April 5, 2010

Armenians

An Armenian-American reader asks for an "all Armenian post." So, let's see what I can come up with:

- The basic cultural flavor of Armenians strikes me as Mediterranean -- thus, this restaurant bloodbath near my house on Saturday immediately reminded me of the restaurant shooting scene in The Godfather. But just as Sicilian gangsterism in New York in the 1950s, while repugnant, didn't ruin New York as a place to live, Armenian gangsterism in SoCal in 2010 seems to mostly consist of Armenians shooting other Armenians.

This Mediterranean flavor seems odd because the Armenian homeland is well to the east in Asia, on the south side of the Caucasus Mountains. The Black Sea, however, gave a huge section of Eurasia relatively easy access to the Mediterranean. In America, though, we don't normally pay much attention to the lands around the Black Sea. We're vaguely aware that Constantinople / Istanbul was long considered to have the world's most strategic location, but we don't really pay much attention to the lands east of Constantinople. Which is a verbose way of saying I don't know much about Armenia. (I know even less about the other Christian Asian nation, Georgia, which shoved its way into the headlines in 2008 when it attacked the Russian Army.)

- A reader writes:
In addition to the critical mass issue, one of the interesting things about Armenian criminality, whether in LA or NY, is that it's skewed overwhelmingly toward people from Soviet Armenia rather than Lebanon or Syria or Turkey or Egypt. And this is despite the fact that the immigrants from the former Soviet Armenia are almost all the first cousins, literally, of the people who came from the non-Soviet middle east, because the people emigrating from Armenia are those (plus their children and grandchildren) who made aliyah, as it were, to Armenia after WWII by the tens of thousands. The ones who stayed in Syria and Iraq etc. and then came to the US are basically successful middle class immigrants but their first and second cousins who lived under communism were basically wrecked, morally, by the experience.

The Soviet empire's cultural legacy seems to be an advanced education for its inmates in Gangsterism 101.

- Armenian-Americans are unusual for a small immigrant group at doing well in both farming (especially orchards around Fresno) and in the kind of businesses at the polar opposite of farming, such as being a Hollywood agent. (In contrast, Jews don't farm, while the Japanese made fine farmers in the West, but didn't get much into Hollywood.) Anyway, it seems kind of an odd combination of skills. Perhaps an explanation is that California farming is more like running a medium-sized business with a hired workforce than is, say, dairy farming in Wisconsin, which is more classic do-it-yourself farming.

- There has long been bad blood in California between Armenians and Mexicans, such as gang fights at Grant H.S. in the San Fernando Valley going back to the 1970s. This is actually pretty funny considering how often you always hear people say that racial conflicts are due to people looking different and having different colored skins, or to having ancient prejudices against each other. But practically nobody in Mexico has ever heard of Armenia and practically nobody in Armenia has ever heard of Mexico. Yet, when the kids of immigrants from Mexico and Armenia show up at Grant H.S., they take one look at each other and decide they don't like what they see.

Which is also ironic, because they really don't look all that different. A few years I was walking around a neighborhood in the central SFV amazed at all the new gigantically expensive security fencing that was going in around each house. Each homeowner seems to be competing with his neighbors to buy the tallest, scariest, and most over-decorated steel fencing. Afterwards, I started wondering: "How can Mexicans afford all those lethal finials and wrought-iron fleur-de-lis?" The next time I was there, I noticed that all the Mexicans in the neighborhood seemed light-skinned and non-mestizo. And then it finally dawned on me that it wasn't a Mexican neighborhood at all, it was an Armenian neighborhood. It was a stupid mistake for me to make, but it does raise questions about all the assurances we hear that racial rivalries are only skin deep.

- Those two very parallel English novelists, Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell, had famous things to say about Armenians. Waugh admired the urbane competence of the Armenian chauffeurs and hoteliers he met on a trip to Abyssinia and gave one a major role his novel "Black Mischief." Orwell wrote in Down and Out in Paris and London: "after meeting him i saw sense in the proverb : Trust a snake before you trust a Jew, Trust a Jew before you trust a Greek, BUT NEVER TRUST AN ARMENIAN."

- So, how smart are Armenians? It's hard to say. They tend to have a wide variety of talents -- e.g., the Mikoyan brothers in the Soviet Union: one was head of MiG fighter jet production and the other was one of Stalin's inner circle of six. Armenians have owned and run major movie studios in Hollywood.

On the other hand, there isn't that much depth in Armenian accomplishments -- they are a small people who see to be pretty good at a lot of different things, which doesn't leave them room to be be really great at too many things. In general, I 'd compare them to Italian-Americans, a group that that lodged itself securely in the middle of the levels of American accomplishment.

Armenians tend to be considered white. For example, when Republican candidate George Deukmejian beat LA Mayor Tom Bradley in the 1982 and 1986 elections for governor of California, he was universally know as the White Guy while Mayor Tom was The Black Guy. On the other hand, I've heard an Armenian young man refer to "whites" as the non-Armenians, so attitudes could be shifting.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you're wondering why so many Armenians seem Mediterranean in culture and attitudes, Steve, you need to read up on Cilician Armenia-and, in particular, on where the Cilician Armenians ended up.

-Former Byzantine Historian

Anonymous said...

After the fall of the Armenian kingom in AD 428, Armenia was dominated by various foreign powers. In AD 1375, the Marmeluke conquest created the 1st Armenian diaspora. The Ottoman genocide created the 2nd Armenian diaspora. There might be 11 million Armenians now living, depending upon how half- and quarter- Armenians are counted. Armenians worldwide have a particular affinity for business and have achieved success in many fields. For example, consider the inventors Luther George Simjian and Raymond Vahan Damadian (co-inventor of MRI) and the mathematicians Sergey Mergelyan and Leonid Khachiyan.

ShrinkWrapped said...

In re: the physical resemblance between Mexicans and Armenians and the ensuing animosity, consider reading Freud's essay on "The Narcissism of Small Differences." It applies well to the traditional anti-Semitism of the WASP elite, as well as many other situations.

Camlost said...

From a population of something like 10 million people worldwide, there's a hugely disproportionate amount of strong professional chess players of Armenian descent - including Garry Kasparov (arguably the best chess player of all time).

Others include former current superstars Levon Aronian, Gabriel Sargissian, Vlad Akopian and also former World Champion Tigran Petrosian (who had his title wrested away upon getting spanked by Bobby Fischer).

Anonymous said...

I've never noticed an Armenian presence in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

As for the gangsterism, people from that area stand out even among the Soviets. There is an expression in Russian language, "persons of the Caucasian nationality" and it doesn't mean people of white race. Be thankful that all you get in California are the nice and relatively harmless Armenians and not someone truly nasty like the Azeris or -- God forbid -- the Chechens.

Vincent said...

Armenians include a few internationally famous artistic figures.

Dikran Koujoumdjian achieved huge success, during the 1920s, for his novels (notably the best-selling The Green Hat) under the pseudonym "Michael Arlen"; he was bitchily described by a rival as "the only Armenian who never tried to sell me a carpet." He made it onto the cover of a 1927 issue of Time, though by the time he died in 1956 he had been almost wholly forgotten.

Charles Aznavour, the singer whom most people assume to be a Frenchman, is in fact of Armenian descent. Despite a career that dates back to the days of appearing alongside Edith Piaf, Aznavour is still performing, aged 85.

And in the classical music sphere there was Aram Khachaturian, celebrated above all for his ballet Gayne with its wild Sabre Dance, though his other ballet Spartacus achieved a certain amount of renown in Britain during the 1970s when part of it was used as the theme music for the TV series The Onedin Line.

tial said...

There has always been affinity between the Armenians and the Jews. Here's an ancient joke.

An old Armenian man is dying. He lies in his bed, surrounded by his sons, giving them his last instructions.

"And most importantly," he says, "Take care of the Jews. Treasure them and protect them at all costs!"

The sons are confused. "But father! Why the Jews?"

"Because once they are finished with the Jews they will start with us."

Peter A said...

Armenians actually played a major role in the governance and financing of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. There were certain periods of history where the Byzantines were arguably as Armenian as they were Greek. I think the Mediterranean/Middle East dichotomy is deceiving - for most of recorded history the Eastern Mediterranean and the lands of the Persian Empire were arguably in the same cultural world.

At least in New England Armenians seem to be a very successful immigrant group - very tight knit and seem to be well represented in the financial and legal industries. All the Armenians I've ever met are originally from Asia Minor or Lebanon, we don't seem to have as many Soviet Armenians on the East Coast for whatever reason. Maybe the Soviet Jews "encourage" them to move on.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Chess!

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/11/the-lion-and-the-tiger/

MQ said...

This is what I love about Steve -- the national character stuff. It's so much more nuanced and interesting than this one-dimensional IQ fetishism, which pretends against both common sense and evidence that human accomplishment can be ranked on a one-dimensional scale. Plus when he does this stuff he has no problem admitting the role of cultural differences in shaping achievement (which is again obvious from common sense).

ironrailsironweights said...

Post-Soviet Armenia may have been more severely affected by geographic isolation that any other nation. The landlocked country has four land borders, with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia. Many years - or, in the latter case, generations - of bad relationships have closed the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Armenia gets along well with Iran,* but the only land link between the two is a bad mountain road that's not very useful as a trade route. Armenia's only viable ground link to the outside world is through Georgia, and that's far from ideal, consisting of a single tracked rail line and a couple of two-lane roads.

The Georgia-Russia war of 2008 made it clear to Armenia that being so dependent on Georgia was not necessarily a good idea, and it gave an impetus to mend relations with Turkey enough to get the border reopened.

* = for all Iran's championing of Islam, it sides with the Christian Armenians rather than the Muslim Azeris in their endless near-war.

Peter

jody said...

i hung out with system of a down in 1998 before they were well known, and they were concerned about being rejected by the mainstream music fan because they were not white. this was one of their concerns for the record company.

turned out to not be a problem, but armenia is on the border of europe, like azerbaijan and georgia and turkey and kazakhstan, and the people from these places often identify as "not the same as european".

like north africans, the US government simply calls them "white".

Anonymous said...

Fascinating, you won't find anything this good in the msm. Now, are Armenians over- or under-represented among isteve readers?

Kylie said...

I am sure Google is just as good a friend to Armenian-Americans as it is to those of us who are all-American.

Anonymous said...

"This Mediterranean flavor seems odd because the Armenian homeland is well to the east in Asia, on the south side of the Caucasus Mountains."

Not surprising. They have lived in the same cultural mileu, geography, and shared history as Greeks, Syrians, Near Eastern Jews, Turks, etc. Armenians are a fixture of the East Mediterranean world.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right to draw an essential difference between the recent wave of Armenians from former Soviet Armenia, who seem culturally a lot like the Russians with spicier food (basically an Orthodox people, with all that weird Soviet cultural baggage.) The earlier wave of Armenians remind me a lot more of Greeks or Christian Lebanese, two peoples with whom they get along very well (a lot of Armenian genocide survivors took refuge in Lebanon or Greece before coming to the U.S.). I think Christian nations that were subjects of the Ottomans ended up having a lot in common with each other.

The Western Confucian said...

A Canadian friend dated a second generation Italian-Canadian girl whose father referred to non-Italian Caucasians as "whites."

Tino said...

"how smart are armenian"

according to the very very small sample of people with armenian ancestry in the NLYS97, they have an average IQ of 99.

Italian Americans have an average IQ of 103.

Glossy said...

"I know even less about the other Christian Asian nation, Georgia, which shoved its way into the headlines in 2008 when it attacked the Russian Army."

The Caucasus is a unique place. By the way, Armenians, being a mercantile people, are atypical of the Caucasus. Little of what I've typed below applies to them. Georgians, Chechens, Ossetians, Dagestanis, etc. are typical.

The higher you go into the mountains, the more macho the people become. They could well be the most macho people on Earth outside of Africa. In the former USSR pimps are stereotypically "Caucasian" (i.e. from the Caucasus). Of course, this is a job stereotypically performed by black men in the US. Just think of the amount of machismo needed to do it successfully.

Besides mafia-type activity and valley-on-valley warfare, the Caucasus is known for blood feuds and for the stealings of brides. One can think of it as 19th century Sicily on testosterone supplements.

Up in the mountains every valley hosts a separate ethnicity and often a separate language. Most of these languages are unrelated to any outside of the Caucasus. Officially there are several dozen languages there, but I've read that the number of mutually unintelligeable dialects is in the low hundreds. Muslim valleys alternate with Christian ones.

In spite of all the wars and of the mafia-type activity which extends into Russia, the Russian attitude to the Caucasus is not entirely negative. Even without any PC brainwashing these people can be easily seen in a romantic light. There is a tradition of that in Russia going back to Lermontov and Tolstoy. Some of the most-beloved Soviet movies were set in the Caucasus. It's colorful up there.

Going by gut feelings, I would say that the local mean IQ is probably in the low 90s. This doesn't apply to Armenians, of course, who'd score higher.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

Well, you know what they say: diversity + proximity = war.

rich s. said...

The country would have been better off without the Kardashians.
I think footballer Bush and rapper Ray’s attraction to Kim K. was (at least in part) that they considered her to be (enough) white.

robert61 said...

The pre-1965 Armenians I knew growing up, from an enclave in the South End of Boston, had high verbal intelligence (a preponderance of lawyers) and Mediterranean extended family structures. If you had asked whether they were black or white, they would have laughed at you and thought you were an idiot. If their FOB cousins are claiming NAM status, I assume it's a racial spoils grab.

fdfdassafdf said...

I basically know Armenians through the films of Parajanov whose color of pomegranates is one of the all time great films.
There's also Atom Egoyan, who has made at least two Armenian themes movies: Calendar and Ararat.
There's the music of Gomidas.
But, most of us heard about Armenia in association to the 'genocide' by the Turks. Was it a genocide or war-time killing? Was Hiroshima genocide or wartime killing? Was the expulsion of Germans in the East during and immediately after WWII genocide or drastic wartime measures. I heard 2 million out of 15 million may have died. I dunno.

Cicero said...

Armenians are pretty good soldiers as well. In both the Russian Imperial and Soviet Armies a significant number of them reached high rank.

David Semyonovich Abamelik was an early example of this trend going back to the Napoleonic Wars. Lieutenant General Arshak Ter-Gukasov was a hero of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Prince Mikhail Loris-Melikov was a powerful military leader and government minister in the reign of Alexander II. An As far as I know, Hamazasp Babadzhanian and Hovhannes Bagramyan were the only non-Slavic Soviet Marshals besides Stalin and Beria, and Bagramyan was a real general who was one of the more effective commanders on the Eastern Front, Babadzhanian became head of Soivet Tank Forces during the Brezhnev era.

There was also Leonid Azkaldian, who was a physicist turned soldier in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He was killed in the early part of the war, but the "Liberation Army" he help in part to organize ended up winning the war (and ethnically cleansing the Azeri Turks who had lived in Nagorno-Karabakh).

Stir the Pot said...

Armenians in the US seem similarly successful as Greeks, Lebanese, Jews, Chinese & Iranians, etc.

Notice that none of these merchant minorities have wealthy home nations, all are well below average Euro standards in money, civil rights, trust, etc. & well above in organized crime, clannishness & corruption. The common element is their strategy of 'keeping money in the family', or trading in-house, favor banks, ethnic nepotism, etc. This tactic works best for minorities in successful societies where the majority group does not play the same game.

Also, as best I can google, the only Armenian studio boss was Kirk Kerkorian.

Anonymous said...

Funny you mention the Armenians in Abyssinia, which is modern day Ethiopia. When I lived there, there used to be a sizable armenian community made up of successful businessmen. Also famous were the 40 armenian orphans Emperor Haile Sellassie brought with him to Ethiopia., and who grew up to be the first national music orchestra. Armenians were also in charge of his stables.

The Armenians got along with the Ethiopians very well, and many actually married local women. We had many Armenians in my school, and come to think of it, they were not the sharpest students.
Most of the Armenians left Ethiopia when Haile Selassie was deposed and a communist govt. took over. The commies nationalized their businesses btw.
I always wondered what happened to my old friends and years later I found out they had settled in California.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to post the link about the Armenians in Ethiopia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Armenians

Grumpy Old Man said...

They've lasted a very long time as a recognizable ethnos. Dumb luck and mountainous terrain may play a part, but there's probably more to it than that.

My guesses: an old religious tradition, familism in the circum-Mediterranean style, economic specialization. Wish I knew more, but I don't.

Anonymous said...

All the Armenians I've met on East Coast, whose ancestors came here in the early part of the last Century are totally white looking. Many of the recently immigrated Armenians I've seen in LA are darker and more Middle Eastern Looking. The same thing could be said of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. Did immigration officials in the Ellis Island days screen for European phenotypes and turn others back?

Sam said...

How would you characterize the Scandinavian race in the USA?

Anonymous said...

When I watched the Godfather movie I thought, What are these people doing here ? Who let them in ? Why are they allowed to stay here ?
I mean, why not simply bring in the tanks and remove them ? What kind of country brings in foreign, alien criminals ?

A country is your homeland, a fortress against a cruel world. All enemies are outside the borders. Inside your country, everyone is family, everyone is a friend. It's a place where you're safe. By this definition, the USA is not a country. It's more like a free-for-all mob territory.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget "Bob" of the "Bob & Tom" radio program

Anonymous said...

Camlost --

Petrosian didn't lose his world championship title to Bobby Fischer, he lost it to Boris Spassky in 1969 (who then lost the title to Fischer in 1972).

You're thinking of Petrosian getting spanked by Fischer in their 1970 candidates' match to see who would get to challenge Spassky for the title.

Fischer spanked Petrosian in that one indeed, and went on to spank Spassky by the same +4 margin.

