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  1. #211
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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 shit 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.
    #

  2. #212
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    reality

    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.
    #

  3. #213
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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.
    #

  4. #214
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    swine

    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.
    #

  5. #215
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    tango

    Saturday, May 18, 2013
    *************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    ************************
    The average Turk is totally unaware of the fact that
    Talaat and Kemal were fascists;
    and the average Armenian has nothing but contempt
    for “bourgeois democracy” – in case you thought
    Armenians are smarter.
    *
    In our circles, as in all autocratic circles,
    refusing to kiss ass is thought of as a serious offense.
    *
    The only way to understand Armenians
    (or anyone else for that matter) is to work for them
    or to be dependent on their goodwill.
    *
    I have dealt with too many crooks
    who pretended to be honest men
    to be taken in by cheap rhetoric.
    I am anti-Armenian only in the sense that
    I am anti -myself, which I believe to be
    a more useful stance that being pro-myself.
    #
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    *******************************
    Once upon a time I had all the answers.
    That’s when I was a dupe.
    *
    To speak of an honest politician
    is like praising a vegetarian cannibal.
    *
    Some Armenians owe their life to Turks
    and some Armenian writers owe their death to Armenians.
    My ambition in life:
    to write a cheerful book about death.
    #
    IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO
    *********************************
    They behaved like bloodthirsty savages
    and we behaved like illiterate idiots
    who could not decipher the writing on the wall.
    *
    If our leaders emphasize the first (savages)
    and cover up the second (idiots)
    it’s because this cunning maneuver allows them
    to preside over another genocide (sbidak chart)
    and put the blame on economic, political,
    social, and cultural forces beyond their control.
    *
    But competent leadership consists
    in confronting and overcomin invisible historic forces
    that when left unchallenged
    can destroy not only tribes and nations
    but also empires as surely as
    bloodthirsty Asiatic barbarians on the warpath.
    #

  6. #216
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    as i see it

    Sunday, May 19, 2013
    ************************************
    HAVE A NICE DAY
    *************************** *********
    As a child I was taught there are
    two kinds of “nahadags” or martyrs:
    regular nahadags and “esh (jackass) nahadags.”
    A regular nahadag is one who dies
    in the name of a cause he believes in.
    A jackass nahadag, by contrast,
    dies in the name of a lie someone else pretends to believe in;
    or, in Sartre’s words, someone
    who “believes that he believes but he doesn’t.”
    *
    There is no such thing as an undeserved defeat
    or a moral victory. Both are fabrications of propagandists.
    Only the thoroughly and systematically moronized
    believe what their politicians tell them.
    *
    Patriotism is not an ideology
    but an intellectual disease or mass moronism.
    *
    Example of Turkish moronism:
    After engaging in the wholesale massacres of civilians,
    they plead self-defense.
    *
    Example of Armenian moronism:
    After dividing the nation
    or digging its grave
    they preach self-sacrifice, heroism, and martyrdom;
    and they are believed by systematically moronized dupes
    who have been brainwashed to believe they are smart.
    *
    Have a nice day.
    #
    BALONEY ARTISTS
    ***********************************
    Whenever I say our history has been
    a succession of blunders and catastrophes
    and we have been and continue to be
    at the mercy of traitors and collaborators with the enemy,
    I am asked: “What would you have done in their place?”
    My standard answer to that question is:
    “Very probably what they are did
    and having done so
    I would live in shame and degradation forever after.
    I wouldn’t parade as a role model to future generations
    I wouldn’t adopt a holier-than-thou stance;
    I wouldn’t delivery lectures and speeches
    on patriotism, dedication to ideals and principles,
    self-sacrifice and heroism;
    and I wouldn’t attack insult those
    who dare to speak the truth.
    *
    One of our academics once said to me:
    “I agree with everything you say
    and I promise I too will speak the truth after I retire.”
    This happened about thirty years ago
    when he was in his sixties.
    But as far as I know he has at no time
    published a single word of dissent,
    and I doubt if he ever will.
    That’s because when you work
    for an Armenian political party, organization or bureaucracy
    you sign an oath of confidentiality or secrecy.
    In effect you promise not to divulge inside information.
    Break your promise and you get no more retirement money.
    It’s all legal and above board.
    Our buggers sure know how to cover their ass.
    #
    CELEBRITIES
    ******************
    Richard Burton on John (MALTESE FALCON) Huston:
    “Huston is a simpleton. But believes himself to be a genius.
    And a self-aggrandizing liar. Cunning at it.”
    A “cunning” “simpleton?”
    *
    One reason I enjoy reading books by celebrities is that
    every other celebrity is treated like shit.
    *
    If you like malicious gossip I recommend
    CONVERSATIONS WITH TRUMAN CAPOTE.
    I forget the writer’s name – he has also written
    CONVERSATIONS WITH MARLON BRANDO.
    *
    Speaking of Capote and Brando:
    the best thing I remember to have read about Brando is Capote’s
    “The Duke in His Domain.”
    After reading it Brando wanted to kill him.
    #
    AS I SEE IT
    ***************************
    QUESTION: What kind of revolutionaries
    rely on foreign support?
    ANSWER: Armenian revolutionaries.
    *
    A question we avoid asking:
    What possessed us to trust Turks, Russians,
    and today our own bosses, bishops, and benefactors?
    *
    I believe in god
    but not in the god of
    rabbis, imams, and bishops
    Where their god enters
    propaganda is sure to follow;
    and where propaganda enters
    can a big lie be far behind?
    *
    Throughout our history,
    god (or our faith in him)
    has been the least reliable source
    of strength and support.
    *
    When it comes to god
    what matters is not how we define him
    but how our enemies define him –
    especially if they have bigger battalions.
    #

