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Thread: as i see it

  1. #241
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    confessions

    May 2, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    **************************************
    There are good Armenians and there are bad Armenians, or so I am told.
    I am a bad Armenian because I hate myself and I hate Armenians, or so I am told.
    Rouben Mamoulian was a bad Armenian because he never helped a single Armenian.
    I once knew an Armenian conductor who, after inviting an Armenian pianist to play with his orchestra, said “Never again!”
    *
    Never again!
    Two words used by victims with the implication, “Unless we are the perps.”
    *
    Once when asked why I don't encourage young Armenian writers, I said “We need readers not writers.” No one dared to object.
    *
    One of the functions of lawyers is to defend the lawless.
    *
    When asked if I believe in God, I say, “I don't believe in the God of imams, popes,
    and televangelists.”
    It seems to me, speaking about God or trying to understand the inconceivable and the incomprehensible, is like trying to drink the sea with a spoon.
    *
    If you are an Armenian and have an opinion , you can always rely on a fellow Armenian to call you a fool and an ignoramus.
    *
    A safe assumption: Anything that flatters the ego is false.
    *
    When, at the turn of the last century, Turks heard Armenian Evangelicals singing "Onward Christian soldiers," they thought the giaours were planning another crusade.
    *
    If I took my critics seriously, I would have two instead of only one ulcer.
    *
    Good men don't judge bad men, because good men (if they exist) are too busy examining their own heart.
    *
    If an Armenian tells you he doesn't hate Turks, it may be because he loves to lie even more.
    *
    From a popular Armenian song:
    "An Armenian loves to eat (oudel)
    and he eats to hate (adel)."
    #
    May 3, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    CALL IT MEGALOMANIA
    **************************************
    My mission in life: to de-Ottomanize and to de-Stalinize my fellow Armenians; which amounts to saying: to humanize the dehumanized, to civilize barbarians, and to deprogram the brainwashed. Not an easy task. Which is why so far I have failed and the chances that I will ever succeed are so remote that they might as well be invisible to the most powerful telescope.
    *
    A LOVE STORY
    *****************************
    In a review of an Iranian novel mention is made of a classical Sufi love poem titled "KHOSROW AND SHIRIN, written nine centuries ago by Nizami and telling of the romance between a great Persian king and an Armenian princess.”
    *
    A SOLEMN PROMISE
    ******************************
    On the day I will stop infuriating fools, fanatics, and fascists (but I repeat myself) I will give up writing.
    *
    PHYSICAL AND METAPHYSICAL REFLECTIONS
    ************************************************** *****
    What we don't know about the physical world or the visible universe far exceeds what we know. As for the metaphysical world – that which lies beyond the visible – we know nothing. Nothing! That doesn't stop us from blabbering endlessly about God, the Mother of God, the Son of God, the immortality of the soul, heaven and hell, and angels and devils.
    *
    CHARLATANS: A DEFINITION
    *********************************************
    Sermonizers and speechifiers who speak endlessly about things they know nothing about. Shaw is right: “All professions are conspiracies against the laity.”
    *
    TODAY'S QUOTATION