But yeah, there are a lot of good Armenian chessplayers.

ironrailsironweights said...

armenia is on the border of europe, like azerbaijan and georgia and turkey and kazakhstan, and the people from these places often identify as "not the same as european".
like north africans, the US government simply calls them "white".


I wouldn't think that most people in the United States would have much trouble considering most of these groups white. Perhaps a bit swarthier than average, but white nonetheless. Islam might be a complicating factor with respect to Turks (and Azeris, but there aren't many of them here), given the perception that Islam is a nonwhite religion, but even so the usual judgment would be white as opposed to minority.

North Africans are a more complicated case, as many of them look distinctly different from persons of European ancestry. Especially Egyptians, who are the most numerous of the North Africans. As things stand now, they are classified as white at least in part because there's no other applicable category.

Kazakhs are a completely different story. We may think from Borat that they are Mediterranean-looking, but in fact they're distinctly Asian in appearance. They would have no trouble being classified as Asian, including for affirmative action purposes.

Peter

Anonymous said...

MQ - It's so much more nuanced and interesting than this one-dimensional IQ fetishism, which pretends against both common sense and evidence that human accomplishment can be ranked on a one-dimensional scale.

Steady on! I dont think most people here do suscribe to this 1D IQ fetish. Those who do are likely to be shilling for more east asian immigration for example.

Many times the difference between white/asian IQ and white/asian crativity has bee discussed.

Anonymous said...

Jody - system of a down.....they were concerned about being rejected by the mainstream music fan because they were not white. this was one of their concerns for the record company.

Do people really regard them as not-white?

Nanonymous said...

There are a lot of parallels between Armenians and Jews (yes, even in chess). In the Caucasus region outside of Armenia proper, Armenians traditionally occupied economic niche similar to Jews in Europe.

Steve, have you visited Jerusalem? The old city is neatly divided into four ethnic/religious quarters - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Armenian. It seems people 2K years ago then understood well that diversity is not a strength. Armenian quarter is separated from the rest by impressive walls and the gates are still locked overnight. To this day, the quarter is the cleanest and seemingly best organized part of the of old city.

To accomplish all this, Armenians had to be smart enough (consider that their numbers were always rather small). I remember how in the early 1990s x-USSR Armenian gangs in LA impressed police by two things: 1) being so much smarter than the competition, 2) unheard of before cruelty.

Svigor said...

It applies well to the traditional anti-Semitism of the WASP elite, as well as many other situations.

If I know Freud, it's probably just a projection of non-gentile animus onto gentiles.

Anonymous said...

What! No mention of Cherilyn Sarkisian? Aka Cher.

i am the walrus said...

Armenians in the US seem similarly successful as Greeks, Lebanese, Jews, Chinese & Iranians, etc.

Once success is measured in economic terms, a society is already in decline.

"...and in 717, an Armenian dynasty ascended the throne in the person of Leo the Isaurian. The motionless period lasted for full three hundred and fifty years, as long as the exchanges of the world centred at Byzantium, and the monied race who dwelt there sucked copious nutriment from the pool of wealth in which it lay."

-- Brooks Adams, "The Law of Civilization and Decay"

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,
If you'll do one on the Armenians, how's about one on the Irish too. There's a big story here, about pedophilia and church abuse and Irish ethnicity (like nearly all the pedo priests are Irish, in the old sod and all the Anglo-sphere, far surpassing their disproportionate representation in the clerical class) . I'm frankly surprised no one in the HBD community has made, let alone explored, the connection. I think a fellow of your stature would be up for the task, indeed would relish it! Go on, go on give it a go.

Anonymous said...

"Do people really regard them as not-white?"

Yes, you'd be surprised. I have no idea why people do that either. A lot of the paler whites have suspicions towards the swarthier ones for some reason or another I've noticed. Some PC liberals do this too for different reasons in order to make Western civilization sound like a non-white accomplishment (I had a professor claim ancient Romans and therefore modern Italians weren't white).

Although I am more than 1/2 NW European and (the rest of my ancestry is mostly French with a little Italian) for some reason I have a really dark phenotype (as does my entire immediate family but not extended family). I've had lots of people express doubts about my "whiteness" over the course of my life. Kids in middle school wouldn't believe me when I told them I wasn't part mexican (even though I don't even have a spanish last name!), and NAMs would complain a lot about white people to me expecting some form of solidarity...it's weird.

Anonymous said...

Armenian gangs in LA impressed police ....., 2) unheard of before cruelty.
each new immigrant group seems to bring some previously 'unheard of before' cruelty or corruption to our shores.
diversity yay!

Kylie said...

I forgot we have an Armenian-American, Rostom Sipan Bagdasarian, to thank for this vibrant holiday favorite:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzTG0fTLAlU

Anonymous said...

Steady on! I dont think most people here do suscribe to this 1D IQ fetish. Those who do are likely to be shilling for more east asian immigration for example.

I don't think it's for shilling for more east asian immigration. It's mostly for not appearing like you're bashing one direction, and presenting oneself as objective and fair.

Truth said...

Not only are Armenians white people they are actually THE white people as the Caucasus mountain range runs smack dab through the middle of the country. There is great confusion about Armenia because the US population is split into two very different groups:

1) the Hiastansi (Russian Armenians, Hy meaning Armeina) who have the jet black haired, dark brown eyed, very white skinned "dracula" look (think the Kardashian brother on the show.)

2) the Farskahi (Persian Armenians Farska = Farsi, language of Iran) These are dark-skinned Arab types because they have been breeding with Arabs and mostly Persians for a few centuries (Think Jerry Tarkanian or Mannix).

There is a great deal of Farskahi - Hiastansi animosity as well,and the two groups don't intermingle much...unless there are others around. The AP (Armenian Power) types who play gangster and rider around in black Camaros are almost exclusively Hiastansi.

