Saturday, December 20, 2008

European May '68?

That's what Sarkozy told his ministers: “We don’t want a European May ’68 in the middle of Christmas.”

You won't know it from the mainstream media, but the Greek riots are going global. This is some serious shit. It's not like they're just torching cars and throwing molotov cocktails: About a thousand--yes, you read that correctly--schools and university departments have been occupied along with television and radio stations and riots and solidarity demonstrations have been held in Hamburg, Dresden, Cologne, Bremen, London, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Paris, Bern, Barcelona, Toledo, Madrid, Copenhagen, New York, Melbourne, Ljubljana (Slovenia), St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, Oaxaca, Glasgow, Dublin, Malmo (Sweeden), as well as cities in Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria, Poland, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, South Korea, and elsewhere.

And this is not just about the Alexandros Grigoropoulos. The protesters are calling themselves "the 600 Euro generation" because nobody can get a job that pays more than 600 Euros a month.



Obviously this news is huge. The fact that it has been completely blacked out in the mainstream media means that the powers that be know that there is a legitimate danger of the riots spreading to US cities. In this tense political and economic climate, what with unemployment skyrocketing past 10% (the 6% figure they give is total bullshit) and millions of jobs hovering over the abyss, the only way that they would be able to control mass riots in major cities would be to pull out the PATRIOT ACT and call everyone who hits the streets "terrorists" and throw them in jail.

Fasten your seat belts and get into crash position fellas. USS Titanic, meet Mr. Iceberg.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2:11 Elbow to the Face.

Feast your eyes on this lovely spectacle.

Armenians and Greeks fighting over Jesus while the IDF tries to break it up. You couldn't make this up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEpZJnydbj8

(YouTube has disabled embedding for this clip, interestingly enough).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Letter from Gharabagh: About Hatspanian

The letter translated below was published in Haykakan Zhamanak on December 5th [can't link because their servers seem to be down (or to have been downed, as the case may be)]. That the letter is from Ardzakh is not an incidental fact; it is central, because Kocharyan and his entire clan and entourage are from Ardzakh, of course, and for someone from that region to call for Hatspanian to be set free is saying something.

Hatspanian, a veteran of the war, is on a hunger strike--in prison. He was put there ostensibly because he revealed a plot to assassinate Serzh Sargsyan during an interview with Haykakan Zhamanak (translation here), a supremely good move on his part because, had the plot succeeded, Kocharyan's hand would have strengthened immeasurably: How many innocent people would have wound up in jail as "terrorists" is anybody's guess. I think it is important for all those who would like to see SS and RK disappear to know that assassinations are as much a thing of the past as political prisoners are.

If you want to read Hatspanian's account of 3/1, go here (pt. 1) and here (pt. 2).

Letter from Gharabagh
Sergey Poghossian
Kashatagh region
Goghtanik village

It was evening in early November, and we were watching Haylur, when suddenly my wife turned to me with a dumbstruck expression on her face just as she heard mentioned the name of Sarkiss Hatspanian, the benefactor and guardian of our family and its many members. Could Paruyr Hairikyan really be that treacherous and inhuman to declare Hatspanian a persona non grata, criticize him, and condemn him as a traitor? [You] government leaders, when I embarked on the road through Lachin from Ashtarak along with my 15 hungry and bare children, which one of you asked, "Where are you taking those pitiful children?"

We used to live in one of the lost villages of Kashatagh up until the year 2000, pining for a handful of daily flour. It was then that along came Ara Manukian and twice provided assistance to the entire village. Alas, the previous administration began harassing him and prohibited his help. But then Gurgen Melikyan and Sarkiss Hatspanian arrived and with God's grace helped us and continue to help us to this day. It was, indeed, no one other than Sarkiss Hatspanian who bought me a car and paid for it himself, so that I could earn two pennies in these mountains and not be crushed under the responsibility of taking care of 15 children. Because of Hatspanian, Kashatagh became a birthplace for me, and I began living for the sake of my children and my homeland. I appeal to the government of the Republic of Armenia: I am a man past 50, five of my children have served in the army, and two of them will be serving in the future--Please, set my dear Sarkiss Hatspanian free and condemn me for having 15 children, instead.

New Blog: Seven on Trial

Here is the Guardian article on the Trial of the Seven, accused of trying to usurp power.

Here is A1+'s coverage of Ombudsman Armen Harutunian discussing the upcoming trial, including a video with a translated transcript. In classic Armenian fashion, Harutunian gets pissed-off at the reporters (at around minute 2) for constantly asking him to express an opinion about the trial, after he's just gotten done explaining that they have to go through the process and see what happens first.

And here is a new blog dedicated to covering the trial, called Seven on Trial. I wonder if Melissa Brown is the author.

My feeling is that they are going to be found guilty, then be given a pardon or reduced sentences: Sargsyan and Kocharyan need to showcase their "benevolence" while avoiding giving the west an excuse to scrutinize their administration. But we'll see what happens.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's gonna rain.

They've gone and done it now. It is Thursday night, and news came in a few hours ago that the car company bailout, or "brigde loan," has failed to reach cloture, or quick conclusion. The Senators that are responsible for this did what they did in order to attract foreign companies to their states with cheap, unorganized labor. They want to kill off labor-union power and turn the US into a third-world, cheap-labor, coolie shit-hole. And, man, was that a mistake.

The American work force has gotten wind of what is going on, and these lawmakers are going to pay for their complacency in front of labor. The mood in the country has become increasingly frustrated over the last 4-5 months, ever since the crash, and especially after average Americans witnessed the perverse $700 billion bailout for gamblers in expensive suits with white powder around their nostrils. Now they are being asked to believe that in spite of all that money that materialized out of nowhere, a measely $15 billion isn't being made available to the car companies that hire millions of them. The contrast between white-collar treatment and blue-collar treatment is too stark for them to ignore.

And it is--not--the so-called "liberals" that are going to do something about this discrepancy. It has always been the case that the liberals are urban, educated white collar types who kind of, sort of know "what is really going on," i.e. knew that there was no connection between Iraq and AlQaida and that sort of thing, but they don't have what it takes to really do something about it. It is true that liberals will talk the talk over a latte, but when it comes down to walking the walk, in the street, with a raised fist, they would much rather retreat to whatever comfortable, television-show-imitating "life" that their superiors have bestowed upon them in exchange for their loyalty.

No, it isn't the liberals that are "waking up," it is the red-state, blue-collar workers that are feeling that righteous anger in their bellies right about now. Now they are looking at the same familiar faces on television making the same retarded wise-cracks, but they don't sound funny anymore. The talking heads look like liars, the politicians' utter corruption is out in the open, and the utter indifference of government to the people it is supposed to serve feels like cold steel rod where their spinal cord is supposed to be--the illusion is over. They are starting to think that maybe it is time to do somehting. After all, it is beginning to look like they have no choice. Now, if they do mobilize, and I think that they are getting ready to, they are going to jam their manual-labor-hardened collective fist so far up the right-wing's ass, they'll be able to tickle the right's pituitary gland.

Tomorrow, it will be Friday, December the 12th. Keep your ears open for the first cracks of thunder.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Democratic Demographic

This is the smartest and most important truth I've heard about American politics in more-or-less 20 years (before that I was too young to recognize a political truth if it was strung around my neck and tied to a galloping horse):
What the Democrats lost in their base [i.e. unions], they gained in the form of a generalized tolerance that seeped unconsciously into the brains of a whole generation. They became more of a demographic than a political party united by common interests.

[Emphasis mine.]
The quote is from an article by Matt Taibbi who, along with Mark Ames and John Dolan (who's probably the real "Gary Brechter" at the exile), is a writer whom the future is going to recognize as an H.L. Mencken or Hunter Thompson of our era. And that is saying something.

I don't know if Taibbi's been reading academic journals and putting what he learns together with what he sees on the campaign trail and his good-instincts-in-general, or what, but when I read that sentence I had a rare "Holy fucking shit, he's totally right" moment. If you know where to look, there are ninufars-growing-in-slimy-ponds-loads of good ideas on the internet. But rarely is there an idea that unravels the corset covering the luscious truth with a more skillful pull of the string than this, which I repeat:
[The Democrats] became more of a demographic than a political party united by common interests.
Well, here's a story.

