Glendale News Press
Published February 26, 2005
FROM THE MARGINS
Aram, Snoop and the green dragon
My Japanese- style tattoo was not well received by my family.
My mom threatened not to speak to me until eternity. Later she reconsidered,
and her threats withered away to blocking her vision with her right hand any
time the “ink” was showing.
When my freshly arrived cousin, Zareh, saw the green dragon, his reaction
was animated. As his palms were pointing to the heavens, he blurted out his
final judgment with the authority of a revolutionary commissar: “No Armenian
girl will ever marry you.” As is usually the case, revolutionary commissars
are often out of touch with their territory’s cultural conditions. A few
days later, Zareh had softened up. Perhaps, his son’s reaction to the
newborn dragon had put his mind at ease. He reported to me proudly about his
son: “Do you know what Aram had to say about that thing?”
“What?” I asked.
He said: “Why would anyone tarnish their God-given body by a tattoo?”
I was happy father and son were in harmony. But, I was determined to get
back at the little rascal.
Months later, Zareh had to revisit the “old world.” So, when I saw Aram
sitting in front of me at church during a baptism, I knew it was my
opportunity to get even.
I tapped him on the shoulder, as Robert DeNiro would in an Italian-American
mobster movie, and delivered my line: “I’ve heard (pronounced ‘huyd’)
things,” and pointed to my chest.
Aram knew exactly what I was talking about, but displayed the same calmness
Joe Pesci possessed in the first few minutes of “Good Fellas.”
He responded: “I said nothin’.”
“I know what I’ve heard.” I squinted my left eye and stared at him
skeptically: “Tell me, Aram, whom would you prefer to dress up like, Bono or
Snoop Dogg?” (Bono is a Euro-chic rock artist and Snoop is a “gangsta chic”
“Who is Bono?” He asked, and continued: “I like Snoop’s music, and the way
Aram knew where I was going with my line of questioning.
He had his next answer ready: “But, I know he has done very bad things in
his life. I would never do those things, but his music is cool. I like his
I wasn’t sure if I had made my point, but I decided to drop it. After all,
Aram is supposed to be the kid, and I am supposed to be the adult. Snoop
Dogg once said in an interview: “I don’t walk around gangsta’ all day,
slapping people up and being a vicious criminal. No. That’s only when it’s
called for … same with the pimp image. That’s a dream of mine I had as a
kid, to be a pimp, living like a pimp. I’ve lived that dream out and had fun
These are not Aram’s roots. So why would a 10-year-old be open to the idea
of taking style lessons from Snoop? Which brings us to President Clinton. He
once said: “I think every country’s image of itself is rather like a
person’s image of himself or herself. It is the product of the accumulated
dreams and nightmares of your family.”
I’d like to revise that statement: A person’s image of himself is a product
of his own, his family’s and his society’s experiences. And if we define
society as a combination of what is immediately around us, as well as
virtual society, which is what we see through the media, then it becomes
easier to comprehend why a significant number of kids take their fashion
sense and music taste from Snoop.
My guess is Aram will never do “bad” things. His ties to his family and his
own roots are too strong. But there are kids out there who are vulnerable.
And there are kids out there who will embrace Snoop Dogg’s fashion sense,
and will listen to his music out loud when they drive their lowered Caddy’s
with shiny spinner rims on Brand Boulevard.
Does this mean they will all mimic what they think Snoop Dogg’s life
experiences are? My guess is that a small minority will, and the majority
I am hoping the world of grown ups, which includes our respective families,
friends, neighbors, city officials, school staff and the law enforcement
officers, is keeping up with the changing times. More than ever, superficial
appearance is not indicative of what’s inside. Labeling kids as “bad,”
because of their fashion sense is not only unintelligent, but it can also be
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress