Kobe Bryant is just the tip of the iceberg, or foot in the door, depending on how you want to look at these things. His endorsement contract with Turkish Airlines is just one of many such reprehensible deals. There are probably others of which we’re unaware, and many, many more to come. What’s even more irritating on this front is that even some Armenians are saying, effectively “so what”. Just go read some of the postings under the online versions of the news about Kobe. Whether the argument is “it’s just business” or “we have bigger fish to fry”, it’s clear that these people simply don’t get it. They probably would’ve defended South Africa’s apartheid regime against those who implemented a boycott against it in the 1980s. Wake up! Turkish Airlines is an integral part of the government that continues to deny its legal predecessor’s genocide against us. Anything that helps Turkey’s government— in this case good publicity for Turkish Airlines which enhances that company’s money-making potential which in turn further empowers that outlaw state/government— is and must be in our crosshairs as part of our struggle.
Another irritating development comes to us from Ukraine. Imagine! The same country that was subjected to Stalin’s murderous purges (to the tune of millions dead) is now acting in a way that calls into question whether an Armenian Genocide resolution adopted by Crimea’s regional government was done properly. This is from a Turkish news source, so it may be misreported, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Involved is the “head of Crimea’s Azerbaijanis”. It seems to me like a back-door, legalistic way of trying to undermine Armenian Genocide recognition activities. So this whole thing is redolent of the anti-Russian based relationship of Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Shame on Ukrainian authorities for even giving this farce a moment’s legitimacy!
Would you rather eat food, in this case garlic, that’s travelled 6000 miles to get to you, or 300? That’s the boat I’m in. From Burbank to China vs. Gilroy (the “garlic capital of the world”, complete with its garlic festival and garlic ice cream) are the distances I give. And this applies to almost anything we eat wherever we live in the “developed” world. So much of it is now trucked not just a few dozens, or hundreds, of miles, but thousands. Out go freshness, flavor, and (arguably) even some nutrients, as that produce travels. Why? Because it must be picked extremely unripe, otherwise it would be rotten before it got to your grocer’s shelves. Root vegetables like garlic are a little different, true, but that’s not the point. It’s this “factorification” of farming that is. And, that’s not all. By moving around so much food over such great distances, we’re also consuming massive amounts of fuel, further polluting our home and endangering our health. At long last, there’s also the loss of joy. If strawberries are available year round (as they now are—I recall reading in the 1990s about a farmer who boasted to the reporter that soon it would be possible, as if that’s a good thing), they’re not special. You can’t look forward to strawberry season, or peach season, or watermelon, or whatever veggie or fruit used to have its time…
How irritating is that arrogant, now convicted, former House (Republican) Majority Leader Tom “the hammer” DeLay of Texas? He gamed the campaign finance system. Using that money, he gamed congressional redistricting in Texas. That in turn tilted things in Republicans’ favor, causing further harm to the country. Now that he’s busted and a jury has found him guilty, he has the temerity to say, “Hopefully we can get this in front of people who understand the law” when referring to his plans to appeal. Delay faces five to 99 years in prison. I hope he gets hammered for at least 20 years in the hell that is the Texas prison system.
While on the topic of nasty political shenanigans, how about the gamesmanship by the Republicans that has left one in eight U.S. federal judgeships vacant (as of August). The Republicans claim it’s payback for what the Democratic senators did during the Bush years. As usual, the facts contradict their claims as a comparison of the percentage appointees confirmed during the first 18 months of presidencies shows:
Bush, Jr. 87%
Bush, Sr. 79%
Remember that in the case of the three Republican presidents above, their first eighteen months were during periods of Democratic control of the Senate. Clearly this is just another example of the Republicans wanting to make government intentionally and artificially dysfunctional so they can parade that as “proof” of their ideologically-based claim that government needs to be shrunken.
Another irritating pool of humans is composed of those who feel compelled to honk their horns when they come upon a bicycle in the road. Please be aware that bicyclists have the right to be in the road. They’re also supposed to the right, but that’s not always safe because of parked cars or dangerous debris. Try to imagine what it’s like to have to weave back and forth, into and out of automobile traffic, squeezing between that and the cars on the side of the road. Plus, think of the way that pointless honking endangers a cyclist who is calmly riding along. And, all this still goes on despite months’ worth of “give them 3” campaigning in the Los Angeles area intended to urge motorists to come no closer than three feet to bicyclists. As someone who commutes on a bicycle, I can tell you that message still hasn’t gotten through.
Let’s wrap up with another Armenian themed irritant. Last week I had my second overt hate-comment-encounter since moving to the LA basin. Some guy in a pickup motioned for me to open my window, under the rain. I did, then, proceeded to listen to his outburst. Claiming I’d cut him off and that I should be more courteous, he closed with “this is not Armenia, it’s the U.S.” There was nothing in or on my car to identify me as Armenian. Also, I’m often told I don’t “look Armenian” by people who are surprised that I am. So what elicited the pickup driver’s slur? If he thought I wasn’t Armenian, and felt “safe” in making that statement, it speaks loudly as to what is currently “acceptable” speech in some non-Armenian circles. There’s another possible explanation, too. He might, given his age, still be laboring under the stereotype that “Armenians drive VW Golfs”. My car is a Golf. I posit this because I’ve been informed that some three decades ago, a hate-flyer was distributed at Glendale Community College focusing on the theme of Armenians driving Golfs.
Don’t put up with BS, expose it, challenge it, remedy it.