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January 16th, 2008


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01:40 pm - Quick question (for both the slashers and genficcers on my flist)
I've been following the formation of the Organization for Transformative Works, especially in their otw_news community.

Lately, one of the interactive things the staff has been doing (great idea, I think) is to lay out some of the common "outsider" objections to fanfic and fanart, and encourage people to submit responses/replies/rebuttals. Some fantastic stuff has come out of this.

One of the outsider objections was "Slash is icky!"

Now, any of you who frequent my journal know that I find slash icky. Most of you have probably heard me explain my reasons for that, as well; some of them are purely subjective (as many squicks are), and some of them are well-reasoned, parts of my entire approach to life (I consider friendship and family at least as important as romance, and sometimes more so; turning canonical platonic friendship into a sexual relationship is just...eugh...to me).

So when one of the responses chosen for participants to vote on reads: "Why should I let your homophobia define what I do with my free time?" it's a little hard for me to just bite my tongue and say nothing. Genfic is one of the only things I feel a need to stand up for in fandom--probably partly because we are such a minority. And while I could quietly make my stance known by simply not voting for this response in the poll, I find myself wondering whether I should say something more about it in the comments.

If the reference were directly pointed at genficcers, I'd do it without having second thoughts. This isn't quite pointed enough to justify a knee-jerk reaction. I just object to people conflating a slash squick with homophobia. Not the same thing, y'all.
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:January 16th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
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I just object to people conflating a slash squick with homophobia. Not the same thing, y'all.

Word.

Re. the quiz, however...I wouldn't be bothered. That's probably just on there as an optional answer because that's exactly how a lot of people would respond to being told that fanfic is bad because slash is icky. It's a very silly, obtuse response, but then "fanfic is bad because slash is icky!" is a very silly and obtuse statement, so...yeah. *shrugs*
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 16th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
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LOL, yes...my first thought on seeing the response was, "heh, that's clever and smartmouthy." For about a split second before my genfic hackles went up.
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From:yahtzee63
Date:January 16th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
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Although I dislike the slash-default mode of a lot of Big Fannish Organizations, I think it's important to remember here that this is in the context of outsider objections to fanfic's existence. The existence of slash is consistently used as a reason to loathe and decry all fanfic, and in that context, I think an accusation of homophobia is probably not too far off the mark.

Were this a blanket statement that all failure to slash is homophobia, I'd find it buggy too, sometime slasher though I am.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 16th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
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Hooray for sensible fannish people on my flist!

I actually wrote a comment, and then didn't post it, because I had the same sort of thought you've written out here: that it's a response to the outsider, and not unjustified in that context. I'm glad I didn't post it, now. Thank you for echoing my conscience, I think I needed that. :-)
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From:kerravonsen
Date:January 17th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I was irritated by that attitude too, but the context was such that I thought it simpler to keep my mouth shut.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 17th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
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I saw that something you said as a response to one of the anti-fanfic things got put up for voting. :-) Go you!
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From:sallymn
Date:January 17th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
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But gen isn't about no slash, it's about no sex (which is why one Stargate archive which calls itself gen and allows Jack/Sam romance annoys the heck out of me for the sheer hypocrisy). The arguments about friendship etc are valid yes, but only if used against het as well.

Therefore 'slash is icky' is a biased argument (me, I have no problem with people who think so - we are squicked by what we are squicked by, logic has little to do with it - just as they should have no argument with me thinking humans and aliens - Cally, the Doctor - is way ickier).
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:January 17th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
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Eh, tread softly before you accuse of hypocrisy: when I first came into fandom, gen meant "no slash and no adult", which meant it included het romance while excluding het sex. I know the meaning of "gen" is transmuting to exclude het romance, but it hasn't always meant that.
[User Picture]
From:elspethdixon
Date:January 17th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)

Here via metafandom

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It probably doesn't need to be said that a lot of slashers have just the same knee-jerk reaction to any and all statements of the "slash is icky" variety. Especially the specific "I find the idea of two guys getting it on disgusting and perverted, and therefore all fanfiction is bad" variation of it. For one thing, those sort of declarations dismiss all fanfic, gen and het as well, as worthless trash.

To give an exmaple of where some of the automatic anti-slash=homophobia conclusion comes from: I've spent something like seven years in fandom at this point, and over the years I've seen many people declare that slash does nothing for them (because they prefer having at least one woman in their sex scenes, because they aren't attracted to men, etc.), or that they prefer gen to any kind of shipper fic, or that they only want to read canonical pairings (and don't like non-canon het either), or that they find a specific pairing icky because of X specific reason (for example, I find Batman/Robin icky because Bruce Wayne is Dick Grayson's father figure, and parent/child incest is so very not sexy), but I can honestly say that I've never seen anyone declare a blanket dislike of all slash without setting off at least one of my *Danger Will Robinson* alarm bells. I've seen too many people follow "slash is icky" up with "and homosexuality is unnatural and disgusting."

I love gen fic. H/C is one of the main things I come to fandom for, and in some fandoms (SG-1, Supernatural, Real Ghostbusters) gen h/c fic is pretty much all I read. There are many slash pairings that I don't see the subtext for and don't read. There are many fandoms where I ship the canon het ships. That said, when I see someone state that they dislike slash-- not a specific pairing, but all slash, full stop -- I always feel that this is a person I have to be careful around, a person that I, as a bisexual woman, can never fully trust, because if someone finds the idea of a same-sex relationship between fictional characters squicky, then they're going to be even less welcoming to me and my girlfriend. If someone finds slash squicky, chances are pretty good they also find my mere existance squicky.

I know it's hurtful to say this kind of thing to people, to accuse them of acting in bad faith or being bad people simply because they've accidentally echoed the words of others who were acting in bad faith, but at least for us slashers who are also bi/lesbian/gay, a slash squick tends to be automatically assumed to be homophobia until and unless we're given some explanation/evidence/reason why it's not.

And, god, this sounds like I'm coming in here and lecturing/attacking you, and I don't mean to do that. Sorry. I'm just trying to explain where some of us are coming from.
[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:January 17th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)

Re: Here via metafandom

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Metafandom? Really?

If someone finds slash squicky, chances are pretty good they also find my mere existance squicky.

I think you've inadvertantly put your finger on a crucial difference between the two points of view: you see homosexuality as a "state of being", and those who have a moral objection to it see it as a "state of doing": that is, as an action which can be refrained from. Not that a lesbigay person could stop themselves from feeling attracted to the same sex (that would be ridiculous), but that they could stop themselves from acting on the attraction. While the lesbigay person says "what kind of god would create people and then punish them for his own actions in creating them that particular way?"

And all one gets is a shouting match:
"That's immoral!"
"No it isn't!"
"Yes it is!"
"No it isn't!"
"Yes it is!"
"No it isn't!"

Which doesn't really help.
[User Picture]
From:feliciakw
Date:January 17th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
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This has nothing to do with your original post. But your links led me to surfing, and I went to see what exactly this OTW is. And it makes me beg the question:

What do the people of OTW think about the WGA strike? Because really? Making fanfic legal or legally protected--fanfic, which is use of characters created by someone else, and in addition to being questionable copyright-wise could also be considered questionable trademark-wise--making fanfic "legal," taking away the rights of the original creator/copyright holder to control their creative work . . . isn't that similar to the AMPTP denying the writers rights to compensation for content they create for New Media? Like saying, "You created something for us, and we're going to do what we please with it, and you have no rights to stop us"?

Or am I just really hypersensitive regarding the strike right now?
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From:kalquessa
Date:January 17th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
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I think (having read absolutely nothing of the OTW site, so if I'm making a complete nitwit of myself here, please feel free to chuckle indulgently and move along) that the key lies in whether or not money is being made. Fanfic can't be published or sold or whatever, so the use of the characters/settings/whatever does not in any way hurt the creators or cause them to make less money with their creations. Not paying royalties for episodes aired online and that sort of thing, however, definitely does impact the creator's ability to make a living with his/her creations.
(Deleted comment)
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 18th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)

Re: From <lj user=metafandom>

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The one issue I have with Slash As A Focus is that it often is the one thing that periphery folk know about and ends up being the argument point. Slash is not the definition, but to some it is

Very true. Which is why I voted for responses that somehow touched on that disconnect, such as "[Slash is icky]? So is squash. There's a lot more than that on the menu." That one had the bonus of making me giggle.

