comedy, Gender, Media, My favorites, race

I Could Have Accomplished More if I Was Black

When I saw Win a Date With Tad Hamilton I was pissed. I wasn’t just mad because the movie was clichéd representation of gender norms in 95 minute form, but also because I wasn’t in it.

Topher Grace had stolen my life. I was supposed to be the too scrawny to be attractive awkward guy that ended up with the girl in the end but only after losing her multiple times to hunkier men who weren’t all bad, but weren’t as good either. When I said life in that first sentence of this paragraph I meant movie-life. I meant the person I was so good at pretending to be when I was 18 that I figured people would want to watch me on TV screens being that person. I wasn’t that person.

Though at 18 I was much dumber than I am now, I still knew that with that power came great responsibility and once I became famous for being nerdy but not too nerdy, awkward but somewhat charming, and vaguely depressed but only because I didn’t have you in my life I would have to find some way to subvert those expectations. Maybe I would also be gross because we aren’t comfortable enough with grossness as a society. Maybe I would be surprisingly cocky because it’s stupid that we find lack of confidence attractive only if it’s teamed with bumbling sentences and small muscles.  Maybe it would be simply be extreme leftist politics because these vanilla figures of teen-idolatry never took a real stance.

I’ve grown. Both in my understanding of teen movie worship and in facial hair. Both make my desire to manifest as a tween heartthrob only to  subvert any desires tweens had for me less appealing. Most importantly Drake came along.

He was on Degrassi. He didn’t quite always get the girl. Then he joined the most badass group of rappers in the US. Sings with the most badass chicks in rap. Had a video that prominently displayed boobs as its main feature. But most importantly he was still cute.

The whole time!

He was soo cute. He still is. Nobody looks cuter when he moves his gaze slowly from her thighs to her boobs.

He’s doing what I wanted to do, but so much better.

The key to the socially awkward, doesn’t get laid guy who gets the girl in the end is that he induces “awws.” Is that when you look at him you can’t help but crinkle your eyebrows and hold back a smile that says “man, I wish you were doing better.” Is that you root for him no matter what he does. Topher Grace, Shia Lebeouf, That dude from Can’t Hardly Wait, Jason Biggs. They all did it well, but then did nothing after. Drake does it while being a part of Young Money – rapping with Lil’ Wayne, Kanye, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and every other person associated with the badass part of rap. A part of rap associated with drugs, tits, fucking, and gang violence. Yet he’s playing Topher Grace in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton.

Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is trying to do the same thing, but why he won’t succeed is because he has two names. Drake is Drake – he is no longer Aubrey Graham who was in a wheelchair in Degrassi. Donald Glover will always stay an actor because he refuses to let go of his acting persona (Not that I think that’s bad, I think he’s a great actor). He’s just a shitty person with amazing taste.

I don’t want to go on a rant about how confused I am about my feeling about the Derrick Comedy star.

Drake is incredible.

Watch this video and try to not understand what I’m saying:

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Gender, Indignant, My favorites, Nostalgia, Selfish

My Dudes.

I like to claim that “dudes” is a gender neutral term to describe the people you hang out with most. I’ve also attempted to claim “bitches” is a gender neutral term to describe people you are excited to see. There’s a problem with both claims, in that interpretation largely forms the meaning of the word. If the image conjured up when I say “my dudes” is that of burly men on couches then that context informs how you read the rest of what is said about said “dudes.”

The fact that you have such a clear vision of who one is referring to when talking of “dudes” is the essential problem . When 90% of relationships represented on TV and film are between men, it is hard to not find archetype idols to follow. It’s tempting to simply fill in the template already created by society with slightly different traits in order to achieve uniqueness, as opposed to discarding the template altogether.

Problems arose when my group of “dudes” in college all grew facial hair. It may have been out of a mix of laziness, fear of being perceived as childlike, and an attempt to subscribe on only a minor level to the hipster subculture that was anything but a subculture at our school, but the result was that the conjured image of burly men on couches was fully realized.

