Posted on Aug 09, 2022

On Jennifer Manoukian’s “That’s not Armenian! Encounters with language purists past and present”

Posted in Uncategorized

Jennifer Manoukian’s recent essay titled “That’s not Armenian! Encounters with language purists past and present” published on H-Pem is thoughtful and informative and worth reading. It argues that the Armenian language has always borrowed from others and even the version of Armenian which we commonly think is the most “pure Armenian” (մաքուր հայերէն), classical Armenian, is also full of borrowings from other languages, especially Persian. It advocates an easing up of the purist approach to the language adopted by the Mekhitarists in the 1700’s and a more relaxed attitude toward spoken Western, and presumably Eastern Armenian as well. An...

Posted on Aug 09, 2021

Comedy Always Punches Down!

Posted in Comedy

In boxing, the taller fighter always has the advantage because punches that are thrown downward hit harder. The shorter fighter, on the other hand, is always fighting two fights: one against his opponent, and another against the heavy weight champion of the universe, gravity, which is undefeated, with a record of infinite wins, zero losses, and one draw against Jesus… In war, the side that occupies the higher ground has the upper hand because not only are they aided by gravity, which makes their position easy to defend, the elevation allows them to see farther in every direction and...

Posted on Aug 03, 2021

An Armenian Philosophy…by a Comedian

Posted in Ethics and Satire, Philosophy

I argued in previous articles that satire is a subcategory of ethics and, by comparing Armenians in America in 1981 and Armenians in Armenia in 18 A.D., showed conclusively that Armenians don’t have now nor have ever had an ethic. Therefore, to do what I want to do, which is write satire, and to do it in the right way, I’m forced to create an ethics. But ethics in turn is a subcategory of philosophy…If ethics answers the question “How should one behave?” then philosophy answers the question “What is real?” It’s obvious that a person who doesn’t have...

Posted on Jul 07, 2021

An Ambiguous Blur: Ethics and Satire, Part 3

Posted in Ethics and Satire

When author Jack Antreassian, writing in the year before I was born, astutely observed that the image of Armenians in the U.S. was “a blur, and even the amorphous shape of the blur is without readily identifiable characteristics” (251), he attributed this to the following causes. Most Armenian Americans at that time were thrust there violently due to massacres and deportations at the hands of the Turks. They were few in number in a vast land, and they never fully invested in the new country because they were still psychologically tied to the old, even entertained hopes of one...

Posted on Jul 02, 2021

The Rule of Feasting: Ethics and Satire, Part 2

Posted in Ethics and Satire

From the beginning until now, the only consistent principle I can find governing Armenian behavior is feasting. The ubiquitous banquet halls and their glut of food and drink that spring up wherever Armenians settle, far from being a new development, extends as far back as the available historical record. Herodotus in the late 5th century B.C. calls Armenians πολυπρόβατοι (polyprobatoi) that is, “rich in sheep”...