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  1. #226
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    Aug 2004
    Wednesday, June 26, 2013
    Those who control our educational system
    do so not because they support learning
    but because they want to cover up
    the nefarious role they have played
    in our decline as a nation.
    They are as hungry for knowledge and understanding
    as sultans and commissars.
    I share my understanding;
    they share their propaganda.
    They identify themselves as patriots
    and me as a traitor.
    Q: Can someone with the moral compass of an ape
    and the charisma of a robot win a democratic election?
    A: Yes, of course!
    Q: Where?
    A: Armenia.
    If you don’t know where to begin,
    the end is as good a place as any.
    What does the Homeland share with the Diaspora?
    In both dissidents are rejected and brown-nosers prosper.
    Consider what happened to Greeks and Jews
    after they rejected Socrates and Jesus respectively.
    A nation that rejects its critics digs its own grave.
    Nothing new in that.
    Americans have a word for it:
    Snafu, meaning “Situation Normal All F***ed up.”
    Far from being the best and the brightest,
    ruling classes are more representative
    of the lowest common denominator.
    Individuals may learn
    but mankind as a whole – judging
    by the number of present conflicts, wars, and related atrocities –
    seems to be immune to instruction.
    We are all citizens of Snafuland.
    Success, real success, means total and uncompromising contempt
    for success as defined by failures.
    Overheard on the radio early this morning:
    “From a market economy we have become a market society.
    In California today if you don’t like your prison cell
    you can get hotel-style accommodations for $90 a day.”
    Which one of our political bosses today
    is not a millionaire or the hireling of one?
    What happened to the generation of
    Nikol Aghbalian, Rouben Der Minassian,
    Ohandjanian, Vratsian, Aharonian?
    How could they vanish without leaving a trace?
    Or rather: Am I moving in the right or wrong direction?
    I suspect I am moving in the right direction
    when I think the opposite of what I was taught as a child.
    Allow me to explain.
    When the educational system of a nation
    (also known as its brainwashing apparatus)
    agrees with its political system
    (that claims to have a single aim in life,
    namely, the welfare of the people)
    I have no choice but to agree with Hamlet’s verdict –
    there must be “something rotten in the State of Denmark.”
    The Fall of Man and to fall in love:
    in both instances the main characters are
    a man and a woman; or, in the words of Anonymous,
    an old wise man who is never or very seldom wrong:
    “Men and women, women and men: it will never work.”

  2. #227
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    Aug 2004
    Thursday, June 27, 2013




    My ambition, my real ambition in life

    is to introduce humor in hell.


    Armenians have a legal mind:

    they never ask a question whose answer they don’t already know.

    An Armenian in search of wisdom is like a Greek bearing gifts.


    Confronted by total annihilation men may learn to co-exist.

    As for Armenians: I am not sure about them.

    After all, every rule must have its exceptions.


    I was asked once to translate the diary

    of an unknown and unpublished writer on the grounds that

    “he could be another Shakespeare.”


    On another occasion I was asked to translate a poem

    on the grounds that after reading it

    a friend of the family had said:

    “This should be translated!”




    If you say Turks are the scum of the earth,

    I ask: What’s the difference between them

    and the rest of the world?


    If you say there is nothing wrong

    in hating a bad writer who spreads lies,

    I ask: What about incompetent leaders

    who lead the nation to genocide?


    Why does the average smart Armenian

    allow himself to be brainwashed by charlatans?

    The obvious answer must be:

    Because it allows him to live in a fantasy world wherein

    (a) Armenians are the good guys,

    (b) They are God’s chosen, and

    (c) their military defeats are moral victories.


    Am I saying anything you don’t already know?


    Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the USSR:

    they remind me of myself as a child

    when I respected no one

    and feared everyone.




    They call me negative

    because my favorite subject is not massacres.


    Everything I say to my fellow Armenians,

    American, French, English, German, and Russian writers

    have said about their fellow countrymen.


