Stan Apps Responds to Ara Shirinyan’s “Grenada Is Great” and “Albania Is Great” and “Cameroon Is Great”

We all know the thesis sentence of our time:  It’s the 21st century, and everything is connected by the internet.  What else do you need to know?

I heard that “everything is connected by internet” but the sad part is I have no idea what that means.  What is this “everything” and how is it connected—the only part of this sentence I can understand is “internet.”

Ara Shirinyan’s book Your Country Is Great: A—G is trying to understand the everything that is connected and the manner in which it is connected.  Shirinyan understands the internet already, so he uses it to try to understand the rest of the thesis statement.

His book is all copied, or maybe you would rather say sampled, or maybe you would rather say mixed.  The style is simple, like people typing in observations and opinions to appear on the internet.

How can things people write on the internet tell us anything?  Isn’t the only way we can understand anything through a schematic diagram of tubes?

Shirinyan is a bit of a humanist, accumulating things people have written, as if those writings had meaning, in themselves and in juxtaposition.  The principle of juxtaposition is that Shirinyan puts writing about the greatness of each country together.


Grenada is great for diving and snorkelling
with extensive reefs.
Some of the best dive sites

Grenada is great, but I have been
sitting in one place far too long.

Grenada is great for sightseeing,
and has more to offer than just beaches
and sunshine .
Of course, to take advantage of this,
you will need to rent a car

Grenada is great for exploring and often
the best way to discover places, is car rental –
armed with a map, some advice & sense of adventure!

Grenada is great if you adjust and live more simple .
If you bring the expectation that you can get
all the things you are used to getting in the US or UK etc –
which is possible – but you will need to bring
a LOT of money with you as well.

Things are connected through the internet, which involves sitting in one place, or through car rental, which requires money and can also be done over the internet.  The internet plus money equals adventure; the internet minus money equals adjusted expectations, a world not yet taken advantage of.

Failing to take advantage of the world, Shirinyan explores with minimum agenda.  It would be a mistake to call him a tourist, because he’s staying home; he’s not an adventurer, with the spirit of taking advantage, but rather a compiler, with the spirit of recording what’s there.

You might say that Shirinyan is recording those aspects of the world (“everything that is the case”) that appear when he looks for them in his living room in Glendale, California.  His long poem will the first epic record of the manner in which Glendale, California is connected to everything by the internet in the earliest 21st century.


Albania is great. I missed that place a lot.
I got offered cigarettes and alcohol by
like everyone I knew
and some people I didn’t know.

Albania is great!
Not quite as third-world
as parts of Africa, but
not exactly Michigan either
if ykwim.

I liked everything about my stay
and i just wanted to let you know
that Albania is GREAT!!!

Albania is great as a communsist country
or democratic,
either way,
albania is just the best.

U aint from belgrade,
youd feel our pain and not
say how albania is great.
educate ur self:

Hiking, camping,
hunting — North
Albania is great
for all of this.

The Italian influence in Albania is great,
many speak Italian,
watch Italian TV.
The historical ties between Italy and Albania
are very strong.

I know you love your country but please
stop telling us that Albania is great. Like I said,
give us the worldly achievements of Albania.

Albania is great!!!!
We finished 5th place
because we were all injured.
And we lost
against Georgia twice before
we felt bad on those
two day’s!

A lot of excuses can be made for Albania.  The people are generous.

Nationalism is receding like a wave and hunting, hiking, and camping are taking its place.  Even the Serbs are better educated than we are, and they are proud to tell us how stupid we are, but we don’t care.

Meanwhile, in Cameroon:

your ideas about improving computer studies
in cameroon is great,that’s what is espected
of our brother’s who acquire knowledge,
to share with the less

Cameroon is great!) The traditional list of the
top 100 milliadaires(billionaires) of a country
is usually made up of Entrepreneurs

the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the edification
of the body of Christ in Cameroon, is great,
and we do not want
to only be a slogan.

Cameroon is Great:.
Feel guilty that you waist gas
when you drive your car
by yourself?
It is impossible to take a taxi here
without at least 6 other people

Computers are educating Cameroonians, and they are sharing Jesus and taxis.  Williams says, “It’s hard to get the news from poems,” but here it is.

Some will argue that it’s too much work to locate their preferred ideologies and attitudes in Shirinyan’s epic—but they’re there.  Read between the lines, and you’ll find your hobbyhorse peaking out at you through Shirinyan’s grand collage.

Some will argue that the connections created by the internet are superficial.  They don’t understand that pervasive repetition on a surface level is the signature of deep structure.

Buying Shirinyan’s book is an opportunity to purchase freely available information.  So what are you buying?

The organization, the compositional idea, and the insistent repeated patterns revealed by the idea.  It’s not a tourist book, but a book about the repetitions of a thesis statement.

To quote Williams again:  “Nobody knows what makes the present age what it is.  They are mystified by certain insistences.”

Your Country Is Great: A—G is a little bit of simplicity carved out of a map bigger than everywhere.  It shows us what small and self-similar things nations are from an internet perspective.

Shirinyan shows us the narrowness of an internet-based POV.  But how else are you going to look at Cameroon, Grenada and Albania?

If your jetplane’s out of fuel and your generalizations leave room for a few specifics, Shirinyan’s long poem will let you have the world as it looks in his living room in your own living room.  As Shirinyan writes on Canada, “Even if you aren’t looking to change the world it’s important”

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