Over-the-Top Ambitions

Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 20 February 2014

It’s no secret that American culture—whether low-, mid- or high-brow—has become, since the Second World War–the locomotive of world culture. What originates in America is soon adopted by most of the world.

Having said that…

When you were young you might have enjoyed reading “Superman”, “Spiderman” and “Batman” comic books or any of the scores of other comic book heroes. Now when you want to buy a present for your child or grandchild you probably buy a Mattel, Hasbro or Fisher-Price product and frequently from the Toys R Us chain. If you want to get a birthday cake for your grandchild you would probably go to Baskin Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s or to Haagen-Dazs. If you want to buy jeans for your teenager, you might settle for a Levi-Strauss, Ralph Klein or Ralph Lauren pair of denims. For coffee or donut you might stop at Dunkin Donuts or go to Starbucks. And if you want to check something in your computer while sipping a latte, you would Google or go to Facebook to see what your friends are up to. To catch up on the news, you might check the New York Times or Newsweek. For a more leisurely read, you might pick up The New Yorker magazine. You might also consider GQ, Brides, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, Wired or any of the hundreds of other magazines and newspapers.

Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 20 February 2014

It’s no secret that American culture—whether low-, mid- or high-brow—has become, since the Second World War–the locomotive of world culture. What originates in America is soon adopted by most of the world.

Having said that…

When you were young you might have enjoyed reading “Superman”, “Spiderman” and “Batman” comic books or any of the scores of other comic book heroes. Now when you want to buy a present for your child or grandchild you probably buy a Mattel, Hasbro or Fisher-Price product and frequently from the Toys R Us chain. If you want to get a birthday cake for your grandchild you would probably go to Baskin Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s or to Haagen-Dazs. If you want to buy jeans for your teenager, you might settle for a Levi-Strauss, Ralph Klein or Ralph Lauren pair of denims. For coffee or donut you might stop at Dunkin Donuts or go to Starbucks. And if you want to check something in your computer while sipping a latte, you would Google or go to Facebook to see what your friends are up to. To catch up on the news, you might check the New York Times or Newsweek. For a more leisurely read, you might pick up The New Yorker magazine. You might also consider GQ, Brides, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, Wired or any of the hundreds of other magazines and newspapers.

Of course, instead of reading a magazine you might decide to read a novel.  Then again you might go to the movies or watch TV where most of the fare is produced by the well-known Hollywood studios. There are also the numerous cable TV channels, Internet sites, news services….to keep you informed and entertained. If you like Broadway shows, you can listen to the countless show tunes on the radio, on tape, CD… If you are in New York City, you might catch a live Broadway show.

What do the above have in common other than being American? They are owned, managed or featured by American Jews. They are also a mere sample of American life which is dominated, heavily influenced or permeated by American Jews and Jewish culture.

No matter what you do and where you live in the United States you will be aware of the prominence of Jews in politics, on Wall Street, in academics, the media, the sciences, arts, the judiciary, among the professions, on and on. The head of the Federal Reserve Board is Jewish; so were her predecessor and the predecessor of the predecessor. Secretaries of State, cabinet ministers, ambassadors to the United Nations, ambassadors to many countries—including to Ottoman Turkey during the Genocide—heads of intelligence, ministers of defense, generals, and admirals are or have been Jewish. A significant percentage of Americans who win the Nobel Prize are Jews.

As well, Israel is considered by the American establishment as America’s most important ally in the Middle East. Israel, the fifth or sixth strongest state in the world, has hundreds of nuclear bombs. As many as 70 million American Christians are Zionists, believing the Messiah will return only after the establishment of a Greater Israel.

Talking of the Messiah, it’s widely believed—even among Christians—that Christ was a Jew, just as were his disciples and apostles. That Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Solomon, David… were Jews is not a matter of debate.

If you support women’s liberation, you would be grateful to Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug and other Jewish American women who, in the ‘60s, led the movement. American Jews were also among the leaders of the civil rights movement. Whether you are a left-winger and read Noam Chomsky or you are a right-winger and read Norman Podhoretz, the fact is they and many other leading American opinion makers are Jews. Check the annual Vanity Fair, Forbes, TIME magazine lists of movers-and-shakers…you will be impressed by the number of America’s leading personalities who are Jewish.

Not as prominent but still powerful are the Jewish communities in Britain and France. There have been Jewish presidents, prime ministers, numerous cabinet ministers, politicians, public personalities, scientists, writers, industrialists, magnates, artists, and journalists in those two countries as well.

There are 6 to 7 million American Jews. In Britain and in France Jews number 600,000 and 400,000 respectively. But in all three cases they punch way above their weight.

Which brings us to Armenians or more correctly to some Armenians who never fail to stand up at gatherings of Armenian national import and ask the dunderhead question: "Why can’t we do what the Jews are doing?" This ignorant question is asked with all sincerity by Armenians who have been in the United States or Canada for decades and yet sound like they have just landed from Mars and don’t know the vast difference in the power of the Jewish and Armenian communities.

And when weighing the effectiveness of the Armenian communities why do these frivolous people compare Armenians with the most successful ethnic group in the world?  Why compare us with a community whose members were on Columbus’ ship (mapmakers and surgeon) and were established in North America as early as the beginning of the 17th century or just after the Pilgrim Fathers landed? Incidentally, 40 years before the Genocide, there were already 200,000 Jews in America. This number soon mushroomed into the millions following the tsarist pogroms.

Comparing us to the remarkably successful Jewish community wastes precious times at our gatherings. It throws cold water on our efforts. It may make diligent Armenians feel they are failures. It’s a digression and distraction.

Let’s do what we can to advance the interests of our communities and not be hamstrung by invidious and corrosive comparisons. Let’s stop beating our chests with “why, why, why we can’t be as powerful as the Jews?” outbursts. As American Jews say, “Enough, already.”

 

 

4 comments
  1. Unrealistically Ambitious

    Thank you for the article. I agree with it and would like to add another example of the vast gap between Armenian and Jewish influence, power, wealth. Every year billions of dollars are donated by Diaspora Jews to Israel. What does the Armenian Diaspora send to Armenia per annum? A measly $22 million, almost half from the Russian Diaspora.
    These Armenian "frogs" should think before they talk.

  2. Jews VS Armenians

    My observations between this two groups is this: Jews are liberal in their thinking and lifestyle;  Armenians are conservative. Maybe we should use the word "amot" less frequently and not chastise our liberal youth.

  3. Frog and Cow

    I am appalled by the ridiculous publicity that Armenian media gave to the guy who delivered pizzas to some of the Oscar attendees. One report was 20 paragraphs.

    Why the servile and cringe-making coverage? Because the pizza guy  happens to be Armenian! WOW! Stop the presses. An Armenian hits the big time; we have made it to the top: an Armenian puts cheese and  tomato paste on dough and becomes an Armenian hero when he delivers his humble pie to the Hollywood "elite".

    Why the wall-to-wall coverage in Armenian media outlets for such an insignificant occurrence? Are we so insignificant and desperate for recognition? What's next? Goldie Hawn's seamstress is half-Armenian?  

    1. Hold it There  

      Hold it there, mister Vahakn. The pizza delivery at the Oscars that has caught your attention was in the "California Courier". You did not turn the page in the same issue to read what the real accomplishments of Armenians: Ukraine's new minister of interior, by a majority vote, is Armenian Arsen Avakov, and about British-Armenian actor Andy Serkes (Gollum). 

      Your efforts to downgrade Armenians and stir up disagreement among us was met with the proper  response in the "Armenian Weekly" where you also write.

      We feel proud in being informed of  the achievements of our countrymen.

      Gaydzag Palandjian

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