  7. #217
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    Thursday, May 23, 2013
    **************************************
    CHEKHOV
    *********************
    In one of his short stories Chekhov writes
    (I quote/paraphrase from memory):
    “You are saying man is the architect of his own happiness
    and I am saying if you had a toothache
    and a shrew as a mother-in-law
    you would sing a different tune.”
    *
    DANTE AND SHAKESPEARE
    *****************************************
    There is a type of writer whose every statement
    needs a footnote
    whose every footnote needs a commentary,
    and whose every commentary
    needs an explanation.
    And then there is a type of writer
    whose statements mean what they say
    preferably in monosyllables,
    like “To be or not to be.”
    *
    WHAT IS LITERATURE
    ********************************
    The function of a writer, I was brought up to believe,
    is to make the reader feel good and proud of his identity.
    I know now that a writer is neither a comedian
    nor an entertainer.
    *
    KURDISTAN
    *****************************
    The projected map of a future Kurdistan
    looks surprisingly like Armenia
    only twice as big.
    *
    OPTIONS
    *********************
    Between a past we cannot change
    and a present we can change,
    we have allowed our Turcocentric ghazetajis
    and genocide academics to turn us into pillars of salt.
    #
    THE WRONG MAN
    ******************************
    If I can explain one little thing
    that you didn’t understand before,
    I have done my part.
    If you read me with the hope to be enlightened,
    you’ve got the wrong man for the job.
    The world, the people in it,
    God above and the Devil below
    are a mystery to me too.
    *
    And speaking of people:
    A hundred years ago they were in the business
    of slaughtering innocent civilians
    and creating refugees by the million.
    They are now busy welcoming them from Syria.
    Times change, people change, conditions change
    and charity is thrust on some
    as greatness is on others.
    #
    THE GOOD AND THE BAD
    ************************************
    Good Turks and Armenians exist
    but they are outnumbered by the brainwashed.
    *
    All wars and massacres begin
    in the classrooms of the nation.
    *
    They teach intolerance, hatred, and murder
    and call it education and patriotism.
    And because I say these things
    I am thought of as an enemy.
    #

