popularity:
the less popular I am, the better I feel.
*
We are not what we could have been.
After centuries of subservience we are not even the shadows
of what we could have been.
#
Thursday, March 14, 2013
****************************************
WORTH REMEMBERING
********************************
Two things that we forget at our own peril:
(one) a belief system can be as misleading as a big lie;
and (two) where there are sheep there will be wolves.
*
To have all the answers is a luxury
only dupes and fanatics (but I repeat myself) can afford.
*
Our understanding of history is never finished,
only interrupted.
*
There is a good reason why
we prefer to speak more about the past
and less about the present.
We can blame the past on our enemies…
#
Saturday, March 23, 2013
***********************************
PROBLEMS
********************************************
The source of all our problems,
too much history – and bad history at that.
*
Brainwashed dupes are blind to contradictions.
They would be fully justified in pleading not guilty
by reason of insanity.
*
The road to hell is paved with propaganda.
*
Seeing the invisible and questioning the infallible –
that indeed is the aim of literature.
*
Armenia’s destiny is now in the hands
of thieves, liars, and brown-nosers.
In short, nothing has changed and
it’s business as usual.
#
Saturday, March 23, 2013
*************************************
SATANIC RELIGIONS
*******************************
When Salman Rushdie published his SATANIC VERSES
many intellectuals, diplomats and politicians in the West
sided with the imams who issued a fatwa (or contract) on him
on the grounds that he was guilty of insulting “a great religion.”
But there is no such thing as “a great religion.”
It is a mistake to judge the magnitude of a religion
by the number of its adherents or dupes.
One could go further and say
the greater the religion
the greater the number of its victims,
or crimes against humanity,
or death of innocent civilians.
Think of what’s happening today in Syria.
And consider the number of victims
of illegal abortions and AIDs in South America and Africa
all because the Catholic Church refuses to sanction
the use of condoms and legal abortions.
#
Saturday, March 23, 2013
*************************************
DANGEROUS WORDS
********************************
The two most dangerous words in the world:
“I believe.”
*
Like most people I too was brought up
to respect men of faith.
I now view them as potential criminals
without a conscience.
*
As a child I too subscribed to many fallacies
one of them being all Armenians to be my friends.
*
Half-truths can be as dangerous as big lies.
*
Any one who claims to have found the truth
is an enemy of mankind.
*
Once upon a time,
for every faithful member
of the Communist Party in Soviet Armenia,
there was a “chic Bolshevik” in America
who believed Russians to be our big brothers.
Speaking of such a specimen a friend once said to me:
“I don’t blame him. He was sincere in his beliefs.”
I know now that to be sincere in one’s beliefs
is the same as pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
*
If you say “I know many men of faith
who have harmed no one,”
I say, when we speak of faith and belief systems
in a historic context, we mean not the sheep but the wolves;
we mean not the meek and the humble
who believe what they are told
but the policy-makers.
*
In a historic context the meek and the humble
might as well be anonymous, irrelevant,
and marginalized to the point of disappearance.
#
Monday, March 18, 2013
**************************************
A BILLION CATHOLICS
************************************
Q: There are a billion Catholics in the world,
and yet you expect me to believe
they are all wrong and you are right?
A: Why not? There are a billion Muslims in the world
and you expect me to believe they are all wrong.
Q: You may have a point there…
A: Listen, when it comes to belief systems,
numbers are meaningless.
All religions are minority religions.
The overwhelming majority of mankind
is neither Catholic nor Muslim
but Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, Mormon, and so on.
Q: But you are against all of them, right?
A: When it comes to belief systems I say
to each his own. What I am really against
is brainwashing children.
I will go further and say I consider brainwashing children
if not a crime against humanity
than the source of intolerance and
countless wars and massacres.
#
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
****************************************
GREAT IDEAS
****************************
Great ideas are conceived by great men,
implemented by nameless mediocrities,
and perverted by faceless nonentities.
That may explain why
if a belief system preaches love
it ends up practicing hatred;
and if it preaches communism
it ends up practicing state capitalism.
*
Sooner or later all belief systems and ideologies
degenerate to the point of becoming their own contradictions
because where power enters,
greed is sure to follow;
and when greed becomes the driving force
nothing good survives.
*
Martin Luther was right when he said
you don’t need the Pope to go to heaven;
all you need is a copy of the Bible.
But he was wrong when he failed to predict
the advent of televangelists.
*
And speaking of blood****ers:
Republicans tell us the 1% are job creators
even when recent history tells us they are job killers;
and if they create jobs they are not motivated by altruism
but by self-interest, that is to say, greed,
and where greed enters
catastrophe is sure to follow.
*
I therefore feel justified in saying,
if you ever come up with a great idea,
mankind maybe better off if you keep it to yourself.
#
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
************************************
FOR THE RECORD
******************************
Q: Let me begin by quoting some of your critics.
Are you a denialist?
A: No!
Q: A self-hating Armenian?
A: I can’t say I am particularly fond of myself, no.
Q: Why not?
A: Because like most Armenians
I allowed myself to be moronized by morons.
Q: Do you hate Armenians?
A: Only the shish-kebab and pilaf variants,
Turcocentric ghazetajis and their dupes.
Q: Turcocentrism: could you define the word for us, please?
A: The misconception that all our problems
begin and end with Turks.
Q: Isn’t the recognition of the Genocide a central issue?
A: So is the responsibility of our leadership
that promised freedom and our historic lands
and delivered the hell of massacres
followed by dispersion, division, alienation,
and assimilation or bloodless slow-motion genocide.
It seems to me, it is dishonest to emphasize their responsibility
and cover up our own.
Q: How do you explain our survival?
A: You call it survival;
I call it the death of a thousand self-inflicted cuts.
Q: So far you have said nothing positive.
A: The only positive I can think of is our literature.
Notwithstanding the fact that our ablest writers
were either systematically slaughtered or silenced
for refusing to moronize the people
by recycling the propaganda of foreign and domestic apes,
they carried on. They are our greatest heroes
and our only hope.
#
Thursday, March 21, 2013
*****************************************
ON GOLDEN AGES
******************************
The trouble with golden ages is that
they don’t last and they are not even golden.