About a week before the elections, my sister and I went phone-banking (basically, calling people up and convincing them to vote for a candidate) for Obama, here in California that everyone knew would, and did, go to Obama. We walked into Democratic Party headquarters with high hopes and expectations, but different ones: She was expecting the people there to be joyously positive, and I was expecting them to be bored. My reasoning was that Obama already had California, so why would Dem HQ people be excited about volunteers for Cali? I went in with the hope that the phone-banking that was being done was for other states, like Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, you know, states that mattered in the swing sense.

Turns out, she was right. There was a buzz in the air, like something really, really BIG was about to happen. I was wrong, but the buzz didn't intoxicate me enough to forget that phone-banking for Obama at that point was pointless. So I got into a minor tiff with the guy who was organizing what all the volunteers were doing. I asked him what the point about calling people in California to tell them to vote for Obama was, and he told me not to worry about it: Proposition 8 is what we could phone-bank about. Proposition 8 was the one about homosexuals marrying.

I don't really care about who marries whom, so I was on his side, but I wasn't about to devote several hours of my day that could be spent in enjoyable conversation with my sister to convincing traditional people that ass-fucking is an OK human activity. Have you ever tried convincing your grandmother that your gay cousin, as much as she loves him, isn't performing unnatural acts that sin against everything that is proper in the world? Fuck that. In any case, compared to the fate of the human race, gay marriage is an issue the size of a termite fart, in my humble opinion, and, in the end, it turns out that I was right and he was wrong: phone-banking about Prop 8 turned out to be totally futile (and I wish him the best of luck while he freezes his ass off in Utah trying to make Mormons gay-friendly).

So the conversation with the gay guy at that point was about to escalate into a real argument, with me yelling at him to give me something that is worthwhile to spend time on, and him telling me that Prop 8 is worth the time, when in walks an ugly-looking Hindu nerd with eyeglasses that fit on his head like a bra fits on the head of the Dalai Lama--right away I knew I had found the man.

I said to him that there was no point to phone-bank for Obama because he already had California and that, perhaps, the thing to do was to phone-bank for Russ Warner in Congressional district 26 who was running against a standard Republican body-snatched alien. And that is when the miracle happened: He took out the sheet that they had printed that had the script that phone-bankers were given to read, and he pointed to the last line: "And please remember to vote for Russ Warner for Congress." I looked at the area code, and sure enough it was the area code of district 26: I would be phone-banking for Russ Warner in district 26. Beatitude! End of potential buzz-killing argument.

So sis, who'd been watching with mild consternation my argument with the heathen get worked up to a potential fight--what with her 2-month old in the portable cradle next to us--breathed a sigh of relief, they gave us our phones and the list of people to call, and we sat down with our Obama-supporting fellow citizens to do some good in this world. My sister's strategy was different from mine. She would try to engage the people she called on a personal level; what I did was rifle through the talking points at break-neck speed, not caring what I ran over, getting the message across: "The election is in a few days, the place you are registered to vote is at such and such a place--Vote for Obama, Vote for Russ Warren." End of call.

We spent hours at that place, calling person after person, learning perhaps more than we needed to know about our fellow Obama supporters.

The people we called are a story unto themselves--a mix of really warm supporters and complete fucking assholes--but what struck me most were the people in our physical vicinity, the real people there at Democratic Headquarters. The first guy we noticed at HQ was the guy sitting next to my sister. He was an oldish, big, black guy who sat there for about 20 minutes at a time staring at the phone, pretending to be about to dial phone numbers. He very rarely dialed any numbers. What he would do was get up and go over to the snack table and grab himself something to eat. Then he would return to our table and start staring at the phone, again, while he munched on the snacks, pretending to be about to dial, but really dialing nobody but about 3-4 people the entire time. I wanted to get up and grab him by the collar and scream at his face, "Will you please stop acting like a fucking stereotype?"

Then there was the lady who came and sat down in front of us. I was, like I said, rifling away at the calls, one after the other, staring down at the phone and the list of number, but my sister was looking around her, checking out the atmosphere. I didn't give a shit about the atmosphere, or I did, marginally, as an anthropological curiosity, but sis was giving out signals that she would be willing to talk to other people. So she did. She got into a conversation with this woman who sat down in front of us, white woman in middle-age. As soon as she did, I got up and left to go smoke a cigarette--a still viable, if not rapidly dying, excuse to get out of a situation. I don't know what they talked about, but when I asked her about it afterwards, she mumbled something unmemorable.

The point is that on that phone-banking day there were many of "us," different people: A couple of Armos, a gay, a Hindu guy, a black guy, and a white woman. And, in spite of our differences, we felt somehow on the same side. And that is what the point behind this statement is:

[The Democrats] became more of a demographic than a political party united by common interests.

Something worth thinking about, something worth writing more about, but it's getting late.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Allright [sic]. Let's take a look at this picture again.


I've been mulling this over. There is something that really bothers me about this picture of Samantha Power.

She's sitting on a box with a HOLE in it. We've established that. What that means is that she is being offered up as a spectacle. And she sat down for the portrait willingly, unless there is a person with a gun in his in the background... And, if there is a woman sitting down for a portrait on a box with a hole in it, then we can say she is showing her beauty. And if she is showing her beauty, then let us judge it.

Judgments:

#1 Her arms are too long.

#2 Her back is curved. It should be erect.

#3 Her legs come down into her heels like a nerd's. A woman who wants to get a man stirring would sit in her heels--as if--she feels insecure. Samantha Power sits in her heels as if she's a Professor trying to pose for a photograph.

#4 The skirt is too long. It looks like someone threw a rag on her legs. It drops down around the ankles, laboriously saying nothing about her thighs--ah her marvelous thighs, just around where the ehem is. What it should do is be short enough to want to invite one's hands. What it does do is say, "Hey, why don't we go through these lawbooks for another 8 hours?"

#5 Right around where her arms join the shoulders, there is another sag. A lover might want to caress that curve that would be heavenly otherwise, but not in this case. It is sad and depressing, and it precipitously drops down into the sag of her entire body.

#6 Her entire posture is un-enticing. Her boobs are sagging, when they should be perking up, saying, "Hello, sunshine!"

Here is beauty wanting to beautiful:

Silly, but what man out there would not like to, erm, bring her to her senses?

UPDATE: Yo ka yok ya-he (with a yerkaratsman nshan).

Power and Madness.

This post is about Samantha Power. Take a look at this picture:


Look at her face. She looks like she wants to be Virginia Woolf.

In any case, look at the box. They have her sitting on a box with a hole in it, dressed in a very pretty dress.

Why do they have her sitting on a box with a hole in it?

I mean a A HOLE in it, for Christ's sake?

What the fuck is all this about?

(On the other hand, her expression, the very every-day non-attractiveness of it, and the blandness of the whole spectacle, the three crevices at the stomach, make her so wonderfully everyday, that I think I might blow an 800GB, 10GHz computer.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jinx, You Owe Me Zankou!

I actually wondered for a second whether one of these retards isn't my cousin or someone I know:



I don't condone pot-smoking, because smoking pot makes one very, very stupid--as in drooling at the mouth stupid to the point that you don't remember what you were trying to say when you started the sentence... I mean that as a statement of fact and not as a moral lesson, or anything like that.

In any case, this is a very real piece of Armenian history, done by everyday Armenians.

Zankou, for those who don't live around here, is Zankou Chicken, a fast food franchise in the L.A. area started by an Armenian (who was murdered by a family member, if I remember correctly [actually, yes, I do remember correctly, now that I have looked it up]). It's good chicken, I must say. They have a potato-paste garlic sauce (a kind of starched-up aioli) that goes a long way in making a pita-wrapped piece of chicken breast heavenly, especially with the pickled vegetables and, of course, the pepperchinos.