  8. #218
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    Wednesday, May 29, 2013
    *********************************
    A PROPOSAL
    **************************
    The Allah of Turks and the God of Armenians
    may not recognize each other when they meet;
    but the God of Catholics, Protestant,
    Etchmiadznagans and Anteliassagans is one and the same.
    The least we can do is worship Him
    from a single church thus saving millions
    for the poor, the sick, and the unemployed.
    *
    I am not asking our bishops to give up
    their cherished dogmas, prejudices, secretaries,
    accountants, and fund-raisers.
    Only the address from which they operate.
    *
    You say it can’t be done?
    I say where there is a will there is a way;
    and where there is no will
    there are men whose number one concern
    is number one and to hell with common sense and decency.
    *
    As for those who want to solve the problems of the Homeland,
    I say to them: Start with your own backyard.
    Deal with your own bishops, vartabeds and derders –
    they may be more amenable to reason and compromise
    than our crypto-Stalinist neo-commissars in the Homeland.
    *
    You say I repeat myself?
    I say sometimes with unruly children you have to.
    #
    MEMORANDA
    *******************************
    No writer has ever silenced a tyrant.
    *
    In my formative years
    I could not recognize a big lie when I saw one.
    *
    “Most theoretical ideas turn out to be wrong.”
    *
    When I steal I am plagiarized.
    *
    In Dante’s INFERNO our Turcocentric monomaniacs
    will be condemned to write about Armenians
    without mentioning Turks.
    #
    THE POSITIVE
    AND THE NEGATIVE
    **********************************************
    Let others count their positives;
    I prefer to count my negatives
    beginning with the fact that
    I am an Armenian who compounded the felony
    by choosing to be a writer.
    *
    My father was born in Sivrihisar,
    birthplace of Nasreddin Hodja.
    that’s my only positive I can think of.
    *
    When I was a brown-nosing
    and cowardly yes-man,
    I thought of myself as a loyal, obedient patriotic Armenian.
    inferiority complex or objective assessment?
    *
    Whenever a reader says something remotely positive about me,
    I think: What if he is deceived?
    What if I have achieved excellence only in deceiving others?
    *
    After each positive assessment
    I think of its contradiction and see more sense in it.
    *
    We were subservient to Turks for 600 years.
    Did anyone ever identify that fact as a negative?
    #
    ON WARS AND REVOLUTIONS
    ********************************************
    All wars and revolutions are driven by lies and illusions.
    *
    Our revolutionaries thinking
    with God and the great powers on their side
    they couldn’t lose.
    *
    Palestinians thinking as the offspring of empire builders,
    Allah and Arab oil on their side they couldn’t lose.
    *
    Thinking is more like an orchestral performance
    and less like a solo recital.
    Many factors must be carefully and objectively assessed.
    *
    What a book one could write
    on the role of wishful thinking in human affairs!
    *
    To how many of my patriotic readers I could say,
    to prove you are a good Armenian
    it is not necessary to behave like a bad Turk.
    *
    Censorship and propaganda are Siamese.
    *
    As a nation we are not guilty of genocide;
    only in creating conditions in such a way
    as to make genocide possible.
    *
    You cannot reason with a man who is blinded
    by his own greed for power.
    #

