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Old 10.07.2013, 14:51   #451
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
***************************************
CONFESSIONS
**************************
Whenever I am told I am a disgrace to the nation, I think:
what if it’s the other way around?
*
Only a patriot with the IQ of a jackass
identifies the Homeland with the regime.
*
Writing has nothing to do with patriotism
and everything to do with objectivity;
in the same way that what a politician says
has nothing to do with the truth
and everything to do with propaganda.
*
Before making an assertion consider its contradiction,
yoou may see more truth there.
*
Do not repeat what you were taught as a child:
remember your schoolteacher had a family to support.
*
“A dog knows his master but not his master’s master.”
*
If you think I write as I do
because I am some kind of daydreaming eccentric
with illusions of grandeur, I say:
ever since I came to terms with my own mediocrity,
I write with greater freedom.
That’s the only difference between me
and other writers and me.
#
REALITY VERSUS FANTASY
*****************************************
Sooner or later all belief systems and ideologies
fall into the hands of cynical manipulators, opportunists,
power-hungry mediocrities and their assorted dupes
who at all times and everywhere outnumber decent human beings
who can think for themselves.
*
The history of Christianity was written
not by Christ and his Apostles but by Popes and Martin Luther
(“a wild boar” in the words of a contemporary pope).
*
The history of nationalism was written not by Mazzini
but by the likes of Mussolini, Franco, and Hitler.
*
The history of the British Empire was written
not by “gentlemen” but by “shopkeepers” (Napoleon).
*
Had Marx foreseen the Gulag,
my guess is he would have burned DAS KAPITAL.
*
To speak of religion and ideologies
and to emphasize the role of their founders
at the expense of their successors
is to engage in high-altitude thinking,
that is to say, to inhabit a world
of abstractions, fantasy, and propaganda.
#
WINNERS AND LOSERS
*************************************
In a jungle documentary on TV I saw
nine lions attacking a buffalo and devouring it
even as it was defending itself.
It made me think of the medieval Armenian heresy
– the Paulicians I think – who believed
the world was created not by God but the Devil.
If I am not mistaken, the foremost authority on this heresy
is an Armenian who is quoted frequently
in Toynbee big book, CONSTANTINE PORPHYROGENITUS.
*
If you speak the truth,
liars will conspire against you.
To remain silent when liars conspire against you
amounts to joining their conspiracy.
*
Pirandello: “If you confront a man with his own image,
there will arise a crisis.”
It follows; understanding oneself
cannot be a pleasant experience.
Which is why most people are dupes
who prefer to live in a world of lies;
and if the lie is delivered by a king or pope,
or for that matter, boss, bishop or benefactor,
and contradicted by a scribbler who can’t make ends meet,
guess who will be the winner or loser.
#
PROBLEMS (XXXII)
***********************************
Our main problem is not “brainless leaders” (Avedik Issahakian)
but brainless leaders who have been brainwashed to believe
they are the brains of the people.
*
Happy is the man who believes
he cannot be contradicted – also a damn fool.
*
Charles Peguy: “Fame potentially is the dictatorship of reputation
and therefore always potentially impure.”
Which is why I prefer to be just an honest witness
with a name that has the double demerit of being
difficult to remember and pronounce,
and identified me as someone who
(to quote a good friend) bears a Turkish “damgha” (seal).
Or even better – as a reader from the Homeland once put it:
“Baliozoghlu, you are no better than a piece of ****.”
*
You may gather by now that our Sovietized brothers and sisters
don’t like to stand on ceremony.
In their eyes we of the Diaspora might as well be
white trash (“aghber”).
*
But then, nobody ever said to be an honest Armenian
comes without a price.
To console myself I remember an often repeated
Hollywood phrase: “It may be **** but it has integrity.”
#


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Old 13.07.2013, 15:46   #452
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Saturday, July 13, 2013
****************************************
GOOD NEWS
********************
The good news is:
silencing dissent is no longer as easy as it used to be.
*
THE RIGHT QUESTION
*********************************
When something goes wrong, I no longer ask
“Who is to blame?” but what was my contribution.
*
FREEDOM
*********************
Freedom is overrated by slaves.
Consider what we have been doing with ours.
*
LINES
********************
There is a line that divides knowledge from ignorance,
and the line is invisible.


Whenever a line is invisible
men will imagine they can see it
because they have 20/20 vision.
*
MEN AND WOMEN
********************************
Some men are more like women
and some women are more like men.
Or, as the Turkish saying has it:
“Among ten men nine are sure to be women.”
Beware of men who stress their masculinity
and women who rely too much on their femininity:
they are up to no good.
#
FORGIVE MY FRENCH
***********************************
“Morsi was democratically elected.”
He was, yes, to be a servant of the people,
all the people and not a fraction of it
that tends to view all others as heretics and infidels,
that is to say, the lowest scum on earth.
*
And speaking of scum:
to be democratically elected does not mean
to have a license to amass a fortune by means of thievery.
*
During World War II the French called Petain,
their head of state, “putin,” or is it “putain” (forgive my French)
because he collaborated with Hitler.
*
As long as our bishops enjoy the support of a bene****tor
why should they give a damn about the collection plate?
And as long as our “Putains”enjoy Putin’s support,
why should they give a damn about serving the people?
#
EXPLANATIONS
********************************
If you decide that the men at the top can be trusted
because they know better, you have no choice but to believe that
even when they lie, cheat, and steal they do so for your own good.
*
Speaking of misplaced trust and the men at the top:
Not only did they slaughter indiscriminately
they also wanted to collect the insurance money.
They thought they could fool odars as easily
as they had fooled Armenians for centuries.
*
To a politician, ideas can be useful only in so far as
they can be exploited as effective tools of deception.
*
It is myself that I criticize in others.
What I really say is:
I was there once and I was dead wrong.
If I have lived long enough to tell the tale
It may be because I am just about the luckiest man on earth.
I have no other explanation.
#