And 818 is the area code for the Glendale area. It's a gang thing that these kids are picking up as an accoutrement. Another funny thing about the clip is is "bllik." "Bllick" is what you think it is, if what you're thinking is hard, although "bllick" does just as well refer to the soldier in his off-duty state, too--you know, relaxed.

I won't list the sordid details, but these are arevmtahays and parskahays fucking around. Because arevmtahays and parskahays have been around Glendale for ever.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Getting Trampled to Death vs. Attending a $20 Million Party.

Some poor schmuck got trampled to death by Wal-Mart shoppers in Long Island this morning at 5 AM, when the doors were opened and the so-called "Blitz Line" rushed in. Emergency crews took the guy to the hospital, but witnesses said that he was clearly dead already at the store, which means that by the time the last lard-asses were stepping on him what they were actually stepping on was a dead piece of meat.

Of all the ways to go, I'd say getting trampled to death by frenzied Wal-Mart shoppers is probably one of the worst. It's wrong on so many different levels that dying at the tentacles of a snuggly positioned kandiru while it gets intimate with your prostate gland is probably preferable--it's at least more natural. Getting trampled to death by consumer crack-heads while they make a dash for DVD players that are 50% off--dying like that doesn't just amount to murder, it amounts to a condemnation of an entire way of life.

Notice the sick irony here: Those drooling herds of compulsive hoarders of plastic junk were trained enough to take what they wanted to the check out stand and pay for it, even though the force of their mad stampede was clearly great enough for them to have robbed the place in a riot if they'd wanted to--but they weren't civil enough to refrain from stomping someone to death on their way to their discounted Holy Grails. Modern Wal-Mart shoppers will obediently pay for their products, but they won't mind literally crushing another human being's trachea in the process.

I've seen riots with rioters a hundred times more in control of themselves than these animals. There is a shred of political purpose in riots which lends them an atmosphere a cut above that of a chicken feeding frenzy. Granted, rioters are pissed-off young men with the single-minded purpose of destroying what are the symbolic objects of their hatred, but even as they smash the world up around them, at the very least they keep an eye out for one another. These Wal-Mart animals, on the other hand, consider one another as the enemy. Rioters stick together; Wal-Mart shoppers compete against one another to buy the garbage that they should be boycotting. People like that will never gain control of their own destinies.

The man who died was a 34 year-old temporary maintenance worker. And that is what Wal-Mart does, of course, keeps people temporary so the fear of getting fired never leaves them and sets up permanent residence next to the fear of getting sick and having to die because they don't have the money to pay for treatment. The numerous other permanent residents of that psychological Abu Ghraib that workers are forced to endure are the fear of never making enough money to be able to get married, the fear of having kids get sick, and the fear of having your television companion be your sole companion for the rest of your miserable, dead-end, fucked-up life.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, "stars" were attending the most expensive party ever thrown. At least they were called "stars," because from what I was able to tell from the pictures they were mostly second-"tier" people that I've never heard about. The party reportedly cost anywhere from $20 to $40 million.

Dubai's Palm Jumeirah Island is the perfect symbol for what happens when backward desert nomads, the Sheikhs building the resort, suddenly get rich after they agree to repress their own people for the sake of Colonial England: namely, ridiculously over-the-top displays of wealth that seem the perfect settings for 70s disaster films.

Dubai, dubai...hmmm, reminds of something. Oh, yeah, Mumbai.

I don't know how close to 200 jihadists can be involved in an operation that shuts down an entire city without intelligence services from here to India hearing a peep about it, but the suggestion is that they were, erm, clueless. The only way to explain is to say that most of the boots on the ground, or cheap Nike knock-offs on the ground, as the case may be, didn't know where they were going to be deployed until the last minute. But, still, how is it that nobody noticed 200 some odd people loading on to a boat along with 200 some odd Kalishnikovs, grenades, RPGs, and bombs? Sound fishy.

UPDATE: "BLITZ LINE" Starts Here. Go to photos 9 and 11. New York Daily News sucks ass to begin with. Hope you pay your photographers a living wage, assholes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving...

Why do we celebrate this holiday?

Leave it up to religious-fanatic Calvinists to come up with a holiday dedicated to eating the most tasteless fowl on the planet--turkey. Couldn't they give thanks with kabob or something? Jesus Christ.

Economic Meltdown--Big Surprise!

Have you been predicting the disaster that has been happening while complacent assholes have been laughing at your face?

Well, here is your comeuppance:



Feel free to jam it up their Republican asses.

In fact, Armenaker Kamilion is now issuing STFU certificates. That's right, every right-wing jack-off that has ever talked about things that he does not understand can now be officially told to--Shut the Fuck Up.

Yes, before you were shy about telling them to STFU, but now you can rest assured that you are actually correct: Right-wing blow-hards are just right-wing blow-hards.

You have official license from Armenaker Kamilion--there is no higher source--to tell those mother-fuckers to go Shut the Fucking Hell Up.

The Shit's going to hit fan so big time you can't even imagine it yet.

Obama #3--or #2B, to be more specific.

I said "Fuck you" to Obama last time, and now I want to make clear which Obama I was saying "Fuck you" to.

There are, actually, three Obamas. I've said there are two Obamas, but, in fact, Obama #2 is two-partite. So, just to get our Obamas straight, let me list them:

There is Obama #1--He's the perceived Obama, Jesus Christ.

There is Obama #2--The real Obama. Except there are two real Obamas, so let's break this down.

There is Obama #2A: The Obama that has to do what he has to do. The Establishment Obama, the scripted Wall Street plant. The man who has to fit the suit that has already been tailored--meaning the man who would appoint as his Chief of staff Rahm Israel Emanuel: Israeli citizen, son of an Irgun terrorist, as in real terrorist with blood on his hands, and AIPAC ass licker. Good going, Mr. Change.

Then there is Obama #2B: He's the Obama that I support. He might even be a real socialist, a person who's hung out with "radicals," someone not a stranger to Malcolm X, someone who's "palled around with 'terrorists,'" someone who knows what real change is. An academic with nerdy jokes.

The "Fuck you" from the last post was directed at Obama #2B, because when I see someone I think I understand act like a fucking hypocrite, it annoys me. I wanted to make that clear. Standard neocons would never get a "fuck you" from me, because they are beneath me. That's right: the standard neocon is not worth insulting, because it would be like getting mad at a piece of charcoal.

Obama #2B, the real Obama, in my imagination, is someone I really do think I could have a beer with, except it wouldn't be a beer. So it pains me, it annoys me to no end, that he, Obama #2B, would act like such a fucking hypocrite.

Ergo, "Fuck you, Obama"--Obama #2B.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

$800 billion more?

What the fuck is going on here?

A couple of years ago, the government could NOT afford $8 billion to take care of kids without healthcare. Now, all of a sudden, there is $700 billion with $150 billion pork, and, on top it, another $800 billion to bail out these nothings of human beings.

I think these people take us all for idiots.

They've got what's coming to them.

Fuck you, Obama.

You're appointing Summers to what now?

That's the last fucking straw: Lawrence Summers Director of National Economic Council.

It's over: This thing called Obama is OVER.

Go fuck yourself you Kenyan shit kicker. Go fuck yourself you goddamn pussy. Go fuck yourself you goddamned liar about what you are going to do. You're just another Wall Street plant.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Obama Paradox

Right-wing talking heads are right. The United States really is a center-right country.

If you've been following what the right-wing talking heads have been saying on mainstream news programs, then you know that they've been pushing the meme that "the US is still a center-right country." They started doing this immediately after Obama got elected, and true to their essentially robotic natures, they've churned out this meme Hostess Twinkie, conveyor-belt style nonstop ever since.

The thing is, though, this time, they're right. The so-called "left" has argued that Obama's election is, in itself, proof that the US is not a center-right country: "If the US is so center-right, then how come Obama got elected?" They'll ask, thinking they've just shut down the opposing argument. Well, here is the answer: Obama is a center-right politician. A President that appoints a Wall-Street millionaire as his Chief of Staff, arguably the second most powerful position in government, and a Barry Goldwater fan who helped pass NAFTA as Secretary of State is--not--a center-left President by any plastic-surgery strrrrrrretch of the imagination.

