BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
This has been one of those Julys that make you think that Eskimos are the luckiest people on earth. It was 123 degrees in Las Vegas last week. 123 DEGREES! One of the weathermen out there cooked a pizza on a sidewalk. The cheese melted in 15 minutes and the people who ate it said it tasted good. As for myself–I grabbed an empty cup of ice to put down my shirt and went to watch "March of the Penguins" which is a documentary on–what else–but penguins marching. I thought that the images of glaciers–icebergs–and penguins would have a psychological cooling effect. It worked up until I walked outside the theater and thought that I was in Hades.
The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is to set you up for my piece this week. Needless to say–I didn’t leave the house much. I stayed inside and read my emails from readers who–like a literary Ike Turner–used their words to beat me and then love me–all at the same time.
Let’s open up the mailbag and get started.
Q: You sound like such an arrogant jerk in your columns. What make you think you can judge Armenia’s who listen to Arabic and Turkish music? I like rap and hip-hop. This don’t [sic] make me a person that don’t love my colture [sic].
– [email protected]—–.com–Pasadena–CA
SS: Thank you for the letter CClass. I may sound like a jerk (Do I really? I get that a lot nowadays.oh well) but at least I don’t sound like a fourth grader who failed grammar and spelling. It’s called spell check and it’s a standard feature on most computer word processing programs. It’s that quiggly red or green lines underneath your writing that probably make most of your letters look like they’re bleeding?
Anyway–having said all of that–I’m now going to put this issue–from one of my June columns about weddings–to sleep once and for all.
You might want to write this down. There is nothing is wrong with listening to Arabic or Turkish music. To me–it’s all the same. If you speak Turkish–that’s even better. The more languages and cultures you know–the more successful you will be in life. I truly believe that.
What upsets me the most isn’t people speaking Turkish–or Arabic–or Urdu–or Pig Latin– but the people who relish speaking those languages more than they do their own language. On the same note–I think it’s sad that most Armenia’s are more willing to dance to the music of other cultures than their own. And you know why that is? Do you? CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH? Anyway…the reason is because Armenia’s don’t even know their own culture very well. Why is that? That’s because they are afraid of being different.
So in a nutshell–if you’re listening to Turkish music along with Armenian music and you are simply appreciating it based on its artistic merits–then that’s fine! It’s not necessarily my cup of Armenian coffee but if a person is listening to rap–rock n’ roll–Turkish–Arabic–or any other kind of music AND he or she doesn’t know how to dance any Armenian traditional dances–doesn’t know what the proper–age-old rituals of an Armenian wedding are–then that person is in denial of who they are.
If you do happen to listen to all these or know these songs–and traditions but instead choose to have a different wedding out of personal tastes and preferences then that is understandable. But I’m willing to bet you a hundred dollars and a sidewalk baked pizza that most folks are clueless and in the dark as to what constitutes a traditional Armenian wedding. Most folks know one or two traditions and think that’s all it takes.
Anyway–I’m not sure if I made my point clearly–but that’s my opinion in a large pistachio shaped nutshell.
Hope this helps calm your nerves.
Q: Hello Mr. Sinikian. Regarding your article in 07/15/2005 Asbarez "SILENCE OF THE TURKISH LAMBS," my research shows that the sheep were apparently upset at Turkey’s Environment Ministry for changing of their names from "Ovis Armeniana" to "Ovis Orientalis Anatolicus." These were some hot headed Tigranagerdtsis just refusing to be Turkified–"Beeeetter to die then live as Turk (or Latin? not Armenian)". What do you think?
— Vatche A.–(location unknown)
SS: Interesting observation. I didn’t give the sheep that much credit but you might be right. If your theory is correct–then our Tigranagertsi sheep have more guts than some of our own flesh and blood countrymen. So the real question here is "Who is the greater sheep? Is it the actual sheep that jumps off a cliff rather than live as something it is not–or is it the one who listens to rap and hip-hop and loves his "colture?" OK–I’ll stop–lest I start sounding like a jerk again. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s tender and delicate feelings.