(Pretty icon, btw; I love that movie.)
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From:elfwreck
Date:January 17th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
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The problem isn't that some people think slash is icky. Nor is it true that slash squick is homophobia, any more than any other squick indicates a phobia or bigotry against the squick topic.

But a lot of anti-fanficcers are homophobic, and sex-phobic, and express that combination as "slash is icky," and follow it up with "...and therefore no [decent] person should be doing it, and it should be stopped."

There's a big difference between "I find slash icky (and possibly disgusting), and a waste of time and bandwidth" and "I think fans who participate in slash are barbaric perverts who should have their hobby removed, by force if necessary."
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 18th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
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There's a big difference between "I find slash icky (and possibly disgusting), and a waste of time and bandwidth" and "I think fans who participate in slash are barbaric perverts who should have their hobby removed, by force if necessary."

Look at you, being all eloquent in my journal! Yes, exactly, what you said.

I'm aware that there is something real that the creator of that response was speaking to, but it just seemed too pat to me, because it really didn't touch on that difference. Which is pretty important to a genficcer like myself.

And I love the way you phrased this, because I was once accused of being pro-censorship when I said I was a genficcer (and ill-advisedly used the term "anti-slash"). Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't like slash at all, I find it icky, but I'm not gonna try to stop anyone from writing it if they want to. Freedom of speech is a civil right in my nation, and I'm darn proud of that, and wouldn't walk on it for anything.

Thank you for dropping by. I'm glad I'm getting sensible people with actual things to say, rather than the other kind of fan. :-)
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From:shayheyred
Date:January 18th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
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Also here via metafandom. Very interesting discussion you have going here. Nicely handled, with a minimum of drama.

Just as an introduction: I'm a straight woman who once said naively to a fannish friend, "What is this 'slash' of which you speak? Is it some kind of bondage and torture fic?" And then behold, here I am today writing and reading slash, and am hard pressed to write het, though I do pen gen stories. What can I say? I saw the slash potential, and followed.

I took the "Why should I let your homophobia define what I do with my free time?" response as just one answer to anti-fanfic attacks. There are people who hate slash who are, in fact, homophobic, and thus deserve that response. Are they the only people who find slash icky? No, of course not. Thus there are a huge number of responses that can be made to anti-fanfic, anti-slash people, running the gamut from "I beg to disagree" to "Kindly go fuck yourself." This was but one response.

Being anti-slash does not automatically mean homophobic...not in every case. But sometimes it's hard to tell from a "Slash is icky!" comment where the anti-slash person is coming from. Thus, the response that you found insulting (I think you found it insulting - it sounded that way, but if not, I apologize).

Truly, I don't think anyone responding to that poll seriously believes that every person who does not care for slash is endangering the rights of homosexuals. There are pleanty of people on my friends list - people who are real life friends, in some cases - who do not write or read slash. However, they're not going to go on a tirade against it, or deny me the right to read or write it myself. But yeah, people do exist who dislike slash who ARE anti-gay as well, who do not wish to see it represented in any way, shape or form. "Why should I let your homophobia define what I do with my free time?" is a legitimate response...to THEM.

ETA: Edited because apparently I cannot write a coherent sentence in one try after 6pm.

Edited at 2008-01-18 01:02 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 18th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
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Very interesting discussion you have going here. Nicely handled, with a minimum of drama.

Thank you. I am all about minimizing the drama, so long as discussion can go forward. :-)

people do exist who dislike slash who ARE anti-gay as well, who do not wish to see it represented in any way, shape or form. "Why should I let your homophobia define what I do with my free time?" is a legitimate response...to THEM.