Our common interests were hard to find. Each of us fashioned ourselves intelligent in our field, but our fields had little overlap. Psychology, History, Gender Studies, Mathematics, and Philosophy may seem connected, but only in that they all involve a college education. Instead our common thread became that we had all not had sex with girls that we had wanted to have sex with. Even our closest non-hetro dude (who unsurprisingly found our fulfillment of Apatow fantasies unfulfilling and began hanging out with us less over college) was connected because he was not having sex with men that he wanted to have sex with. So that became what we talked about. It’s not that I don’t like talking about that. I love talking about that. But it’s that that constant of a conversation begins to affect actions. Our other common interest was the nostalgic playing of Super Smash Bros. on N64. Since all we ever spoke of was our inability to achieve our sexual desires, the games became less about Falcon Punches and Down B’s of Yoshi and more about taking out anger on who we thought subscribed to the virtues of the book of “Not Getting Laid But Wanting To” worst – who was least dudely.

This was not a happy house. We once got into a screaming fight because half of us wanted to go to Noodles & Co. and half of us wanted to go to Subway.

Again I have found myself living in a world where my life revolves around a game and some men. Now, though, my conversations with each are different. They revolve around comedy & monogamy, fantasy sports & not getting laid, lady gaga & kanye, and granola & efficiency. I like every one of these conversations, but, more importantly, by diversifying what we talk about, our game (Settlers of Catan) stays about our game. When someone blocks a trade route t’s because that’s the best move for them not because that person has been backwardly bragging about the fact that they made out with some girl. They aren’t better people, and, honestly, I have no desire to hang out with good people, but our relationships are much healthier. The diversity of individual relationships creates a world where conformity becomes more difficult – where there is no template to simply fill in. Where you get to write your own template.

It’s not lost on me that my groups of dudes is significantly less heterosexual, but I think that has less to do with the differences than one would originally assume. Women obviously played a role in both groups, mostly that women became less and less interested in interacting with us the more and more our conversation revolved around our inability to have sex on them, but I think near the beginning of my college dudes’ group our relationship to femalia was similar. That’s all I’m going to say about other theories as to the quality of life because I like the theory that I’ve been writing about for a while and want you to think that it’s true.

Each of the men I’ve talked about from college and now are great people… great dudes, but Darjeeling Limited is a much better movie than The Royal Tenenbaums – relationships between individuals are more interesting than the individuals themselves.

I’ve often said that the only person I hate more than myself is all previous incarnations of myself. I hope that that continues to be true because that will mean that I’m always changing for the better.

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Gender, Nostalgia, race, Socialism

Recycley Unproductive III (Politics?)

On one subway ride and walk out of the subway I wrote four short essays. Here they are!

Sarcasm and Symbioticism
They were the odd couple. One guy’s zip up hoodie was white. The other’s was black. One guy wore blue jeans, the other word dark blue jeans. One gelled the little hair he had and placed on top a pair of Gucci sunglasses. The other donned his Armani sunglasses on hair that was too short to gel. One wore Adidas – black with white stripes. The other Nike – white with black swoosh. You couldn’t find two people were more different.
Don’t Call it a Construct
People told her that she looked like Rashard Lewis. He was a basketball player only recognizable by face to the general populous in her home town of Orlando because he was on every billboard facing the camera but hiding behind a basketball extended out in front of him at the length of his arm. She thought Rashard Lewis was cute, but she didn’t have high self-esteem.

Rashard Lewis had a little goatee. How could she look like a man with a goatee? Did she look like a man enough that people could easily imagine her sprouting facial hair?

When Rashard Lewis was a teenager he was called the “tallest bitch on the court.” He was 6’6,” but his face resembled many of the women that his teammates tried to hit on. He responded by learning to compliment his height and low post abilities with a deadly accurate 3 point shot. She hasn’t responded yet.
Capitalism Don’t Fart
I farted on the subway. It wasn’t a quiet fart, though it was still muffled by the seat and my jeans. I knew it wouldn’t be silent, I was aware of the rattling of my buttcheeks that was about to occur. These were subway people though. They sit net to dead homelessmen. they have no right o be scared off by a fart. It wasn’t hat they had no right that saved me. it was that hey had no desire to fight me. Who knew what I was gonna do? We need fear of the unexpected in order to keep us humble. We need that fear from a lack of protection or knowledge to keep us on level playing fields.
Struggles in Racial Identity Class and Court
He can’t ball. He has an I-pod though. None of them do. Does that make him better? Does that make him worse? Does that make him different? He figured the answer was yes. he wasn’t allowed to play ball with them no matter how hard he stared at the court. His hair didn’t naturally cornrow itself no matter how long he grew it and tied it back. He was so white that his shirt was purple.