Armenians are also known as linguists as the Hyastansi, generally have a pretty good working knowledge of Russian, Armenian, English, Turkish, and sometimes other Russian Republic languages, and the Farskahi generally speak Farsi and Arabic in addition to Armenian and English. Armenians raised in Lebanon speak French also and can often write fairly well in multiple languages.

The most amazing factor about Aremians, however is probably that the women have the best asses you will ever see on white girls. Often times they look like a black bootie covered with White skin

So the next time you see your friendly neighborhood Armenian, give him/her your heartiest "Ench-Besses Aped!" (How are you brother) and remember that you learned something today.

Ray Sawhill said...

I second the recommendation above for the movie "Color of Pomegranates." (It's also known as "Sayat Nova.") It's a kind of biopic of an Armenian poet, but it's very distinctive, raw and wild -- like a cross between Warhol and folk art. (Sergei Paradjanov, the director of the film, was quite gay.) I love a number of his movies but "Color of Pomegranates" is the standout. It suggests a whole different direction feature-length movies might have gone in.

http://www.parajanov.com/main.html

A famous American theater and movie movie director of Armenian descent was Rouben Mamoulian, who was born in Georgia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouben_Mamoulian

Cicero said...

OT a little bit, but further delving into the character of various nations produced this gem from the BBC.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8599432.stm

Bolivians apparently consider it part of their national character to be late all the time. Now the government wants to pay people to be on time, even though Evo Morales is a prime offender himself. You can't make this stuff up.

jody said...

system of a down regard themselves as not european. they are correct. they are not.

they were worried that the average american music fan would see this and decide they did not like the music. it turned out that the american music fan either did not make the distinction, or they did not care, or both. either way, system of a down ended up selling millions of CDs filled with utterly bizarre politics.

more evidence than ever that the lyrics just don't matter. as if we needed any more evidence of this after the "retard rap" craze hit in 2007, with soulja boy as the vanguard.

Fred said...

"But practically nobody in Mexico has ever heard of Armenia and practically nobody in Armenia has ever heard of Mexico."

Meet Arturo Sarukhán, Mexico's ambassador to the U.S.

"Armenians in the US seem similarly successful as Greeks, Lebanese, Jews, Chinese & Iranians, etc.

Notice that none of these merchant minorities have wealthy home nations, all are well below average Euro standards in money, civil rights, trust, etc. & well above in organized crime, clannishness & corruption."


Greece and Israel have per capita GDPs close to the EU average (though Greece is about to get poorer). Singapore, which is run by Chinese, is in the same ball park. Hong Kong, also run by Chinese, is a higher than the EU average. Hong Kong also is one if the 12 least corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International. Israel is tied with Spain according to T.I., at 32 (out of 180 countries).

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anyone here mentioned William Saroyan yet? There is also Andre Agassi and Cher as well.

Truth said...

"When I watched the Godfather movie I thought, What are these people doing here ? Who let them in ? Why are they allowed to stay here ?
I mean, why not simply bring in the tanks and remove them ? What kind of country brings in foreign, alien criminals ?

A country is your homeland, a fortress against a cruel world. All enemies are outside the borders. Inside your country, everyone is family, everyone is a friend. It's a place where you're safe. By this definition, the USA is not a country. It's more like a free-for-all mob territory."

Sincerely:

Geronimo, Cochise, and Sitting Bull

Anonymous said...

like azerbaijan and georgia and turkey and kazakhstan, and the people from these places often identify as "not the same as european".

-Most Kazakhs look East Asian
-Most Turks look Middle Eastern

So those two are obvious.

Anonymous said...

"From a population of something like 10 million people worldwide, there's a hugely disproportionate amount of strong professional chess players of Armenian descent - including Garry Kasparov (arguably the best chess player of all time)."

Garry Kasparov was born Garry Weinstein. Jewish dad. He's only 1/2 Armenian. And he grew up in Azerbijan, so he's really a mongrel.

Also, Levon Aronian is also 1/2 Jewish. I'll bet the others also probably part Jewish as well. So what we can say is that crossing Jews and Armenians makes for good chess players.

Anonymous said...

Jews don't farm? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Yasgur lol

mnuez said...

Great thread but I want to pause here in my comment reading to whoop it up for the comment by the anonymous fellow on his confusion when he first saw The Godfather trilogy. I wonder what country this guy lives in.

A fellow citizen should be "a friend". I realize that sounds horribly simplistic and in every society you're going to have to deal with problems but the fact is that there USED TO BE something to being a "fellow citizen" whereas now it's almost completely gone.

When a man's world was his village, you certainly had the rich guy in town who owned the large business and employed a dozen guys and you had the ne'er do well and the butcher, the banker, the candlestick maker... but there was no question that you were all allied with each other against anyone from the outside. Today in the US patriotism is cynical joke.

When Michael Douglas said "greed is good" we were all supposed to understand that he was irredeemably evil. Instead, over the ensuing two decades the term became every man's slogan.

When individual immigrants came to the country they were generally welcomed with good natured kindness and curiosity - except when they came in numbers so massive that they felt no need to assimilate for a generation and viewed themselves as their ethnicity first and as Americans second - at best. That's what happened when the cheap-laborists imported innumerable Irish in the mid 19th Century and then endless streams of Jews and Italians at the turn of that century. The opposition was fierce, and for good reason. The people coming over were not americans (hence the mafia nonsense).

But never did any ethnic group come over in such bulk numbers and so take over communities throughout the land as Mexicans have in the past decade.

Studies have consistently demonstrated that the greater the gap is in a society between the Haves and the Have Nots, the greater the amount of family dysfunction, mental illness and violent crime.

For all of these reasons we ceased to be "fellow countrymen" in the past few years and are being torn apart into tiny individual units (and we didn't event start on international corporations!).

As the anonymous commentor put it:

A country is your homeland, a fortress against a cruel world. All enemies are outside the borders. Inside your country, everyone is family, everyone is a friend. It's a place where you're safe. By this definition, the USA is not a country. It's more like a free-for-all mob territory.

Brilliant. I wish there were a way for us to get that back (preferably without a war on our own soil).

mnuez

mnuez said...

