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  • James Martin
    1) COMMENTARY So no matter what happens March 5th, Brokeback has already won. 2) Newspapers Republish Muhammad Caricatures -- finally, standing up to
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 1, 2006
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      1) COMMENTARY So no matter what happens March 5th, "Brokeback" has already won.
      2) Newspapers Republish Muhammad Caricatures -- finally, standing up to religious perverts



      COMMENTARY
      By Erik Lundegaard
      MSNBC contributor
      Updated: 10:35 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2006

      I first saw a trailer for "Brokeback Mountain" during an opening
      night showing of "The Constant Gardener" at the Lagoon Theater in
      self-consciously liberal Minneapolis. There were titters from the
      crowd (possibly from the line "I wish I knew how to quit you!"), and
      afterward my friend Laurion leaned over and said, "Gay cowboys: I've
      never seen it before and it's already a cliché." I thought, "Well, so
      much for that. If it can't win over this crowd it can't win over
      anyone."

      That was in September.

      A few months later my friend Jim in Seattle asked me
      about "Brokeback." Jim's a movie buff, always intrigued by the Oscar
      candidates, but he said he wasn't interested in "Brokeback." He
      couldn't articulate why. My sister's husband, Eric, in Detroit,
      another movie buff, was similarly uninterested. I had assumed both
      Jim and Eric within "Brokeback's" demographic: liberal city-dwellers
      with gay friends. I thought, "Well, so much for that. If it can't win
      over these guys it can't win over anyone."

      That was in November.

      As I write this it's nearly February and while many people are still
      tittering - "I wish I knew how to quit you" gags, movie poster
      parodies, Pres. Bush's press conference - the film is the furthest
      thing from a joke. "Brokeback" has been chosen the best picture of
      the year by The Golden Globes, The Producers Guild of America, Boston
      Film Critics, Broadcast Film Critics, L.A. Film Critics, N.Y. Film
      Critics and (big surprise) San Francisco Film Critics. It's got nine
      BAFTA (British Academy Award) nominations, and the Directors Guild of
      America tapped "Brokeback's" Ang Lee as best director. What should be
      its biggest awards rival, "Munich," has largely been forgotten (zero
      BAFTA nominations, for example), leaving only smaller films
      like "Capote" and "Good Night and Good Luck" as competition. A win at
      the Academy Awards on March 5th already feels like a fait accompli.

      More startling than its critical reception, it's selling. Focus
      Features played the numbers game correctly. When "Brokeback" showed
      in only five theaters they talked up its huge per-screen-average of
      over $100,000. When it opened wider and its per-screen-average dipped
      to normal levels (less than $10,000), they talked up its weekly and
      overall take. It debuted December 9th at no. 15 and hasn't dropped
      lower since. It was no. 8 the following week and then 14, 13, 8, 9,
      and 5. Early estimates for this weekend place it sixth, with an
      overall gross of $50 million. Where are the other best picture
      contenders? None are in the top 10, and none except "Walk the Line"
      and (just barely) "Crash" have grossed as much as "Brokeback." No,
      not even Spielberg's flick. Think about that for a minute.

      All of this in a country that annually passes laws outlawing gay
      marriage or denying "special rights" (or what the rest of the
      civilized world calls "rights") to gay people.

      What the hell happened?

      The short answer
      Here's the short answer. "Brokeback Mountain" is a spare, powerful
      film about star-crossed lovers.

      That's it.

      We love our love stories. The only love stories we love more are the
      ones where the lovers are kept apart by forces beyond their control,
      such as family ("Romeo and Juliet"), class ("Titanic"), or war ("The
      English Patient"). Anticipation is better than consummation -
      particularly in drama. Keep the lovers apart! Tease us! Frustrate us!
      There's nothing more boring than happy loving couples - in drama or
      in life.

      But how to keep the lovers apart? That's the question for dramatists
      everywhere. "Brokeback" offers a new take on an old subject. It's the
      ultimate forbidden love - because part of the population is ready to
      kill you for acting on it.

      Thus the question that everyone was asking before the movie's
      release - Is "Brokeback" too much for middle America? - turned out to
      be the wrong question. The real question was: Is "Brokeback" too much
      for middle-American women? It's women who drive these types of
      stories, after all. They had to twist their boyfriends' arms just to
      see "Titanic" - and that one offered a topless Kate
      Winslet. "Brokeback" offers us topless women, too, but in sadder
      circumstances, and with that still-squeamish-for-straight-men front
      story. No amount of arm-twisting, it seems, can get many of these
      guys to head up Brokeback Mountain. But women are so broad-minded, or
      so in need of a love story, that they'll go even when their gender
      isn't part of the equation.