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Gender, Media, My favorites, race

Rube Goldberg of Feminism and Rap

Nicki Minaj likes to have sex with women and I don’t do music reviews. Pink Friday is absurdly good though, and this is why.

Note: Please don’t read this without listening to the album. Each song is linked in the number before it. Click on them. Listen to them as you read or before, but listen. It’s really fucking important.

1. I’m The Best. Nicki just starts out her CD with something that we all know but maybe have forgotten: I’m The Best. How do we know that? She explains that she wasn’t given this out of nowhere, she worked from nothing to this superstar status. She isn’t the first to make it big, but other people became big for themselves, whereas Nicki did it for us. She became a megastar because we needed her to become a megastar. She explains that she is the best because it’s selfless for her to be the best – to be the one everyone loves, and she hopes someday the rest of us will be as smart and amazing as her because it’s lonely being so much better than the rest of us. I hope I can make her less lonely.

2. Then she starts her album for real with the words: “I am not Jasmine, I am Aladdin.” Just as in fairy tales we’ve been told since we were tiny, the rap game has been a patriarchal world. Nicki’s having none of that. Thus she declares that she is not the useless pretty girl who is simply the impetus for male actions – she is male action. Then she calls herself a cunt because she has a vagina and she is fucking proud of it. She is male action with a pussy. She uses a lot of fairy tale imagery to remind us that we are constantly bombarded with gender roles – specifically ones that make the man the chivalrous savior with a large sword and the woman the helpless piece of skinny being held prisoner by a dungeon dragon.

Who does she get to be featured on this track (essentially the first track of the album)? The voice of patriarchy – the biggest, whitest name in the rap game. Eminem plays his part well, explaining that he doesn’t take shit from women and if they stand up to him he’ll rape them and film it. He then offers a game plan as to how to defeat his patriarchal rain of terror. If life sucks: “kick it back in the face.” She does kick him back in the face but she illustrates how hard it is to combat this when the male norm in power, represented by Eminem, when that power says things like: “All you little faggots can suck it, no homo” and that gets regarded as reasonable.

3. Then she busts out the best song of the 21st century that starts with “Shitted on ’em, I just shitted on ’em.” In case you forgot, she’s better than everybody else and she’s into fucking girls. Like a man. She’s better than a man. She fucks more girls than whatever male idol you have, because (a) “A lot of bad bitches beggin me to F1” (she rhymed F1 three times in a row) girls want to fuck her (b) “She ain’t a Nicki fan, bitch is deaf dumb” so that explains the few girls that won’t fuck her – they’re stupid and can’t hear how amazing she is (c) “If I had a dick, I would pull it out and piss on ’em” because she doesn’t have a dick and she needs to remind you of that.

4. She’s better than a man, right? She’s established that. Then comes her most clichéd girly song. She’s post-modern. Nicki is a woman and sometimes she likes to fuck men. She’s not just showing her feminine side though, she’s showing that when she shows her feminine side it necessitates her being defeated by a man. By subscribing to a feminine archetype, a man sees “right thru her.”

5. “Me against them.” This is a rap album and rapping is about bragging – about battling and winning. Here Nicki explains that she is not just the best but she’s the best despite the fact that everyone is constantly trying to bring her down. How are they bringing her down? By defining her as a female rapper, or a pop star, or as any word because “[She] is not a word.” “I am not a girl who can be defined.” She is Nicki Minaj. She refuses to be defined by anyone else because only she can define herself and she is simply defining herself as the best – as the winner – as “the voice of an entire generation.” She is the ultimate rapper because she refuses to define herself as a rapper.