    Mankind has been and continues to be

    at the mercy of hoodlums –

    Goebbels not Goethe,

    Hitler not Hesse,

    Richard III not Shakespeare,

    Stalin not Solzhenitsyn.


    In the eyes of their contemporaries

    neither Socrates nor Jesus were successes.

    I wonder how many Greek mothers

    were overheard saying to their sons,

    “Behave! Do you want to end up like Socrates?”

    And Jewish mothers…


    Never speak kindly of yourself:

    no one will believe you.


    Why do I write as I do?

    The answer must be:

    Because I am no longer dependent

    on the charity of swine.


  3. #228
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    Aug 2004
    Sunday, June 30, 2013




    All dupes are brainwashed to trust the judgment

    of their superiors even when their superiors

    happen to be the worst scum on earth.


    The world is at the mercy of bloodthirsty cannibals

    who like to parade as peace-loving vegetarians.


    Genocides come in all sizes, shapes and colors,

    including red, blue and orange.


    The fist thing tyrants do is confiscate the idea of patriotism

    and call everyone who opposes them unpatriotic.


    Once oppressed always an oppressor.

    Once a dupe always a brainwasher.

    You take it when you have no choice.

    You dish it out the first chance you get.




    When asked which side you support,

    always say (to quote a good friend of mine)

    “I am with the good guys.”


    Nobody ever warned me that

    the right path may also lead to a dead end.


    I write therefore I learn.


    Every belief or ideological system produces

    its share of academics.

    Grub is better than no grub.


    I write to share my anger.


    Bishops, imams, and rabbis:

    you either believe in all of them or none.

    To choose one and reject the others amounts to say

    “I refuse to think for myself;

    I prefer to be a dupe of propaganda.”




    It has been said that it takes five generations

    to produce an English gentleman.

    It took more than two thousand years

    to produce the average Armenian wheeler-dealer

    and his dupes…

    You may now draw your own conclusions.


    Armenian identity is like a layer cake

    whose bottom layer is shrouded in mystery

    and whose top layer is more Ottoman and Soviet

    than Armenian.


    For 1500 years our writers –

    from Khorenatsi and Yeghishe (5th century AD)

    to our own days (Zarian and Massikian)

    have exposed the corruption and incompetence

    of our political and religious wheeler-dealers

    with the result that they are more corrupt,

    incompetent and divided than

    at any other time in our history.

    What does that tell you

    about Armenian contempt

    for selfless intellectual labor?


    As they say in Washington:

    “You want a friend? Get a dog!”




    A dupe is a dupe regardless of nationality, ideology and religion.

    Kemal’s dupe and Stalin’s dupe might as well be twins.

    Now then, go ahead and say Armenians are smarter than Turks.


    Our history in a nutshell:

    We owe our misfortunes to enemy action –

    beginning with the enemy within.


    Worth remembering:

    All orthodoxies, heresies and divisions in general

    are conceived by the 1%.


    I have lost many friends

    but I have never lost a single enemy.


    All belief systems have a ready answer for every possible question,

    a plausible explanation for every objection,

    and a counter-argument for every argument –

    just like Jehovah’s Witnesses.


  4. #229
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    Thursday, July 04, 2013




    Can there be such a thing as an honest capitalist

    in the eyes of a Marxist?

    Or a good infidel in the eyes of a Muslim?

    Or a good Armenian in the eyes of another Armenian?


    Kemal was smart: he knew he could count

    on the ignorance and stupidity of the average Turk.

    Our bosses, bishops, and benefactors are smart too…


    Atheists are not born but made

    and what makes them is

    the arrogance, intolerance, and cruelty of men

    who speak in the name of God.


    The enemy within is invincible.


    “Homo homini lupus” (man is wolf to men).

    What is an Armenian to another Armenian?

    A lamb?


    The Turks were smart:

    they knew they could get away with murder.

    We were dumb: we thought they wouldn’t dare!




    In a recent issue of the NEW YORKER,

    that until recently consistently refused to print profanities,

    I read the following exchange:

    “You asshole,” she snarled.