There are two Obamas: The real Obama, and the Obama as perceived by the incredibly naive public. This fact makes evaluating his election to the Presidency a bit complicated, because, even though the real Obama isn't going to do anything but nudge the country a bit to the left, the fact that the world thinks the US has voted for real change is something in itself. The American public has chosen what it thinks is change; on a certain level, it doesn't matter that it is wrong.

So the right-wing talking heads are right: America is still a center-right country...it just thinks its center-left. And thats the tragedy of the whole thing, or the tragicomedy, rather--as in you don't know whether to laugh or cry when you watch videos of Obama supporters going crazy after the election. Watching them, you'd think a revolution had happened, Bush had been tried and convicted, and a machine had been invented that sucks up all the pollution out of the environment and turns it into electricity and mountain-spring water. But, sadly, no: all that had happened was another Wall-Street-backed candidate winning the Presidency.

All the screaming and jumping up and down was just hysteria. This is the thing about Americans: They need to believe in something, in someone. Pretend to be the someone they need to believe in, and they'll believe. They won't even check to see whether you really are who you say you are. Why look a gift Obama in the mouth, after all? By the time November 4th rolled around, some 70 million Americans had convinced themselves that the political equivalent of the second coming was well nigh. The crazed enthusiasm that Obama supporters displayed on election night was so disproportionate to what had actually happened you got to wonder what the fuck is going on? (Although if you've been following politics, you've probably been wondering what the fuck is going on for 28 years already, and you have the psychology of a person who doesn't know whether breaking into a madhouse wouldn't actually really be breaking out of one.)

It's really heart-breakingly sad when you think about it. These people are so utterly downtrodden, feel so helpless, abused, and hopeless, that they'll convince themselves of the most ridiculously far-fetched fantasies just so they can go on. They lead empty, empty lives. This is what consumerism in a capitalist system turns people into. I remember a time when people would get up at 8, get to work by 9, and return from work at around 5:30. Now, everybody I know that works gets up at 7, and doesn't get back until--at least--7, and they work over the weekend, too. What the fuck kind of a life is that? And it's not only the need to pay the bills that drives them, but the sad fact that they don't really have any kind of a home life. There's just nothing to do except work. Once upon a time, there used to be these groups of people called "families." Now there are isolated individuals apportioned according to the number of television sets in their vicinity. And everybody is on something, usually alcohol.

And most people's jobs suck, too. Office Space wouldn't be as funny and popular if that were not the case. You don't even have to scratch the surface to get to the hostility that drives the series--the hostility is already there, on the surface. Except the perspective from which the shows are interpretable is the one that is aligned with the cool guy only, never the one aligned with the object of the hostility, like the asshole of the office or the boss. You're always looking at the office as if you were looking through the cool guy's eyes, seeing things that others don't, interpreting the world in an "intelligent," sober, and sophisticated manner, which is ironic, because the millions of assholes and bosses out there also look at the office from the perspective of the cool guy. Somebody's got to be mistaken, right? But, hey, that's America.

Obama might be able to push the country in a direction more aligned with Roosevelt's New Deal, but that is not going to make people's lives more meaningful. As a matter of fact, it was precisely the comfortable and secure lives that the New Deal afforded Americans that lulled them into the state of idiocy that allowed a maniac like George Bush to become President. And that is the Obama paradox. That was the Roosevelt paradox, too.

Meet the new paradox, same as the old paradox.

A society's culture is largely determined by its economy, by the means through which goods are exchanged. There have been times and places in human history when people have exchanged goods by exchanging gifts, by bartering, and by other means. Most of them have thought that the way they do business is natural, that things have always been the way they are used to things being--just like we do. But the fact of the matter is that capitalism is less that 300 years old, and there is nothing natural or permanent or fatalistic about it. We can change it if we want to. And we should, and not just because it periodically produces catastrophes like it has just started doing recently, and not just because instrumental intelligence and technology have advanced to the point where the enforcement of a global permanent state of emergency is possible, where permanent war and religious fanaticism have to be implemented to keep capitalism viable--as if each of those were not reason enough, as if FISA and the PATRIOT Act were not reason enough.

We should get rid of capitalism because of the effect that it is having on human culture, namely, fucking it up. Christian fundamentalists and their ideological brethren, the mollahs and Mormons, claim that the "social fabric" is being ripped apart by godlessness. The social fabric is being ripped apart, but it's not simple godlessness that is doing the ripping. It is capitalism. Capitalism produces godlessness; godlessness is a vacuum state. What, are we to believe that faith and religiosity are a matter of choice? That God died because people became lazy? No, God died because of capitalism. Religious people can yammer all they want, but that's a fact: God died because of capitalism, and that is, to put it ironically, a "blessing in disguise."

Objectively, life--the very cosmos--is meaningless. "Meaning" is, itself, is a human invention at the service of life. When God dies, one kind of meaning dies, and life becomes difficult: families fall apart, jobs become a bore, life itself becomes an intolerable protracted psychological torture session complete with middle-of-the-night cold-sweats and middle-of-the-freeway panic attacks, not to mention middle-of-the-workday silent moments when one's brain refuses to shut the fuck up.

The way that I look at it, to ask the question, "What is the meaning of life?" is to display the tell-tale symptom of a disease: the existential malaise, as it has been called, a thoroughly modern, which is to say capitalistic, disease.

Twenty, thirty years ago, the existential malaise was the intellectual's disease, and a slightly hip one at that. Woody Allen could wonder about the meaning of the universe, and his preoccupation with it would make him look smart. Today, the existential malaise is eating up American culture. People keep marveling at the number of fat Americans walking around in shorts, displaying their copious amounts of lard. Why do you think they're fat? When the ideology that controls and channels one's appetites withers away in the unmerciful atmosphere of naked capitalism, the appetites take over--people eat because eating is the only thing that gives them pleasure. That is why there are so many fat Americans. And fat people are going to be visiting your corner of the world, too, and soon.

The problem is that the psychological industry has wrapped-up the existential malaise in its own ideology, called it "depression," and come up with all kinds of drugs that its twin in the pharmaceutical industry produces as a cure. That's all bullshit. All you have to do is take a look at these signature American "diseases." If it isn't obesity, its anorexia or bulimia, the same problem, except in the inverse: people trying to gain control over their lives by exerting influence over the only thing they can, their bodies, because, indeed, life without meaning is like a ship without a rudder, and if your ship's got no rudder, then the only thing you have control over is the ship, so why not burn the whole fucker down and feel some real power in the process? And if it isn't anorexia or bulimia, then its that good old Attention Deficit Disorder. What is ADD, if not a kid having trouble focusing his attention because his parents haven't transfered to him those things that are worth focusing on, because they don't know what those things are, themselves?

More on this in a bit.

1975, 1974 if you count the drugs.

They pulled this from you tube; I found this hunting on the 'net.

Enjoy.

SNL John Belushi/Joe Cocker



1974 AC/DC



Ayy mart, let's do Joe Cocker some justice: You Are So Beautiful:

Destroy This!

Glendale? This jack-ass knows something about Glendale?

Please, visit this retardlican and finish his ridiculous comments about Glendale and Armenians.

He knows nothing about Glendale, and he knows nothing about Armenians. And that Kim Kardashian boz that he has on can go you know what. Armenians don't belly dance, asshole.


"My Armenian friends told me that they settled here because the Verdugo mountains reminded them of their "beloved" mountains of Armenia."

That's what he says. I'll teach you a lesson about beloved mountains. Me em dass sovoratsnelu kezi, srika. Ari, "beloved mountain" neri het enk khoselu. De Ari. Me em nant latsatsnelu.

Kill this idiot.

Finish this imbecile off:

Right Here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Samantha Power

How can I express how I love this woman?

I'll put up her address:



She got cut because she called Hillary Clinton a "monster."

Hillary Clinton is a monster.

Only the good die young...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quest for the biggest asshole in the US.