6. Just when you think it’s simply an album about bragging about how amazing she is, she displays her vulnerability and hypocrisy. “Yes, I’m a beast and I feast when I conquer/but I’m alone on my throne.” She wants to make it on her own, but she’s scared of what making it on her own will make her, and she needs you to save her. Who is “you?” That will be answered later.

7. The first assumption we would have about who she is calling out for help – who can save her from her hypocrisy – would be her friends. So she sings a love song to her friends at Young Money. But they can’t save her. They are simply a moment to her. They created a wonderful moment, but it is a moment. A moment that she is thankful for because moments create the whole, but it is not the whole. You have to enjoy all the moments. “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”

8. This is how I know I’m right/brilliant. The version I downloaded had “Check it Out” as the next track and I thought it was weird. It didn’t fit the narrative of her thought process. So I checked out her official tracklist. The next song is “Here I Am.” This is the answer to who can save her. Confused? Don’t be.

Nicki, in a very dark song, keeps exclaiming “here I am.” She’s desperate for attention from this same, still unnamed person who can supposedly save her from becoming the monster that she thinks fame will turn her into. “Everything in life is old.”

9. The mood shifts drastically to cheesiest sounding, girliest love song to this person who can supposedly save her. She desperately pleads that this person come back to her – this person that she supposedly wronged and wants back in her life. Who is this person? Well the song is called “Dear Old Nicki.” Just when you thought she was showing all this vulnerability as a woman and she was gonna need a man to complete her, she says “fuck you, yeah I’m vulnerable, but the person I need to save me is not some man, but rather a woman, and not just any woman, ME. Me will save me. But me before the fame.”

Every single line is fantastic in this song, but essentially it is just saying: “I’m glad I did what I did because as a famous person I can do good, but before I was famous I didn’t have to worry about the shallow things that maintain fame and I miss those moments – those moments when I was a different person.”

10. Then she plays the first single that made her popular. Just to remind us bitches that she can sample Annie Lennox and still be a bad ass bitch that will blow your mind. And she needs “your” love. Who is you? Her. Old her.

I really like Rube Goldbergs, and I’ve never been able to explain it validly – there is no real use to them. This is why. This album is the Rube Goldberg of narrative. Each track triggers the next track. This is why I like Rube Goldbergs because they defy narrative in that they mean nothing while simultaneously being a slave to narrative in that there is no way to move on to the next piece without finishing the first part.

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comedy, Gender, Horny, My favorites, Poop

I Have Fun: Or Poop and Kanye’s Dick

I always walk to the front of the subway station because there are fewer people in the front two cars then in the middle ones closer to the entrance. I like to sit when I travel and I don’t care if it means more walking. To me, walking and standing are interchangeable – it’s only once we allow another object to help out with our fight against gravity that we truly relax.

At the front of the Easter Parkway/Brooklyn Museum stop there was a pile of human poop. I guess the people who walk all the way to the front of the station are either people who are aficionados of laziness and efficiency or people who don’t have access to a toilet. I didn’t mind being grouped with these people, as long as it meant I would get a seat next to a wall of metal bars I could rest my head. I hung out by human poop. It was so worth it.

Not only was their a seat empty, but the entire car was devoid of humans. From Eastern Parkway all the way to Grand Army Plaza I was going to be alone in this moving cart of metal bars and slippery seats. This is how I would get my start as a member of the fantastical dance troupe that dances in the streets. I jungle gym’d harder than Kanye West Emmet Till’d. Then the train stopped at Grand Army Plaza. No one entered my car! I had 3 more minutes of intense breakdancing off a moving vehicle’s walls! The doors began to close!  But then a rich couple came running across the platform to join me last second. I had to sit.

Dancing>sitting>walking>standing.

Fun>comfort>movement>boring.

This is the problem with people and the fact that they can be offended.

I should have kept dancing – that was what was in my heart, but I couldn’t because I thought they might judge me poorly because of their suits and their non-smiles. I was on my way to a place full of suits and non-smiles and I was wearing jeans, a vest, and my ridiculous facial hair that make me look like a pedophile attempting to attract the children of pirates by reminding them of their fathers. My alma mater had invited me and some other burgeoning arts performers in New York City to mingle with other alums who had a lot more money in an attempt to convince the latter group to give donations in order to build our college’s arts center.