This is as true of the Greek Golden Age (5th century BC)
as it is of our own (5th century AD).
As for the American Golden Age: they don’t have one.
Their brief history may be divided into two distinct periods:
barbarism and neo-barbarism --
(I am now paraphrasing better men than myself).
*
Both Socrates and Dostoevsky were condemned to death
for exercising their fundamental human right of free speech.
The execution of Socrates was carried out;
Dostoevsky’s wasn’t because seconds before the execution
the Czar sent a messenger with a pardon.
The experience so traumatized Dostoevsky that
he became more Czarist than the Czar.
In today’s parlance, he was born again
as a member of the Tea Party.
*
As for our treatment of our own writers:
it has been more Ottoman and Stalinist than Armenian.
Like the rest of mankind we too appear to be infatuated
with our own limitations, prejudices, and ignorance.
*
American writers are seldom silenced
by repressive administrations;
they prefer to silence themselves
by committing suicide or becoming alcoholics
or drug addicts.
#
Friday, March 22, 2013
**************************************
WAR OF WORDS
********************************
Turcocentrism is a recent misconception or fallacy.
It is absent in the works of Baronian and Odian,
and more recently in Arlen and Saroyan.
There is even a key passage in Saroyan
where he states we should feel sorry for Turks.
*
Turcocentrism is less an ideology
and more a tool of propaganda
whose ultimate aim is to convince dupes
there is nothing wrong with us
because we are role models
of what a nation should be –
united against all enemies foreign and domestic
and immune to corruption,
therefore morally superior.
It further states, whatever problems we have
we must ascribe to Turks.
If it weren’t for Turks we would now be living
in our own Eden happily ever after.
*
To combat this propaganda line
Turks have come up with their own
whose aim is to convince their dupes that
like all truly civilized and progressive people
Turks are against violations of fundamental human rights,
except when they do the violating;
and they have always been against murdering
defenceless civilians except when they do the murdering.
#
Saturday, March 23, 2013
**************************************
DEAD OR ALIVE?
************************************
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Stalin is dead but Stalinists continue to rule.
Jesus was crucified but supporters of crucifixion
are very much alive.
They may no longer use trees, hammers and nails
but they exist as surely as racists
in post-Civil War America.
*
Nothing bad ever dies.
Moral progress is an illusion.
There is no such thing as collective enlightenment.
Instead of a single sultan
we now have many mini-sultans,
and we cannot say “Forgive them, Lord,
for they don’t know what they are doing,”
because they are too damn smart
to plead not guilty by reason of ignorance.
#

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Old 27.03.2013, 15:21   #423
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Monday, March 25, 2013
*************************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
*******************************
If both sides believe Truth to be on their side
it must be a Big Lie.
If both sides believe God to be on their side,
it must be the Devil.
In a historic context Homo sapiens may be defined as
a being who cannot tell the difference
between God and the Devil.
*
Q: Is it true that you are more critical of Armenians
than of Turks?
A: As an Armenian I criticize Armenians.
I leave to Turkish critics the task of criticizing their own.
*
When tyrants silence writers,
they invariably target the best.
*
The reason I am a pessimist or see the dark side of things
is that I refuse to be moronized by the 1%.
*
In murder it may be “cherchez la femme.”
But in war and crimes against humanity
it’s cherchez moral and intellectual hoodlums
parading as statesmen.
*
The 99% don’t make history;
they only suffer it.
#
*****************************************
NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS
OR GENOCIDE BY OTHER MEANS
**************************************************
Learning also means unlearning
what you were taught as a child.
Loving your people also means hating their enemies.
The average dupe loves to brag about the lies
he has been taught as a child
and to ignore the evidence to the contrary.
*
We in Canada are brought up to brag about
our multiculturalism and to forget that
there was multiculturalism in the Ottoman Empire too;
so much so that after 600 years of “brutal oppression”
we produced literary giants like
Baronian, Odian, Zabel Yessayan, and Zohrab.
*
Now then, name a single Canadian-born Armenian
who is capable of writing a single decent line
in his mother tongue.
*
I have heard smart Canadians define multiculturalism
as “let them dance.” Obviously because
they can read between the lines of their state propaganda
better than outsiders like us.
*
In the obituary of the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe,
I read the following this morning:
“He spent much of his adult life in the United States
but resisted literary honors from a government
he refused to accept.”
In other words, he refused to be taken in
by a policy of genocide by other means.
*
If you want to read more about the many ways
the 1% has of misleading, deceiving, confusing, bamboozling, flimflamming, exploiting, and hoodwinking the 99%
read MYTHOLOGIES by Roland Barthes.
#
IDIOTS
***********************
Armenians who say there are divisions everywhere
are simply parroting the words of an idiot
whose sole aim is to explain and justify
his own powers and privileges.
*
There are divisions even in the most advanced democracies?
It is equally true that, unlike us,
advanced democracies have a centralized power structure
because they have been successful
in overcoming their tribalism,
namely the misconception that
my political party, my church, my backyard
and my chickens matter more than all others.
*
There are divisions everywhere?
There are also rapists and murderers everywhere.
Should we therefore accept them
as inevitable facts of life
and adopt a live and let live stance
in the name of compassion, tolerance and patriotism?
*
There are divisions everywhere?
There are also crooks and idiots everywhere.
Does that mean we should allow them
to be in charge of our collective destiny?
#
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
***************************************
MEMOS TO MYSELF
**********************************
Political leaders prefer dupes to dissidents.
*
The plea of not guilty may be available to dupes
but not to their deceivers.
*
Power corrupts, weakness castrates.
*
On the art of writing: the less art the better.
*
To write too much is not a sin;
to discard too little is.
#

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Old 30.03.2013, 15:56   #424
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Thursday, March 28, 2013
****************************************
WHEN I THOUGHT I KNEW
**************************************
When I thought I knew,
I didn’t!
*
State a problem clearly
and its solution will fall on your lap.
*
When it comes to solving our problems
we may well be just about
the dumbest people on earth.
*
In an anti-intellectual environment
to call someone an intellectual is the same
as identifying him as a mental masturbator,
a parasite, and a daydreamer
who knows nothing about real life.