  9. #219
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    Saturday, June 01, 2013
    ****************************************
    WHO’S WHO
    *************************
    “You are a disgrace to the nation!”
    Am I really?
    What about our oligarchs and kleptocrats
    whose greed is surpassed only by Wall Street CEOs
    who have been successful in convincing themselves
    and others that they are too big to fail?
    What about our brown-nosers
    who have not yet kissed an ass that didn’t smell like roses?
    What about our superpatriotic paranoiacs
    who see inauthentic or second-class
    or bastardized Armenians everywhere?
    What about our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
    whose sole contribution to our collective existence
    has been the introduction of meaningless dogmatic divisions
    that make us more vulnerable to so-called
    historic, economic, social, and cultural forces
    beyond our control?
    What about our crypto-Stalinist neo-commissars
    who miss the good old days?
    What about our dupes who believe everything they are told?
    Am I really a disgrace to the nation
    or those who dare to speak in its name?
    #
    WHEN I WAS YOUNG
    ******************************************
    When I was young I relied on the judgment of my elders.
    Now that I am old I can rely on no one but myself;
    and when I consider the long list of blunders
    that I have committed
    I have no choice but to conclude
    that I must just about the least reliable person on earth;
    and if you think those who are now in charge
    of our collective destiny are wiser than I am,
    all I can say is that we all entertain illusions
    that we hate to give up
    notwithstanding the evidence against them.
    *
    To put it differently:
    you are right not to trust my judgment
    but you have fewer reasons to trust
    the judgment of your “betters”
    because historic reality tells us
    in no uncertain terms
    they may well be the worst scum on earth.
    #
    DEATH WISH
    **************************
    Judge a man by his actions not his words.
    Judge an ideology or religion by its history
    not its sermons and speeches.
    It follows, if we were to judge a nation by its history
    we may have to conclude that
    Syrians don’t think they deserve to live,
    Armenians don’t think they deserve to be a nation,
    and Turks use the nationalist or Kemalist card
    the way a serial killer uses the insanity plea.
    Perhaps death wish plays a larger role
    in human affairs than we like to admit.
    Perhaps in politics what matters more
    than lust for power
    is the instinct to kill and die.
    If, that is, we base our conclusions on facts
    as opposed to speculation and propaganda.
    #

  10. #220
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    comments

    Wednesday, June 05, 2013
    ***********************************
    Adultery should be condemned in all men
    except politicians on the grounds that
    the more they f*** women
    the less they will f*** the nation.
    *
    Anti-Semites always proceed from the
    erroneous historical assumption
    that Jews are the only people on the planet
    who occupied a territory by force of arms
    and abused the rights of the natives.
    *
    My bad memories outnumber the good ones.
    Which is why I look forward to Alzheimer’s.
    *
    Descriptions of experiences are like shadow of shadows.
    When a friend’s mother died, I shared his grief.
    But when my mother died I wanted to die.
    *
    Democracy has also been defined as
    the tyranny of the masses.
    #
    IN BRIEF
    ***********************
    There are casualties of war as surely
    as there are casualties of peace
    and we are casualties of both.
    *
    After eating Turkish and Russian shit
    we are now asked to eat our own.
    *
    In case you don’t like blunt talk,
    allow me to inform you that
    no one is paying me
    to engage in diplomatic palaver.
    *
    To be a dupe of political propaganda means
    to be a moron who is brainwashed to believe
    he is smart.
    *
    Ever since I gave up on my fellow Armenians
    they have stopped disappointing me.
    *
    To be a born-again human being
    is more important than being a good Armenian.
    #
    PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
    ************************************************
    It must be obvious by now that
    when it comes to solving problems,
    politicians may not the best men for the job.
    One could even go further and say
    they may well be the worst.
    *
    An idiot will be more receptive to the words
    of a crook and a liar than to those of an honest witness.
    *
    Turks quote me: in the eyes of my critics,
    it follows I must be in cahoots
    with the Sultan, Talaat, and Kemal.
    *
    The mother tongue of both
    political and religious leaders
    is propaganda.
    *
    Theology is a systematic effort
    to understand and explain
    the unknown, the unknowable,
    and the incomprehensible.
    *
    If I knew how to solve problems,
    I would begin with my own.
    *
    Most so-called solutions are based
    on the general theory that
    one man’s hocus pocus
    may well be better
    than another's abracadabra.
    #
    FREE SPEECH,
    ARMENIAN STYLE
    ********************************
    Once when I dared to criticize
    one of our cultural organizations
    I was told by one of its hirelings:
    “Who the hell do you think you are?”
    He was not questioning my opinion.
    What he was questioning was my right to have one.
    In his view the function of someone in my position
    is to recycle propaganda.
    Only qualified people have a right to an opinion.
    *
    One does not bite the hand,
    or any other part of the anatomy,
    that lays the golden egg.
    *
    To rely too much on god
    is almost to surrender to the devil.
    *
    Nothing works as planned
    even when it works as planned.
    *
    Some of the worst things in life
    happen when you least expect them.
    *
    Your best friend may be your worst nightmare.
    It happens in the Bible.
    It happens in life.
    It happens among Armenians.
    It has happened to me.
    I am not questioning the validity of Armenian friendship.
    I am questioning my naiveté and status as a dupe.
    #