      All of the awards haven't hurt either. "Brokeback's" got so much buzz
      it's vibrating, and women have never shied away from things that
      vibrate.

      The personal answer
      I have to admit that "Brokeback" didn't look particularly appealing
      to me from that September trailer. A hopeless, doomed romance. Yay. I
      also admit to some straight-guy trepidation - but of the general
      rather than the Larry David "it might make me gay" variety. If the
      number of times I got screwed over by women in my youth didn't lead
      me to consider an alternative, there's nothing Heath Ledger can do
      now.

      But when I finally saw "Brokeback" I found it nearly perfect. It's
      more than a love story; it's really about loneliness, which is a more
      universal emotion anyway. Some of us haven't been in love; some of us
      don't believe in love. Everyone's been lonely.

      It's ambiguous enough to argue about endlessly. Heath Ledger's Ennis
      del Mar feels like the man in the film - in the one sex scene, he
      gives rather than receives - and he's taciturn and bottled-up in the
      way of men. He talks with his fists, and sometimes he talks too much,
      but he's gentle with women and never has a harsh word for his
      daughters. One could argue he's what we want the American man to be.
      As Manohla Dargis wrote in The New York Times, "I don't know a single
      straight woman who hasn't been involved with a man as emotionally
      thwarted as Ennis, the man who can't tell you how he feels because he
      may not honestly know." Exactly. Tease us! Frustrate us!

      But Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist actually outmans Ennis. Jack won't
      be circumscribed by society. He stands up to his father-in-law, he
      stands up to his father, he stands up. He tries to live his dreams.
      Forget everyone else. Forget Ennis, too. If Ennis won't have the
      ranch with Jack, Jack will just have it with someone else.

      Ennis isn't strong like that. He's so scared of who he is he begins
      to disappear within himself. An early shot shows him leaning against
      the boss-man's trailer, head down, cowboy hat covering his face. It's
      cowboy cool a la James Dean. Throughout the film Ennis keeps that
      cowboy hat covering his face but with each frame it becomes more
      tragic - a man too scared to be seen. Don't look at my face because
      you might see who I am. He gives himself a smaller and smaller spot
      on which to live his increasingly shrunken life. The movie begins
      with youth and wide-open vistas and ends in middle-age in a tiny
      trailer. The one scene that broke my heart is wholly ordinary: Ennis,
      alone in a cafeteria booth, head down, picking at a piece of pie.
      He's alone, and will remain alone, no matter how many waitresses try
      to drag his ass onto the dance floor.

      This is why the movie is striking a chord with the non-gay community.
      Ennis resonates because he reminds us of some part of us. Life has
      such possibilities, and from lack of courage or weariness or outright
      fear we allow it to shrink us into this small, sad space doing this
      small, sad thing. Don't look at my face because you might see who I
      am. The film does what it's supposed to do. It's specific but it's
      universal.

      A coupla straight guys sitting around talking
      As for my friends Laurion, Eric and Jim? They've all changed their
      minds. Everyone's talking about "Brokeback" and they want to be part
      of that conversation. Laurion hasn't seen it yet but will. Eric
      thought it good if slightly overrated. Jim thought it one of the best
      movies of the year.

      So no matter what happens March 5th, "Brokeback" has already won.

      Erik Lundegaard can be reached at: elundegaard@...

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



      2)
      Jay comment ---
      Finally, some in Europe are standing up to religious weirdoes who think theirs is the only path to God.
      Makes no difference which theological mythology we are talking about -- Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, whatever -- their religion is our problem. Can you imagine, here in the 21st Century, religion (mythology) still has us by the balls. And they're holding on tightly. Ouch.


      Newspapers Republish Muhammad Caricatures

      By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press Writer
      February 01, 2006

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060201/ap_on_re_eu/prophet_drawings
      French and German newspapers on Wednesday republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have riled the Muslim world, saying democratic freedoms include the "right to blasphemy."

      The front page of the daily France Soir carried the headline "Yes, We Have the Right to Caricature God" along with a cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud. Inside, the paper reran the drawings.

      "The appearance of the 12 drawings in the Danish press provoked emotions in the Muslim world because the representation of Allah and his prophet is forbidden. But because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society, France Soir is publishing the incriminating caricatures," the paper said.

      Germany's Die Welt daily printed one of the drawings on its front page, arguing that a "right to blasphemy" was anchored in democratic freedoms. The Berliner Zeitung daily also printed two of the caricatures as part of its coverage of the controversy.

      The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten originally published the cartoons in September after asking artists to depict Islam's prophet to challenge what it perceived was self-censorship among artists dealing with Islamic issues. A Norwegian newspaper reprinted the images this month.

      The depictions include an image of Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse, and another portraying him holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry.

      Angered by the drawings, masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza on Monday. Syria called for the offenders to be punished. Danish goods were swept from shelves in many countries, and Saudi Arabia and Libya recalled their ambassadors to Denmark.

      The Jyllands-Posten - which received a bomb threat over the drawings - has apologized for hurting Muslims' feelings but not for publishing the cartoons. Its editor said Wednesday, however, that he would not have printed the drawings had he foreseen the consequences.

      Carsten Juste also said the international furor amounted to a victory for opponents of free expression.

      "Those who have won are dictatorships in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia, where they cut criminals' hands and give women no rights," Juste told The Associated Press. "The dark dictatorships have won."

      Demonstrations and condemnations across the Muslim world continued.

      The Supreme Council of Moroccan religious leaders denounced the drawings on Wednesday.

      "Muslim beliefs cannot tolerate such an attack, however small it may be," the statement said.

      In Turkey, dozens of protesters from a small Islamic party staged a demonstration in front of the Danish Embassy. About 200 riot police watched the crowd from the Felicity Party, which laid a black wreath and a book about Muhammad's life at the gates of the embassy building.

      Despite the show of solidarity among Europe's newspaper editors, not all Europeans appreciated the drawings.

      Norway's deputy state secretary for foreign affairs, Raymond Johansen, said they encourage distrust between people of different faiths.

      "I can understand that Muslims find the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the Norwegian weekly ... to be offensive. This is unfortunate and regrettable," Johansen said on a visit to Beirut.

      There was also anger in France, which has Western Europe's largest Muslim community with an estimated 5 million people.

      Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of the Muslims of France, said his group would start legal proceedings against France Soir because of "these pictures that have disturbed us, and that are still hurting the feelings of 1.2 billion Muslims."

      French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope struck a neutral tone, saying France is "a country that is attached to the principle of secularism, and this freedom clearly should be exercised in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the beliefs of everyone."

      France Soir, which is owned by an Egyptian magnate, has been struggling to stay afloat and bring in readers in recent years.

      French theologian Sohaib Bencheikh spoke out against the pictures in a column in France Soir accompanying them Wednesday.

      "One must find the borders between freedom of expression and freedom to protect the sacred," he wrote. "Unfortunately, the West has lost its sense of the sacred."

      ---

      Associated Press reporter Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report from Copenhagen, Denmark.

      ***


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Patrick
      ... The basic comment on this entire story is essentially My right to be as offensive as possibe shal not be curtailed. Fine, if you don t advocate hateaws
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 1, 2006
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        --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "James Martin"
        <martinjg@...> wrote:
        >
        The basic comment on this entire story is essentially "My right to be
        as offensive as possibe shal not be curtailed." Fine, if you don't
        advocate hateaws or any of that nonsense. because if you do, you're
        in effect saying "others, however, have no right to be offensive to
        me."

        The leader of France's fascists, Jean-Marie Le Pen will, let me
        assure you, be wildy cheering for France Soir. And so will be the far
        right parties in Germany. It's another wayat getting at them
        furriners who are changing the ways of the pure whte races of france
        and germany. And don't foo;l yourself about it.

        jay, how woud you ike to see carcatures of a dyimg matthew Shepard on
        the fence? I think you'd be pretty outraged.

        But where somebody is deliberatey trying to be equaly offenseive and
        plain rude, you come off as if that's entirely a good thing.

        ANYTHING promoting hatred and dislike, in ANY direction, makes for
        the continuance of prejudice, not its eradication.


        >
        > 2)
        > Jay comment ---
        > Finally, some in Europe are standing up to religious weirdoes who
        think theirs is the only path to God.
        > Makes no difference which theological mythology we are talking
        about -- Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, whatever -- their
        religion is our problem. Can you imagine, here in the 21st Century,
        religion (mythology) still has us by the balls. And they're holding
        on tightly. Ouch.
        >
        >
        > Newspapers Republish Muhammad Caricatures
        >
        > By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press Writer
        > February 01, 2006
        >
        > http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060201/ap_on_re_eu/prophet_drawings
        > French and German newspapers on Wednesday republished caricatures
        of the Prophet Muhammad that have riled the Muslim world, saying
        democratic freedoms include the "right to blasphemy."
        >
        > The front page of the daily France Soir carried the headline "Yes,
        We Have the Right to Caricature God" along with a cartoon of
        Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud.
        Inside, the paper reran the drawings.
        >
        > "The appearance of the 12 drawings in the Danish press provoked
        emotions in the Muslim world because the representation of Allah and
        his prophet is forbidden. But because no religious dogma can impose
        itself on a democratic and secular society, France Soir is publishing
        the incriminating caricatures," the paper said.
        >
        > Germany's Die Welt daily printed one of the drawings on its front
        page, arguing that a "right to blasphemy" was anchored in democratic
        freedoms. The Berliner Zeitung daily also printed two of the
        caricatures as part of its coverage of the controversy.
        >
        > The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten originally published the cartoons
        in September after asking artists to depict Islam's prophet to
        challenge what it perceived was self-censorship among artists dealing
        with Islamic issues. A Norwegian newspaper reprinted the images this
        month.
        >
        > The depictions include an image of Muhammad wearing a turban shaped
        as a bomb with a burning fuse, and another portraying him holding a
        sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle. Islamic tradition bars
        any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry.
        >
        > Angered by the drawings, masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took
        over a European Union office in Gaza on Monday. Syria called for the
        offenders to be punished. Danish goods were swept from shelves in
        many countries, and Saudi Arabia and Libya recalled their ambassadors
        to Denmark.
        >
        > The Jyllands-Posten - which received a bomb threat over the
        drawings - has apologized for hurting Muslims' feelings but not for
        publishing the cartoons. Its editor said Wednesday, however, that he
        would not have printed the drawings had he foreseen the consequences.
        >
        > Carsten Juste also said the international furor amounted to a
        victory for opponents of free expression.
        >
        > "Those who have won are dictatorships in the Middle East, in Saudi
        Arabia, where they cut criminals' hands and give women no rights,"
        Juste told The Associated Press. "The dark dictatorships have won."
        >
        > Demonstrations and condemnations across the Muslim world continued.
        >
        > The Supreme Council of Moroccan religious leaders denounced the
        drawings on Wednesday.
        >
        > "Muslim beliefs cannot tolerate such an attack, however small it
        may be," the statement said.
        >
        > In Turkey, dozens of protesters from a small Islamic party staged a
        demonstration in front of the Danish Embassy. About 200 riot police
        watched the crowd from the Felicity Party, which laid a black wreath
        and a book about Muhammad's life at the gates of the embassy building.
        >
        > Despite the show of solidarity among Europe's newspaper editors,
        not all Europeans appreciated the drawings.
        >
        > Norway's deputy state secretary for foreign affairs, Raymond
        Johansen, said they encourage distrust between people of different
        faiths.
        >
        > "I can understand that Muslims find the caricatures of the Prophet
        Muhammad in the Norwegian weekly ... to be offensive. This is
        unfortunate and regrettable," Johansen said on a visit to Beirut.
        >
        > There was also anger in France, which has Western Europe's largest
        Muslim community with an estimated 5 million people.
        >
        > Mohammed Bechari, president of the National Federation of the
        Muslims of France, said his group would start legal proceedings
        against France Soir because of "these pictures that have disturbed
        us, and that are still hurting the feelings of 1.2 billion Muslims."
        >
        > French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope struck a neutral
        tone, saying France is "a country that is attached to the principle
        of secularism, and this freedom clearly should be exercised in a
        spirit of tolerance and respect for the beliefs of everyone."
        >
        > France Soir, which is owned by an Egyptian magnate, has been
        struggling to stay afloat and bring in readers in recent years.
        >
        > French theologian Sohaib Bencheikh spoke out against the pictures
        in a column in France Soir accompanying them Wednesday.
        >
        > "One must find the borders between freedom of expression and
        freedom to protect the sacred," he wrote. "Unfortunately, the West
        has lost its sense of the sacred."
        >
        > ---
        >
        > Associated Press reporter Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report
        from Copenhagen, Denmark.
        >
        > ***
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • sir_mugsy2003
        ... be ... He he - my right if you ask me
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 1, 2006
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          --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "John Patrick"
          <johnpday@...> wrote:
          >
          > --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "James Martin"
          > <martinjg@> wrote:
          > >
          > The basic comment on this entire story is essentially "My right to
          be
          > as offensive as possibe shal not be curtailed."

          He he - my "right" if you ask me

          :-)
        • sir_mugsy2003
          ... already won. Can we just get over this crap? The movie sucks, so why continue glorifying Bareback Mountain? Just because it s about some fags out west
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 1, 2006
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            --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "James Martin"
            <martinjg@...> wrote:
            >
            > 1) COMMENTARY So no matter what happens March 5th, "Brokeback" has
            already won.