An Armenian may identify himself as a professor
or an academic, but only a retard
will call himself an intellectual.
To those of my readers
who dismiss me as an intellectual
I therefore say, one does not have to be an intellectual,
a vodanavorji, or anything else for that matter
to recognize a jackass when he sees one.
*
To those who say “I know what I need to know,”
I say: Knowledge is not and cannot be a final product
but a work in progress.
#
Friday, March 29, 2013
************************************
WHAT IF OUR BETTERS
ARE OUR WORST?
**************************************
The problem with a drug addict
is not his addiction
but his refusal to kick the habit.
Likewise, our problem is not
the absence of solutions
but the rejection of all solutions,
one of them being solidarity.
*
Next time you hear someone parrot the line
“what we need is solutions,”
you may classify him
as a habitual and compulsive liar.
*
More often than not we are not deceived;
we consent to be deceived.
We are brought up to believe we are smart
to cover up our status as dupes of idiots.
*
We believe our “betters” to be la crème de la crème
when in fact they are la crème de la scum.
#
Saturday, March 30, 2013
***************************************
ON CROOKS AND LIARS
*********************************
An honest man cannot solve the problems of a crook.
Neither can he solve the problems of a nation
run by crooks.
Which may explain why our literature
has failed to solve a single problem,
prevent a single death,
expose a single liar.
*
Between an unprofitable truth and profitable lies,
most men will choose lies.
This may explain why nationalist historians
outnumber the others a thousand to one.
*
To write about crooks and liars means
never to run out of things to say.
*
My ambition: to say things nobody says
and everybody thinks.
*
Like the last Ottoman sultans
who had a thousand concubines in their harems,
the average propagandist has a thousand lies.
You want proof?
Think the opposite of what a speechifier says
and you may see more sense there.
#

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Old 06.04.2013, 15:45   #425
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Monday, April 01, 2013
*************************************
TWO QUESTIONS
***********************
Even after successive waves of Hamidian massacres
in the Ottoman Empire and Stalinist purges in the USSR,
Armenian writers like Siamanto and Totovents
couldn’t stand life in America
and returned to Istanbul and Yerevan respectively.
Now then, my question is:
How many of our writers now living in exile
have returned to their homeland after Independence?
Is it conceivable that there was more tolerance
and freedom under the bloody Sultan
and the iron rule of Stalin
than under our own oligarchs?
*
I am personally acquainted with an Armenian writer in exile
who is not allowed to visit his dying father in Yerevan.
My second question is:
Is it conceivable that our oligarchs
are more commissars and less Armenian?
Or more robots and less human beings?
#
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
*******************************************
ON LIFE, AFTERLIFE, AND
RELATED ATROCITIES
************************************************
On life after death:
the chances are we will return to wherever it was
that we came from before we were born.
But that may not be the end of the story…
*
Nationalism teaches us to have 20/20 vision
when it comes to our assets
and pretend to be deaf, blind and stupid
when it comes to our liabilities.
*
There is a natural tendency in all of us
to subscribe to dogmas whose sole intent
is to divide the community and to reject
what common sense, decency, logic, and self-interest dictate.
*
To contradict is a temptation an Armenian cannot resist.
*
When we rely too much on our understanding
we tend to forget or ignore the fact that,
that which is incomprehensible
may well be closer to the truth.
#
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
************************************
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
***************************************
We owe our dogmas and divisions
to individuals whose ultimate aim
is the destruction of the nation;
and if they are not aware of this
it’s because they have allowed themselves
to be moronized by their own propaganda.
*
We have bosses, bishops, and benefactors
by the dozen and dupes by the thousand
but not a single consensus seeker.
*
Nationalism also means
to believe nothing you are told
except flattery.
*
It took Turks 600 years to realize
sultans were up to no good.
It may take them a little longer to realize
Kemalism is a morally and politically bankrupt ideology.
*
If there is a god,
garbage collectors will go to heaven
and politicians to hell.
*
Where there is subservience there will also be
intimidation -- or bullies and cowards.
#
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
*****************************************
UNDERSTANDING THE ENEMY
******************************************
We may understand why we hate our enemies
but we don’t always understand why they hate us.
*
If we have trouble understanding our enemies
it may be because we have been brainwashed
to believe we are lovable;
and we are lovable even when
we behave like repulsive apes;
and we are smart
even when we speak like inbred morons.
*
We like to believe
if our enemies hate us
it’s because there must be something
fundamentally wrong with them.
Turks are bloodthirsty savages.
In the eyes of Americans,
Muslim terrorists are ignorant fanatics.
*
Instead of examining our conscience
we blame others.
We use the lies of our propaganda
to reach a truth which is a bigger lie.
*
We forget that
we are not as cute as we think we are.
No one is.
To take propaganda seriously
means to moronize oneself.
*
Instead of wondering why
Americans hate Muslims,
Muslims should ask themselves
why do Sunnis butcher Shias and vice versa?
Instead of wondering why Turks hate Armenians,
we should ask ourselves
why does Armenian hate Armenian?
*
Why Muslim terrorists hate Americans unto death?
Why did Americans hate one another unto death
in their Civil War (in cosmic time, yesterday)?
#
Saturday, April 06, 2013
***************************************
ON CHARM
******************************
“Charm is ****!”
I hate the man who said that.
I should have said it first.
*
Death may be the end of the road for us
but the road itself is without end.
*
Robert Frost:
“And nothing to look backward to with pride
And nothing to look forward to with hope.”
Our history in two lines.
*
I am what my critics made me.
*
The 1% may be replaced but not toppled.
*
Beware of the man who is humble only before God.
*
Divide the enemy and the battle is half won.
Let the enemy divide us and the war is lost.
#
Saturday, April 06, 2013
*****************************************
MEMOIRS OF A SURVIVOR
**************************************
Unmask an Armenian and expose
a celebrity without recognition,
a king without a crown,
and a tyrant without power.
*
I remember once when I tried to arrange
an interview with a minor Armenian celebrity,
I was treated with such contempt that
I cancelled the interview without notice
and decided never to interview another Armenian again.
*
Success has this in common with power – it corrupts.
*
The offspring of survivors
I am myself a survivor:
my parents survived Turks;
I survived Armenians.