  11. #221
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    Saturday, June 08, 2013
    *************************************
    AS I SEE IT
    *********************************
    Some divide and conquer,
    others are divided, conquered,
    butchered and never learn.
    *
    One does not speak of ropes
    in the house of a hangman,
    neither does one speak of vegetarianism
    in the house of a butcher –
    which is what we do when we speak
    of genocide recognition to Turks and Yanks.
    *
    You want peace?
    Criminalize brainwashing.
    *
    We overestimate the value of what we know
    even when what we know is a big lie.
    *
    The aim of literature?
    To call an idiot an idiot.
    *
    We need solutions?
    A big lie!
    What we need is implementation.
    #
    POLITICS AND RELIGION
    ***************************************
    When I say I don’t believe in god
    I mean the god of rabbis, imams, and bishops
    (including the one in Rome).
    *
    Anyone who has had the patience and perseverance
    to read the final pages of EXODU
    and the first pages of LEVITICUS
    will be justified in suspecting that god
    is a control freak badly in need of a shrink.
    *
    The faith of rabbis, imams, and bishops
    has deep ties with power, prestige, and income.
    Take away one of these ties
    and you may end up holding an empty bag.
    *
    The difference between fascists
    and the ideology of our own political parties is that
    fascists criminalize free speech
    and our political parties silence dissent.
    The result is the same.
    *
    And now consider what they share in common:
    nationalism, anti-intellectualism, and anti-Semitism,
    namely “the three pillars of fascism.”
    *
    The secret ambition of all sermonizers and speechifiers
    is to brainwash you to believe
    you belong with the 1%
    even when you are the scum of the earth.
    I speak from experience.
    During World War II in Greece
    I was both stateless and homeless
    but I was “educated” to believe
    my god was the only true god.
    *
    I am not an atheist.
    I believe in the Unknown, the Unknowable,
    and the Incomprehensible
    because I believe Nothing cannot create Something.
    #
    MY MESSAGE
    ****************************
    If you are a reasonable man
    use your brain.
    If you are a patriotic Armenian
    stop saying ‘Yes, sir!” to our dividers
    and grave-diggers.
    If you are a good Christian
    stop hating your brother.
    If you are smart
    stop being a dupe.
    Remember, Jesus did not say
    the Kingdom of God is in the words
    of speechifiers and sermonizers
    but "within you."
    Remember also in a democratic environment
    leaders are not your masters but your servants.
    They don’t tell you what to think;
    you tell them what to do.
    #
    ARMENIANS IN BOOKS
    ********************************
    In her brilliant and erudite study of Nabokov – THE SECRET HISTORY OF VLADIMIR NABOKOV (New York, 2013) – Andrea Pitzer mentions and discusses Armenian refugees, massacres and genocide on a number of occasions. Among individual Armenians she quotes and discusses are Nina Berberova, an early admirer of Nabokov, herself a brilliant novelist and the author of a remarkable autobiography titled THE ITALICS ARE MINE; and Azat Oganesian, about whom she has this to say in her Acknowledgments: “Translators played a key role on my research. King among them is Azat Oganesian, my research assistant, who poured through and translated interminable numbers of articles I sent him from RUL, the Russian-language newspaper in Berlin, as well as making trips to various libraries on his own to help with this project.”
    #