I was greeted by a tray of seared tuna topped with wasabi infused caviar on a daikon radish. I don’t usually eat fish, but it’s hard to say no to things that have infusion in them. The rest of the night was me not knowing what to say. See, I wanted to talk about how amazing it was that Kanye West put pictures of his penis on the internet, but I felt like people who worked in undescribed finance positions were not interested in that.

I enjoy fun, but I also feel it my duty to allow others to enjoy fun. If they want to do whatever, they are allowed to do whatever and if I don’t like it, I don’t like it. It’s seems simple and without nuance, but it has plenty of nuance. Don’t force upon someone your definition of fun, and walk away when someone tries to force upon you their definition of fun.

Why did they invite me to this event?

They know that the performance I do is just me complaining about how I couldn’t get laid in college, right?

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Attention Whoring, Gender, Horny, Indignant, Media, My favorites

My Non-Monogamous Relationship With Hulu

I originally wanted to break this fast by writing about my adventures in facial hair. The post sucked. The only sentence I liked was “it started as a novelty on my neck” and that’s only because I’m into alliteration.

I watched Chuck and Lie To Me this morning to wake myself up. It’s not because I don’t have things I need to do – I have a lot of chores to accomplish before work today, but because I missed Hulu.

This is the way I should start this post.

Hulu is the best girlfriend I’ve ever had. She’s always there when I need her to tell me stories as I cuddle with my giant u-shaped body pillow that I got off craigslist for free. She’s there to give me vague sexual arousal that can transition nicely into porn. And most importantly she doesn’t need me when I’m busy and when I come back has just stored up hours of time for us to hang out in her neat little queue. I love her little queue. The bigger it gets the bigger I get. She’s perfect because she allows me to have the non-monogamous relationship that I always wanted – one where the relationship part is still accented highly.

I have a confession to make.

I like my relationships. I like the ones I get in. For the most part they are healthy. I enjoy being in them. I’m happy.

Whew. That was tough. I didn’t want to have to admit that.

The point is that I like being in a relationship. I just like to be able to put it on the back burner for anything else. Hulu lets me do that. It’s not that I need to be able to sleep with other people – though Hulu wouldn’t care. It’s just that I want Hulu to feel comfortable sleeping with other people because she knows I don’t care.  It’s not that I need her to not pester me when I have more important shit than her needs – Hulu always gives me a number in parenthesis next to the word “Queue” that lets me know how long it’s been since we’ve hung out, which directly corresponds to how guilty I need to feel. It’s just that I want her to know that I will come back and spend obsessive hours fawning over her glossy moving images and full screen buttons, but sometimes I work on other things and may need time away.

I watched trailers on Hulu for 2 hours last night.

I needed to catch up.

There are five movies out right now about people attempting to have non-monogamous relationships and failing because love is too strong.

First is Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis deciding to be Friends With Benefits. Which means that they are like totally friends and then they decide that they should also have sex because they are beautiful. But like she’s totally cool with that even though she’s a woman – which we can tell because she likes to chest bump and watch football. This is not how non-monogamy is done. This is how patriarchy is enforced.

Then it’s Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman try to do something where they have No Strings Attached.  This one is totally supposed to work because it is totally the girls idea!!! She’s the one that’s too busy and men don’t have feelings and don’t want to get attached anyway – especially men who have friends like Ludacris! Don’t worry guys though. Even though she says she doesn’t get jealous and hates monogamy, when he starts playing the field (you know, like we men do) she realizes that they need to settle down and tell their kids about the time Ashton brought a bouquet of carrots to the hospital because of that inside joke with bunnies.

Then Adam Sandler pretends to be cheating on a wife that doesn’t exist to get a series of girls to Just Go With It. But then! Love! Ahhh! Big boobs! Slow walking! Big boobs! Love! Big boobs! Blonde! Now he has to follow through with the lie and pretend Jennifer Aniston is his wife. Wacky! She has kids. She’s a woman who lives like a normal person whereas the man is sooooo weird and wants sex all the time – whoaaaaa! And now he just wants to settle down but his lies are catching up to him. This movie is about honesty, guys. That and enforcing gender roles.