*
In the official version of our recent story,
the operation was a success but the patient died.
*
Recycled propaganda is verbal vomit.
#
Saturday, April 06, 2013
**********************************
WAR CRIMINALS
******************************
Who is crazier – the Second Amendment gun nut
or the unbalanced teenager or adult
who kills defenceless children?
Speaking for myself:
I don’t know.
Hard to say.
*
I suggest there is a mass murderer in all of us
waiting for the right combination of circumstances
to make an appearance.
*
Consider the frequency with which
law-abiding patriotic citizens that have committed
or cooperated in the commission
of atrocities, massacres, and genocide in the past.
How many of them surrendered
and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity?
What about political, military, and religious leaders
who legitimize and promote
intolerance, hatred, and war or mass murder?
Last but far from least:
How many popes, imams, and rabbis
have been identified as war criminals?
I am not casting aspersions,
just asking questions.
#

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Old 13.04.2013, 16:05   #426
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Saturday, April 13, 2013
*************************************
SERMON
**************************
In what way am I morally superior
to a cold-blooded killer if I harbor a killer within me?
In what way are Americans morally superior to Muslims
if they (Americans) have killed more Muslims
than Muslims have killed Americans?
In what way Muslims are morally superior to Americans
if the only reason they have killed fewer Americans
is military inferiority?
*
Closer to home:
we have been so busy exposing Turkish criminal conduct
that our own moral status has become an alien dimension.
As Zarian would say: “Danger, danger, danger!”
*
There is only one way to feel morally superior
and that is (to echo Saroyan) by feeling sorry
for the morally inferior.
*
The Scriptures tell us there is no difference
between an adulterer and a man
who lusts after another’s wife.
Likewise there is no difference between a killer
and a man who preaches hatred and revenge
which he identifies as justice.
*
Perhaps what I have been trying to say here is
we all swim in the same sh**!
#
Saturday, April 13, 2013
***********************************
THEOLOGY
**********************
The aim of human speech
is to say one thing
and do the opposite:
to say God is love and truth
and to worship lies and the Devil;
to say “Thou shalt not kill”
and to go to war;
to call Diasporan Armenians “aghber” (trash)
and to behave like trash.
Theologians and sermonizers are familiar with this phenomenon
but prefer not to speak about it.
*
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
********************************
As soon as the Kremlin realizes
the present regime in Yerevan to be a liability,
it will replace it with another.
Will anything change?
It remains to be seen.
“No one gives up power without a bloody fight,”
Hegel tells us.
Is he right?
We may have an answer soon.
*
DOES POWER CORRUPT?
*********************************
Power does not corrupt.
It only exposes the corruption
that was already there.
*
AMERICA AND ARMENIA
***********************************
Unhappy is the nation
whose two most important sources of education are
TV ads and state propaganda.
#
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************
In life nothing works as planned.
An honest autobiography would be
a long list of disappointments.
*
My first book was a best-seller.
My second book was banned.
That’s when I knew I was on the right track.
*
We adopt a belief system because we are told
all the others don’t make sense.
*
If you write in defense of dupes,
deceivers will conspire against you.
#
REMEMBER!
****************************
Patriotism is the favored word of tyrants.
*
Political parties need honest men
as surely as religions need saints.
*
“A man of principle is a majority of one.”
#
Saturday, April 13, 2013
**************************************
SITUATION / SH*TUATION
*************************************
In the eyes of the world
our regime in Yerevan has lost its virginity.
The people are against it.
But even if replaced
nothing will change.
*
Believe nothing you are told.
There are no good guys in politics.
Power prostitutes.
*
Some of our greatest brains
praised Lenin and Stalin.
Even our best and brightest are no better
than a bunch of dupes.
*
Where there is too much talk
of freedom and independence,
oppression is sure to follow.
*
Throughout our millennial history
foreign tyrants have always relied
on their Armenian collaborators
to moronize the people.
#
TURCOCENTRISM REVISITED
*******************************************
In Turcocentric circles I am know only as someone
whom Turks like to quote.
All I can say in my defense is that
the Devil too can quote the Scriptures.
Does that mean the Good Lord is pro-Devil?
*
I gladly admit to being not a Turcocentric
but an Armenocentric writer.
So were Baronian and Odian;
or for that matter Zarian and Massikian;
and before them Naregatsi
who in his LAMENTATION blames no one
but himself for his many failings and transgressions.
*
A human being is not a lump of clay
at the mercy of forces beyond his control.
The Turks did not recreate us in their own image.
We consented to be recreated.
That is worth repeating and emphasizing.
We are what we have become
because we chose freely to be who we are.
The rest is propaganda
and our favorite sport: the blame game.
#
DIARY
********************
“I enjoy reading you.”
I am less interested in your enjoyment
and more in your torment.
I don’t write to entertain.
Flattery is as irrelevant to me
as the words of a brainless critics or dupe
who believes what he is told
especially what he is told
flatters his ego.
*
In Deirdre Bair’s SAUL STEINBERG: A BIOGRAPHY
I am informed that if you are depressed
you can go to the nearest emergency
and ask to see a shrink.
This may be common knowledge but it’s news to me.
*
I remember once when asked by a French friend
if I have ever been analyzed
I said something to the effect that
analysis is for the bourgeoisie
and that as a perennial slum-dweller
it has never even occurred to me
to visit a shrink.
I was astonished when he informed me that
in France analysis is available to everyone
free of charge.
*
Perhaps deep inside somewhere
I continue to be a subject of the Ottoman Empire
where the insane were treated like criminals.
#

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Old 17.04.2013, 15:22   #427
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Sunday, April 14, 2013
*********************************
ON WAR AND PEACE
*************************************
There are no just wars.
A war in which innocent civilians die cannot be said to be just.
*
Countless wars have been fought since the beginning of time
and in all of them there were winners and losers.
*
No nation on earth can assert military invincibility or,
for that matter, moral superiority.
Only Americans believe in their own moral superiority
only Muslims believe in theirs, and so on...
*
If Americans and Jews were to behave like Turks did
at the turn of the last century
the world would witness a series of genocides
on several continents.