  12. #222
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    Sunday, June 09, 2013
    ************************************
    MONKEY BUSINESS
    ******************************
    One does not have to be a prophet to engage in prophecy.
    All one has to do is adopt the past as one’s guide –
    that is to say, reality, facts, history as opposed to
    wishful thinking, illusions, and daydreams.
    *
    Raffi Hovannisian lost not because he did not enjoy majority support
    but because the oligarchs controlled the bureaucracy.
    We will rise against the oligarchs only
    after the Russians themselves do so.
    In the meantime all attempts at reform and revolution
    are doomed to failure. They are doomed to failure
    because we are essentially a nation of slaves.
    Raffi (not Hovannisian but Hagop Meliq-Hagopian)
    was absolutely right when he said
    “Treason and betrayal are in our blood.”
    So is subservience.
    In the Homeland we are subservient to the Kremlin;
    in the Diaspora to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors.
    *
    Our revolutionaries are not revolutionaries.
    They never were.
    They rose against the Sultan only when the Turks themselves did so
    and only when they relied on the verbal support of the West.
    There is an academic word for this kind of conduct,
    it’s called mimesis – in common parlance, monkey business.
    *
    We may have a better chance to understand ourselves
    if we study apes. The alternative approach is
    to place our trust and our destiny into the hands
    of bloodsuckers, speechifiers, and sermonizers,
    that is to say compulsive and habitual liars.
    *
    Speaking for myself, I would have more trust in an ape;
    at least an ape is less prone to engage
    in double-talk, deception, and betrayal.
    #
    IN PRAISE OF BEING FALLIBLE
    *******************************
    “You are not always right,” a reader informs me.
    To be always right has never been one of my ambitions.
    As a matter of fact, if I had a choice between being always right
    and being always wrong I would choose being wrong
    if only because being always right
    would place me in the same category
    as some of the worst charlatans, bullies, and mass killers
    in the history of mankind.
    *
    Even when dead wrong, however, I like to believe
    I never deliberately mislead my readers
    or exploit their limitations by recycling a propaganda line
    or speaking in defense of a power structure or regime.
    How many of our bosses, bishops, and benefactors
    can say as much?
    *
    A good friend of mine once said to me:
    “I agree with you but I don’t say so in public
    because they may think you have brainwashed me.”
    But I am not in a position to brainwash anyone
    if only because I don’t write for children
    who cannot yet think for themselves.
    I write for adults who are free to reject what I say
    whenever they disagree with me.
    Neither do I subscribe to a specific ideology or belief system
    that happens to be my main source of income, prestige, or power.
    I operate more like a solitary voice in the wilderness and,
    in the words of Socrates,
    “My poverty is proof of my honesty.”
    #
    SITUATION / SHITUATION
    ****************************************
    The higher a man rises
    the bigger the size of his blunders.
    How many dared to say to Stalin
    “You are wrong” and lived to tell the tale?
    Closer to home:
    How many have dared to say
    to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors,
    “By dividing the community
    you dig its grave”?
    *
    Infallible men are not born but made
    and what makes them are dupes, cowards, and “yes men”
    afraid to say the emperor has no clothes, no brain, and no balls.
    *
    In the USSR they said Stalin was wrong
    only after he dropped dead and was buried.
    “Bishops are men of God,” I was informed by a reader once.
    “You should speak of them with greater respect.”
    If bishops are men of God,
    bosses source of power and prestige,
    and benefactors sources of income,
    that only means our own mini-sultans and neo-commissars
    continue to live, rule, and scare the shit out of anyone
    who dares to question their wisdom, integrity, honesty,
    dedication, patriotism, infallibility, and statesmanship.
    “Mart bidi ch’ellank!”
    #
    THE HUMAN CONDITION
    ***********************************
    Honest men: do they exist?
    I am not sure.
    I would define an honest man as one
    who has not yet been exposed as a crook.
    *
    From Roman emperors to Ottoman sultans –
    mankind has been at the mercy of ruthless crooks
    and pathological liars.
    Has anything changed?
    *
    If Zohrab was taken in by Talaat
    and Stalin by Hitler,
    can anyone claim to be immune
    to propaganda?
    *
    If we are smart,
    why do we consent to be subservient
    to a political leader
    with the moral compass of an ape
    and the charisma of a robot?
    Are North Koreans, Syrians, Turks, Russians,
    and Latinos better off?
    What about Greeks and Italians?
    *
    What about the Swiss?
    Where would they be without the money
    of blood-sucking tax cheats?
    What about Canadians?
    Listen, I live in Canada and I read the papers.
    Don’t talk to me about honest men.
    I could go on…
    #