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Old 17.07.2013, 15:06   #453
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
*******************************
Q/A
***************************
Q: What do Christians, Muslims,
Nazis and Stalinists have in common?
A: Their most cherished ideas
– ideas for which they have killed and died –
are propaganda.
What they think to be more real than reality itself
is pure fiction.
Their greatest truths are big lies.
This is not an opinion on my part.
This is what they themselves believe about one another.
*
The greatest offenses against God and men
are inflicted with total lack of awareness.
*
Warning: Be aware of what you believe in:
it may kill you.
# DIARY
************************
Two new books of conversations – my favorite genre –
with Orson Welles and Ava Gardner.
The only book by Goethe that I enjoyed reading
is his CONVERSATIONS WITH ECKERMANN.
*
In life when the predictable happens
it does so in an unpredictable manner.
*
Turcocentrism is our present opium.
*
Silenced by rabbis, Jesus brought forth
the papacy and the Dark Ages.
All actions have unintended consequences.
*
I have never killed anyone.
That doesn’t mean I don’t harbor a cold-blooded killer
within me.
*
Am I right or wrong?
Or rather:
What if I am right?
*
If I lied it’s because I was a dupe of lies.
*
If I can write a single readable line a day,
I am satisfied.
*
We don’t have critics.
What we have are hirelings
writing in defense of their source of income.
#
OBSERVATIONS
*****************************
Like Pollyanna I like to see the best in the worst.
Revolutions?
When the men at the top start killing one another
it can’t be all bad.
*
When a million people believe in the same lie
they build a cathedral to prove its truth.
*
The best argument against nationalism
is not even an argument but a simple statement of fact:
“I only know the skin of the earth,
And that it has no name” (Pablo Neruda).
*
There is nothing new under the sun.
Neither is there anything new
in what I have been saying.
And yet, some of my readers like to pretend otherwise.
*
Our leaders have been wrong so consistently
and for such a long time that it must be ascribed
to some kind of special gift
rather than a failing or a vice.
#
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************
God and religion are here to stay?
So are understanding, tolerance, and men
who place doubt above the certainty of dogmas.
*
Role models?
I didn’t have any.
All my role models were negative –
I didn’t want to be like them.
*
“Some day I will write a book on the subject
and prove you wrong.”
An Armenian will say anything to win an argument.
*
A faithful member of the Party:
” What you say is wrong.
We believe in free speech.
None of my articles has ever been rejected or altered.”
*
A self-assessed smart Armenian is an idiot.
*
About the 1%:
creating or killing jobs is not their central concern.
Money is.
*
When I was a fascist I didn’t know I was one.
*
Persian saying:
“It is better to be in chains with friends
than in a garden with strangers.”
#


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Old 20.07.2013, 16:12   #454
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Thursday, July 18, 2013
***************************************
ON WRITERS AND WRITING
**********************************
It has been observed that
one of the most frequently used words
in the Armenian language is “kidem” (I know).
There is very little that an Armenian doesn’t know
and that little cannot be worth knowing.
*
The average Armenian
(assuming such a creature exists)
has nothing but contempt for writers
except when he decided to be one himself.
*
The ambition of every Armenian writer is
to become famous in the odar world;
as for being famous among Armenians:
Who in his right mind would want to be a target
of verbal abuse, betrayal, starvation, and an early death?
*
Style is being yourself provided of course
you know who you are and where you are going.
*
If you read me because you want to feel proud
as an Armenian, you’ve got the wrong man.
You want pride?
Read Charents and ignore his killers.
*
To write means to introduce meaning
into countless fragments of reality.
No one can do justice to all the fragments
if only because only God knows all of them.
*
I know where I am going;
I also know most of my readers don’t want to go there
because it is against their religion,
and their religion is a watered down cocktail
of phony patriotism and verbal piety
with very little alcoholic content.
#
NOTES & COMMENTS
************************************
Our environment,
the very environment we have created,
can church out only unprincipled mediocrities.
If you want to achieve excellence
you have no choice but to work
in an alien environment.
*
When I was young and happy,
I wanted to be happier because I thought
I deserved better or so I liked to believe.
But gradually I learned that happiness,
true happiness, means coming to terms
with one’s misery.
*
Our genocide in the Ottoman Empire
had a beginning and an end.
The moral collapse of our leadership has neither.
What it has instead is a millennial history
of gradual decline and degeneration
with no end in sight.
#
FF
******************************
When two dissimilar intellects
separated by time and space
agree on an idea, it is safe to assume
that there must be some truth in it.
*
Case in point:
Tolstoy: “The higher I rise in the opinion of others,
the lower I sink in my own.”
*
Saint-Simon: “My self-esteem has always increased
in direct proportion to the damage I was doing
to my reputation.”
*
In today’s parlance:
“F*ck fame!”
#


