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Old 06.01.2010, 17:56   #1
Бакалавр
 
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Default Fragments

01/01/10
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FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
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In Herman Melville I come across a new word:
“sultanism,” meaning the exercise of authority with a touch of sadistic pleasure.
*
A mediocrity will be subservient to any regime or power structure that gives him a regular salary, or a title, or a uniform, or the license to persecute better men than himself: there you have it, the root of our sultanism.
*
When one of Moliere’s characters first delivered the line
“A knowledgeable fool is a greater fool than an ignoramus!”
he no doubt alienated several members of the audience.
That’s the problem with good lines:
they tend to alienate self-satisfied jackasses.
*
There are many kinds of dupes, but the worst are those
who are easily seduced by the irresistible charm of their own arguments.
*
Great nations need big lies;
small nations need bigger lies.
*
After reading one of my things,
an old friend writes: “I am glad you continue to be a patriotic Armenian.”
I don’t have the heart to tell him that I loathe patriotism.
I love honest men and loathe charlatans regardless of nationality;
and some of the worst charlatans I have met are Armenian patriots.
*
My father was a law-abiding citizen.
He never said a word against anyone.
No, not even Turks.
He kept to himself.
He kept his distance.
He didn’t see anything wrong in that.
Neither did I.
Subservience comes naturally to all Armenians.
But they don’t call it subservience.
They call it good citizenship.
They call it respect for authority.
#
01/02/10
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COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS
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All "aBush" (brainless) leaders share two things in common: (one) they overestimate their powers to the same degree that they underestimate the enemy's; and (two) they refuse to learn from history -- in Bush's cases, the war in Vietnam; in our case, the turn-of-the-century series of massacres that preceded the Genocide.
Even after their blunders are exposed, such leaders continue to have their followers and admirers. There are fascists in Italy today, Nazis in Germany, Stalinists in Russia, and skinheads all over the world.
*
If you prove to an anti-Semite that the man he hates is not a Jew, he will say, "But his teacher was." Which makes all Christians vulnerable targets of hatred.
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Loyalty becomes subservience when it says, “Yes, sir!” to idiots.
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They tell me I am anti-Armenian because I oppose idiots who pretend to be smart.
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Intolerance of dissent is a sure symptom of the fact that the foundations of the power structure are so flimsy that a single wrong word may precipitate its collapse.
#
01/03/10
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FRAGMENTS
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Non-believers who build churches,
pirates who collect art,
fornicators who preach chastity --
what I find even more offensive about our men at the top is their conviction that they are indispensable to the nation and not even remotely responsible for our misfortunes.
*
In a country of the homeless, they build cathedrals which they call Houses of God – as if God needed their housing.
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Never trust a man who lives on excellent terms with himself.
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It's amazing how much an Armenian can accomplish when he works for alien interests.
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There is a Jewish saying: “Some people are such nonentities that when they go out of a room, it feels like someone came in.” We call such people “unshook” -- literally shadowless, or men whose insignificance is such that they don't even cast a shadow.
*
On the day an Armenian enters politics,
politics gains nothing,
but Oriental carpet dealership loses something.
*
When law and order legitimize oppression, exploitation, or subservience in the name of the state, what they really legitimize is lawlessness and disorder.
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A dupe is an idiot who trusts other idiots. Consider the history of fascism communism, and nationalism.
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My definition of an idiot: anyone whose actions do more harm than good, or someone who bites more than he can chew and chokes on it.
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I don't mention names because I don't want to immortalize nonentities who make headlines today and are forgotten tomorrow.
#
01/04/10
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FRAGMENTS / II
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There is a margin of error in all our judgments. That's one way to explain the blunders of popes, imams, and self-righteous fanatics who think of themselves as infallible.
But I could be wrong.
If only we, all of us, were capable of ending all our assertions with that qualifier – I could be wrong.
*
The flunky of a national benefactor once gave me to understand that “they” were willing to “help” me, provided I followed instructions.
Because they have the cash and I have only ideas, they speak of “helping” me. Which means, they value cash more than ideas.
Which may also explain why everything they touch turns into ashes.
*
I speak as I do probably because I suffer from a rare condition known as allergy to money.
*
On more than one occasion I have been informed that those I call “flunkies” or “the scum of the earth,” are in fact honorable men.
They may be right.
I think as I do probably because I refuse to rely on the brainless for political guidance and on pimps for moral values.
*
Because he felt neglected and ignored by his audience, one of our authors once wrote a story in which a priest is caught masturbating in a public lavatory. Whereupon he was verbally assaulted and severely chastised by a wide number of outraged defenders of the faith. At one point even one of our national benefactors joined the the lynch mob. It was not so much a tempest in a teacup as a tsunami in a thimble. “I am ashed to be identified as an Armenian,” said the author, assuming the role of innocent victim. The whole situation reminded me of Oscar Wilde's dictum on fox-hunters: “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.”
*
MEMO TO OUIR ACADEMICS
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No literature, please! Just tell us what's on your mind.
#
01/05/10
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FRAGMENTS / III
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After we lose a war – and according to Saroyan we have lost them all – we call our losers heroes. There are cultures in which losers are either executed or commit suicide.
*
I love the contradictions of an honest man. I loathe even the shadow of an inconsistency in the dishonest.
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I loathe anti-Semites because they are on the side of majorities and against perennial victims. I identify with victim for two reasons: (one) I am an Armenian, and (two) I am a dissident.
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It is painful to be misunderstood. But when I think of the alternative – to be understood and appreciated by idiots – I feel much better.
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Theatrical producer Joe Papp to an uncooperative mayor: “Shakespeare should be as important as garbage collection.”
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I remember to have read somewhere: “British soldiers fight like lions, but lions led by donkeys.”
#
01/06/10
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FRAGMENTS / IV
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Like all fundamentalists, an Armenian wants to change the world but not himself. He refuses to do the possible and attempts the impossible – that is to say, to teach justice, human rights, and morality to present and former empires like the United States and Turkey that operate on the assumption they know better than a failed state like Iran, Yemen and Somalia -- states with little history of central government control; states so corrupt and inept that they shoot to kill innocent demonstrators with a legitimate grievance, or they violate the human rights of their own citizens.
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To assess oneself amounts to pronouncing a verdict of not guilty after a trial without judge, jury, and prosecution.
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American children are brought up to believe in Santa. Nothing wrong in that so long as childhood illusions are not replaced with propaganda.
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The greatest gift parents can make to their children is the gift of approaching reality without illusions.
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