Nanonymous,

Not to pick nits but the four quarters of Jerusalem's Old City aren't two thousand years old - or even quarters.

The wall that currently surrounds the Old City (that replaced many many walls that have stood there for a very lengthy time - 3,000 years at least) were built by the Ottomans under Suleiman between 1537 and 1542 (if memory serves) but the walls BETWEEN the quarters are more haphazard and weren't really done according to plan.

The Armenian "quarter" is actually tiny and mainly just a large property of the Armenian Orthodox Church that was flooded with refugees after the Turkish massacres at the end of WWI.

As for your point about good fences making good neighbors, the makeshift "walls" (really just cinderblocks or rooftops) that separate the Christian Quarter from the Muslim Quarter are covered in broken glass bottles in pured cement and occasionally have rusty barbed wire atop the whole thing just to reinforce the message. If I'm not mistaken, this goes back to the years of Jordanian control (1948-1967) when the mixed multitude of international and Arab Christians occupying the Christian quarter were at the mercy of the Muslim majority and didn't have much practical protection against their neighbors.

The place really is fascinating and I love it. (Nothing in the world is quite like a walk through the Muslim Quarter's narrow meat market, ey?)

The Anti-Gnostic said...

A country is your homeland, a fortress against a cruel world. All enemies are outside the borders. Inside your country, everyone is family, everyone is a friend. It's a place where you're safe. By this definition, the USA is not a country. It's more like a free-for-all mob territory."

Sincerely:

Geronimo, Cochise, and Sitting Bull


In other words, "Truth," open borders were a disaster for the aboriginal Americans as well.

You really are appallingly obtuse.

Anonymous said...

"Here's an ancient joke."

Is that one really ancient? I sounds (or smells, I should say) like the product of late-20th-century identity politics.

Sg.t Joe Friday said...

While we're on the subject of Armenians, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znf_nqW8IZ8

Anonymous said...

"A Canadian friend dated a second generation Italian-Canadian girl whose father referred to non-Italian Caucasians as 'whites.'"

I believe the politically correct term is "mangia-cakes" (cake-eaters).

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
All the Armenians I've met on East Coast, whose ancestors came here in the early part of the last Century are totally white looking. Many of the recently immigrated Armenians I've seen in LA are darker and more Middle Eastern Looking. The same thing could be said of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. Did immigration officials in the Ellis Island days screen for European phenotypes and turn others back?"

No, there is a much simpler solution. Armenians are Christians, and most of the early immigrants from Greater Syria were also Christians, so after being allowed into the USA, they interbred with other (European) Christians. So the Armenians, Syrians, Lebanese whose families have been here for a hundred years usually have European admixture, while the newer immigrants do not. That is probably enough to explain any distinction of appearance, as well as more clannish behavior among the newcomers.

CJ said...

Musical readers might want to check out soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian. You can hear her performing Armenian-language material here and here.

Stir the Pot said...

Fred

'Greece and Israel have per capita GDPs close to the EU average (though Greece is about to get poorer).'

Subtracting US subsidies to Israel & EU subsidies to Greece yields lower averages.

'Singapore, which is run by Chinese, is in the same ball park. Hong Kong, also run by Chinese, is a higher than the EU average.'

Adjusting for high housing costs in those two most crowded places leaves little money for weekends. Neither is close Euro/NA quality of life.

'Hong Kong also is one if the 12 least corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International.'

??? Does the word Triad mean anything to them?

'Israel is tied with Spain according to T.I., at 32 (out of 180 countries).'

No. Israel has major corruption problems throughout its society with drivers often using fake coins in parking meters, builders cheating code requirements and much more. Israel is also home to the world's worst white slavery pimps, as well as the biggest Ecstacy gangs. This is not disputed, though it is under-reported.

Stir the Pot said...

For more on the little known but long & dark history of Jews & global white slavery, google Zwi Migdal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwi_Migdal

Apparently the operation moved from Argentina to Israel in the 1940's. Again, not disputed but seldom mentioned.

mickeyc said...

Anonymous said:

"There's a big story here, about pedophilia and church abuse and Irish ethnicity (like nearly all the pedo priests are Irish, in the old sod and all the Anglo-sphere, far surpassing their disproportionate representation in the clerical class)"

I'm sorry if you were diddled by an Irish priest but these abuses have been regularly reported since the 1950's in all nations that the Catholic church has a presence in. The German pedo's would be surprised to learn of their Irish links.

corvinus said...

The Armenian language (and hence people) seems to be distantly related to Latin. For instance, if you look at Armenia's official name, "Hayastani Hanrapetoutyoun", the word for "republic" (Hanrapetoutyoun) looks suspiciously like Latin derived words such as "Constitution".

If Armenian were in fact descended from Latin, I imagine it would be a lot like this constructed Romance language:
http://ib.frath.net/w/Xliponian

(especially if one goes down and looks at the names for the numbers, it's almost uncanny.)

Anonymous said...

The above comment from Truth is painfully prescient. America is not a nation in any traditional or organic sense. When the neocons describe the USA as a propositional nation they are actually correct (this is perhaps the only thing they get right). Pat Buchanan once described America as becoming the polyglot boarding house to the world, another apt description.

anthro observer said...

Armenians were famous for miniature scupltures. REALLY miniature sculptures. Detailed representations of elephants that could fit in the eye of a needle. Perhaps a rich man as well. This I saw in a National Geographic spread, perhaps in the 70s or 80s.
As far as their race, they seem white, more or less, as do all Med- type people once they get here and stay for a couple generations. I haven't observed Med type people self-segregating in college cafeterias and rec halls unless they are recent arrivals and have language issues. They just sort of meld in with other whites and whitish folk.
Ethiopians are not really black in the way most other sub-Saharan blacks are black (the old, pre-pc term would be negroid race), and don't consider themselves as such. Yet, once in America, their kids group with blacks.

patrick said...