*
Muslims may think they are invincible
because they have Allah and oil on their side,
in the same way that we (Armenians) thought
we had the might of the Great Powers of Europe,
plus God and the justice of our cause
(freedom from oppression) on our side.
It didn’t do us any good.
It was all an empty illusion.
*
All political leaders (including Kemal, Arafat, and our own)
are first and foremost baloney artists.
They may successfully brainwash their dupes
but they cannot fool reality.
*
If so far Americans and Jews have not behaved like Turks
it may be because there is a difference between the autocratic East
and the democratic West.
*
If Muslims want to coexist with their enemies
they have no choice but to reject their undemocratic ways
and realize that the concept of fundamental human rights
is not an invention of the corrupt and decadent West.
But even if it were, that does not make Muslims
more progressive, civilized, and just in the eyes of the world.
*
Our choice is seldom between good and evil
but between bad and worse;
and sometimes even between worse and worst.
#
Hegel’s famous last words:
“No one understood me except one,
and even he didn’t understand me.”
#
The Nazis believed God to be on their side.
So do jihadists today.
The God of fanatics is the Devil.
#
ON MODERATION
*******************************
“Moderation in all things,” Greeks said
even as they condemned Socrates to death.
*
For every believer there is a non-believer.
Who is right?
Neither.
Who is wrong? Both.
*
Trust your friend but respect your enemy.
*
Modify your assertions with their contradictions.
That may not be the best way to live
but it is the only way to survive.
#
REFLECTIONS
*********************************
My real education began on the day I realized
I was a brainwashed dupe and a self-satisfied idiot.
*
Words and reality (like ideas and God)
move in two different dimensions that like parallel lines
never meet (except in eternity).
*
Scientists tell us space has an end.
What does this end look like?
Is there some kind of invisible wall?
What’s on the other side of the wall?
*
God is not a being, Thomas Aquinas tells us,
but “being itself.”
Whatever the hell does that mean?
*
Plato put it best when he said
reality is like fire and words only shadows.
*
It is to be noted that after having a mystical experience
Aquinas gave up writing and said something to the effect that
all writing was no better than verbal trash.
#

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Old 20.04.2013, 15:45   #428
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Saturday, April 20, 2013
******************************************
BROTHERS
**************************
If you go against the dominant mindset of your time,
you can’t go wrong.
You may be a perennial reject
but the chances are you will be closer to the truth
than the crowd.
*
At the turn of the last century
Turks thought the fewer Armenians the better.
During World War II Germans had a similar disposition
towards Jews.
Remember the American slogan:
“The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
*
One reason Americans did not exterminate Negroes is that
Negroes played a key role in their economy.
Closer to home: our own attitude
towards our critics and dissidents:
the fewer the better but none is best.
(I speak from experience.)
*
All genocides begin in the hearts of men
and we are no exception.
Now then, go right ahead and assert moral superiority.
#
NOTES & COMMENTS
*******************************
Using profanities in an argument
is like raising your voice to strengthen your position.
It works only if your adversary is intimidated by noise.
*
I no longer search for the company of good men.
If I can recognize and avoid the proximity of cold-blooded killers
I am satisfied.
*
To those who accuse me of seeing only the dark side of our reality,
I say: We have a long-standing literary tradition
that prefers fiction to fact.
Mine is a balancing act.
*
To lose a false friend is like defeating a dangerous enemy.
*
In the world of scholarship as in life
the most valuable asset is a readiness
to renounce a cherished idea.
#
NOTES / COMMENTS
************************************
Individuals may admit their failings
but nations never!
All nations are habitual and compulsive liars.
This is as true of Americans as it is of Russians;
as true of Turks as it is of Armenians.
*
We like to say we had a Golden Age
when the West was wallowing in its Dark Ages.
The question we avoid asking is:
Who is responsible for frittering away our heritage?
*
A new revolution or regime opens the path
to a new class of mediocrities, opportunists,
and bureaucrats – sharks for short.
More often than not the difference
between the old and the new is in name only.
Scratch the label and expose the scum of the earth.
#
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Old 24.04.2013, 19:35   #429
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
************************************
AGENDA
******************
William H. Gass: “I write because I hate.”
*
I should have said that.
My style.
I hate lies and atrocities
regardless of race, color, and creed;
and I hate those who don’t share my hatred if them.
*
My aim in life?
Not to add a single regret to my long list of them.
#
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
*****************************
ON TURKS
*************************
Turks are brought up to believe
they belong to a civilized, progressive and westernized nation.
If you mention the Armenian genocide,
they will say it’s a lie, it never happened,
and Turks did what every other nation would have done
when its existence is in peril.
*
ON ARMENIANS
**************************
Armenians are brought up to believe
they are too smart, experienced, and progressive
to need the empty verbiage of a minor scribbler.
*
ON ARMENIAN LITERATURE
*************************************
“Armenian literature is a cemetery,” said Baruir Massikian.
The best career move an Armenian writer can make
is to allow himself to be slaughtered
by a bloodthirsty foreign tyrant.
*
ON NARGETASI
*****************************
Naregatsi, our Shakespeare and Dante combined,
is like Mark Twain’s weather:
everybody speaks of him but nobody reads him.
I don’t mind admitting that the only time I read him
was when I was asked to review Kudian’s translation.
Did anyone else review it?
I don’t know.
I don’t remember.
I doubt it.
#
AGENDA II
**********************************
Overheard on the radio this morning:
“As an African writer do you think of yourself
as a bridge between Africa and the West?”
Answer: “When I write I don’t think of myself as a bridge.
All I am interested in is producing a good sentence.”
*
Q: As an Armenian writer –
A: Please, don’t call me that.
I can’t imagine a worst insult
than being called an Armenian writer.
Q: What should I call you?
A: Anything but that?
Call me someone who likes to raise questions
in an environment where there is
an abundance of wrong answers.
Q: Could you give an example
of a good sentence in our context?
A: How about, “Our political parties have been
of no political use to us. Their greatest enemy is free speech.”
Q: Who said that?
A: Zarian.
Q: Another example?
A: “An Armenian’s tongue can be sharper than a Turk’s yataghan.”
Q: Zarian?
A: Right.
Q: How about something of your own?
A: Our collective failings far outnumber our individual successes.