    ***********************************
    William McAdoo: “It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”
    #
    May 4, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    THAT WHICH WE SHARE
    **************************************
    Our failings are universal, I am reminded once in a while by readers who are so afraid to confront their own failings that they adopt the school of thought that says “misery likes company.”
    There are divisions everywhere, granted; also corruption and incompetence, not to speak of prejudice and ignorance. But is that the end of the story?
    *
    In a book on the social behavior of animals, I read today: “The analysis of DNA demonstrates that only 2% of our genetic code differs from that of chimpanzees.”
    In some respects, animals may be ahead of us:
    “Female chimpanzees (unlike female humans) do not experience menopause, and thus can remain fertile into old age.”
    Elsewhere: “It is not so much that elephants are like us. They are us, and we them.”
    *
    We like to say that Naregatsi is our Shakespeare and Dante combined. But who reads Naregatsi? Not even Armenians. At least I have never heard an Armenian quote a single line by Naregatsi.
    *
    Armenians are a fraction of mankind in the same way that a day is a fraction of eternity.
    *
    “An Englishman cannot be a slave,” they sing in “Rule Britannia.”
    And what do we sing? “Mer hairenik, tshvar ander.”
    *
    About Armenians and slavery:
    “Once upon a time we were slaves. We are now slaves of former slaves.”
    We take to slavery like a duck takes to water, a baby to mother's milk, and newlyweds to their bed.
    Instead of being subservient to the Sultan, we are now subservient to our bosses, bishops, and benefactors. Progress cannot be said to be our most important product.
    *
    An autobiographical short story by an American writer begins with the words: “As one who works with words for a living...”
    An Armenian writer could introduce himself with the same words except one: instead of “living” he would have to say “dying.”
    #
    May 5, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    CONFESSIONS
    **************************************
    In the Homeland, our elections are marred by irregularities, or so I am told by observers. In the diaspora, we have no elections. We must therefore conclude that our representatives represent no one but themselves and their respective mafias. As for our so called democracy, respect for human rights, and rule of law: they are nothing but fictions of our imagination.
    We have been so thoroughly Ottomanized and Sovietized that we consider these aberrations business as usual.
    When will we see the light?
    It is said of blind men that when their sight is restored, they take refuge in dark rooms.
    *
    To refuse to flatter fools is not the same as being negative.
    *
    Heroes are like cops: they are never there when you need them.
    *
    We flatter ourselves when we say the world, or a fraction of it, is against us. The truth is much worse, as always. The world is for itself and we may not even register on its consciousness. It would be even more accurate to say that the world cares about us as much as we care about ourselves.
    *
    Unlike Turks we are good at picking fights we can't win. Several of our poets have even addressed some nasty words against the Good Lord Himself. At this point I don't mind admitting that, by picking a fight against our bosses, bishops, benefactors and their army of hirelings, flunkies, dupes and brown-nosers, I too have picked a fight I can't win, and I have thus joined the ranks of my ancestors as a perennial loser.
    #