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Old 27.07.2013, 15:32   #455
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Thursday, July 25, 2013
**********************************
NOTES & COMMENTS
**********************************
“You are not an Armenian writer!”
I consider that a compliment.
I don’t write as an Armenian.
I write as a human being.
There is no merit in being a member of an exclusive club
at the expense of your humanity.
*
As a child I was exposed
to many lectures on obedience and respect,
but I don’t remember a single occasion
in which subservience was mentioned.
*
If only I could count the number of times
I should have said nothing
instead of saying the wrong thing.
*
I am suspicious of men say “I know”
more often than “I don’t know.”
*
The only time I feel sure about my moral stance
is when I act against my own interests.
*
Nobody can be as free as a nobody.
The higher you rise,
the heavier the chains.
*
We have no choice but to admit that
we have played a central role in our history –
in our defeats (countless)
as well as victories (very few),
in our tragedies (without number)
as well we comedies (one or at most two).
#
HAVE I SAID THIS BEFORE?
*****************************************
“You repeat yourself.”
“And you are an idiot.”
“Why am I an idiot?”
“Because you waste your time reading someone
who says the same thing over and over again.”
“I thought I was being helpful.”
“You want to be helpful? Say that
to our speechifiers and sermonizers.”
“Say what?”
“You repeat yourself.”
*
HE REPEATED HIMSELF
**********************************
A headline in a French magazine:
“The Zen Master was a serial killer.”
Further down: “What’s the number of his victims?
Hard to say. There are new revelations every day.”
*
EITHER/OR
*********************
Solidarity is not our forte.
Either that or we have a highly developed sense of
mutual disapproval.
*
ON BAD MARRIAGES
*******************************
Blame neither the man nor the woman.
Blame instead the games nature
(or the irresistible urge to procreate)
plays on both.
*
THE CONSOLATIONS OF MEDIOCRITY
***********************************************
“Like Shakespeare, Bach, and Vermeer,
he was not much prized by his contemporaries.”
#
ON A REVOLTING
DEVELOPMENT
************************************
My worst enemies are former best friends.
You will surprise me if you say
you are surprised.
*
ON MORAL SUPERIORITY
*******************************
Have you ever heard a morally superior man
brag about his moral superiority?
No, of course not! It never happens.
Only pimps and ****s brag about their moral superiority.
Something similar could be said of patriotism.
Whenever an Armenian brags about
the superior brand of his patriotism
I know his next move will be
to crap on me – in the name of patriotism, of course!
*
THEM & US
**************************************
If you can’t brainwash them, silence them.
If you can silence them, why reason with them?
If they are silenced, who will listen to them?
#


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Old 31.07.2013, 15:00   #456
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Sunday, July 28, 2013
************************************
DIARY
********************
Because our youth in the Homeland
was galvanized by petty cash,
some thought that cause for celebration.
As a skeptic with a touch of pessimism
in all things Armenian, all I am prepared to say is,
“Inshallah!”
*
I have no reason to trust Turkish or Azeri patriotism.
Neither do I trust American, German, or Russian patriotism.
Now then, tell me please,
why should I trust Armenian patriotism?
*
One good thing about old age:
the end can’t be too far
and the end of a bad thing
is bound to be good.
*
Muslims don’t respect one another
but they are unanimous in demanding the respect
of the world, including and above all the respect of infidels.
Are we different?
# NEXT DAY
************************
On Armenian TV today
an interview with a community leader from Greece
named Kurdoghlian – probably Kurdoghlanian
(literally son of a Kurd).
*
Question: Will we ever know how many
of our community leaders are odars or even Turks
(according to one of our elder statesmen)
who speak Armenian fluently?
Please note that I have nothing against odars.
As an Armenian I am even flattered that
some of them choose to work for us.
Unless of course the only reason they do so
is that the pay is good; or as a community
we are too ignorant, backward, and naïve
to tell the difference between a good leader
and one that is both corrupt and incompetent
in addition to being a habitual and compulsive liar.
*
11th COMMANDMENT
**********************************
“Thou shalt not look up to dividers
for moral and political guidance.”
*
ON EXPLANATIONS
******************************
We say an explanation makes sense
only when it runs parallel
to our limitations and prejudices.
#
REFLECTIONS
**********************************
Blunders are not planned.
They are more like unintended consequences of our ignorance,
inaudible echoes of our limitations,
and invisible reflections of our stupidity and arrogance.
*
The biggest mistake we make
is to assume that man is a reasonable being.
In reality Homo sapiens is less sapiens
and more ignoramus.
*
The rotten apple false.
Time is the true revolutionary.
But unlike Chopin’s Etude,
its tempo is Adagio molto.
*
I criticize myself in others.
*
The function of literature is to say
what everyone suspects to be true.
#
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*******************************************
To stand on your own feet
does not mean to step on someone else’s throat.
*
Old age: not a confrontation but a siege.
*
If luck is on your side
even your liabilities become assets.
*
My first job at the age of seven or eight
was that of an apprentice to a blacksmith
in the neighborhood.
I didn’t think of it as work.
I even looked forward to it.
*
To be a Romanian, according to Saul Steinberg,
means to “carry a curse, the place from which you come,
we carry it inside us. It doesn’t heal easily. Maybe never.”
*
The astonishing ease with which we make false assumptions
about ideas, people, oneself.
Every devout believer is convinced
anyone who does not share his belief is wrong,
maybe even in cahoots with the devil.
*
An academic once tried to explain to me
why a poem by Hardy was a masterpiece.
I felt as though I was being taught a new language.
*
In the last pages of Richard Burrton’s diary
many entries consist of a single word: “Booze…”
At one point he writes:
“Both Elizabeth’s and my manners are appalling…”
*
When asked what he reads, Glenn Gould is said to have replied:
“Everything by Thomas Mann, Kafka, and the Russians…”
#

