24-year old author has created a minor scandal.
Karen Karslyan had problems getting his novel "X
Frames/Sec" published (see Novel
Approach to Student Life, May 9). Now there are
some problems getting it sold.
Early this month, the book was accepted for sale in
five Yerevan bookstores. Two weeks later, two of the
bookstores have stopped selling the book, because of
its sexually-explicit content. It is the first time
a book by an Armenian author has been banned from bookstores
due to language and sexual content.
Karslyan went in Nork bookstore in and was happy to
see that his book was not on the shelf, as he thought
it had already sold out.
But a salesclerk approached, asked if he was the author,
returned his books and said: "Have you read what
you have written?"
"I would be disappointed very much if my wife
or daughter read this novel," says director of
Nork bookstore Karen Hakobyan. "Could a sane man
write such a vulgar thing?"
Yerevan bookstores sell Russian books, which contain
frivolous content and open sexual descriptions, however,
there haven't been any complaints yet.
"Russians are a great nation and they take liberties,"
says Hakobyan. "Armenians cannot as we are small
nation and we face the risk of extinction."
Among passages Hakobyan says are unfit is the following:
"The horny humanitarian, nevertheless, wished
to turn on the light. Blindly he stretched out his hand
in the darkness. Thinking he'd found it he stuck his
fingers in the socket. 220 volts shocked him. Humanitarian
was lucky as he lazy to take his penis out of the girl.
At the speed of light electric current was transmitted
to the girl. Before the humanitarian-conductor managed
to pull his hand back from the plug, the electric shock
made the girl relieve herself right on his naked chest.
The girl had a miraculous escape."
book can still be found at this store on Mashtots
and at Artbridge, down the street on Abovian from
where another store banned it.
At a bookstore on Abovian Street, where the novel has
also been removed, a clerk was not so kind. "Sell
this yourself," the clerk told Karslyan, "and
swallow all the dirt yourself."
Seda, the deputy director of one of the oldest bookstores
on Abovian said "X Frames/Sec" was removed
from her store after customers complained.
"This book doesn't correspond to moral standards,"
she said. "We've read numerous books but we never
read something like that. The immorality reached its
peak. That book can't be next to Pushkin and Tumanyan."
She was loudly cursing Karslyan saying she wished he
had not been born.
Among customers complaining was the secretary of the
Union of Armenian Writers. Some objected to Karslyan's
piece "Cardiogram of a Poet".
Would you inject Poetry? Would you
glut Poetry? Would you urinate Poetry? Would you fight
Poetry? Would you remove Poetry's feathers? Would you
kiss Poetry? Would you revolutionize Poetry? Would you
bare Poetry? Poetry, roar, roar, Poetry laugh, (have
sex with) Poetry and get STD, I got STD. Would you shoot
poetry? Would you give a slap to innumerable cheeks
of Poetry? Would you yell Poetry? Would you extort Poetry?
Would you slaughter Poetry mumbling? Would you bark
Poetry? Would you hound Poetry on those grazing Poetry?
Would you (defecate on) Poetry? Would you stutter Poetry?
Would you steal Poetry? Would you grow Poetry? Would
you meet Poetry? Would you braze Poetry?.. I'm getting
Poetried out, Would you conjure Poetry? Would you play
the fool Poetry? Would you make Poetry horny? Would
you sacrifice Poetry? Would you asphalt Poetry? . .
. Poetry is the same for prophesy as fetish for the
truth, let's get drunk with Poetry. . . Would you pour
technocrat Poetry into Poetry? Poetry will rape, will
Poetry spit? Would you demine Poetry? Would you envy
Poetry? Would you become famous thanks to Poetry? Would
you operate on Poetry? Would you blow your nose with
Poetry? Would you make Poetry loud? Would you place
corns on Poetry? Would you belch Poetry? Would you skin
Poetry? Would you jerk off Poetry?"
"How dare he put labels on poetry in such a manner?"
said Gohar, a clerk at the Abovian Street store.
"Just like the leaders in the country are imposing
their power, so too, many people in society are trying
to impose moral norms," says co-editor of the journal
"Bnagir" Violet Grigoryan. "Both of those
dictatorships are based on falsification (false elections
and false literature). People run away from the country
because of those reasons so that they choose who they
want and read what they want. Both of these are obstacles
for freedom and the development of the country.
"From this point of view 'Bnagir' which is the
only literary magazine having no censorship unwillingly
becomes an opposition to the imposed prohibitions. We
are pleased to take the role of the opposition."