  2. #242
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    lies...

    May 6, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION
    ************************************************** **
    Our history keeps unfolding like a worst case scenario.
    And what has been the contribution of our leadership to this fiasco?
    Treason, betrayal, and collaboration with the enemy.
    And the contribution of our historians?
    Lies and propaganda.
    We are a people like any other people, we are told.
    To which I can only say:
    When was the last time we beheaded a single king or boss?
    Am I advocating public executions?
    Hell no! Only pointing out a difference.
    But enough about what I think. Allow me to introduce my witnesses:
    *
    Shavarsh Missakian on our degeneration:
    “The Armenian Diaspora is losing its character. Our language, our literature, and our traditions are degenerating. Even our religious leaders have abandoned their calling and turned into cunning wheeler-dealers. Our press thrives on meaningless controversies. I see charlatanism and cheap chauvinism everywhere but not a single trace of self-sacrifice and dedication to principles and ideals. What's happening to us? Where are we heading? Quo vadis, O Armenian people?”
    *
    Levon Pashalian on our bosses:
    “A familiar figure in our collective existence is the wealthy and arrogant community leader who, by obstructing the path of all those who wish to reform and improve our conditions, perpetuates a status quo whose sole aim is his own personal profit and aggrandizement.”
    *
    Philip Mansel on massacres:
    “Some Armenian leaders hoped for a massacre in the belief that it would provoke the intervention of the Great Powers.”
    *
    Shirvanzadeh on our ghazetajis:
    “The narrow partisan propaganda line that is espoused by our press is the enemy of all literature.”
    *
    Nigoghos Sarafian:
    “Our history is a litany of lamentation, anxiety, horror, and slaughter. Also deception and abysmal naiveté mixed with the smoke of incense and the sound of sharagans.”
    *
    Derenik Saribekian on collaboration with the enemy:
    “It is safer to defend the interests of wolves against sheep than the other way around.”
    *
    Nothing further, your Honor!
    #
    May 7, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    DECLINE AND FALL
    ************************************************
    What makes strong nations weak?
    Corruption, incompetence, divisions, and internecine conflicts.
    What makes weak nations weaker?
    Ditto.
    Knowing this why do we allow our leaders to divide us?
    Because they are more like wolves and we are more like sheep.
    *
    About corruption: is there anything we can do about it?
    We begin by exposing it. Not an easy undertaking.
    Why not?
    Because the corrupt don't like to be exposed, and the incompetent will never admit incompetence. Those in power will never give it up without a bloody fight, Hegel tells us, and so it is. Consider the number of emperors, kings, and czars that were assassinated or beheaded. But even more to the point, consider the number of thinkers who were persecuted, silenced, exiled, and executed.
    *
    If I speak of our many problems but don't provide a single solution (as my critics are fond of saying) it may be because I write for readers who are brainwashed to believe we are in the best of hands and we never had it so good.
    As for readers who tell me they know all about our problems but what they need is solutions, I say: We can't abracadabra our way out of our problems, and there are no verbal formulas or programs with numbered steps that will reform our leaders, who expect us to believe they are doing their best and if their best is not good enough it is because we are all at the mercy of historical, cultural, political, and environmental conditions beyond our control.
    And if you believe that, you will believe anything!
    #
    May 8, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    ON HISTORIANS
    ************************************************
    Herodotus, the“father of history,” is also known as the “father of lies.” Ever since then historians have called one another liars. Two of the greatest historians of the last century, Arnold J. Toynbee and Oswald Spengler, have attracted more critical fire and verbal abuse by fellow historians than any other historian dead or alive. For more on this subject, see Toynbee's STUDY OF HISTORY,volume 12, subtitled RECONSIDERATIONS, where he discusses and replies to his critics, one of whom – Hugh Trevor-Roper, a fellow Englishman – was so abusive that reading him, Toynbee writes in a footnote, was like being verbally electrocuted.
    *
    We are products not of our culture, religion, climate, and environment, but of our collective experiences, that is to say, our history, or rather, the lies of our historians, which have done more to shape our worldview and character than reality and truth, or our literature and culture, of which the average Armenian knows nothing and cares even less – unless of course you classify shish-kebab and pilaf under culture.
    *
    My human right of free speech has been violated unanimously by our publishers and editors and I can't think of a single reader, writer, academic or vodanavorji who has raised a single objection. I have been reduced to the status of an abominable no man all because I refuse to recycle the lies of our historians or to flatter the colossal egos of our leaders.
    *
    To those who accuse me of being a denialist, I suggest they read my ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AND THE WEST.
    *
    You want to prosper in our environment?
    Lie!
    *
    To those who say I am not published in our press because I am a bad writer, I say: I could make a long list of far better writers than myself who not only were silenced but also betrayed, exiled or executed. And if you say, since I have not been exiled or shot, it means we are moving in the right direction, I say, I am not exiled because I live in self-imposed exile in the middle of nowhere, which I call “my Siberia.” And the only reason I have not been betrayed and shot is that I have done nothing against the laws of the land, namely Canada, which is a democracy, and in a democracy writers don't get shot for exercising their human rights.
    As I have said before and it bears repeating: Progress is not our most important product.
    #

