Treacherous Ts

What do tobacco (the industry), Turkey (the genocidal state), and Trump (the Conman-in-Chief) have in common besides the first letter?

“What do tobacco, Turkey, and Trump have in common besides the first letter?”

It is their expert use of doubt-seeding techniques.

Since the tobacco harvest ends in October, Turkey’s “republic” was declared on Oct. 29, and Donald Trump got elected just over a year ago, it seemed like a good time to point out the commonality of these three terrible Ts.

We can probably fairly credit the tobacco industry with the perfection, if not the invention, of denialism. For decades, the tobacco companies claimed that stinking weed (as described by King James I of England) was not harmful. They hid their own research and documentation to the contrary. They hooked soldiers in service of their country by seeing to it they were well stocked with cancer-sticks. They tricked children into becoming addicts through “cute” advertising. They made a vile habit seem glamorous through what is, I’m guessing, one of the earliest examples of product placement in movies. Also, think of the Marlboro man and alluring women smoking in advertisements for cigarettes. With this deluge of “positive” images, it took roughly two generations, half a century, before the courts of law and public opinion finally caught up with Big Tobacco’s machinations.

Turkey and its denialists probably learned some of their craft from the more depraved sectors of the public relations industry, which did the tobacco industry’s dirty work. It would come as no surprise, right? Turkey has been spending millions and millions of dollars (it would be interesting to compile all their expenditures reported in legally required filings from the beginning of when such data is available—a good intern project, it seems to me!) hiring that type of vermin to work on its denial and other campaigns in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Ankara used the same successive techniques as the cancer-dissemination industry. Outright denial came first, followed by some attenuation. In tobacco’s case, advertising was banned on TV and radio, and later to young audiences, while Turkey moved on to saying, in one form or another, “Yeah, but it wasn’t genocide.” Later, fairly extensive capitulation when confronted with multipronged attacks and exposure of damning documents, a phase we are just starting to enter in the Armenian case against Turkey.

(Here, a curious (but not directly relevant to this piece) intersection of Turkey and tobacco is fun to convey. Assuming it is true, an article about historical smoking bans reports that the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Murad IV, ruling 1623-1640, banned tobacco (along with alcohol and coffee). Flouting this prohibition resulted in death! A contemporaneous Russian prohibition was much gentler… Only repeat offenders earned a trip to the grave. Interesting imperial overlords we Armenians have had…)

Now, on to the third T…

Trump with his lies, diversions, and misrepresentations is on the same path as tobacco and Turkey—from lying about his inauguration attendance numbers, to falsely claiming (on his current Asia trip) that his predecessor, Barack Obama, was barred from landing in the Philippines, to claiming that football players kneeling during the “Star Spangled Banner” is tantamount “dissing” the flag and country, or simply fudging every issue with 140-character outbursts. The current occupant of the White House has elevated denialism and obfuscation to unseen heights. He blurs and drags out the issue at hand, ad nauseam, until people forget the original question was or simply get disgusted. We can only hope that time will bring Trump the same tide of truth that it brought to tobacco and is bringing to Turkey.

Armenians have developed a nose for sniffing out this behavior, considering our ongoing exposure to it. Be sure to keep your nose cued to the news to recognize future Trumps, and alert friends and neighbors to the imminent dangers. It’s the least we can do for humanity.


Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly in the Weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble.

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  1. You are full of lies.Attacking President Tump by an Armenian organization, comparing Dictator isis lover Erdogan to our President is foolish and unacceptable , you are fired

  2. I think this is the weakest, cheapest attack using a criminal like Erdogan by simply comparing him with the president Trump and putting on the same scale,coming from a reputable source as The Armenian Weekly. You have something to say against Trup say it rationally, convincingly, not stupidly. Garen Yegparian, I read your interesting articles and enjoy them, but I think this is really below the belt.

  3. Ken claims that the published article is full of lies. Yet he fails to cite even one such alleged lie. The truth always hurts, but it is refrehing

  4. Haha. That’s funny Ken. But in defense of the article I’ll say that Trump is being compared in the narrow scope of lying, obfuscating and in general BS’ing. And in that context it’s a spot on comparison.

  5. What about a yabbering yammering yapping Y? This is easily the silliest article I’ve seen on ArmenianWeekly. There is a place for quirky randomness, but it has to contain better material than this.

  6. Commend for trying to be antagonistic with your middle school caliber essay.

    I’ll consider the source. On that note, I’ll also rethink when it’s time to renew my Armenian Weekly subscription.

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