The Armenian language is Indo-European and seems to be closest to Greek. The two may have diverged in the Bronze Age, if you believe what Robert Drews wrote in his book The Coming of the Greeks.
Note to the "walrus": Leo the Isaurian wasn't Armenian; he was probably of Kurdish ancestry. Armenians made up a disproportionate percentage of the Byzantine military for most of the Eastern Empire's history. The Macedonian dynasty under whose aegis the "Byzantine Renaissance" (strong military, revival of arts and letters) took place was founded by Basil I, an Armenian from a military family.
I know that Armenians are geographically West Asian rather than European. But they are genetically and culturally much closer to Europeans than to South or East Asians. And I can't imagine anyone claiming with a straight face that because Armenia is in Asia, Armenians belong to a different race than Greeks, Bulgarians and southern Italians.

Fred said...

Stir the Pot,

"Subtracting US subsidies to Israel & EU subsidies to Greece yields lower averages."

Subtracting US economic aid to Israel would lower Israel's per capita GDP by less than a hundred dollars per year, since our economic aid is about $500 million dollars per year and there are about 7 million Israelis. Greece's pinch will come from having to cut its deficit from double digits to 3% of GDP. That will hurt.


"Adjusting for high housing costs in those two most crowded places leaves little money for weekends. Neither is close Euro/NA quality of life."

There are high housing costs in the nicest EU cities too (which are also crowded). Funny how that works: nice cities get crowded because a lot of people like to live there. That raises housing prices.

"??? Does the word Triad mean anything to them?"

and

"No. Israel has major corruption problems throughout its society with drivers often using fake coins in parking meters, builders cheating code requirements and much more. Israel is also home to the world's worst white slavery pimps, as well as the biggest Ecstacy gangs. This is not disputed, though it is under-reported."

Your opinion versus Transparency International. Advantage: Transparency International.

Truth said...

"In other words, "Truth," open borders were a disaster for the aboriginal Americans as well."

Great, we agree. There's only one way to make this right, when are you heading back to Europe?

Mark said...

When the neocons describe the USA as a propositional nation they are actually correct (this is perhaps the only thing they get right).

So, what's the proposition?

Where is ti written down?

Which congress passed it into law?

How do we test for belief in it?

What happens if you don't believe in it? Is there excommunication?

The "propositional nation" (i.e., the "creedal nation") is rubbish.

Mark said...

A few years ago there was a website listing several hundred "most wanteds" from the LA area from the last decade or so. Looking through it I saw a few Armenians, and reading the description of their crimes the one thing that impressed me was how remarkably shrewd their scams were. These guys weren't on the list for killing a 7-11 cashier for 50 bucks and a carton of Marlboros.

I'm not saying Armenians are disproportionately crooks, but I am saying that even those Armenians who are crooks are of above average intelligence.

In terms of intelligence, political beliefs, honesty, work ethic, and assimilibility, wherever they fit, Armenians seem to fit well within accepted norms.

Silver said...

The late John Attarian was half (quarter?) Armenian -- not that you'd guess it from his Occidenatlist political writings.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

There's only one way to make this right, when are you heading back to Europe?

Eff that. We came, we saw, we conquered.

Let me spell it out for you: open borders are national suicide, as the blacks being chased out of LA by Meso-American nationalists can well attest.

ironrailsironweights said...

Armenians are one of a few groups that can't easily be classified as white or non-white in America. Other groups include Lebanese Christians, Brazilians with no obvious black ancestry, Turks, Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern ancestry, and Georgians. Iranians might also be included, as there's almost but not quite a consensus that they are non-white. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims are the reverse, with there being almost but not quite a consensus that they are white.

Peter

Mike said...

Fred is up to old likudnik tricks. He does not include American military aid to israel when calculating American subsidies to Israel. Total annual American aid to israel is approximately $2.5 billion dollars.

Mike said...

In the US the culprits in sex abuse cases are disproportionately Irish Americans. I would estimate about 95 percent of the cases involce irish american priests. It would be interesting to find the cause of the disproportionate representation of Irish american priests in sex abuse cases.

Anonymous said...

What, no Alan Hovhannes fans?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cu2BgiXVyU

Fred said...

"Fred is up to old likudnik tricks. He does not include American military aid to israel when calculating American subsidies to Israel. Total annual American aid to israel is approximately $2.5 billion dollars."

I didn't include it because virtually all of that military aid is spent here in the U.S., so it doesn't have much effect on Israel's economy. Even if you did include it though, it would only knock Israel's per capita GDP down by about 1.5%.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Even if you did include it though, it would only knock Israel's per capita GDP down by about 1.5%.

Good. Then we can end it tout de suite, along with that defense umbrella we provide to Europe and Asia.

patrick said...

"Armenians are one of a few groups that can't easily be classified as white or non-white in America. Other groups include Lebanese Christians, Brazilians with no obvious black ancestry, Turks, Israeli Jews of Middle Eastern ancestry, and Georgians. Iranians might also be included, as there's almost but not quite a consensus that they are non-white. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims are the reverse, with there being almost but not quite a consensus that they are white."

Agreed. As for Georgians, most Americans have either never heard of them or think that they are an ex-Soviet, Eastern European country. The fact that they are Christian makes it unlikely that Americans, at least, would consider them "non-white" (although some people would probably say they look "Middle Eastern" or "Hispanic"- things people sometimes say about many Southern Europeans).

corvinus said...

Agreed. As for Georgians, most Americans have either never heard of them or think that they are an ex-Soviet, Eastern European country. The fact that they are Christian makes it unlikely that Americans, at least, would consider them "non-white" (although some people would probably say they look "Middle Eastern" or "Hispanic"- things people sometimes say about many Southern Europeans).
Most Americans wouldn't know anything about what Georgians looked like, unless they were curious enough about Gen. John Shalikashvili's name to look up his ancestry.

People would also agree that Chechens are white... except for the fact that they are nasty Muslim mo-fos.

Anonymous said...

I'm Armenian and I know, historically speaking, Georgians had a lot of Jewish mixing, but the non - mixed ones are more white than the white Armenians.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"Great, we agree. There's only one way to make this right, when are you heading back to Europe?"