#
TRAGEDY #2
************************************
Committing blunders is easy;
admitting them difficult.
*
Dividing the community is easy;
admitting to being a divider impossible.
*
One reason Obama will not recognize the Genocide is that
his advisers have informed him that
as a tribal people we divide our votes 50/50 –
half Democrat, half Republican.
As a result our influence on the outcome of elections
is zero, nada, zilch, vochinch.
We might as well be an absent factor.
*
Our dividers – be they pundits, partisans,
Turcocentric ghazetajis, editors, publishers,
bosses, bishops, and benefactors,
are fully aware of this fact
but pretend not to notice the mammoth in the room.
*
We were slaughtered as a nation
but we vote as a tribe.
That indeed is our second greatest tragedy.
#
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Old 27.04.2013, 15:49   #430
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Thursday, April 25, 2013
*************************************
VARIATIONS ON A FAMILIAR THEME
************************************************
After behaving like swine
they assert moral superiority.
This is as true of nations and tribes
as it is of empires;
as true of the Ottoman Empire
as it is of our own political parties and mafias.
*
When a fanatic says “God is on my side,”
you can be sure of one thing:
he can’t tell the difference
between God and the Devil.
*
All belief systems are perversions.
*
Not to expose lies means
being subservient to liars.
#
ONLY IN AMERICA
****************************
In America if you fail as a writer
you can make a comfortable living
as a teacher of creative writing.
*
I don’t know what they do in Armenia
but in the Diaspora you make yourself
as invisible as possible – not to be the bud of jokes
as a vodanavorji or a medavoragan
(freely translated as versifier and assh*le).
*
ONLY IN ARMENIA
************************
Where idiots are in charge,
the smart will be persecuted.
*
Ours is a nation whose lunatic fringe
is the dominant minority.
*
Literature is to the mind as water is to the thirsty
and bread to the hungry.
But some people experience neither thirst nor hunger
because they are walking cadavers.
*
Politicians create enemies to cover up the fact that
they are the real enemies.
#
ON EVIL
& RELATED ATROCITIES
*******************
The only way to understand evil
is to recognize it within us.
Which is why the judgment of the self-righteous
cannot be trusted – and who could be
more self-righteous
than bishops, imams, and rabbis
who speak in the name of god?
*
One man’s god
may be another’s devil.
*
To be diplomatic, tolerant, and civilized means
to say the opposite of what you think and feel.
*
After I make an assertion
I am haunted by its contradiction.
*
To be a writer means
to be a re-writer.
#

Thursday, April 25, 2013
*************************************
VARIATIONS ON A FAMILIAR THEME
************************************************
After behaving like swine
they assert moral superiority.
This is as true of nations and tribes
as it is of empires;
as true of the Ottoman Empire
as it is of our own political parties and mafias.
*
When a fanatic says “God is on my side,”
you can be sure of one thing:
he can’t tell the difference
between God and the Devil.
*
All belief systems are perversions.
*
Not to expose lies means
being subservient to liars.
#
ONLY IN AMERICA
****************************
In America if you fail as a writer
you can make a comfortable living
as a teacher of creative writing.
*
I don’t know what they do in Armenia
but in the Diaspora you make yourself
as invisible as possible – not to be the bud of jokes
as a vodanavorji or a medavoragan
(freely translated as versifier and assh*le).
*
ONLY IN ARMENIA
************************
Where idiots are in charge,
the smart will be persecuted.
*
Ours is a nation whose lunatic fringe
is the dominant minority.
*
Literature is to the mind as water is to the thirsty
and bread to the hungry.
But some people experience neither thirst nor hunger
because they are walking cadavers.
*
Politicians create enemies to cover up the fact that
they are the real enemies.
#
ON EVIL
& RELATED ATROCITIES
*******************
The only way to understand evil
is to recognize it within us.
Which is why the judgment of the self-righteous
cannot be trusted – and who could be
more self-righteous
than bishops, imams, and rabbis
who speak in the name of god?
*
One man’s god
may be another’s devil.
*
To be diplomatic, tolerant, and civilized means
to say the opposite of what you think and feel.
*
After I make an assertion
I am haunted by its contradiction.
*
To be a writer means
to be a re-writer.
#
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Old 01.05.2013, 15:02   #431
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Sunday, April 28, 2013
******************************************
KING AND COUNTRY
**********************************
Have you ever wondered how many men
who killed and died in the name of King and Country
ever stopped to ask: Whose King and whose Country?
Or for that matter, whose Sultan and whose Commissar?
*
The Brits who fought against German in World War II
had a German king.
Napoleon was Italian, Hitler Austrian, Stalin Georgian,
the Greek king too was a German;
most Byzantine emperors – the most warlike and bloodthirsty –
were either Armenian of half-Armenian;
the Ottoman sultans were bastards –
the last one’s mother was an Armenian.
*
Royalty, like so much else, is a big joke
played by the ruling classes
on the ignorant masses.
As for Country: at one time or another,
every piece of real estate, except the Garden of Eden,
has been contested.
*
What a book one could write
on the role of lies, illusions, and wishful thinking
in human affairs!
*
By the way, most Armenian kings,
including the last one, were odars.
As for our present leadership:
one of our elder statesmen once confided in me
that some of them are Turks who speak Armenian fluently.
I didn’t believe him then but I do now.
#
ON CONSENSUS
***************************
When I first read the words “consensus seeker”
I thought if I were a millionaire
the first thing I would do is
establish a university course on the subject.
If we don’t have such a course today
it may be because we are natural-born sh*t-disturbers
who thrive on conflict.
*
Think of society and its laws as a conspiracy
whose aim is to produce criminals.
*
You may have noticed that Armenians
who demand solutions
don’t like to think of themselves as the problem.
*
Honest Christians exist
as surely as honest Muslims,
Hindus, Buddhists and atheists
but they are not allowed to formulate
and implement policy.
#
KING AND COUNTRY (ii)
****************************************
It could be said of our leadership:
the higher they rise,
the lower they sink –
which is what happens in all criminal organization.
*
If I were to produce an autobiography
I would begin by warning the reader that
my life is so unreadable that
I would have to either invent it
or write the opposite of what really happened.