  3. #243
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    my aim

    May 9, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT
    ************************************************
    Just because something happens, it does not mean it is God's will.
    God has given us a brain and if we don't use it, we can't blame our blunders on God or, for that matter, on the Devil.
    But the blame-game is the favorite sport of all losers, and we are no exception.
    *
    “Turks, Turks, Turks,” say our leaders; never “the buck stops here.”
    *
    To say we need solutions is to imply that our literature is a waste of time – a convenient line with which to suppress dissent or anyone who refuses to flatter our ego.
    *
    We are not as good as we think we, Naregatsi tells us. We may even be worse than we like to admit. Which may explain why Naregatsi is our greatest and least read writer.
    *
    If you want the truth, give up all hope for flattery.
    *
    Where there are divisions, there will also be dupes who are easily taken in by false arguments.
    *
    Nice Armenians exist, but only in Saroyan, who was himself far from nice, or so we are told by his wife and son in their memoirs.
    *
    There is no money in dissent, hence the scarcity of dissenters.
    There is money in flattery, hence the abundance of brown-nosers.
    *
    A victim who collaborates with his victimizer ceases to be a victim.
    #
    May 10, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    AS OTHERS SEE US
    ************************************************
    We have friends. So do Turks. In a review of Norman Stone's THE ATLANTIC AND ITS ENEMIES, I read: “...he (Norman Stone) has become a passionate advocate for Turkey against a very powerful Armenian diaspora.” (THE SPECTATOR, 24 April 2010, page 32.)
    I suspect what is meant here is not that we are powerful but that we have some mighty powerful arguments in our favor.
    *
    To cover up a scandal or a lie may be easy, but to cover up a million corpses is much more difficult. The Turks say the corpses are not Armenian but Turkish. What they ignore is the fact that you cannot bury a million bodies in the middle of a desert where no battle was fought.
    A very powerful Armenian diaspora?
    Don't make me laugh!
    *
    In the same issue of THE SPECTATOR I also read the following: “...the real abuse by Roman Catholic priests may not be the groping of child bodies but priestly subversion of child minds.”
    I agree! Brainwashing is as serious a crime as sexual molestation of defenseless boys and girls.
    Organized religions compound their felonies by
    (one) asserting infallibility, and
    (two) by legitimizing intolerance.
    *
    Thucydides: “The strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must.”
    By dividing themselves and engaging in endless internecine conflicts, the ancient Greeks and contemporaries of Thucydides fell prey to Macedonians, Romans, and Ottoman Turks. And very much like us, they continue to divide themselves today. And again like us, they continue to find themselves at the mercy of powers beyond their control.
    *
    Philip Pullman: “Wisdom works secretly and quietly, not in the great courts and palaces of the earth, but among ordinary people.”
    #
    May 11, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    COMMISSARS
    ************************************************
    To how many of my critics and detractors I could say, some day if I ever write an essay titled “Portrait of a commissar,” I will use you as a source of inspiration. Like all commissars, you are better at shooting writers than understanding them. I wonder why. Is it because it is easier to shoot them in the neck than trying to understand them?
    *
    Like all skinheads and fanatics, all commissars are wrong if only because they assert infallibility, which amounts to a bordello madam asserting virginity.
    *
    It is much easier to say “It was God's will,” rather than, “It was our fault.”
    *
    In all anti-democratic environments, the people are brainwashed to support and believe in liars and starve those who expose them.
    *
    Why should God interfere when men adopt the Devil as their role model?
    After giving us what we need to survive and shape our destiny, God tells us, “It's up to you to decide if you want to live like free men or die like slaves.”
    You may now guess what has been our choice.
    *
    “Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,” Homer says of Odysseus. We too have seen many cities and a large variety of men, but what have we learned? -- except perhaps to brag about how smart we are and blame others for our misfortunes.
    *
    You want solutions?
    Read the Bible.
    “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
    “Where there is no vision the people perish.”
    And the people perish because
    “When the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
    *
    Unlike Protestants, Catholics are not encouraged to read the Bible. Neither, it seems, are Armenians – judging by the number of readers who demand solutions from me, as if I were a better writer than the Holy Ghost.
    *
    Even so, I thank my detractors, for they are my most faithful readers.
    #
    May 12, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    MY AIM IN LIFE
    ************************************************
    To make the incomprehensible comprehensible.
    Also to convince the brainwashed
    that they have been brainwashed.
    Not an easy task, especially if the brainwashed
    have also been brainwashed to believe they are smart.
    I maintain our history,
    or what they call nowadays, our narrative,
    proves that some of us may indeed be smart in the marketplace,
    but most of us are dumb in politics.
    What if I am wrong and my critics right?
    That's always a possibility of course,
    but a very remote one, if my critics believe
    what I believed thirty years ago.
    As for those of my critics who think
    they have all the answers:
    No one but the Good Lord has all the answers --
    I use the Good Lord as a point of reference.
    I don't assert His existence.
    I assume it.
    There is a difference.
    As for our genocide:
    I believe the narrative of our nationalist historians
    and Turcocentric ghazetajis to be wrong
    in so far as it stresses Turkish responsibility
    and covers up the incompetence of our leadership.
    Lamentation is important.
    But learning from our blunders is even more so.
    Turkish responsibility does not justify
    our own past and present irresponsibility.
    #