Figuratively speaking, of course: "asshole," meaning someone like Joe the Plumber, someone who whines about big government wanting to take his money and give it to someone else, when, it turns out, he's been on welfare twice in his life; someone who, when he is confronted about his welfare-queen past, says he's "paid it back" into the system--except he owes about $1,600 in back taxes. I could go on about Joe the Plumber, but you get the point: an "asshole" is the typical Republican blow-hard whose understanding of the world around him is so distorted that it allows his vanity to broadcast his ignorance on national TV, over and mercilessly over again--you know, sort of like an average hockey-mom who thinks she's qualified to be Vice President.

So I began my quest for the biggest asshole in the US by checking out the voting patterns of counties on a map. The map on Daily Kos, to be exact. If you click on a state on that map, it will zoom into the state and show you the breakdown of red/blue votes by county. Since I live in California, I began there. As in other places, the blue part of the state is along the coast and in and around major cities. Up in Humbolt there is a blue pocket, and south of LA is usually overwhelmingly red--except not this time. This time, the counties south of LA all went blue, save one--Orange County.

Orange County has proven that its ass-holery has achieved such zen-like perfection that not even the thought of being governed by a wrinkled old bag full of Post-traumatic stress disorder and his crazed-by-ambition, airheaded side-kick could dispel it. Which brings up the question, What the fuck is the matter with Orange County? The Answer: Oliver Cromwell, like I wrote about. Which brings up a second question: Is the biggest asshole to be found in Orange County? The answer is No: In order to find out who the biggest asshole in the US is, we need to locate the county with the highest concentration of assholes. Orange county, despite its display of miraculous lack of insight, still went 47% for Obama; that is merely a half-strength concentration. In order to locate the kind of walking-argument-for-nuclear-annihilation type of asshole, we need to locate concentrations beyond 90%; only in such a petri dish can the noxious bacterium that we are looking for grow; a county with an asshole concentration rate of below 90% is too susceptible to sanity.

Orange County is a big clue in the quest, however, because like a gigantic, arrow-shaped, demographic turd, Orange County points in the direction of the state we're looking for: Oklahoma. Orange County is the bastion of narcissism-piled-on-top-of-ignorance that it is because it is populated by people whose ancestors came from Oklahoma and, before that, from Oliver Cromwell W.A.S.P. country in Scotland. The connection is the Dust Bowl, and, irony of all ironies, the Great Depression. When the Dust Bowl hit, these people moved to the Orange groves of Orange County, California, to work like the Mexicans that they so like to rail against today. These hypocrites used to be lefties--as in real, communist left, not the limp-wristed liberals so common nowadays--during the Great Depression. Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, The Grapes of Wrath are their legacy. They swung right, however, when desegregation and civil rights became an issue, and right-wing politicians have been playing them like the banjo from Deliverance ever since.

Oklahoma, it turns out, is today the reddest of all states. It went 66-34 in favor of McCaine. No state beats that record. To boot, there is not one county in all of Oklahoma that went for Obama--not one. No state beats that record, either. Even Wyoming that went 65-33 for McCaine had two counties go for Obama. The county we're looking for must be here, then. But where?

Mouse through the counties on the map, and you'll see that the nearer you get to the Texas panhandle, the closer the asshole concentration gets to that magic 90% level. In Beaver County, in the northwest of Oklahoma, a whopping 89% of the population voted for McCaine. But the county we're looking for is, not in Oklahoma, but adjacent to its border: Ochiltree County, Texas, a dry county named after a village in Scotland (surprise, surprise), where the county's Events Calender has "partly cloudy" as the event for November 11-14, and where--92%--of the people voted for McCaine. It's hard to believe. Could it be that they voted for McCaine so uniformly because they all make more than $200,000 a year and don't want to pay higher taxes under Obama? Well, no. According to the 2000 census, 1.9% of the population was making more than $150,000, and the median income for households was $38,013.

The only possible explanation for their suicidal voting is that they're rabid racists. They think people from West Asia, aka the "Middle East," are about to plant a nuclear bomb in their nowhere county, and they can't bring themselves to vote for a "nigger." They're all assholes, then. But the question is, Who is the biggest asshole in this county with a majority of assholes already of surprisingly large proportions? Interesting question. One way to answer it is to ask, What could happen to Joe the Plumber to make him an even bigger asshole than he already is? Give him a tazer gun and the authority "to protect and to serve," as they say here in Cali; in other words, make him a cop. That would skyrocket his asshole rating on the Asshole Index to right about 3465 Asshole Units, head and shoulders above anybody else in the US, perhaps even the planet.

Which brings our quest to the Ochiltree Sheriff's Department. Here, the sheriff is on local radio talking about a scam that's been going on in Ochiltree. The good residents have been getting checks for thousands of dollars from "Mary Jo Smith" along with a congratulatory letter asking them to send back $2,000 to speed up the "processing." I don't know whether Mr. Sheriff is fear-mongering the way Republicans typically do or the residents of Ochiltree are really so uniformly-stupid-as-they-are-uniformly-Republican as to fall for this scam in epidemic proportions, but the depth of the ignorance in the county is palpable in the interview. As Mr. Sheriff says, the victims tend to part with their money through MoneyGram--because MoneyGram is available in Wal-Mart stores. He also says, with a resentful tone, that "if you win something, the IRS has got their hand out before you collect your winnings. I'll guarantee you that!"

Right, Mr. Sheriff. Like I'm sure you are in an intellectual position to guarantee an entire host of truths that people living in cities, outside of dead-end small towns are too never-shot-a-moose naive to understand. For example, Real America, when picking a President, asks, Well, sure he's a Harvard law professor who gave up a cush corporate job to organize in the poorest communities of Chicago, thereby demonstrating his true commitment to America, but has been tortured for seven years? In deciding on the qualifications of a Vice President, Real America asks, Of course he's been a senator for decades and is the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but can he see Russia from his house?

Incidentally, the scams Mr. Sheriff is probably talking about is 419 scams out of Nigeria, and he is either exaggerating what happens in these scams, or he just doesn't understand them, because he describes the scams incorrectly. People bait these scammers, and the results are entertaining.

In any case, Mr. Sheriff, how about big city blue states like California and New York stop spending their hard-earned dollars on your welfare? Because you know that big city blue states pay about $1.20 for your 80 cents of taxes, and the difference goes from these big-city blue states to pay for your roads, bridges, schools, and white welfare queens like Joe the Plumber. I'm sick of paying for the welfare of stupid white red-state ideological bottom feeders who turn around and vote against the country's interests because they are too stupid to know even that that letters they get from Barrister William Holden Witherspoon announcing $20 million inheritances are a scam. How about you pull yourselves up by your boot straps and build your own infrastructure? Maybe you could do it with your chain gangs. The only things you produce are cow farts, 40-something military retirees living on government pensions, and trailer parks where no 15-year-old girl is left behind the abortion issue (and I'm being generous with the syntax there).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No shit.

The New York Times writes about the reality of what went on between Georgia and Russia.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Celebration.

This is a song sung to a woman. I especially like the hand touching the hard rock part: it can inspire some serious virtuoso singing...



"Not by pennies, dimes, nor quarters,
But by happy sons and daughters."

That's what the Obama victory is about, no?

Killing people.

Woooooo Hoooooooooooooo!

Obama is President. It's been a long, long time.

(I'm not a believer, but) Please Jesus, make his body-guards triple, and keep him safe.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Speaking of Sarkozy

Translation:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please excuse my tardiness, but I just got done with doing shots of Stoly with Mr. Putin...

"Any questions?

"What the fuck, life goes on, right?"



It gets better:



Yes, he's drunk. Big time.

"All topics: Chechnya, journalists, the rights of homosexuals..."

It made me laugh.

But it made me kind of alarmed, too. Ya see, this fucker's gotta go, also.

Seriously.

Comedy 2008

Sarah Palin was thrilled about the Nicolas Sarkozy call.