The same applies to an objective account of our past.
*
Power and lies are Siamese.
The greater the power,
the bigger the lies.
*
To legitimize their power,
popes assert infallibility
notwithstanding their countless blunders –
from the Crusades to
the persecution, torture and death of heretics.
*
Kings, we were told, got their power from God
via the Church. It is safe to assume that
men who speak in the name of god
are compulsive and habitual liars.
*
I repeat myself?
So do you whenever you say “Yes, sir!”
#
THAT WHICH WE SHARE
WITH YANKS
***********************************
Americans have trouble understanding why
someone who has enjoyed all the benefits and privileges
of being a citizen of the greatest democracy
in the history of mankind would freely choose
to be a terrorist.
They cannot imagine themselves to be so repulsive
that in the environment they have created
to kill and die become more desirable
than to live and prosper.
*
As for Armenians:
our arrogance and stupidity are such that
we cannot imagine ourselves to be targets of criticism
by fellow Armenians.
*
After Kazantzakis died and was buried in Crete,
the natives would **** on his grave.
My advice to our dissidents:
stipulate in your will to be buried in a grave
without a headstone.
*
When sheep get organized
they choose a wolf as their leader.
*
Dissidents are neither harlots nor pimps
but brothers and sisters who hear a different drummer.
Now then, go ahead and explain that
to our bosses, bishops, benefactors, and commissars.
#

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Old 04.05.2013, 15:41   #432
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Thursday, May 02, 2013
*********************************
AS I SEE IT (XXXIII)
*****************************
Things are looking up.
At this rate our dissidents will outnumber our dupes.
*
Has any one of our vodanavorjis ever written a sonnet titled
“Yes im anoush commissarneri”?
*
Some of our Diasporan leaders
are Turks who speak Armenian fluently,
I was informed once by one of our elder statesmen.
What about our oligarchs in the Homeland?
Are they human beings?
*
The secret ambition of all ass-kissers
is to be ass-kickers.
*
To cover up blunders is
to promote and legitimize future disasters.
The blame-game is a dead end and
our role models are the scum of the earth.
#
PERVERSIONS
****************************
Some people agree with one another
because they place the strength of unity and consensus
above the weakness of discord.
We are different.
First and foremost we are men of principle
and the principle we believe in and practice
more than any other is self-destruction.
*
If you are judged by your inferiors
you will be found guilty on grounds of superiority.
*
The greater the incompetence of a regime,
the greater the number of its victims.
#
ZERO
********************
The greater the distance between
what you think of yourself
and what others think of you,
the greater the number of conflicts
between you and the world.
*
Paraphrasing Gandhi,
if you reduce yourself to zero
your conflicts will be zero.
*
If you think of yourself as the center of the universe,
you will be wrong even when you are right.
*
If you think God is on your side,
both God and the Devil will conspire against you.
*
And if you think you belong to a nation
that is God’s chosen,
you will be torn to shreds by the scum of the earth.
This is neither theory nor speculation,
neither prediction nor metaphysics,
but historic reality.
#
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Old 08.05.2013, 14:56   #433
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Wednesday, May 08, 2013
*******************************
READING
********************
There is a new book out on bankers and politicians titled
ASSHOLES: A THEORY. If it is as good as its title
will be a best-seller.
*
After having sex with his wife, Tolstoy wrote in his diary:
“It was so disgusting; I felt I had committed a crime.”
*
Gorky on Tolstoy and God:
“They sometimes remind me of two bears in a den.”
Thomas Mann is right: Gorky’s REMINISCENCES OF TOLSTOY
is the best thing he ever wrote.
*
Chekhov and Zarian agreed on one thing about writing:
Leave something to the imagination.
No need to explain and describe everything.
Delete the first and last paragraphs.
*
In Saul Steinberg’s biography. I note so many parallels:
childhood in the Balkans (Romania for him, Greece for me)
education in Italy (Milan/Venice),
life in the New World (U.S./Canada),
favorite contemporary writers (Nabokov, Bellow).
*
Elia Kazan believed his “method” created Brando.
In his DIARY Richard Burton asserts
Brando was ruined by Kazan.
At one point he identifies him as the British Brando.
Burton hated acting.
His ambition was to be a writer.
To the end he remained a voracious reader.
#
ON PATRIOTISM (VII)
*********************************
To say or imply or suggest that Armenian patriotism
is better than Turkish, American or
any other kind of patriotism is like saying
cancer in one nation is better cancer in another.
*
I would like to meet an Armenian
whose speech is not contaminated by patriotism,
whose understanding of our past
has not been shaped by our own historians,
and whose values are not tribal or parochial but universal.
*
Patriotism may be defined as collective narcissism.
But whereas individual narcissism is treated
as a psychological aberration,
collective narcissism is thought of
as a sacred civic duty.
And why?
Because the ruling classes everywhere need individuals
willing to kill and die in defense of their powers and privileges.
*
To say we live in a world where wars are inevitable
amounts to saying all human disagreements and conflicts
must end with murder or suicide.
*
If most individual conflicts are resolved
without the death of either or both parties,
why not collective conflicts?
#
READING
RICHARD BURTON’S DIARY
**************************************
On Reagan:
“--dangerously stupid.”
*
On Nixon:
“I dislike drunkards and he was drunk as the devil
the last time I saw him.”
*
On film directors:
“I don’t remember anything they said except idiocies
which I ignored.”
*
On Laurence Olivier:
“…he really is a shallow little man
with a very mediocre intelligence.”
*
On Mussolini:
“Fundamentally he was a weak but decent man.”
*
He rates Spengler above Toynbee because he hates the English –
totally unaware of the fact that Toynbee hated the English
more than he did.
#
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT
OF REALITY
********************************************
It is not history or
social, economic, cultural and geographic conditions
beyond our control that have divided us
and keep us divided today;
rather, it is the gradual and cold-blooded development
of a system – a system of cunningly formulated
prejudices, dogmas, and lies – that favors
the dividers among us and penalizes the proponents
of solidarity and unity.
In short: our problems are ours;
they are not enemy action,
and if they are, the enemy is within.
*
Speaking the truth is easy;
what’s hard is to make it
palatable, comprehensible, and bearable.