  4. #244
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    propaganda

    May 13, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    POPES...AND RELATED ATROCITIES.
    ************************************************
    I am reading a book on Renaissance popes. What rascals they were! They engaged in fornication, murder, torture, treason, wars of conquest...One of them promoted his teenage bastard son, who was not even a priest, to cardinal.
    *
    It is beyond me why some serious writers like Mauriac, Claudel, and Graham Greene took their Catholicism seriously. Why should anyone bother to identify himself as a Catholic when he could choose to be an honest man? Are the two mutually incompatible?
    *
    If one includes the number of heretics who were burned at the stake, the papacy has probably killed more people than the Mafia.
    Besides these popes, American televangelists are no better than rank amateurs.
    *
    Organized religions are successful because like Ponzi schemes they promise much more than they deliver. They promise heaven and deliver hell. They promise 72 virgins (I wonder, what do they promise to virgins?) and they legitimize the murder of innocent civilians.
    *
    That's the way it is with charlatans: the more they promise, the less they deliver. The great Powers promised our historic lands, and they delivered massacres.
    *
    To be dependent on someone else's goodwill: I can't imagine a worst fate. We were dependent on Turkish goodwill for 600 years, until...
    *
    Even at its most savage, writing is the gentlest of arts, because no writer is in a position to force anyone to read what he writes. If you are disappointed in what you are reading, it may well be a result of inadequacy, not necessarily yours but mine.
    *
    It is easy to make mistakes, much harder to admit them.
    *
    In old age you become aware of your youthful mistakes.
    *
    We are all entitled to make one or two major mistakes and ten thousand minor ones.
    *
    For every honest man there are ten thousand crooks who are brainwashed to believe they are honest men.
    #
    May 14, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    FREIENDS AND ENEMIES
    ************************************************
    I find the venom of my enemies more stimulating than the honey of my friends, in the same way that our Turcocentric ghazetajis find the lies of Turkish bureaucrats more stimulating than the truths of our writers – judging by the lies they quote and the truths they ignore.
    And why?
    Because asserting moral superiority is more flattering to their ego than examining their conscience.
    But that's not the worst part of it.
    The most dangerous misconception our Turcocentric ghazetajis spread is the notion that our genocide is history (in the sense that it belongs to the irrevocable past) rather than a self-inflicted ongoing operation. That is also why they are very eager to name the perpetrators of the first “red” genocide, but not of the second “white” one.
    *
    The trouble with asserting moral superiority is that it doesn't end there. Sooner or later and gradually it degenerates to dogmatism and ultimately infallibility; and we all know what happens to charlatans who assert infallibility: they end up victimizing innocent and defenseless civilians – from burning heretics at the stake to sexually assaulting children.
    *
    You want to know what is the difference between propaganda and literature?
    Our propaganda says, we have enemies and we have friends.
    Our literature says, the enemy is us.
    *
    Were the Great Powers of the West our enemies or friends?
    If they were our friends, where were they when we needed them most?
    *
    In his JOURNALS Kierkegaard writes: “One man alone cannot help or save the age in which he lives, he can only express the fact that it will perish.”
    To save the age?
    If our Lord perished while trying, what chance to we miserable mortals have?
    #
    May 15, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    WHAT IS PROPAGANDA?
    ************************************************
    The difference between a lie and propaganda is that a lie may be exposed but propaganda, even when exposed, continues to be believed.
    *
    All power structures (be they political parties, organized religion, or business corporations) engage in propaganda. That's because their number one concern is their own legitimacy rather than the truth.
    *
    All power that is not selfless service is illegitimate.
    *
    To believe and to recycle propaganda is infinitely more dangerous than to lie.
    *
    Propaganda is at the root of all intolerance, persecution, wars, and massacres.
    *
    Only dupes who cannot think for themselves believe in propaganda.
    *
    The world is a dangerous place and life a risky business because those who cannot think for themselves have always outnumbered those who can.
    *
    Millions of innocent civilians have died because their killers were brainwashed to believe their God was the only true God, and their race was God's chosen.
    *
    For every propaganda line there will be another that contradicts it.
    *
    All claims of superiority are false because no one has ever admitted to belong to an inferior race, nation, or tribe.
    *
    Moses was wrong if only because he failed to add the most important commandment of all, namely: “Thou shalt not believe in men who speak in the name of God for they engage in propaganda.”
    #

