ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 May 30, 2003 




No Sale: Yerevan stores ban book over sexually explicit and crude language

 
The 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."

The 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".

An excerpt:

"… 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."


According to Agnes
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  Inside
 

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No Sale: Yerevan stores ban book over sexually explicit and crude language

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  Photo of the week
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