Q: I soooo understand your view on June Armenian Event Madness. It’s crazy–really. My month is July. I’ve never been so annoyed at being so busy. And none of them are torturous events or anything–just annoyingly packed in their sheer volume. And yes–I have been and am victim to the two major events on one day decision. Which will I enjoy more? Not going to which will come back to bite me…? Life is short–let me do what I want…
Anyways–last thing I’ll say here is that I HATE the "what will others think" mentality (I AM guilty of it though)–ESPEACIALLY when it is the only motive driving one’s actions. WHO are those others??? Seriously–it’s always a different other. The only constant is the ridiculous self-consciousness in the Armenian community.
Ahh. Who can blame us…I think some of our parents–are pros at this. How immune can we be to it–growing up in the same household? So before I go on–best wishes–Sinikian–for saving the world–one entertaining gripe at a time
P.S. (My friend actually e-mailed a group of us that article w/ subject "From Asbarez–Hilarious!")
— Anonymous–(from the internet.)
SS: Your comment about our parents raising us to believe in the "What will others think?" philosophy is absolutely true. It made me think of that ridiculous 80s anti-drug commercial where a Wall Street type father confronts his kid with a bag full of white powder and asks–"WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DO THIS?" and the kid breaks down crying "YOU did. I learned it by watching YOU!" This answer is followed by a dumbfounded look and a fade-to-black screen telling viewers that parents who use drugs have children who use drugs. This was the precursor to the fried egg "This is your brain on drugs" commercial. (On an unrelated side note: waitresses at Denny’s don’t think it’s funny when you order their Grand Slam Breakfast and ask for "two brains on drugs over-easy") Don’t fret. Remember that only you can prevent such idiocy from continuing in our communities and have the power to change your surroundings.
Thanks for the letter and dare I say it–but your friends sound like really cool people with great taste!
Q: Recently a City Councilmember in Burbank–California was arrested on charges of possession of cocaine and having loaded firearms in her house in the reach of children. So far the people in Burbank have been supportive of her and she has said she’ll come back to finish her term on the Council. Is it just me or had this happened in Glendale or to an Armenian–a lynch mob would have taken the Armenian Councilembmer to the town center–tar and feathered him–and then hung him by his feet?
SS: Guns? Cocaine? Politicians? Burbank? I’m sorry I had to read that paragraph over again and then had to check all the facts of your letter but you’re right. I just didn’t believe it at first. Wow. This sounds more like Bogota–Columbia than Burbank–California. I’d pay top dollar to see this Councilmember at the next town hall meeting reach into her jacket pocket–yell out "SAY KHELLO TO MY LEETLE FRIEND!" and then pull out a gavel to start the meeting while wiping powder off her nose–the whole time laughing an insane drug induced laugh that sounds like a cross between Mozart in "Amadeus" and Eddie Murphy in "Raw." What the heck is going on??
I hate to say it–but you’re probably right. I think that sometimes when there’s a crime to be solved and the suspect is a member of a minority group–the general public finds it easier to play the blame game. It’s never society’s fault–or the fact that s/he never watched enough 80s anti-drug commercials starring Nancy Reagan. It’s almost like there’s a strange reversal of law in America whenever a minority is accused of a crime as apposed to someone who is part of the mainstream. As soon as it’s an African-American Mayor from DC–an Armenian official from Central California or whoever–the Napoleonic code of GUILTY until proven INNOCENT becomes the norm. Sad but true.
All I can say is that this story just goes to show you that nobody’s perfect and that drugs will ruin anyone’s life no matter what race–color or creed a person is.
Thanks to all my readers for all their comments–criticisms–questions and random thoughts. I love you guys for making this column fun for me to write and I couldn’t keep doing it without you! I’ll see you all next week.same Skep time.same Skep channel.
Skeptik Sinikian would like to remind all his readers that drugs are bad and to be cool–don’t be a fool–and stay in school! This message was brought to you by the Skeptik Sinikian School for Gifted and Talented Rappers and Hip-Hoppers. To enroll–email [email protected] or visit www.sinikian.blogspot.com.