Say you're running as VP on the US Presidential ticket, and one day you get a call. Oh My God: It's the President of France. How clueless do you have to be to accept a call from "Sarkozy," four days before the elections, for him to tell you that he likes killing animals from a helicopter, how wonderful your biography by Hustler (a publisher of pornography) productions was, called "Nailin Pailin," and how his wife wrote a song about you called "Lipstick on a Pig"?

How clueless do you have to be?

Once it is beyond obvious that its not Sarkozy, long, long after it is obvious, she asks the perps for their specific call letters for the radio station. Too bad they are calling from Canada: That's CKOI in Montreal. Vengeance is a dish best served inside your country's sovereign borders. Except this time, it's not. So go fuck yourself, Palin, they're calling from Canada.

This whole McInsane election is so fucking lame, why don't we revisit this:

Friday, October 31, 2008

More 1974



You can't get any more 1974 than Gordon Lightfoot, I don't think. Ah, what is the answer to this mystery that is 1974?

Some of you may be wondering why I keep putting up stuff from 1974. Well, the reason is that I think something happened in 1974, some earth's-destiny-changing event, like Aramazd going up against Ahriman in a battle that would decide the fate of the cosmos. I'm not kidding. I don't exactly know what happened, but I think Nixon had something to do with it, but, say, a rabid dog running down the street might have just as well been the cosmos-redirecting event, too--nobody really knows. But the point is that something unusual happened in 1974, and that is why I am a bit fascinated by it. If you've ever read Philip Dick's VALIS you know what I'm talking about.

If you haven't read the books, then here's what I'm talking about. (And, by the way, I don't necessarily see the world the way Dick did in that book, but I certainly dig[g] the way he soldiered through it). Life is a monolith, a thing, an ontological fact. Life is an inexplicable something. If you took this monolith, this thing, and you put it up in front of Confucius, Socrates, and all the philosophers from then until now, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and, yes, Derrida, and you asked them to try to explain it, to understand it, to say just what is it, they would come up with an answer, a characteristic answer. Would the answer have anything to do with the thing, the monolith? Why, no. But it would be a characteristically human answer. The answer would explain not the monolith, but it would speak volumes about humans. See where I'm coming from?

(And, by the way, saying that Being is an a priori concept that we humans bring to the world, a la Kant, still doesn't explain why things are a priori.) What is this thing? What is being? Explain it.




In 1974, human answers were happening. People were coming up with answers, with art, in a way that hasn't happened since then, for 34 years. I don't know why. The monolith stays the monolith, but the human attempt to explain it intensifies periodically.

That was 1974. And it is happening again this year.

UPDATE: While I was writing this post, something started itching in the back of my mind, like right around where the cerebral cortex meets medulla at the spine, if it does...well, you know what I mean. So I scratched the itch, that is, paid attention to it, and I remembered that Something Happened, Joseph Heller's book, was published in 1974.

If I remember correctly, standing in front of a door and being simultaneously horrified, terrified, and enraptured by the idea of opening it was the matrix that the story grew out of. Here is Wiki's bullshit take on it. Kurt Vonnegut had a lot more interesting things to say about the book. Here they shoot the shit about things.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Clarification about Dashnaks.

Someone, an anonymous person, sent me an email that impugned that I was a Dashnak hater. I don't hate the Dashnaks; I just don't agree with them. I want to clarify what I think about them.

I am 3rd generation Dashnak. My family is mostly Dashnaks, and it always has been. My grandparents were card-carrying members of the Dashnak party. They held Dashnak posts. I'm not kidding or exaggerating about this, mind you. They really were.

So, understand, if I criticize the Dashnaks, I criticize them as one who comes from a Dashnak background. You see, the Dashnaks, back in the day, were a very viable party. They did a lot for Armenians. They built schools, they built churches, they spread awareness about Armenian issues.

Sometime, around the mid 70s, the Dashnak leadership decided to go, um, let's say, Franco, on everybody's ass--as in fascistic. That's when the problems started. That's when about half of my family and the Dashnaks parted ways. I am with the side that broke with the Dashnaks. I think that they are approaching the Armenian reality from an entirely wrong direction. I criticize them, I don't agree with them, and I think that they should either change or end.

But let me make one thing clear: The Dashnaks are no "baby killers." The Dashnaks that I know don't send rape and death threats. That's not what they are about. So, for the record, the Dashnaks are an obsolete, bureaucratic bunch of repeaters of early 20th century national socialist boilerplate, but they are no "baby killers."

If you want a real crazy Marxist-Anarchist, that would be Armenaker Kamilion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hatspanian kicks some Dashnak ass.


[Photo by Onnik Krikorian]

Impudent, interruptative (there isn't such a word) Dashnak, versus literate ass-kicker, Hatspanian.

One of the many interesting things about this debate is that they are both Western Armenians, judging by their--very slight--accents. In any case, the highlight of the clip is how Hatspanian pwns the Dashnak towards the end.

Full disclosure: Probably, the most traffic that my site has gotten from a post is from my translation of Hatspanian's account of March 1st.

One more thing: notice that the camera favors the Dashnak (guy on the left side of screen [but on the right side of the ideology])

(Thanks to Tzitzernak for picking up on this and translating key parts of the discussion. Tzitzernak always picks up on all the interesting stories, really.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Misses" Palin

Russian-American art students?

Lessons from the US.

We're constantly hearing about how Armenia, a "third world country," has a serious problem with voter fraud. Well, here are some lessons from the US in how to perpetrate voter fraud that Serj might want to pay attention to:



Voter fraud does happen in the US, it is real, and it is going to happen on Nov. 4th. So, two things:

1. Stop pretending that the US is the democratic standard that all nations should be measured against: The US is a voter-fraud shit-hole that is rapidly becoming a second-world country.

2. Go here.

Update: They nixed the last link to the segment I linked to on You Tube. I've got a new link up to the same segment. Hope it stays there.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Double "Hmmmm..."


Nikol Pashinian is back, sort of. He gave an interview to RFE/RL about a week ago, or at least October the 16th is when the interview was released. The English RFE article about it is here. The Armenian audio is here, and here are the Armenian transcript and its translation into English.

Hmmm...

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm not a believer, but I love Armenian church music. I've been hunting around for YouTube clips of good music, and I came across Hovig's Ter Voghormia, or God Have Mercy:



He never goes off key.

Beautiful.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

1973 - Martik and Googoosh



There are a bunch of Martik songs in the Googoosh repertoire. Here he shows up in hairy person. Go, Martik!

(Ignore that 9821 ad.)

1974 - Piss Factory

This song was banned in 1974. 1974...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

1974

The beginning to the end of the war.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Young Republicans

Have you ever come across a Republican guy who just can't stfu?



The thing is, if you actually picked up, say, a book on English grammar, and you bashed their heads in with it, you'd have to face a murder trial.

Here is another robot: the one for Norm Coleman, a most repulsive Republican Senator from Minnesota who only won his seat because his Democratic and extremely respected and supported opponent named Paul Wellstone--died in a mysterious plane crash with his family.

To put it charitably, Coleman soundly defeated a dead man.

Here is Coleman's talking minion, today:



Notice the propensity for repetition that these trained, formicidae-level Republican propagandists have. In any case, Norm Coleman, of winning a dead opponent fame, is, nowadays, running against Al Franken. If you know Al Franken from Saturday Night Live, then you know how unusual is this contest for the Senate seat in Minnesota. Here is an example:



Yeah, the candidate's wife talking about being an alky in his own, Franken's--campaign ad. Could people like John McCain's heroin-addicted wife (the perfect example of the rich nut-case that I wrote about, btw) ever come out like this? I don't think so. They'd just smile aloofly and seem unapproachable, like Cindy McCaine did at the second Presidential debate.

In any case, Norm Coleman, an insect trying to pretend it is human, tried to destroy George Galloway, the anti-war ass-kicker of the Arab district in England, one who's held his views for 30 years (long before Christopher Hitchens, etc.) and the one who got kicked out of parliament because of his opposition to the war in Iraq. Little would one expect that a British MP would have to answer to a Senator in the US. But he was asked to, and he did, probably against the expectations of the one(s) doing the asking. He kicked Coleman's ass up-and-down and called him a sissy, and here is the video:

[Go to minute 6 if you want to skip over the boring bureaucratic bullshit from Coleman.]