  5. #245
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    replies

    May 16, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    REPLIES
    ************************************************
    FROM AN INTERVIEW
    WITH BETTY MIDLER
    ****************************
    Q: What is the quality you most like in a man?
    A: Guts.
    Q: What is the quality you most like in a woman?
    A: Balls.
    *
    FROM AN INTERVIEW
    WITH BRIGITTE BARDOT
    ************************************************** ***
    Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    A: Nothing about me. Everything about others.
    *
    FROM AN INTERVIEW
    WITH SALMAN RUSHDIE
    ************************************************** ***
    Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
    A: Faith.
    Q: What is your greatest fear?
    A: Irrelevance.
    *
    See VANITY FAIR'S PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE (New York, 2009)
    #
    May 17, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    MORE REPLIES TO
    THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE
    ************************************************
    MAUREEN DOWD
    *************************************
    Q: How would you like to die?
    A: After my enemies.
    *
    DUSTIN HOFFMAN
    ********************************
    Q: On what occasion do you lie?
    A: When people ask , “How are you?” The real answer I save for my therapist.
    Q: Who are your favorite writers?
    A: Nineteenth-century Russians.
    *
    WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY
    ****************************************
    Q: What or who is the greatest love of your life?
    A: J.S. Bach.
    *
    SIDNEY POITIER
    ****************************
    Q: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    A: Jason Bourne.
    *
    WALTER MATTHAU
    *******************************
    Q: Which historical figure do you most identify with?
    A: Jack the Ripper.
    Q: What is your motto?
    A: “F*ck you.”
    *
    DAVE BRUBECK
    *****************************
    Q: If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
    A: J.S. Bach.
    *
    GORE VIDAL
    ********************************
    Q: Who are your heroes in real life?
    A: Dr Kevorkian.
    #
    May 18, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    MY ANSWERS TO
    THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE
    ************************************************
    Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    A: Playing Bach on the organ in an empty church.
    Q: What is that you most dislike in others?
    A: Intolerance.
    Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
    A: Charm and a perfect set of white gleaming teeth.
    Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    A: The fact that I have been writing for thirty-five years and I am still alive. Very few Armenian writers can say as much.
    Q: Your favorite word?
    A: Compassion.
    Q: Your favorite writers?
    A: Plato, Chekhov, Toynbee, Sartre, Zarian, Koestler, Simenon, Chandler, Lesley Blanch...among many others.
    Q: Who are your heroes in real life?
    A: Socrates, Diogenes, Gandhi.
    Q: Your favorite heroes of fiction?
    A: Jack Bower, Jason Bourne, Bugs Bunny, and Walker in POINT BLANK.
    Q: Your happiest experience?
    A: Receiving a letter from Saroyan saying he reads everything I write.
    Q: Who is the greatest love of your life?
    A: After my mother, J.S. Bach.
    Q: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    A: “If you know what I am saying,” when I don't know what I am saying.
    Q: On what occasion do you lie?
    A: When asked by a writer to assess his work.
    Q: How would you like to die?
    A: Suddenly, in my sleep.
    Q: Which talent would you most like to have?
    A: The ability to sing Neapolitan serenades.
    Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
    A: Self-doubt.
    Q: What is the trait you most deplore in others?
    A: Subservience.
    Q: What is your most marked characteristic?
    A: Timidity.
    Q: Which living person do you most despise?
    A: Flunkies, hirelings, and brown-nosers.
    Q: What is your favorite journey?
    A: Greek islands, Italian cities, South-American jungles, and Caucasian mountains.
    Q: If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
    A: A concert pianist.
    Q: What do you regard as the lowest of misery?
    A: To be a homeless refugee in a poor country under an authoritarian regime in time of war.
    Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    A: To be more diplomatic in my dealings with my fellow men.
    #
    May 19, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    MORE ANSWERS TO
    THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE
    ************************************************
    Q: Your favorite occupation?
    A: Reading.
    Q: Your greatest fear?
    A: Losing my eyesight.
    Q: Where would you like to live?
    A: Since I can no longer live in the Armenian ghetto in Athens where I spent my early years – because it was torn down – in Venice.
    Q: Your most treasured possession?
    A: The complete organ and piano works of J.S. Bach.
    Q: Your favorite saying?
    A: “When the house is finished, death enters.”
    *
    DAVID STEINBERG
    ********************************
    Q: If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
    A: Frank Sinatra's dick-- the early years.
    *
    ON THE RADIO
    ****************************
    “They don't eat bagels in Israel.”
    *
    SHRINKS
    **************************
    I am told I hate myself. If I do, it may be because I can't imagine anything more repulsive than being infatuated with oneself.
    *
    Everything I say about Armenians has been said before, and if not said, felt.
    #

  6. #246
    Registered User
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    Aug 2004
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    canada
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    n/c