            Can we just get over this crap? The movie sucks, so why continue
            glorifying Bareback Mountain?

            Just because it's about some fags out west doesn't make it Osacr
            material.......

            ;_)
          • organistbob
            Sorry Mugsy. I liked Brokeback Mountain. It spoke to me about the homophobia of its era which unfortunately prevails today. Mugsy, we seldom disagree. But
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 1, 2006
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              Sorry Mugsy. I liked "Brokeback Mountain." It spoke to me about
              the homophobia of its era which unfortunately prevails today.

              Mugsy, we seldom disagree. But this is one time we do. Sorry,
              old chum. I still like you as much as ever. But I liked "Brokeback
              Mountain."

              Woof woof (to a dear puppy) but actually Meow meow (because
              I'm a dear lover of a precious Siamese cat).

              organistbob

              --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "sir_mugsy2003" <sir_mugsy@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "James Martin"
              > <martinjg@> wrote:
              > >
              > > 1) COMMENTARY So no matter what happens March 5th, "Brokeback" has
              > already won.
              >
              > Can we just get over this crap? The movie sucks, so why continue
              > glorifying Bareback Mountain?
              >
              > Just because it's about some fags out west doesn't make it Osacr
              > material.......
              >
              > ;_)
              >
            • John Patrick
              Good one, Sir Mugsy! ;-)! Just a little more since yesterday: I think the Danish paper was being silly, and nothing more, but i expect they thought it would
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 2, 2006
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                Good one, Sir Mugsy! ;-)!

                Just a little more since yesterday: I think the Danish paper was
                being silly, and nothing more, but i expect they thought it would
                sell papers. I don't imagine they quite thought the response would be
                as strong as it was. I'm afraid, though, that others haven't quite
                learned to ignore attempts to be offended as Scandinavian Christians
                have been.

                As we were saying a year or two ago, when Pim Fortuyn was killed,
                there is quite a serious issue, at least in western Europe, as to how
                to handle a large immigrant population (are suburbs of Paris
                burning?). The problem is that it is giving some considerabe oxygen
                to the fascist right in a number of countries, and I think it's a
                mistake not to take the danger very seriously.

                --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "sir_mugsy2003"
                <sir_mugsy@...> wrote:
                >
                > --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "John Patrick"
                > <johnpday@> wrote:
                > >
                > > --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "James Martin"
                > > <martinjg@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > The basic comment on this entire story is essentially "My right
                to
                > be
                > > as offensive as possibe shal not be curtailed."
                >
                > He he - my "right" if you ask me
                >
                > :-)
                >
              • John Patrick
                Both woof and meow. My dog died a few years ago, and it s not really feasible to replace him, but the old cat (I ve had her 16 years now, she has to be pushing
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 2, 2006
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                  Both woof and meow. My dog died a few years ago, and it's not really
                  feasible to replace him, but the old cat (I've had her 16 years now,
                  she has to be pushing 20) is still going strong, although a little
                  less spryly.

                  "De gustibua non disputandum est." (There's no disputing tastes).

                  I suppose one reason why I might advocate going to see it is that the
                  movie (like "Anatomy of a hate Crime") was shot in my grandfather's
                  favourite hunitng grounds west of Calgary. But I suppose that's
                  beside the point....

                  --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "organistbob"
                  <organistbob@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Sorry Mugsy. I liked "Brokeback Mountain." It spoke to me about
                  > the homophobia of its era which unfortunately prevails today.
                  >
                  > Mugsy, we seldom disagree. But this is one time we do. Sorry,
                  > old chum. I still like you as much as ever. But I liked "Brokeback
                  > Mountain."
                  >
                  > Woof woof (to a dear puppy) but actually Meow meow (because
                  > I'm a dear lover of a precious Siamese cat).
                  >
                  > organistbob
                  >
                  > --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "sir_mugsy2003"
                  <sir_mugsy@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > --- In MatthewsPlaceForum@yahoogroups.com, "James Martin"
                  > > <martinjg@> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > 1) COMMENTARY So no matter what happens March
                  5th, "Brokeback" has
                  > > already won.
                  > >
                  > > Can we just get over this crap? The movie sucks, so why continue
                  > > glorifying Bareback Mountain?
                  > >
                  > > Just because it's about some fags out west doesn't make it Osacr
                  > > material.......
                  > >
                  > > ;_)
                  > >
                  >
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