Watching Coleman get pummeled by Galloway, a former professional boxer, is a pleasure, per se, in and of itself. Galloway made money writing a book about it. (Too bad Carl Levin, someone who's been on Biden's side, a little, had to be there, next to a worm like Coleman.)

One more, just to irritate the Republicans:

"No British government would have bombed West Belfast and said that it was actually targeting the IRA who lived there. That's an actual event, never mind the hypothetical about Scotland developing weapons."



"...Israel is the only country in the Middle East which actually does have Nuclear Weapons, and hundreds of them... My point is that Israel is in not in any danger at all!"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Palin, the Bully.

The Bully with the smile and the toss of her head.

There is a wealth of precious Palin You Tube videos. This is one of my favorites:


"Who are hurtin' because the economy is hurtin'"

"Whatever we can do. Whatever Todd and I can do, in, in, realizing whatever their [red state poor] challenges in that state are, as we [the Palin family] can relate to them and connect to them and promise them that we won't let them down in the administration--I wanna get back to Michigan and I wanna try."

She wants the chance to convince the red-state poor to vote for Wall Street.

What a self-sacrificin' reader of all and any newspapers.

You can't make this shit up.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Consumer Demand

It is rarely mentioned, but the single-most important factor that drives the economy is demand. Deflation takes place when demand drops, and that is what happened during the Great Depression. Perhaps the reason it is not mentioned is that to do so would be to let the public know that its buying habits rule the world, which might put ideas in their head, ideas like boycotting.

Demand has gone through a mutation in the United States. You can confirm this through a visit to the supermarket--or B-52 hangars loaded with useless crap in all colors near you, same thing. Here are a few examples. The other day I went to the supermarket to buy a pen, just one pen. I went over to the stationary department and started looking. And looking. And looking. It was hard to believe: it was impossible to find just one pen. There were packages of ten pens, or four pens, or three pens, but a single pen for sale did not exist in that supermarket. Was it because the producers couldn't conceive of a person needing only one pen? No, they were making too many of them and needed to force consumers to buy more than what they need. Agglomeration appeals to the reptilian brain of the American consumer, anyway.

I went to get some laundry detergent, the kind that doesn't have any perfume added to it. Again, it couldn't be done. You can get detergent with an allergen fighter added to it, but you can't get a detergent that doesn't have that cloying chemical perfume added to--in the first place. Marketing rules state that products should always be "with" something and "30% More!" Marketing tactics and advertising play on the average American's psychology. To sell things nowadays takes playing on people's most primitive instincts, utilizing their greed and fear against them, to get them to stuff that last extra hot dog down their throat, squeeze it down into that millimeter of space left in their processed-meat-filled stomachs.

Once I was in a department store looking at washing machines. I was looking them over quickly; I wanted to get it over with and leave, get out of that overly bright whorehouse filled with wild-eyed customers groping around for the best products at the cheapest prices while the same soundtrack that they'd heard since the 1970s glorified their values and infused the meaninglessness of it all with deluges of sentimental emotion: "And it seems to me, that you lived your life like a candle in the wind/ never knowing who to turn to, when the rain set in." I don't know how many times I've heard that lugubrious couplet walking into a grocery store, all about a boy's identification with Marilyn Monroe, an emotionally intense one, which is why it's strange that its a staple of the soundtrack played for people buying chewing gum, or making a left turn onto a freeway, or eating Kung-Pao chicken at a moderately priced restaurant. All pop songs are as ubiquitous in everyday American life as they are melodramatic. They have to be; they have to be so melodramatic as to be able to overwhelm the mundane, like heroin or crack.

In any case, it was going relatively smoothly in that environment of noisome sweetness. I was evaluating and rejecting each whore/washing machine at a good pace, until I came upon this one washing machine that broke my rhythm. Everything was normal about it: top loaded, average-sized motor, large capacity, and so on. But when my eyes fell on the instrument panel, something seemed wrong, something that, in the beginning, produced a barely conscious feeling of irritation in me that blew into a conscious anxiety when I suddenly realized that I had been staring the panel for a good few minutes, perplexed. Perplexed, I thought, What could be perplexing about a stupid washing machine?

I began very deliberately reading the labels of the switches and dials, looking for the culprit causing the confusion, and I found it: it was the load-size dial. It read: "Small, Average, Medium, Large." Apparently, my mind had unconsciously picked up on the "Average, Medium" measures of the scale and gotten stuck on them, trying to determine just what the difference between average and medium is. Because there really isn't one. Don't we mean by "medium height," for example, that height which occurs most frequently and is, therefore, "average"? The only possible, remotely logical explanation is that the manufacturers were thinking about the difference between median and mean. Perhaps autistic people doing their laundry might know and distinguish between the most frequently occurring load size in the United States from the mean load size (i.e., the load sizes of all 100 million households in US added up then divided by 100 million), but I'd say the average person doing his or her laundry doesn't give even a medium-sized flying fuck about that question.

Having noticed this one ridiculous marketing gimmick, I wondered if there were others. And, yes, there it is was: the chime signaling the end of the wash cycle had an on-off switch. You see, if you are like the average person and are lulled to sleep by the sound of a 50 pound motor churning 40 gallons of water back and forth and, therefore, like to sleep next to your washing machine, you have the option of turning the chime off so it doesn't suddenly startle you awake at the end of the cycle. It's like a little bell signaling to terrified captives in a high-rise that Godzilla has now stopped breathing fire into their faces. And, imagine: You can turn this bell on and off--how convenient for "you."

Because "you" is what these marketing campaigns are all about. In their effort to get people to buy shit that they don't need, marketers have striven to convince "you" that, yes, indeed, the entire world does revolve around "you," and so especially does the corporation that they work for. Really? About me? Do they mean that the CEO of their corporation regularly gets up at the end of meetings with share-holders and says, "Well, we took a 50% cut in our profits this quarter, but that's OK because we made life more comfortable for Armen." You want to meet me in the back seat because you "really love" me, do you? Vulgar people, these marketers.

And if it is not about "you," it's "simple." The whole thing started with one or another ibuprofen peddler, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, NSAID as they call it, that turns your stomach into a mini-Hiroshima. The ad that they aired was, "Little, Yellow, Different." Three words to characterize a product. "Keep it simple, stupid," the ad did. "K.I.S.S." was a rule formulated in a way that stupid people could remember, encouraging them to make their adds as stupid as possible, and it worked. After that, commercials started talking about how "simple" their products were: simple cellphone accounts, simple banking, simple food, simple life. Life wasn't about complications, but about simplicity; it was about falling in love with a product the way you fell in love when you were 12. Simple. In other words, if the commercial was about, say, picking a bank, then the decision to do so did not involve wondering what the dozens of PhD economists that the bank had hired to find out in what elaborate ways it can take advantage of "you," the center of the universe, no, it was about a "simple" realization that everything is OK, nothing to doubt, nothing to be weary about--like banks and their dealings.

Simple.

More later. I'm calling it a night.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's all Oliver Cromwell's Fault. Pt. 3

Oliver Cromwell was a part of the gentry: neither a peasant, nor a royal--just middle class. He subscribed to the values of the middle class and fought for them, above all for equality, the making-the-same of all people that continues today. At one point, he lost his land, and it is a question what effect that loss had on his demand for equality; from a psychological perspective, it must have intensified it.



It wasn't simply a matter of politics for him. As a Puritan, he believed in the Doctrine of Total Depravity, according to which man is so totally depraved that he is simply incapable of choosing good; on the contrary, he thought, man can not choose good, but--god has to predestine man to salvation. So when Oliver Cromwell looked at King Charles, he saw someone who thinks he is better than the rest, someone who thinks himself above others.