  13. #223
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    Thursday, June 13, 2013
    **************************************
    DIALOGUE
    ***********************
    Dialogue: I am all for it;
    but not with a closed mind,
    or a self-righteous fanatic,
    or a member of the party
    (it makes no difference which party),
    or a bully who believes the word compromise
    is for the weak and the unprincipled:
    in short, an Armenian.
    *
    There is a type of reader –
    and I have had several of them myself –
    who begins by saying
    “I read everything you write,”
    and ends by saying
    “You are a disgrace to the nation.”
    *
    There are two schools of thought:
    the first says “We need critics,”
    and the second: “The only good critic is a dead critic.”
    Did I say two schools?
    Make it one.
    *
    I am a slow-learner.
    It took me many years to realize that
    you cannot argue against a propaganda line.
    #
    A NOTE ON OUR PARTISANS
    AND PANCHOONIES
    *********************************
    “We have played a key role
    in the preservation of our identity and culture
    in the Diaspora,” I heard one of our speechifiers saying.
    They brag a lot -- our partisans and panchoonies;
    they lie a lot too.
    I should like to hear at least one of them saying
    they have also alienated a few.
    *
    I once received a letter from one of our political parties
    that said in effect they will support me
    provided I first write a series of profiles of their leaders.
    In my reply I said that I was not qualified to do that job
    because I didn’t even know who their leaders were.
    I should have added,
    neither did I care to make their acquaintance.
    #
    AS I SEE IT
    *************************
    If you say “God is on my side,”
    God is sure to withdraw His support.
    *
    What is our unspoken policy towards writers?
    Treat them like shit
    until they come to terms with reality.
    *
    Nothing in life happens
    the way things happen in books and movies.
    *
    Being an Armenian is a rare privilege,
    or so I was brought up to believe,
    until I realized it is closer to being a nightmare.
    *
    All wars need Big Lies,
    so do all divisions.
    *
    We are a failed nation
    at the mercy of a failed regime
    run by former KGB agents.
    Enjoy!
    #

  14. #224
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    Wednesday, June 19, 2013
    *************************************
    QUESTIONS WE NEVER ASK
    ***************************************
    Baronian and Odian:
    were they patriotic Armenians?
    What about Baruir Massikian
    when he saw more merit in a Cairo bordello
    than in our own institutions?
    What about Zarian when he said
    our political parties have been
    of no political use to us?
    Why is it that politicians,
    even when they are pathological liars
    and mass murderers
    like Hitler and Stalin identify themselves
    as great patriots?
    Why is it that we equate patriotism with blindness?
    A final question: What is the most frequently misunderstood
    and abused word in the world?
    *
    Moral: Next time you hear one of our speechifiers
    use that word, start counting your spoons.
    #
    POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE
    *************************************
    “To emphasize the positive is better,”
    I am reminded once in a while by concerned readers.
    To identify those who poison the well:
    if there is a positive way of doing that
    I am all ears.
    *
    ACADEMICS
    *********************
    Where there are academics
    there will be two schools of thought.
    Case in point:
    “Under capitalism man exploits man.
    Under communism it’s the other way around.”
    *
    Trust an academic’s judgment
    as much as you would trust
    the judgment of a religion or political leader
    who speaks in defense of his belief system or ideology –
    that is to say, his power, prestige, and source of income,
    not necessarily in that order.
    *
    SPEAKING FOR MYSELF
    *********************************
    To paraphrase Socrates again:
    No one will ever accuse me of speaking
    in defense of my source of income
    for the simple reason that
    it has never exceeded minimum wage.
    None of our national benefactors has ever said to me
    what one of them is quoted as having said
    to one of our distinguished educators and poets:
    “I hire and fire people like you every day.”
    #
    THEN AND NOW
    ****************************
    As a child I thought words meant what they said.
    I now suspect they mean the opposite.
    *
    What is justice?
    It depends on who is in charge of dispensing it.
    *
    I write as I do not because I know better
    but because I got tired of saying “Yes, sir!” to idiots.
    *
    To make a comfortable living
    by exploiting someone else’s crucifixion or massacre:
    What a racket!
    *
    There are two kinds of people:
    Armenians and odars and I feel alien
    in the company of both.
    #
    GUILTY
    **************************
    Unlike Turks we are not guilty
    of committing and covering up genocide.
    We are, however, guilty
    of placing our trust in a leadership so incompetent
    that, in the words of a friend,
    “cannot even lead a dog to the nearest fire hydrant
    or catch a flu bug in an epidemic.”
    *
    If incompetence were a crime against humanity
    how many of our leaders would escape hanging?
    #