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Old 03.08.2013, 15:22   #457
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Saturday, August 03, 2013
*****************************************
OLD WOUNDS
***************************
Smart Armenians give up on their fellow Armenians
at an early age, but, in Saroyan’s words,
“mothers hang in forever.”
*
I don’t take myself seriously except when
I quote or paraphrase better men than myself,
if you know what I am saying…
*
Since I never made more than minimum wage
I cannot be accused of exploiting anyone;
and yet, I have been called a capitalist
by some of my detractors probably because
I don’t allow my income bracket
to determine my writing style.
*
The overwhelming majority of regimes today,
including the most advanced, civilized democracies
are either corrupt or incompetent or both;
and the overwhelming majority of people
are either dupes or greedy for either money or power
and probably both.
I am reminded of Southern rednecks
who used to deliver speeches in praise
of “Anglo-Saxon democracy”
and against “Jews, Catholics and niggers.”
Old wounds or new cancer?
#
GRANDMASTERS
OF THE BLAME GAME
*************************************************
In the Decalogue of our leadership
there is only one commandment repeated ten times:
“Thou shalt not assume responsibility.”
*
If you can blame it on bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians
or the degenerate West or even our mountains and rivers
and Almighty God Himself, why plead guilty as charged?
*
Who in his right mind would be against
one nation under God?
The answer must be obvious: the opposition!
*
Because I write against dividers
I am myself accused of dividing the nation.
How? Why?
Elementary my dear Watson.
I am a divider because I divide the nation
between deceivers and dupes.
*
To be a good writer, I am told,
means to see the good in everyone,
including irresponsible idiots
who recycle propaganda
and see moral victory in military defeat.
*
A member of the Party,
very much like a theologian,
is brainwashed to believe
his God is the only true God
and all others are in cahoots with the Devil.
If you believe that,
consider yourself a certified moron,
and if saying so is a crime against humanity,
I plead guilty as charged.
#

WHERE I STAND
****************************
The only way to survive as a writer in our environment
is by writing what someone else wants you to write.
The only way to become a best-seller in
America
is by writing what everyone wants to read.
I want to achieve popularity by writing
what no one wants to read.
Figure that one out if you can.
*
In his youth Thomas Mann was a nationalist;
so was Dostoevsky in his old age.
Nabokov was different:
he didn’t give a damn about czars, commissars, Mother Russia
and the Orthodox Church.
But then he went to the other extreme:
he supported McCarthy in
America
and the war in
Vietnam.
*
Sartre loathed the French bourgeoisie to such a degree
that he supported Stalin, Mao and Castro.
It takes all kinds.
*
As children we are shaped by propaganda – that is to say, lies.
As adults some of us become aware of this fact.
Many others never do.
*
Political parties win elections not because they know better
but because they are superior liars and organizers.
That’s the only way to explain the victory
of Stalinists in
Russia and fascists in Germany, Italy, Spain
and many other countries.
*
I don’t write as a writer.
I write as a layman who is on the side of victims
even when they happen to be writers with bad ideas.
*
When not systematically slaughtered by our enemies,
our writers were ignored, insults, starved, and betrayed
by our own ruling classes and the indifference of the people.
*
As you can see, I don’t happen to be one
who is easily infatuated by my fellow men
even when they happen to be my “brothers.”
#

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Old 07.08.2013, 14:55   #458
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Wednesday, August 07, 2013
******************************
CHOICES
*******************************
To live in the Homeland or in Turkey?
Thousands of Armenians today choose Turkey.
“Yes im anoush Hayastani!”
*
The God of Christians is an idol.
I didn’t say that.
Martin Luther did.
*
Two of the shortest sayings in the world:
“Adam had’em” (microbes) and
“Kirk krik” = forty broken (in Turkish).
Freely translated “at the age of forty
consider yourself half-dead.”
*
The secret of rewriting consists in deleting.
If you can say the same thing in two words,
why use three?
*
I see contradictions everywhere:
moral failure in financial success
and scratching the bottom
in reaching the top.
*
Was the beginning of our cosmos
the end of another?
Does God recycle?
*
Two kinds of readers:
the few who insult me anonymously
and the many who ignore me.
*
Very often in life our choices are not
between the good and the bad
but between the bad and the worse,
or between the worse and the worst.
#
FORGIVE MY FRENCH
*********************************
My favorite political joke consists of a brief exchange
between a speechifying Republican presidential candidate
and a heckler.
HECKLER: My grandfather was a Democrat;
my father was a Democrat;
I am a Democrat.
CANDIDATE: If your grandfather were a jackass
and your father were a jackass,
what would you be?
HECKLER: A Republican!
*
In the eyes of some we, all of us,
are no better than jackasses.
I speak from experience.
Recently I was myself called “a piece of sh*t”
by a committed patriot who spoke
in the name of the eternal snows of Mt. Ararat.
*
Like all ideologies and belief systems,
patriotism too is an instrument of deception
whose aim is to divide, exploit, and deceive dupes.
*
The key to life is cooperation.
If we are alive now it’s because of countless atoms in our body
cooperating with one another.
Let one of them deviate from its path
and the result would be catastrophic illness and death.
*
As a nation we continue to be led by individuals
who have consistently deviated from the right path
by dividing us in the name of this or that ideology
or belief system.
In their eyes we may well be no better than jackasses
who will believe everything they are told.
*
Some day in the near or distant future
a historian may be justified in describing us
as a nation of jackasses led by sh*ts –
if you will forgive my French.
#
CONTRADICTIONS (IV)
***********************************
Kipling: “When you know what you can do, do something else.”
*
What if what you do or say does not even register
on anyone’s consciousness?
What if nothing changes and when on those rare occasions
something does change, the change is more likely to be for the worse.
*
I see contradictions everywhere.
*
The most important decisions in our lives are made
behind closed doors.
*
The aristocracy does not work.
Work is for the working classes.
What the aristocracy does is create an educational system
that promotes the importance of work.
*
If exploitation and thievery are both legal and profitable
and if the 99% are more than willing to work for minimum wage,
why deprive them of the privilege?
*
What if we have created an environment in which
only liars and blood****ers prosper?
*
I see contradictions everywhere.
Readers who demand a positive approach to our affairs
blabber endless about massacres and genocide recognition.
And consider our Turcocentric ghazetajis:
the offspring of revolutionaries
who promised heaven and delivered hall;
and now they promise justice
provided of course the 99% support their efforts financially.
Mi kich pogh oughargetsek.
*
Samuel Johnson: “I can give you reasons; I can’t give you understanding.”
I should like to see an Armenian writer producing such a line.
#
“C” POWER
*************************
Louis B. Mayer on Ava Gardner:
“She has cunt power.”
(Mayer of Metro Goldwyn Mayer fame:
no doubt an expert on the subject –
he probably had more women in his stable
than the last sultan had concubines in his harem).
*
Edmund Wilson on Saroyan:
“…an agreeable mixture of San Francisco bonhomie
and Armenian Christianity.”
In what way is Armenian Christianity different
from Gringo or Negro Christianity?
I don’t know.
I suspect neither does Wilson.
*
Armenians are smart but easily moronized.
But then so is the rest of mankind.
It is not that I have a low opinion of my fellow men;
rather, I am beginning to see them
through women’s eyes and think
“Men are so stupid!” –
especially when it comes to women’s “C” power.
*
Leonard Bernstein: “Love brings on tears.”
Now I know why Bach’s Cello Suites make me cry.
#