What about Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway experiment with Love and Other Drugs. This is about a guy who likes sex so much that he starts selling a exist pill that allows guys to have sex even when their bodies are telling them no and in no way help a woman. Then a girl comes around who lives even more free spirited. Why’d I say “even more free spirited?” Because that’s what it’s called when a man lies to a bunch of girls to sleep with them and then enforces his capitalist position of power to ruin lives just to get his rocks off. She on the other hand is bizarre because she’s into just sex too. WEIRD! Don’t worry, she’s not. She’s dying and she can’t handle the fact that she’s dying so she’s just doing a bucket list of sex with hot dudes to distract herself. If she were a real woman, she’d want to settle down as soon as the guy does – like a good little girl.

Also there is Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis getting a Hall Pass from their wives: Christina Applegate and Pam from The Office. A hall pass is where they get to fuck who ever they want for a week. Obviously they can’t fuck anyone because only marriage is the safe way to stay in a happy sexual relationship.

Sometimes Hulu can be a bitch. Sometimes she expresses the wrong opinions. But that’s what I love about her. That’s what I love about our relationship.

We don’t always have to agree but we’re always willing to listen, and that’s really the key to a non-monogamous relationship – because as soon as I find someone I agree with on everything I’ll want to settle down because it would be like hanging out with a mirror that fucked me.

I want a mirror that fucks me, but until then I’ll live non-monogamously with Hulu.

 

 

You need to watch those trailers – here: TimberKunis, AniSandler, KutchMan, GyllAway4way

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Gender, Media

Hip Hop’s New Accidental Feminism

In Dane Cook’s first Comedy Central special (something I can quote from memory because I spent ages 12-18 watching 12-18 hours of comedy central) he has a joke about how men and women are different because men go to the clubs to find women to go home with and women go to clubs to just dance. “Let’s just dance! Just put our purses in a circle and dance!”

It’s a pretty boring joke from a boring comedian that seems cliched and shows a lack of understanding of the ability for people to defy their gender norms. It’s pretty age old and annoying to assume that all men are hunters and women are the hunted. We have to strive toward and for, while women need simply to show off their goods by dancing. They don’t want it. We want it and we must take it.

Recently we have some songs that accidentally mark the artists responsible as feminists.

Taio Cruz’s song Dynamite makes absolutely no mention of girls but talks exclusively about how great it is to go dancing with your boys.

“I came to dance-dance-dance-dance,
I hit the floor cause that’s my plans plans plans plans,
I’m wearing all my favorite brands brands brands brands,
Give me some space for both my hands hands hands hands.
Yeah, Yeah.”

He talks of dancing, dancing, wearing cute clothes, and dancing. This sounds like the female in the Dane Cook joke. There’s the Bechdel test – “(1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man” to determine if a movie is feminist (I also hate this test because it tends to imply that this is the only way a movie can be feminist, while talking about sex with a man about men can be feminist). In any case, it begs the question: Is a rap song feminist if it has a man talking about doing something in an environment that has women, but refuses to objectify women, or even bring them up? Well this passes the test.

I say accidental because watch the video. This is boring reminiscent of every late ’90s early ’00s rap video where women’s upper thighs and bare backs are constantly zoomed in on for no reason besides more jerk off fodder.

Also Usher has this lyric as the chorus of his new song: “Dance, Dance, Dance like it’s the last, last, last night of your life.”

On another but related note, Lil Wayne gives a woman agency. Despite the fact that we’ve given women sexual (and only sexual) agency in rap songs for a while, this is different. She not only can get what she wants with her pussy, but refuse what she wants with her pussy.

What does this say? It says we’re winning. The journey is obviously not over, but when people are accidentally doing things that are feminist, that means it is becoming a part of mainstream culture. When sexism isn’t cliche, but rather feminism is, then we’ve succeeded. I think the new passion fruit, sparkling, vodka wine that DJ Kahled is forcing into all of his videos is proof that gender roles are being busted up.

In my research for this article I’ve also discovered that Ne-yo is a drunk superhero who makes enemies with one eyed ninjas in white suits, and that is also pretty cool.

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