Sometimes this place is just certifiably goofy.
Which is why guys like me can find a home here.
Let me bring your attention to a story on this
week's site about the latest addition to Republic
Square. ("From Vladimir to Video")
My attention has been brought to the issue for
about six weeks now, for, living near the square,
I am never more than a decibel or two away from
a reminder that a jumbo-sized television occupies
turf that formerly belonged to Vladimir Ilyich
Ulyanov, aka, Lenin.
In case anyone wonders, this is, certainly, a
country "in transition". Where the father
of all things non-western once stoically (some
say "erectly") stood, there is now a
monitor as big as an Armenian traffic cop's belly,
blasting music and movie clips and inviting viewers
to dial a phone number and buy an ad.
Transition, my butt, this is a full circle turn
of extremes. (I just wish the owners would have
gone completely Americana and broadcast last week's
American football Superbowl. Or at least the halftime
show. Janet Jackson's nipple brooch on that screen
would have looked like a weapon of mass destruction.)
Following the Lincy Fund's multi-million dollar
remake of Republic Square, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the Post Office, Government Building
No. 1, got all gussied up with gentle under-lighting
that bathed the square in something close to candlelight.
It was soft, elegant, sophisticated and encouraged
contemplative strolls even in chilling temperatures.
Then, just when Yerevan was starting to look
like a place where dignity might find expression,
some boneheads in a government office somewhere
figured out a way to make cash off public property,
so . . .
I'm walking to the post office earlier this week
and the hilarity of the whole thing froze me.
There, where V.I. and his pointy head and his
finger pointing the way to Sevan stood until 1991,
the image I saw this evening was a Jennifer Lopez
music clip. And to give you an idea of the size
of the screen, her backside took up only half
of it. She could have duet-ed with Beyonce Knowles
and the new center piece of the cultural calling
card in the capital of Armenia would still have
had room for more.
In addition to ads for advertising and music
videos, according to our story, the man in charge
of programming says he likes to show movie clips
that are "interesting to spectators".
Among his examples is "Terminator".
So let's get really weird with this . . .
At any given time on the former "Lenin Square",
the current governor of California can be seen
portraying a cyborg, promising to "be back"
-- a claim that surely can't be boasted by the
former dictator. Though, summing up the unlikelihoods
expressed in the previous 458 words, what isn't