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Old 10.08.2013, 15:29   #459
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ASSERTIONS
(MOSTLY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL)
********************************************
No one can be as stupid
as a self-ASSessed smart man in love.
*
To excel in one thing also means
to fail in a thousand others.
*
Gandhi is right: there are not atheists;
only people with different belief systems
one of which is based on the non-existence of God.
*
In the kind of world we live in,
corruption and incompetence are not seen
as crimes against humanity.
If they were, who would escape hanging?
*
Our leaders have committed so many blunders
that their capacity for them must be ascribed to a gift
rather than bad judgment.
*
No need to be afraid of what I say.
I could be wrong; and if I am
I will be the first to rejoice.
*
I have behaved like a pig
and I have behaved like a human being:
I can tell the difference.
#
IF KARL MARX…
*******************************
If Karl Marx had lived in the USSR under Stalin
and said he disagreed with Kremlin’s version of Communism
he would have been arrested by the KGB
and spent the rest of his life in the Gulag.
*
When fanatics fight it is the moderates who die.
*
When it comes to self-interest
there are no sheep, only wolves.
*
We gain nothing when we replace the Turkish master
with an Armenian master.
*
I write as I do because I am no longer dependent
on the charity of swine.
#
A LINE FROM MOLIERE
***************************************
“Are we among Turks
who lock up their women?”
*
To be too careful
may also be a mistake.
*
Marriage is the best cure for love
as suicide is the best antidote
for fear of death.
*
If reason is on our side
reality may be against us.
That may well be the most important lesson
history can teach us.
*
What doesn’t kill us may make us so sick
that we wish we were dead.
*
We live in a world where good men
are persecuted by bad men
and where the ignorant behave as if
they had a license to kill those
who may know better.
#

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Old 14.08.2013, 15:09   #460
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ON BISHOPS
******************************
To the reader who has compiled a list of bishops
who served the nation faithfully and selflessly, I say:
There are good men everywhere
but they are invariably outnumbered by the bad;
and good bishops owe their goodness not to their religion
but to their humanity, which is present in all men,
including imams, rabbis, gurus, Zen masters,
and witch doctors.
*
ON BEING HONEST
***************************
If you decide to be honest in an Armenian environment
be prepared to be called pro-Turkish or even
the “son of a Turkish wh*re.”
I speak from experience.
*
ON BEING NEGATIVE
*****************************
If I emphasize the negative it may be because
the negative should be emphasized
especially when it’s covered up.
*
ON WOMEN
***********************
Women may be real to other women
but to men they are works of fiction.
*
ON DISAGREEMENT
***************************
To those who disagree with me today I say,
in such matters what counts is tomorrow
and to live without learning is to be brain dead.
*
THE WORD OF GOD
********************************
The word of God is the word of megalomaniacs
and their archetype is Moses.
#
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Old 17.08.2013, 15:33   #461
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TAVLU

****************

As far as I know, none of my critics is an investigative reporter;

and I have every reason to suspect most of them

are no better than brainwashed ignoramuses

like myself whose mantra was:

Who the hell do you think you are

to question the honesty and wisdom of bishops and benefactors –

men of God and capital (make it, Capital and god)?

*

By the time I could afford to say

“There is some **** / I will not eat,”

I was no better than a middle-aged

wholesale dealer in chauvinist crapola.

*

I know now that writing for Armenians is a waste of time

and our writers – all 599 (or is it 722) of them –

have made no difference.

I envy Armenian writers who write for an odar audience.

Consider Raffi Khachadourian who contributes regularly

fascinating essays to the NEW YORKER.

His last essay about tavlu was published about a month ago.

I did not read it but I suspect millions around the world did.

*

If only I could convince myself writing about subjects

in which Armenians are not even mentioned.

But then, in what way writing about tavlu is different

from writing about the eternal snows of Ararat

or nightingales serenading the moon?

*

In our environment to survive as a writer

is to write not about what you see in broad daylight at high noon

but to behave like a blind man in a dark room

looking for a black hat that does not exist.


I repeat myself?

Maybe, but only to those who read everything I write religiously.

#

PORTRAIT OF AN ARMENIAN

*********************************************

Not only is he easily corruptible,

he enjoys being corrupted.

He considers it a privilege and an honor.

He is flattered to be thought of

as worthy of corruption.

But perhaps I speak of myself

as a young man.

*

I am fully aware of the fact that

my status is that of a perennial loser and failure –

very much like my people.

That may well be why I understand them better

than those who make all kinds of absurd claims

on their behalf – smart, compassionate, progressive,

civilized, generous, law-abiding, lovers of freedom,

and so on and so forth.

These claims have been made so frequently

that they are now taken for granted

and anyone who dares to question them

is dismissed as “a piece of sh*t who

doesn’t have Ararat in his heart.”

*

When death enters in the final act,

it’s a tragedy. In that sense we are all actors in a tragedy

even when we think of ourselves as comedians.