Actually, King Charles did think that, and so did the royalty and nobility. What did the richest and most powerful of England have in common with stinking peasants with bad teeth who had a tendency to lie all the time? All they were good for were their pretty young virgins, and the droit du seigneur, the right of the lord to sleep with a virgin on her wedding night, guaranteed them that. As for the virgins and their husbands, what were they going to do, call the police? Some say this Right of the First Night is a historical myth; I say calling it a historical myth is the upper class trying to re-write its most egregious and direct uses of power out of history, because that historical fact certainly has the power to induce resentment against the rich and powerful even today.

Oliver Cromwell, the Protestant soldiers of the New Model Army, who'd sing hymns before battle, and the Parliament, the political counterweight to the King's will, all saw this and the thousand and one other uses and abuses of the middle-class that the upper class made, and it made them resentful; for their part, King Charles, the royalty, and the Catholic Church looked at them as the ignorant rabble, uneducated, incapable of interpreting the bible, prone to hallucination, and altogether like children.

They were both right, but Cromwell had more might.

Cromwell killed Charles I and neutered his son, Charles II, and he set up a "just" government. He wiped out scores of Irish Catholics (do we call it a "genocide," or was it just a "massacre"?), and they closed down The Globe. Shakespeare was a bad influence on the people, you see. Verily I say unto you that, looking back, we can see whence Ayatollah Khomeini got his inspiration. No dancing, no drinking, no painting, no having fun; just Jesus. Although, to be fair, and balanced, you can do anything that you want in Iran today, just as long as the mollah gets his pay.

The same ideology that was born between the Protestant and Catholic wars in 17th century England is the same ideology that conquered the United States.

It's very simple. The people who got on boats and came to America were the very same Calvinists. Their ideology is the dominant one in the United States of America. It is true that people came to the US from different countries, but their minds were taken over. All of them. Even the Mexicans today are being converted to Protestantism. Mexican Protestants...

That's whom you're dealing with my taxi-driver friend: Oliver Cromwell Protestants.

War.

1500-1799
1800-1899
1900-1944
1945-1989
1990-2002
2003-NOW

Notice the date range gets shorter as time goes on.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's all Oliver Cromwell's fault. Pt. II.

Come to think of it, this series deserves a subtitle: Armenian Anthropology 101: Know who's fucking with you: The English. (We'll get to the Russians in good time, don't worry).

So look at King Charles's portrait in the post below. Look at his clothes: a combination of silk, cotton, wool, and velvet. Not bad for the 17th century. The crown is shown just behind his left hand: The sign of power. But, most importantly, look at his left hand. It is resting on something right around the elbow. His left wrist is relaxed, can afford to casually hang down, because his left elbow is being supported by something. That something is the hilt of his sword. You can't really see it, the hilt of his sword, but that, in itself, is a point: He doesn't show off his power, he suggests it.

Let that be a lesson to us who live in the current age: King Charles's portrait tells us that He has the power to kill. The left wrist can casually hang, because the right arm can reach over and draw the sword, and--eviscerate. And he really could do that.

He lived in an extraordinary age, just like we do. He leaned Catholic, and lost. Except Catholic and Protestant are religious interpretations with a history far more interesting than what they write in the textbooks. Take the Hussites, for example, and the first guns.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's all Oliver Cromwell's fault.

There are in the world today these people called the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. If you're living in Southern California, they would be the annoying racist assholes that question your right to breathe. We deal with them every day, and we might as well find out who they are.

Where to start? Let's see. OK.

It all goes back to King Charles the first.

But let me back-track a bit. The other day I called a cab, a taxi. Taxis and their significance are different in the east coast as opposed to the west coast. For one thing, in the east coast, you hail a cab; on the west coast you have to call them. But there are many other differences between the coasts. All of that for later, maybe.

The cab company I dialed is owned by an Armenian. Not quite an "oligarch," but he certainly gets everything he can out his cabbies, who, in my case, was, predictably, an Armenian, too. It was around rush hour, and we got stuck in traffic, right around the 210's Lake exit. We were talking the whole way.

He was a cool guy; we talked about many things on the way. It turned out that he was supporting a wife and two children on his "salary," driving a cab from anywhere between 12-18 hours every day. He said that he's been in the US for six years. He brought his family over three years ago. His English was horrible; we spoke in Armenian. He seemed very clean cut: he didn't look like he drank or smoked much, just moderately. He was around my age, his mid-late 30's, and he seemed like he was devoted to his family, his kids. Family is what he lived for, and family life was sustaining him. I suggested that he get one of those cassette-tape language instruction courses in English; he thought that was a good idea.

So we are driving and talking, driving and talking. Everything is normal, until he bursts out:

"Black people and Mexicans, I get along with, but white people, they are totally racist jerks. The other day, there was a white guy in my cab, and he asked me, 'Why are you here?' And I said, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'Why are you in my country?' And I said, 'What the fuck do mean 'Your country'? This is the land of Indians. You killed them. This is not 'your country' and if you fuck with me, I'll kick your fucking ass.'"

Which brings us to Oliver Cromwell.

We go back a few hundred years. Charles the First, 1636:

More later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brilliant senatorial rhetoric...

The metaphors just keep coming.



"I'm not going to get stampeded into rubber stamping this proposal." Yeah, so to speak.

It's all Bull. Shit. As it were.

Chuck Schumer did ask a good question, though, that Paulson ultimately and clearly did not answer: Why can't they take $150 billion right now and wait for the legislators to reassess in a couple of months? It's not like they are going to spend the $700 billion all at once. Why can't they wait? Wait until the Senate reconvenes and decides whether the other $550 BILLION is necessary? No answer. Just a bunch of horseshit (so to speak).

After watching two hours of this (I couldn't stomach any more), I had the distinct impression that the entire thing was theater: It was as if the senators had gotten together with Paulson and rehearsed what they were going to say. In particular, Chris Dodd is a shit. I don't care that he's a democrat--he's a shit: clearly a Wall Street stooge. Among other reasons, he's a shit for humiliating the head of the S.E.C., gratuitously chiding him for a late report, as if the chairman of the S.E.C. types and delivers commission reports, himself. Yeah, right. And Sarah Palin is the most competent foreign policy expert in the history of the United States.

And Paulson... I don't know. How can he be described? A shifty latent homosexual with an oral fixation that approaches finance like a football game. What with him constantly tonguing his lips wrung into an "O" every two seconds? It was disgusting watching that creep. It was disgusting watching all of those creeps. Hell, politics is just disgusting creeps altogether.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Who "They" Are.

Someone said that I was being conspiracy-minded when I used the word "they." So lets set the record straight: "They" are economic elites who are either:

1) dependent on drugs, or
2) mad (as in clinically insane), and
2) messianic (as in they believe in a, or should I say "the," messiah and are expecting him to arrive, probably even preparing for it).

Absolute power doesn't merely corrupt, it drives insane. Who but the most powerful has enough time on his hands to notice the meaninglessness of life? The most powerful go insane because after all their desires are satisfied, they are left without desires. And life without desire is life in hell.

Fear of death is actually the fear of life without desire. Can you imagine what it would be like if everybody did what you told them to? What would be left to conquer after that? Pretty soon you'd start sticking golden needles through your maidservants' nipples, or flat out play games with people's lives just to watch them suffer.

And while the cultures of ancient Egypt and Rome, pre-modern as they were, had the capability of incorporating behavior like that, how else can modern, liberal-humanist culture, with its million and one assumptions about what man is, see this behavior but as stark raving mad, or, more accurately, clinically, through the discourse of psychology, as "sadism."

That's why most rich people are perpetually on medication, either on tranquilizers or opiates--often on both.

But some of them need more than just drugs to relieve the despair; they need to feel that life has a purpose and that they personally have a role in it. Thus is messianism born in them; messianism, the desperate mad wish to, not only have a world that has meaning, but one where the meaning congeals into flesh and blood and manifests itself bodily right there in front of their eyes--as the Messiah--after which manifestation the world blows up and all is over, all of their suffering is over. A desperate thing, this messianism. A suicidal wish.

Ultimately, however, it doesn't matter. While we're at it, there is a conspiracy far more menacing, far more thorough, and far more undetectable than these conspiracies of interests seeking power could ever be, and that is the conspiracy of reason. That's how it is.