jan/11

Sunday, January 08, 2006
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We say we are smart. We also say we need solutions to our problems. We never ask, if smart people can’t solve their problems, who can? Are we then smart only when it comes to selling Oriental rugs?
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State a problem clearly and its solution becomes obvious to all except certified morons.
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Problem: our leadership is authoritarian.
Solution: democratization, beginning with respect for fundamental human rights, and above all that of free speech. I mention this solution first to point out the fact that it won’t cost a single penny.
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The solution to our tribalism? The brotherhood of all Armenians and ultimately of all men — another solution that will not make any demands on our budget.
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The solution to our Turco-centrism? A shift in focus – (ditto).
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When Zarian said, “Armenians survive by cannibalizing one another,” he clearly implied the solution, namely, vegetarianism (metaphorically speaking, of course).
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Speaking of Zarian: when I started publishing my translations, writers from both sides of the Iron Curtain informed me that I was wasting my valuable time on a mediocrity. Mischa Kudian, our foremost translator, joined the chorus by telling me I was on the wrong track leading to a dead end.
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Am I an Armenian writer if I write in English? I do not consider that a problem, and to those who do, I say, if I challenge anyone’s power and prestige I might as well be a Turk in the eyes of our Turco-centric cannibals.
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Monday, January 09, 2006
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INTERVIEW
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Q: Your favorite genre of reading matter?
A: Brief interviews with celebrities – I find them compulsively readable even if consistently disappointing.
Q: The funniest book you read last year?
A: THE COMPLETE CARTOONS OF THE NEW YORKER.
Q: What annoys you the most?
A: People who speak like morons because they think everyone else is a lesser moron.
Q: Do you believe in god?
A: Not in the god of priests, mullahs, and rabbis.
Q: What’s your own god like?
A: He is an absentee landlord – distant, incomprehensible, and indifferent.
Q: Your greatest regret?
A: Arguing with individuals who were not prepared to lose an argument.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006
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ON POLITICS AND POLITICIANS
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When a doctor makes a mistake, more often than not his mistake is buried and forgotten.
I once knew a bus driver who after killing a pedestrian he was forced into retirement, became an alcoholic, and died an early death.
When a businessman makes a mistake, he may lose a fraction of his capital or he may even go bankrupt.
But when a politician makes a mistake, thousands and sometimes even millions may die. That’s why politicians find it impossible to admit mistakes and to learn from them. That is also why they rewrite history and become masters of the blame-game.
A politician’s worst adversary is neither his opposition nor the enemy, but the truth. Politicians propagandize, misrepresent, and lie because they must pretend to know better and to be morally superior even when they know nothing and they are the scum of the earth.
That may explain why in a democracy most people don’t vote or if they do they don’t vote for the right man but for the lesser of two or more evils, and even then they are disappointed.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
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THE IRRELEVANCE OF LITERATURE
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Christians trust their clergymen, Muslims their mullahs, and Jews their rabbis not because these gentlemen are wiser or more honest, but because they were in a position to brainwash them.
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To the average Soviet citizen a commissar had more credibility than the entirety of Russian literature; and intimidation and fear had nothing to do with it. Young Muslim insurgents kill themselves today not because they are driven by fear but by conviction.
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The collapse of the USSR had nothing to do with its dissenters who were more like canaries in a mine: they only detected the economic bankruptcy and the moral degeneration that preceded the collapse.
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In an authoritarian environment anyone in a position of authority, be he a boss, bishop, or benefactor and their countless hirelings, hangers-on, and brown-nosers, will enjoy more credibility than Socrates, Gandhi, and Solzhenitsyn, all three of whom were treated like common criminals by their respective power structures.
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