*

If I can write a readable line a day,

a good sentence once a month

or a quotable line once a year,

I am satisfied.

#

ON TYRANNY

************************

A nation can be victimized by its own corrupt leaders

as surely as by an alien tyrant.

*

ROLE MODELS

************************

My first reaction on reading a line

written by an Armenian

is to detect its hidden dishonesty.

That maybe because respect for truth

is not exactly our strong suit.

Neither was it to our most recent

role models, environments, and masters:

Turks, Soviets, the Levant, and America.

*

FOUR

******************************************

Four Armenian taboo subjects:

Dialogue, compromise, consensus, solidarity.

Four popular subjects as defined

by our political parties and Turcocentric ghazetajis:

Turks, Turks, Turks and Turks.

*

A DEFINITION OF POETRY

************************************

The encounter of two words or ideas

that have never met before –

this according to an old Indian definition.

An example that comes readily to mind:

“An Armenian

who does not have

Ararat in his heart

Is a piece of sh*t.”

There you have it:

the encounter of the purest (eternal snows)

and the filthiest (a bad Armenian).

#
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Old 24.08.2013, 15:29   #462
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INSANITY
***********************
Because the plea of insanity is not an option,
they speak of political, economic, social and cultural conditions
beyond their control.
Ask them why they keep dividing and subdividing the nation,
they will say it’s the opposition that does that.
Ask them why they hate to assume responsibility,
and they will call you “a piece of sh*t who doesn’t have
Mt.Ararat in his heart.”
*
DEMOCRACY
******************************
In a democracy there is always a remote possibility
that the right thing will be said and done.
*
ON WRITING
*************************
Gide is right: writing gets progressively more difficult.
Mann is also right when he says writing is difficult
especially for a writer.
*
MY AMBITION
************************
To write prose and verse that is as accessible
as “to be or not to be,”
“Our Father who art in heaven,” and
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
*
NOTHING NEW
**************************
Everything that needs to be said has been said.
All we can do now is quote, paraphrase, abridge, repeat,
and when necessary, expand.
#
ENEMIES
**************************
If my enemy’s enemy is my friend,
what about his friends?
Who would have thought Turks
would have more friends in Washington than us,
even after millions of dollars wasted on politicians?
*
AT HOME IN THE WORLD
**************************************
Some people are born equipped for life.
I wasn't. Never learned how.
Never felt at home in the world.
Who represents Armenians more:
our fat-bellied bosses, bishops, and benefuctors
or our starving poets?
*
TIME
******************
It will take time, they say,
assuming time to be on their side.
It wasn't in the Ottoman Empire.
Neither was it in the USSR and the Middle East,
nor even in our own beloved homeland.
*
MONEY
**********************
Making money: I can’t imagine anything more degrading.
The only reason I made money was to quit making money.
*
JUSTICE
***************
A headline in this morning’s paper reads:
“Access to justice in Canada ‘abysmal’ law group report says.”
So is everywhere else, alas!
#
THE WORD & THE SWORD
*************************************
The OLD TESTAMENT and DAS KAPITAL are,
without any doubt, two books that changed the world
and almost everyone in it.
*
Who reads Hegel today?
Only a handful of academics
who do not always agree on what he said
or meant to say.
And yet Hegel fully qualifies as one
of the most influential philosophers of all time
if only because Marx is unthinkable without him.
*
What did Dante and Shakespeare change?
Only the lives of a few translators.
There are twenty-two published English translations
of Dante and a new one (by Clive James)
has just come out.
*
Hitler’s MEIN KAMPF and
Thomas Mann’s THE MAGICMOUNTAIN:
which has been more influential?
The only thing I can say
with any degree of certainty is that,
like the Good Lord, the“word” moves
in mysterious ways
and literary merit is not one of them.
#
UNFORGETTABLE LINES
**********************************************
“In a forest it rains twice”(German saying).
*
There are some lines that once heard or read
are never forgotten.
Lines from movies:
“I am going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
“The cat is in the bag and the bag is in the river.”
“Gee, I wish we had one of those Doomsday machines.”
*
Closer to home:
“Treason and betrayal are in our blood” (Raffi).
*
“The end is another beginning” (Baruir Sevag).
*
“To the poor everyone is generous with advice.”
*
“Pigs never see the stars.”
*
“Truth is a language that if not spoken is forgotten” (Hagop Baronian).
*
“Every Armenian has another Armenian
whom he considers his mortal enemy” (Derenik Demirjian).
*
“You write a hit play
the same way that you write a flop” (Saroyan).
*
“Let us learn to be human by observing animals” (Aramais Sahakian).
*
“He was a very passionate man. He was an Armenian” (Chekhov).
*
“You must burn in order to enlighten” (Toumanian).
#
Q/A
**************
If we were introduced to our self as seen by others,
would we recognize him?
*
ONLY IN ARMENIA
*******************************
Can you win a political election
if you have the personality of a non-person
and the charisma of a robot?
That question has been answered in Armenia.
*
THE SOPRANOS
***************************
How can a non-Italian like David Chase,
creator/writer/producer of THE SOPRANOS,
know so much about Italians?
The answer: very much like Mario Puzo
he is Italian and his real name is DiCesare.
For more on the subject see DIFFICULT MEN
by Brett Martin (New York. 2013).
*
THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING NOSE
***********************************************
In her biography of SAUL STEINBERG (New York, 2012)
Deirdre Bair speaks of“Armenian noses,
one bigger than the other”(page 355).
I once heard one of our political activists say:
“Our political parties have played a key role
in the preservation of our identity in the Diaspora.”
If the case of our disappearing proboscis is an index,
they have been doing a lousy job.
#
ON FAITH
*************************
Faith is not what it pretends to be.
Faith is an imaginary antidote to imaginary fears.
*
ANSWERS
**********************
To readers who say they don’t always understand
my kind of writing, I say what I was told by adults
whenever I asked an inconvenient question:
“You will find out when you grow up.”
*
ON BEING TRANSPARENT
***********************************
If we are an open book to others,
it may be because we brag too much.
Only idiots brag about what they don’t have.
Smart, progressive, Christian?
Don’t make me laugh!
*
HATRED UNTO DEATH
**********************************
In his last book MORTALITY (New York, 2012)
the late Christopher Hitchens regrets his early death
from cancer because, he writes, he will not have the pleasure
of reading “the obituaries of elderly villains
like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger.”
I like that. I prefer honest hatred
to dishonest sermons on forgiveness and love.
*
BAD ADVICE
**********************
When told to be more tolerant and positive, I say,
I refuse to entertain sentiments I don’t have.
In the name of what, may I ask?
To flatter the swollen egos of morally bankrupt nonentities?
*
EMPTY BOAST
********************
“No one understands Turks as well as we do!”
Oshagan once bragged. My question is:
What did we do with our superior brand
of knowledge and understanding except
wait until it was too late?
#