  15. #225
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    Thursday, June 20, 2013
    **************************************
    DEMOCRACY
    *****************************
    In my formative years I don’t remember anyone
    remotely interested in explaining to me
    the difference between democracy and fascism;
    and I am no longer surprised when a reader demands to know
    what’s so great about democracy.
    *
    When those in power forget they are servants of the people,
    abuse of power and fascism become inevitable.
    *
    Knowledge is power, we are told.
    What we are not told is that individual knowledge
    is powerless against collective ignorance.
    *
    I don’t hate my enemies as much as I hate myself
    for allowing them to intimidate me.
    *
    Not to be able to read between the lines
    is also a symptom of illiteracy.
    #
    EASIER SAID THAN DONE
    ***************************************
    We are a nation of dreamers – make it daydreamers.
    We brag about being survivors
    even as we are experiencing two “white” genocides
    (exodus and assimilation).
    *
    “The Jews survived,” an elder statesman once informed me,
    “because of their Book. We need such a book and I am writing it.”
    He sent me a few fragments
    which I could not finish reading.
    *
    To explain their financial bankruptcy
    a Mekhitarist monk once said to me:
    “We were deceived.”
    They were deceiver because they were promised great wealth.
    All they had to do, they were told,
    was liquidate their assets and invest the cash in the stock market.
    Blinded by greed it never even occurred to them to suspect
    their financial advisers were a criminal gang.
    *
    I once wrote a short story that began with the words:
    “When I first read a Sherlock Holmes story,
    I wanted to be a detective.
    When I first heard a Rossini overture
    I decided to be a composer.
    When I saw Marlon Brando in ON THE WATERFRONT
    I wanted to be an actor.
    When I read Casanova’s MEMOIRS….”
    *
    What happened to my daydreams?
    Who and what am I today?
    The answer: Not just a scribbler but an Armenian scribbler,
    that is to say, the lowest form of animal life.
    #
    THINGS TO REMEMBER
    ***********************************
    Mankind: a collection of nobodies
    at the mercy of misguided fools.
    *
    Learn to read between the lines –
    that’s where the money is.
    *
    Success is a trap.
    Failure a challenge.
    Treat a success story as you would treat a warning.
    *
    Decisions are based on what is known and predictable;
    but it is the unknown, the unknowable and the unpredictable
    that conspire to bite your ass.
    *
    To be lucky means to knock on the wrong door
    and to have the right man answer it.
    To be unlucky means to rely on luck.
    *
    A Turkish scholar once informed me
    that as an Armenian I was in no position to be objective
    about a great man like Talaat.
    *
    The central function of politics is
    to brainwash fools to believe they are smart.
    #

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