How about next week? That work for you, since we'll have to drop you off in Africa on the way?

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"I didn't include it because virtually all of that military aid is spent here in the U.S., so it doesn't have much effect on Israel's economy"

ROFLMAO.
If U.S. weren't giving you an allowance to come over and pick out weapony, Israeli citizens would be taxed out of their own pockets to buy them. Yeah, Israelis would be the poorer if not for Uncle Sam's handouts.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"I didn't include it because virtually all of that military aid is spent here in the U.S., so it doesn't have much effect on Israel's economy"

ROFLMAO.
If U.S. weren't giving you an allowance to come over and pick out weapony, Israeli citizens would be taxed out of their own pockets to buy them. Yeah, Israelis would be the poorer if not for Uncle Sam's handouts.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised nobody mentioned G.I. Gurdjieff yet.

Fred said...

"ROFLMAO.
If U.S. weren't giving you an allowance to come over and pick out weapony, Israeli citizens would be taxed out of their own pockets to buy them."


If we weren't paying for it, how many American F-16s do you think Israel would be buying? Think it through. It already has more than any other country in the Middle East, and the F-16 doesn't do anything to stop suicide bombers or rockets coming in from Gaza. U.S. military aid to Israel is mostly pork for Boeing and a jobs program for American defense workers.

If we weren't paying for them, Israel would buy a lot fewer of them, or have Israel Aerospace Industries build one domestically (which would boost Israel's GDP).

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"If we weren't paying for them, Israel would buy a lot fewer of them, or have Israel Aerospace Industries build one domestically (which would boost Israel's GDP)."

Dude, Israel AIN'T *buying* 'em. Israel is being given a handout of them.
They are given an allowance by Uncle Sam to pick 'em out, and good ole Uncle Sam pays for 'em. Nice deal for nephews. But to imply that nephew is doing uncle a favor is rof laughable.

You think Israel building its own military equipment is good for Israel? Well, I certainly think Israel building its own is good for U.S. taxpayers. By all means, please, let them go for it. And let Israeli taxpayers pay the burden of their own defense.

I can't wait to watch and see how that one goes over with 'em.

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

".S. military aid to Israel is mostly pork for Boeing and a jobs program for American defense workers"

Suuure it is.

Okay, then, I say, how about a jobs program for American defense workers where the F-16s they build here stay here? Maybe even do some flyover recon missions of our low-level border war going on.

Anonymous said...

"There's only one way to make this right, when are you heading back to Europe?"

As usual, I'm with Truth. As soon as Europe is cleaned out and the relocation paradigm he brings up is instituted worldwide, I'm on that plane back to my homeland. Kwa brings me down.

Sevar said...

"There has always been affinity between the Armenians and the Jews."

Really, Tial? My grandmother, in her talks about the "hurya" and their involvement in our genocide back in Turkey sure didn't make it sound so groovy. The old world rug cleaner over on Western Ave. in L.A. didn't seem to me to see the affinity when he was talking about how our priests are spat upon in Jerusalem.

Stir the Pot said...

Fred,

Take a deep breath, the point we're making is that transfer payments from the US greatly benefit Israel's GDP. I'm sure most Israeli & American Jews agree, or they would end the aid. Subtracting those benefits from Israeli GDP gives a clearer picture of where they would be if they had to stand on their own. My own guess is at least 10%-25% poorer, if not more, though your #'s may vary.

After deducting $3 billion for direct military & civilian cash aid to Israel, take $3 billion or so more for aid to Egypt, Jordan & Palestinians which are bribes to keep them more in line.
Don't forget US gov't loan guarantees (billions per year), debt forgiveness, tax exempt donations from US Jews & favored nation trading status (no tariffs). Please remember that much classified US technology given as aid gets sold to China or used by Israeli's to 'start their own companies,' and that this is the source of much of Israel's high tech industry.

The amount of US aid over the years, coupled with Israel's military spending, is likely more than enough to buy out all original Palestinians and pay them to move to new houses in Jordan.

Anonymous said...

If we weren't paying for them, Israel would buy a lot fewer of them, or have Israel Aerospace Industries build one domestically (which would boost Israel's GDP).

Go read a book on economics sometime.

Anonymous said...

How come a discussion that is supposed to be about Armenians ends up being about Jews and israel?

Anonymous said...

Aside from clothing or language there is no way I could ever tell an Armenian from a Turk, a Greek, a Georgian, a Jew, a Syrian, a Lebanese, or a Cypriot. And they all look white.

Anonymous said...

"Also, Levon Aronian is also 1/2 Jewish. I'll bet the others also probably part Jewish as well. So what we can say is that crossing Jews and Armenians makes for good chess players." -

What a horrible blatant lie, mixed with ignorance. Levon Aronian is 100% pure Armenian, just like other famous Armenian chess players, only Kasparov is half-armenian. Is it so hard to look on the internet for information befoer making such stupid assumptions? Armenians are in the top-10 countries in Chess. And if you take the percentage, than Armenians are one of the best chess players in the world. There are also Huge amount of armenian scholars. Even Viktor Hambartsumyan, who is one of the founders of theoretical astrophysics, or ALikhanian brothers, who created first Nuclear reactor of USSR and were one of the founders of Nuclear Physics. There are really lot of prominent scientists of armenian ethnicity..

And article is stupid by the way. ITalian Americans made huge contributions to USA, starting from the name - "America". I even thought that people here are from some American village..

Anonymous said...

"Also, Levon Aronian is also 1/2 Jewish. I'll bet the others also probably part Jewish as well."

I wonder where you get this information. Surely, Jews have done very well in chess, nobody argues about that, but so have the Armenians. Levon Aronyan is an Armenian chess player and so are most, if not all, of the 30+ grandmasters in Armenia.

Anonymous said...

Armenians are not Mediterranean, Mediterraneans are much better than Armenians, smarter, classy, not fraudsters, Please don't' compare Armenians to Mediterranean. Sometimes they take ideas, music, foods from others, doesn't make them part of the culture.