PEZEVENGS (corrected version)
*******************************
There is a type of self-assessed “authentic” Armenian,
born and raised in the shadow of Mt.Ararat,
who views diasporan Armenians with Turkish surnames
as second-class citizens or“white niggers”
in need of his political and cultural guidance.
*
Thoroughly stupefied, brainwashed and
moronizedby Kremlin propaganda
this so-called first-class pure-blooded specimen
whose preferred medium is Russian
operates on the assumption that
the USSR was a more civilized place
than the Ottoman Empire
and Stalin a morally superior butcher
than the Sultan and Talaat.
*
Therefore, in solidarity with
my Dajgahayer (Turkish-Armenian)
brothers and sisters
I plan to change my surname
from Baliozian to Baliozoghlu.

#
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Old 28.08.2013, 15:10   #463
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WE ARE A NATION
*********************************
We are a nation that has suffered genocide.
Delete the Genocide from our history
and our collective profile would disintegrate
into fragments or tribes that have been
loyal and obedient servants to first-class swine.
*
It addition to a profile the Genocide has also given us
a rallying point, not to say full-time jobs
to scholars, teachers, Turcocentric ghazetajis,
fund-raisers, Genocide-Recognition tax collectors,
activists, lobbyists, and memoirists.
*
Don’t misunderstand me.
I am not implying we should be grateful to the perps.
I am only saying let’s give the Devil his due.
*
All professions, we are told,
are “conspiracies against the laity.”
We have all heard of cynics
who use someone else’s crucifixion
to make a comfortable living.
The blame-gave is the favorite sport
of our leadership.
Zohrab tells us it is a mistake
to confront our problems
with lamentation.
*
I am not casting aspersions.
All I am saying is
as human beings
we share the frailties of our species.
We are not a morally superior nation.
But we are a nation.
We…
#
TURKS QUOTE ME?
******************************
That may be because my critics
keep calling me a “denialist.”
*
You expect me to believe you are
a dedicated and selfless patriot?
But my belief system tells me
“the better they classify themselves,
the worse they are.”
*
You want to know what I think of Arabs
and Muslims in general?
All I know about them is that
they want to be loved by the world
even as they hate one another unto death.
Could something similar be said of us?
*
You say everything I say about Armenians
proves that I don’t know them,
I don’t understand them,
I can’t stand them.
So what’s wrong with that?
The people have consistently rejected,
even betrayed and starved our writers.
If you don’t like the word justice,
how about retaliation?
Unless of course you are one of those
who can dish it out but can’t take it.
#
POLITICIANS
****************************
An American mayor on TV
when told she doesn’t behave like a politician:
“That’s because I am not a politician.
I am a public servant.”
*
WISDOM
******************
To read the unwritten and to hear the unsaid
are the beginning of all wisdom.
*
DISAGREEMENTS
**************************
When an honest man disagrees with me
I begin by questioning the validity of my own convictions.
But when a crook disagrees with me
I feel vindicated.
*
THEY ARE AHEAD OF US
**********************************
Turks have produced their share of dissidents
because they know what compulsive and habitual liars
their politicians and academics are.
*
I REPEAT MYSELF?
*****************************
So does our reality!
*
Q/A
*****************
Did he use poison gas against his own people,
including women and children?
An irrelevant question.
He is guilty as hell because
his father is his role model.
He thinks he can save the nation
by reducing its cities to rubble.
He enjoys the support of imams and Putin.
Like all dictators, including their Muslim variants,
he is a natural-born killer.
*
VOLTAIRE SPEAKS
**************************
“…and because it was a religious war,
there were no survivors.”
#
POLITICS ABC
*************************
There are divisions everywhere,
even within the family unit.
A healthy family is one in which
divisions are reconciled by means
of mutual tolerance, understanding,
compromise and consensus.
*
Divisions are symptoms of failure in leadership.
Reconciling differences is one
of the most important functions of the state.
*
To assume that you can stifle discontent
and impose harmony by force or massacre
is an Ottoman misconception.
*
Compromise and consensus don’t happen on their own.
They are man-made. In politics
they are results of competent statesmanship.
*
The Syrian leadership had several decades
during which to reconcile its internal conflicts and differences.
It failed to do so.
What’s happening today is a consequence of that failure.
*
The blame-game explains nothing.
Its sole aim is to deny failure and reject responsibility.
*
Honesty is a universal and invisible empire.
We are either its citizens or cowardly liars
who refuse to face facts and deal with reality.
#


