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Old 26.05.2010, 15:28   #1
Бакалавр
 
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Default reflections

May 23, 2010
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REFLECTIONS
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One way to explain our misfortunes is to say that we are a nation of dupes at the mercy of windbags. Naregatsi, a harmless, solitary monk, accusing himself of all kinds of unspeakable aberrations; and Zarian in his youth pretending to believe Armenia was the messiah of nations.
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For many years I couldn't tell the difference between truth and propaganda. It took me not just years but decades to see that to be a man with “leadership qualities” means first and foremost to be an accomplished deceiver.
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Judging by the number of catastrophes mankind confronts today – from religious wars to global warming and overpopulation – we may know more but we understand less. Perhaps the price of greater knowledge is a diminished understanding. Speaking for myself: whenever I thought I knew better I committed a catastrophic blunder.
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Men have been talking about women since the beginning of time and they still can't figure them out. What does that tell you about the state of human knowledge and understanding?
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Shaw said, “All professions are conspiracies against the laity.” When Americans say “What's your racket?” they mean the same thing. I like the American version better if only because it's shorter.
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Censorship reduces men to sheep at the mercy of wolves who pretend to be sheepdogs.
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I wonder if I will live long enough to read an Armenian weekly in which Turks are not mentioned.
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Some Turks are so narrow-minded and fanatical that they believe all infidels will burn in hell. They have their counterparts among Armenians.
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May 24, 2010
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LOUIS XIV SPEAKS
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“Ah, if I were not king, I should lose my temper.”
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“Has God forgotten what I have done for him?”
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“I very nearly had to wait.”
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“Every time I fill a vacant office I make ten malcontents and one ingrate.”
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EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794), English historian:
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"I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect."
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ARAB PROVERB
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"The ass went seeking for horns and lost his ears."
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KURDISH PROVERB
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"Those who do not go to war roar like lions."
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A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART
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Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian writer who hated his fellow Austrians with a passion. No other writer has been as relentless as he in his excoriation of his fellow countrymen. Our Raffi too was very critical of Armenians but in his fiction he also created a good number of heroes and noble specimens of humanity. Baronian, Odian, and Massikian couched their attacks in humor and satire. Zarian's trajectory from great expectations to despair and disgust was gradual and he was careful to confide his denunciations in his correspondence with friends, diaries and notebooks that were published only posthumously. Thomas Bernhard's hatred seems to have been born in his cradle and continued all the way to his grave at the age of 58. But since he was widely translated and admired throughout the world, the Austrians had little choice but to award him a prestigious literary prize in the hope of that flattery may mollify him. It had the opposite effect. In his acceptance speech Bernhard delivered such a scathing attack on Austrian double-talk, mediocrity, intolerance, and fascism that the Austrian Minister of Culture and half of the audience walked out on him. I dare you not to love and admire such a man!
#
THREE POEMS
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BY NOUSHIG MIKAELYAN
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translated by a. baliozian
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1.
May you laugh
as much as I have wept.
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Do you think
you can laugh that much?
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2.
On a dead tree
There was a single branch in bloom
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They cut off that branch.
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3.
“WE LOVE EACH OTHER,”
THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY WE DO
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We love each other
But you don't trust me
Neither do I trust you.
You think
If I come to you
I will leave you
And I think
if you come to me
You will leave me.
You there
Me here
Afraid of losing each other
We go on living
and it's been centuries
since we last met.
#
May 25, 2010
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READING PROUST
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“But to wander thus among the woods of Roussainville without a peasant girl to embrace was to see the woods and yet know nothing of their secret treasure, their deep hidden beauty.”
I cannot help wondering, why is it that it took world literature three thousand years to produce such a sentence.
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“Others are often better informed about our life than we think.”
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“The pleasure an artist gives is to make us know an additional universe.”
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“The dispelling of an error gives us an additional sense.”
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READING BETRAND RUSSELL
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On Lytton Strachey's EMINENT VICTORIANS:
“I read it again to myself in prison. It caused me to laugh so loud that the officer came round to my cell, saying I must remember that prison is a place of punishment.”
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"Often and often, a marriage hardly differs from prostitution, except being harder to escape from.”
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On speechifiers: “The human race has not hitherto discovered any method of eradicating moral defects; preaching and exhortation only add hypocrisy to the previous list of vices.”
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On envy: “Instead of deriving pleasure from what he has, the envious person derives pain from what others have.”
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FROM MY NOTBOOKS
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Bad news for our Turcocentric ghazetajis: as the number of tragedies around the world goes up, the magnitude of our own goes down. This phenomenon is also known as "compassion fatigue." As a result, the more we talk about our tragedy, the more sympathizers we lose. I suggest therefore, "Less is more."
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Our Turcocentric ghazetajis remind me of the survivors of another holocaust in the Old Testament who looked back and turned into pillars of salt.
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It is not easy educating those who are infatuated with their own ignorance.
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I have written over a thousand commentaries and letters and I am proud to announce none of them ends with Comrade Panchoonie's punch line, "Mi kich pogh oughargetsek" (Send us a little money). I am thus in an excellent position to declare to my readers, "If dissatisfied, your money will be cheerfully refunded."
#
May 26, 2010
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READING SARTRE
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On dissent: “Its purpose is not the enjoyment of the reader, but his torment.”
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On Freud: “Psychoanalysis has no principles.”
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REFLECTIONS
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I don't trust a writer with a rich vocabulary. One may get drunk on words as surely as an vodka.
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No matter how hard I try I cannot believe in something that an important fraction of mankind finds it unbelievable.
Mohammad, the only true prophet of Allah.
Jesus, the only true son of God.
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If a friend "is a masterpiece of nature" (Emerson), what is an enemy if not a curse from hell?
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THREE DEFINTITIONS
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bipartisan: A resolution or policy agreed on by two opposing parties. Among us, an extremely rare occurrence of an extremely short duration.
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booboisie: From boob (fool) and bourgeoisie: the dumb middle-classes.
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bury the hatchet: From an American Indian ceremony symbolizing the end of hostilities. A ceremony that has no place in our culture, and an expression that has no equivalent in our language.
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CRITICIZING THE CRITIC
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There are many ways to belittle a writer's work and to insult a man and I have heard them all. Here are some random samples.
-You are a disgrace to your nation.
-What's your point?
-Was your mother a Turkish whore?
-You repeat yourself.
-You are a racist.
-Why don't you say something we don't know?
-A dealer in verbal crapola.
-Gobbledygook.
-You are a denialist.
-Booooooooooooring!
-You are a fool.
-Son of a bitch.
#
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