    May 20, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    ON LEVANTINE CUNNING
    ***************************************
    After informing me that translating Zarian is a waste of time because he was a loud-mouth nonentity, a third-rate vodanavorji and a fourth-rate intellect went to suggest that I translate his poetry instead, and he made it sound as if translating him were a rare honor he was bestowing on me in an unprecedented burst of generosity for which I should be eternally grateful to him.
    *
    We are told God created men in His own image. Good men, maybe. As for bad men: I like to believe they were created by the Devil. To say otherwise would be to blaspheme.
    *
    Every policy has a stated as well as a hidden motive. Two cases in point:
    Speaking about Canadian multiculturalism, I once heard a pundit on the radio define it as, “Let them dance.”
    Our Turcocentrism may also be summed up thus: “If they think about Turks and massacres all the time, they will have little time to think about our shenanigans.”
    *
    We don't understand everything. Therefore there must be Someone who does. What could be more unbearable than a mystery without a solution? God must exist!
    *
    We see the Genocide as a tragedy; but it is also a defeat and a victory -- a defeat for us, and a victory for the Turks not only over Greeks, Kurds, and Armenians, but also Russia, the Great Powers of the West, and their Allies.
    *
    H.G. Wells: "The Athenian democracy suffered much from that narrowness of patriotism which is the ruin of all nations."
    *
    It is a well-known fact that in America when the cavalry won it was a victory, but when the Indians won it was a massacre.
    *
    It has been said that nothing divides the Arab nations more than talk of Arab unity. Something similar could be said about us. Because I have been critical of our dividers, I too have been accused of being one.
    #
    May 21, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    NOTES AND COMMENTS
    ***************************************
    At one time or another all nations have conducted wars of conquest. Why is it that when it comes to Jews, this is seen as a crime against humanity?
    *
    Judging by the number of times I have been called a fool by fools, I am not the only one who thinks Armenians are not as smart as they think they are.
    *
    There is a natural tendency in all fools to conspire with other fools and call themselves smart.
    *
    No book can be as unreadable as an established masterpiece.
    *
    About Americans and genocide recognition: it would be useful to remind ourselves once in a while that what we are dealing with here are men who at one time or another in the past, and to some extent even today, have justified such aberrations as slavery, racism, revolution, wars of conquest (including civil war), and the massacre of civilians.
    *
    And speaking of Indians: nowadays, even they speak with a forked tongue.
    *
    When you don't know, you have no choice but to trust the judgment of those who pretend to know.
    *
    There is no accounting for tastes. Some scholars are Turcophiles, some are Armenophiles, some women fall in love with serial killers.
    *
    Yugoslav proverb: "Man is harder than rock and more fragile than eggs." If we view Turks as hard as rocks and ourselves as fragile as eggs, it may be because, by uniting them, their leaders made them stronger; and by dividing us, our leaders made us weaker and more vulnerable. If you think I am the first to say this, read Yeghishé (410-470 AD): "If a nation is ruled by two kings, both the kings and their subjects will perish."
    *
    To ignore our prophets is bad enough; to cover up their prophecies is to pretend that history fell on us without warning, like a thief in the night.
    #
    May 22, 2010
    ************************************************** *
    FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
    ***************************************
    What could be more incomprehensible than someone else's grief?
    *
    When popes, imams, rabbis, and gurus pretend to have a monopoly on truth, they lie. Our “betters” are liars.
    *
    Hegel: “Truth lives only in the conquest of error.”
    *
    Kierkegaard: “You will never be anything so long as you have money.”
    *
    To those who say, “knowledge is power,” Socrates says “we know nothing.”
    *
    Heidegger: “The greater the work accomplished the richer the unthought-of element in that work.”
    Or, the more questions an answer raises, the closer to the truth it takes us.
    *
    John Ruskin: “When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package.”
    *
    I don't write against anyone, not even Turks. I write against the Turk in me.
    *
    Because we are experiencing a slow-motion and self-inflicted white massacre, we pretend it is not taking place.
    *
    Erich Fromm: "Understanding a person does not mean condoning; it only means that one does not accuse him as if one were God or a judge placed above him."
    *
    True knowledge contains doubts, false knowledge only certainties.
    *
    When it comes to political awareness, we are an underdeveloped people no better than Zulus and Ugandans.
    #

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