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Old 31.08.2013, 15:21   #464
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IMMORTALITY
********************************
On the radio this morning
when asked if he believes in immortality,
a self-described “Christian agnostic” replied:
“Only in the sense that my DNA will survive
in my children and grandchildren.”
*
WISDOM OF OLD AGE
*******************************
Once upon a time I sought the company
of fellow Armenians.
Now I avoid them.
Ignorance is a luxury only the young can afford.
*
TWO BIBLES
*********************
There are two Bibles:
God’s (written)
and the Devil’s (unwritten).
The first is used for sermons.
*
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
********************************
Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould
after he played
Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto:
“You played so beautifully in the cadenza
that I almost came in my pants.”
*
IMMORTALITY (II)
**********************************
I have already lived twice as long
as the average Armenian writer.
That’s long enough for me.
#
TRIBALTHINKING
**********************************
If Assad is on our side,
he can no wrong.
If the rebels are against us
they can do nothing right.
The mindset of tribal people
without a moral compass.
*
UNGRATEFUL BASTARD!
*************************************
Because I diagnosed him
as a sado-masochistic fascist
and an advanced case of narcissism,
he refuses to talk to me.
Instead of gratitude for saving him
from many trips to the shrink,
I am treated as a hostile witness.
But then, no one has ever said
gratitude is our strong suit.
*
SHARING WISDOM
**************************
Some readers refuse to share their wisdom with me.
They only say “You know nothing and understand even less,”
or words to that effect.
Throughout our millennial history
our writers have been misunderstood, ignored,
rejected, abused, starved, even betrayed
and murdered by the people and their representatives.
So they can dish it out but they can’t take it?
*
PREVENTING MEASURE
**********************************
There is a park, a lake, and a river a block from my house.
To prevent anyone from crapping on my grave
I have decided to have my ashes scattered in one of them.
#
ON THE RISE & FALL OF EMPIRES
*************************************************
Two thousand years ago
-- give and take a decade or two –
England was part of the Roman Empire.
Who could have predicted then
that from the ashes of one empire
another would rise?
*
What will the world look like
two thousand years from now?
If the Turks acquired an empire of their own,
why not the Zulus?
*
What if after long centuries
of degradation, darkness, and filth
a new generation of Armenians says enough is enough!
We want our own place in the sun.
We want to choose our own allies
and, with their cooperation and help,
our own empire?
*
As I write, we are witnessing the gradual collapse
of the American and Russian empires.
Who will replace them?
Can anyone guess?
When it comes to the rise and fall of empires,
your guess or anyone else’s is as good as mine.
*
To say we will never have an empire of our own
is as absurd as to say we will.
I choose to say neither.
What I say is, in the realm of possibilities
nothing is impossible.
Or, in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre:
“As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me,
but what they can become.”
#
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Old 04.09.2013, 14:51   #465
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VIGNETTES
**************************
As a child I had the IQ of a parrot
and the understanding of an ape.
*
More often than not
lies make more sense than the truth.
*
Fiction is more predictable than reality.
*
We will never know all the consequences
of our actions and words.
*
A child will believe everything he is told
by an adult.
*
Superstitions acquired in childhood
are never abandoned.
*
Children educated by rabbis, imams, and bishops
will grow up to be Jewish, Muslim, and Christian respectively.
*
Human conflicts begin in the cradle
and end in the grave.
*
There is no law that says
it is criminal to deceive children.
*
Wars and massacres are planned and executed
by ruthless operators who speak in the name of God
that is merciful and compassionate.
*
Whoever said Planet Earth is the insane asylum
of a distant galaxy knew what he was saying.
*
Am I right or wrong?
I don’t know and I don’t care to know.
My past is an encyclopedia of blunders:
one more will make no difference.
#
CONSIDER SYRIA
*********************************
We are perennial dupes because
we are satisfied with easy explanations.
Turks massacred us because they are evil.
We are a progressive nation because
we were first to convert to Christianity.
We are smart because
“it takes seven Jews to fool an Armenian.”
Russians are our Big Brothers.
*
All these explanations that have acquired
the status of slogans can be easily torn to shreds
by anyone with a single-digit IQ
and a superficial knowledge of history.
*
Case in point:
what’s the use of being smart in the market place
if we are idiots in politics?
And if we are idiots in politics
what’s the use of being smart anywhere else?
*
Turks are evil?
Can you name a nation that has not committed massacres?
And if you can’t name one,
consider Syria and the fact that
most Armenians support the massacres.
*
As for Russians being our brothers:
Russians are nobody’s brothers,
not even their own.
#
COMMON SENSE & HISTORY
********************************************
In their initial phase
my greatest blunders appeared to me
as triumphs of logic and common sense.
*
When the distribution of wealth is uneven
there will be benefactors;
and where there are benefactors
brown-nosers will prosper.
*
In a dishonest environment
honesty will be perceived as a capital offense.
Common sense may be against me
but history is with me.
*
To say we need solutions
is to conspire with habitual and compulsive liars.
*
One of our most cherished ideas:
If you can blame it on others,
why assume responsibility?
*
In political and religious propaganda
lies make more sense than the truth.
What is the truth?
I don’t know and I may never know it.
I am neither a prophet nor a messiah.
I am only a scribbler whose sole function is
exposing lies and liars.
#
QUESTION I
******************************
Which is worse or more damaging
to the economy of a nation :
street crime or dishonest chief executive officers?
*
QUESTION II
**********************
Which is worse or more damaging
to our survival as a nation:
what the Turks did to us at the turn of the last century
or what our own political leadership has been doing to us
for the last two thousand years?
*
ON STYLE
************************
Charlatans are long-winded.
Be brief. If what you say makes sense
you don’t need a defense attorney.
*
SLOGANS
******************
We preach “freedom or death”
but practice life at all cost,
no matter how degraded and dehumanized.
*
CONFESSION
**********************
Like everyone else I was born stupid
and I was educated to say “yes, sir!” to idiots
until I realized that stupidity is
neither an asset nor a terminal condition.
#
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