    “You’re the asshole,” I said.

    “I hate you.”

    “Ditto,” I said. “Ditto and square it.”

    Because I favor short lines

    some readers think I am a poet.

    I am not!

    I don’t remember to have ever written a single line

    about nightingales serenading the moon

    or the eternal snows of Mount Ararat.

    Not my style.


    As a failure I write about failures.

    It tales one to know one.

    And I don’t write.

    I snarl!


    And speaking of poets:

    In Armenian-American parlance

    poets are referred to as vodanavorjis.




    The 1% may know better

    but when they are wrong

    they are catastrophically wrong –

    universal bankruptcy, wars, massacres, genocides…


    I have more critics than a dog has fleas.

    I like to reply to all of them

    including the contemptible ones.

    But I draw a line to those who are beneath contempt.


    In the first one-third of my life

    I was mostly busy committing blunders.

    In the second, I tried very hard not to repeat them.

    And in the final third my main concern is

    coming to terms with my mortality.

    As for saving the nation:

    I leave that to our dime-a-dozen pundits

    with Napoleonic ambitions.


    If I can make a nuisance of myself

    to a handful of readers,

    I ask for nothing more.

    Now then, go ahead and call me

    a megalomaniacal daydreamer.


  5. #230
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    Aug 2004
    Wednesday, July 10, 2013




    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.




    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.




    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



    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.




    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 shit.”


    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 shit but it has integrity.”


  6. #231
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    Aug 2004
    Saturday, July 13, 2013




    The good news is:

    silencing dissent is no longer as easy as it used to be.




    When something goes wrong, I no longer ask

    “Who is to blame?” but what was my contribution.




    Freedom is overrated by slaves.

    Consider what we have been doing with ours.




    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.




    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.




    “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 benefucktor

    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?




    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.


  7. #232
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    Wednesday, July 17, 2013




    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



    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.




    Like Pollyanna I like to see the best in the worst.


    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.




    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.”


  8. #233
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    Thursday, July 18, 2013




    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.




    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.




    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!”


  9. #234
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    Thursday, July 25, 2013




    “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).




    “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.”




    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.”




    Solidarity is not our forte.

    Either that or we have a highly developed sense of

    mutual disapproval.




    Blame neither the man nor the woman.

    Blame instead the games nature

    (or the irresistible urge to procreate)

    plays on both.




    “Like Shakespeare, Bach, and Vermeer,

    he was not much prized by his contemporaries.”





    My worst enemies are former best friends.

    You will surprise me if you say

    you are surprised.




    Have you ever heard a morally superior man

    brag about his moral superiority?

    No, of course not! It never happens.

    Only pimps and shits 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?


  10. #235
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    Aug 2004
    Sunday, July 28, 2013
    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,
    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.
    “Thou shalt not look up to dividers
    for moral and political guidance.”
    We say an explanation makes sense
    only when it runs parallel
    to our limitations and prejudices.
    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.
    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…”

  11. #236
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    Aug 2004

    where i stand

    Saturday, August 03, 2013




    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?





    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.


    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.”

  12. #237
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    Aug 2004
    Wednesday, August 07, 2013
    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.
    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.
    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 bloodsuckers 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.

  13. #238
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    Aug 2004



    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 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.




    “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.


  14. #239
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    Aug 2004


    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.
    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.
    If I emphasize the negative it may be because
    the negative should be emphasized
    especially when it’s covered up.
    Women may be real to other women
    but to men they are works of fiction.
    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 is the word of megalomaniacs
    and their archetype is Moses.

  15. #240
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    Aug 2004


    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 shit / 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.




    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.




    A nation can be victimized by its own corrupt leaders

    as surely as by an alien tyrant.




    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 Armenian taboo subjects:

    Dialogue, compromise, consensus, solidarity.

    Four popular subjects as defined

    by our political parties and Turcocentric ghazetajis:

    Turks, Turks, Turks and Turks.




    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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