Yes it is. Which is why I posted my thoughts here, rather than making a point out of giving them over at otw_news. Because it is a legit (and cleverly snappy) comeback to a common and often very offensive comment.

I'm not sure I'd say that I found the response insulting, per se (though I see it coming across that way). It's more that I often run into an attitude in most of my fandoms (brother and buddy shows, the majority of them) that if you're not supporting slash, you're the enemy. And since I have all kinds of respect for the OTW project, I don't want to see that attitude get legitimized there, on behalf of myself and any other genficcer in fandom.

That's not a problem right now, as far as I can tell. But that particular response hit me in a sensitive place. (There's a reason I have icons that say "Gen Pride"--I feel that genfic is well worth standing up for and defending, since it's a minority in a lot of fandoms.)
[User Picture]
From:mmoneurere
Date:January 18th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC)
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Here via metafandom.

With some slashers (us lit-geeks, maybe?) your explanation might run into a particular objection: specifically, that a pre-existing platonic friendship is being disrupted or "altered" for a slash story. I hope you'd at least consider a different scenario -- that you and the slash people just have different readings of the same text, and that the slasher who "alters" what you see as a clearly non-sexual and non-romantic relationship may be working from an oppositional reading of the same character dynamic that you enjoy as a friendship. It's not that there's anything wrong with your fanfic preferences -- it's just that your explanation for your preference reads as if it assumes ownership of the "correct" readings of a show, book, etc. on behalf of the gen and het subfandoms.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 21st, 2008 05:48 am (UTC)
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Hey, fellow lit. geek! I majored in English Literature, and frankly, had the exact same problem with a lot of current literary analysis that I have with your comment here.

While reader response is a valid (and necessary, and useful) part of analysis, especially of works of fiction, I don't find it remotely a substitute for direct textual evidence. In this, I follow one of my professors, who was interested in new readings but only if you could provide some sort of actual support from the text (either clearly, or in enough oblique references that the subtext is clearly present rather than simply something the analyst is making up as he/she writes the paper). New perspectives on a piece can be fascinating, but without some backing from the text itself, it becomes simply a work of the imagination, without a lot of bearing on the original text itself.

Which is sometimes the function fanfic provides, isn't it? In my own fic, I prefer to work from canon, from textual references and inferences. I also, sometimes, enjoy AUs that draw on subtextual work in the source canon (or throw out a good chunk of the text and replace it, to see what happens).

It's not that there's anything wrong with your fanfic preferences -- it's just that your explanation for your preference reads as if it assumes ownership of the "correct" readings of a show, book, etc. on behalf of the gen and het subfandoms.

Well, a show like Queer As Folk, or, frankly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is going to have canonically queer readings. It's a matter of the text itself, as much (or hopefully, more) than the readings of it.

I do believe that a reading can and should be judged on its resemblance to the text. (And to an extent, for me this includes fan fiction. Yes, I'm rather picky about what I read in fandom.) Some readings are closer to the source, more likely to be an "accurate" reading than others. This isn't a social value judgment on other readings; it's an attempt to read the text the way it stands, rather than through strictly my own personal reading (even if it's true that we can never really get outside our own subjective viewpoint).
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From:bluesenough
Date:January 18th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
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here via metafandom

I think you raise a very relevant point -- but the difference in my mind is between people saying "slash is squicky" from inside fandom versus OUTSIDE fandom. In my experience, people inside fandom who don't like a particular part of fic and/or fandom (be it slash, or certain manipulations of plot/character, or RPF, etc.) don't like it for particular reasons they've thought about, and whether you agree with those reasons or not, there's a common ground between fans that I think precludes the sort of judgment the quiz was implying. Certainly, you can be disinterested in homosexual relationships and that doesn't mean you're homophobic -- the same way that not being interested in reading hetfic doesn't imply someone is heterophobic.

When one gets those reactions from outside fandom, though, it's usually (as I think people have commented previously), "that's disgusting. YOU'RE disgusting. What's WRONG with you?" without any more reason than that, which at least implies a moral judgment about people who are interested in homosexual relationships, if not actual homophobia.

ETA: sorry, hit post too soon -- in conclusion *ahem* I totally understand your dislike of that response. I have personal dislike of the word "homophobia" in general -- I think it's too broad a term, for one -- and it puts people who aren't into slash in a somewhat awkward position, because it completely dichotomizes the argument. You're either a slasher or you hate gays, and it doesn't leave room for anything else.

Edited at 2008-01-18 02:46 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 21st, 2008 05:55 am (UTC)
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I think you raise a very relevant point -- but the difference in my mind is between people saying "slash is squicky" from inside fandom versus OUTSIDE fandom

Yes, you make a good point. And that's why this wound up in my personal journal, because I'm the one that had the knee-jerk reaction, and the incident wasn't actually pointed at genficcers in any way.

I have personal dislike of the word "homophobia" in general -- I think it's too broad a term, for one -- and it puts people who aren't into slash in a somewhat awkward position, because it completely dichotomizes the argument. You're either a slasher or you hate gays, and it doesn't leave room for anything else.

OMG THANK YOU. I was trying to figure out how to articulate exactly this feeling about the use of that term--it's not usually well-defined, and it's hard to discuss something like this with a key term 1) not necessarily meaning the same thing to all participants, and 2) being a word that's going to produce such a strong an emotional reaction, because it's difficult to "defend" oneself from without coming across as defensive.

Thanks for stopping by to comment, I appreciate it.
[User Picture]
From:kerravongenius
Date:January 18th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
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I'm proud to be a canon pedant. I also write original fic and know how upset I would be if someone rewrote one of my characters so badly that his/her sexuality changed (whether the original character is straight or gay). Therefore, I'm a non-homophobic fan who is 99% anti-slash, but has written non-explicit slash in the Drake's Venture fandom where there is real historical evidence suggesting homosexuality.

I don't mind what other people choose to read and write. I don't get the appeal of slash to straight people, but I also don't get why people like torture, incest, domination and all that.

It is very silly to call anti-slash people homophobic, because I have seen gay men say they hate slash, because they feel it is their sexuality being used by straight women, who often don't understand even the basics of gay sex, to get a cheap thrill. Are they homophobic too?

And please could someone come up with a better word for homophobia? Homophobia actually means fear of monotony - I admit, some slash stories are incredibly dull, but still ...
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 21st, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
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I'm proud to be a canon pedant.

\o/ Awesome! Canon pedants are great; I should know, I am one. *g* (Not that I won't read AUs, etc; but canon is my definite first love and I am all about the details.)

And an interesting point about a character's sexuality being an important part of their character. That's probably one of the reasons I'm not fond of slash, though it's not usually how I phrase my main objections. I do have fandom friends for whom this is the key point.
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From:were_lemur
Date:January 18th, 2008 08:02 am (UTC)
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Here via metafandom.

To me, at least, there's a big difference between "slash is icky" and "slash is not my thing" or even "I have a slash squick". The latter two acknowledge that their reaction (whether "meh" or "yuck") is their personal response.

"Slash is icky," though, takes the form of a judgement; it is a statement that treats their own reaction as though it were a universal truth. And while it might not be homophobia at work, as a bisexual woman, I can't avoid the knowledge that homophobia is out there.
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From:elliemurasaki
Date:January 18th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
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metafandom flyby--this is why my response to that question read "(a) Slash, like tea, isn't my cup of cocoa, but I have no right to say that means no one can possibly like it, let alone that it has no right to exist. (b) Ew, get the homophobe away from me." Because sometimes "slash is icky" means "it's not for me", and sometimes it's followed by a silent "because homosexuality is bad".
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From:dejla
Date:January 18th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
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I've heard that kind of conflation so often that I do have a knee-jerk reaction. I don't think it's funny or cute, just -- blind.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:January 18th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
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Yes, and thank you for friending me! Looks like we have a lot of interests in common! *friends you back*

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