*
Perennial victims are not and cannot be
morally superior.
*
I agree with those who assert
we are the real Chosen People – chosen to be
the targets of bloodthirsty barbarians,
both foreign and domestic.
#
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Old 11.05.2013, 15:43   #434
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Thursday, May 09, 2013
***************************************
MEMO TO MY CRITICS
***************************
If what you say is right,
obviously I can’t be worth reading
and you would be more justified in criticizing yourself
for wasting your valuable time on me.
*
You want to know the difference
between an honest and a dishonest writer?
Easy!
A dishonest writer flatters.
An honest one is a thorn in the flesh.
*
Of how many potential dissidents we could say
because they were bullied by idiots,
they fell silent.
*
I understand my critics.
Thirty ears ago I was one of them.
*
National historians:
the intellectual equivalents of empty suits.
*
What makes our ruling classes so arrogantly
and ruthlessly stupid?
The answer must be:
experience, reality, history, or the fact that
they have been fooling us for centuries
and no one ever said
off with their heads.
#
THE WRITING LIFE
******************************
Literature:
I leave that to our creative writers, scholars, and academics.
*
Love stories: I stopped writing them on the day I realized
their true aim is to entertain the bourgeoisie.
I now write to expose deceivers.
*
When in a letter to the editor many years ago
a reader said he felt terrorized by my words,
I was flattered rather than offended.
*
We are tired of being sheep in a world of wolves.
That’s why an Armenian is another Armenian’s wolf.
He has to start somewhere.
*
In the words of an American comedian:
“I take my lion to church every Sunday.
He has to eat.”
*
If you are not thirsty it makes no difference
if the glass is half-empty or half-full.
*
Silence has no need for translators.
# MEMOS
TO MY TURKISH READERS
***************************************
Do you want to understand Armenians?
Think of them as a people that for 600 years
had Turks as their role models.
*
There are no Armenians
and there are no Turks:
only people who speak Armenian and Turkish.
*
MEMOS
TO MY FELLOW ARMENIANS
*******************************************
To confuse patriotism with loyalty or subservience
to liars and crooks: I can’t imagine
anything more cowardly and idiotic.
*
Divisions are popular with us
because we are not popular with one another.
*
We are not a work in progress;
we are a dead end.
*
A common Armenian allergy:
other Armenians.
*
Hatred of Turks is our opium.
*
A nation that hates together
stays together.
#

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Old 15.05.2013, 14:54   #435
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Sunday, May 12, 2013
*************************************
CONFESSIONS
**************************
At the beginning was the Word
and the Word was a Big Lie.
*
God created heaven and earth.
It was Man who created Hell.
*
I am an atheist only in the sense that
I don’t believe in the God of
rabbis, imams, and bishops.
*
The dead are replaced by the living
and worlds are replaced by other worlds.
What if, even as I write these lines,
in another world Cain is murdering Abel
and Nietzsche is announcing the death of God?
*
I am not an atheist.
For thirty-five years I was a church organist,
my favorite composer is J.S. Bach,
and my favorite quotation is
by Santa Teresa of Avila:
“Never submit your intelligence to someone
who doesn’t have enough of it himself.”
*
The Catholic priest who hired me as his organist
(may the Good Lord have mercy on his soul)
once said to him: “Organ music makes people feel holier.”
When informed I was an atheist, he said:
“God is in everything that is beautiful
and you love music…”
#
WHAT IF…
*****************************
What if I am not consistently wrong
and you are not consistently right?
What if once or twice a year
I may be right and you may be wrong?
What makes you think you are better
than the fellow in the Vatican
who thought he was doing God’s work
even when he authorized the torture of heretics?
*
In the eyes of our Turcocentric ghazetajis, academics,
and dealers in chauvinist crapola
I am only an Armenian Turks love to quote.
*
Fanatics may be defined as individuals
who place prejudice and hatred above understanding.
*
A tolerant and balanced view is one
in which assertions are modified by their contradictions.
*
It is safe to assume that our enemies
may not always be wrong
because our friends may not always be right.
*
The God of fanatics is the Devil.
*
To say we have the leadership we deserve
is like saying countless innocent civilians
deserved to be slaughtered
when it was only their leaders
who should have been hanged
(I am now paraphrasing General Antranik
as quoted by Mahari in his autobiography).
*
If the Sultan was replaced by Talaat,
the Czar by Lenin and Stalin,
The German Monarch by Hitler,
the Spanish King by Franco,
(I could go on)
what makes you think our own revolutionaries
were men of integrity and statesmen of vision?
I am not making assertions
or casting aspersions,
just asking a question.
#
ELEMENTARY
*****************************
After saying “We all make mistakes,”
we should ask:
“How many of them were avoidable?”
*
After saying “There are divisions everywhere,”
we should ask:
“How many of them are necessary or justifiable?”
*
After saying “Armenians are smart,”
we should ask:
“Why is it that we have been
consistently victimized by
Mongoloid barbarians,
inbred morons,
and bloodthirsty savages?”
*
After bragging about our celebrities,
we should ask: “How many of them
ever bragged about their Armenian identity?
Mamoulian? Gulbenkian? Mikoyan? Jack S. Avanakian?”
*
You can’t pretend to seek solutions
if you don’t acknowledge the existence of the problem.
Neither can you have the right answer
if you don’t even bother to ask the right question.
#
SWINE
*************************
From IT HAPPENED IN NAPLES, an old Italian film:
SOPHIA LOREN (angry): You are not a lawyer. You are a pig!
VITTORIO DE SICA (with disbelief): But a man can be a lawyer and a pig at the same time.
*
You can tell right from wrong?
That means you have discovered the recipe for an unhappy life.
*
I am all for forgiving my enemies,
but only after they die.
*
Everything I write has autobiographical roots.
*
I have behaved like a pig
and I have behaved like a human being:
I can tell the difference.
*
All power structures, belief systems, and regimes
depend on a class of highly paid individuals
who specialize in deception or the invention of big lies.
In other words, people not only need to be deceived
but also want to be deceived,
so much so that they are more than willing
to pay good money to their deceivers.
*
I have behaved like a deceiver
and I have behaved like a dupe.
I can tell the difference.
#
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