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Politics Separating art from the artist, how hard is it for you?



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Soldier

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Hello,

In this day and age after the MeToo movement has revealed dark secrets about some of the most famous and influential people on the planet and cut their influence down to size, it has branched out into other facets and created cancel culture. Nowadays, most celebrities and important figures are kept under a lense by fans, observing what they do and called out on any crime, no matter how small. I remember when my financial studies professor raved about Bill Cosby back in 2013 in middle school and how he was such a good man, and now that all of this proof is out in the open hardly anyone believes his words and his infamous poundcake speech has made him into a hypocrite. So then that begs the question: how hard is it to separate the art from the artist? How do you enjoy something like Ren & Stimpy while knowingo that it's creator was a pedophile who treated women as objects and made his workplace a living hell with his perfectionist attitude?
I'll start.
Like most people growing up, I paid no mind to voice actors or famous people, and was content to just consume media as it came to me. Voice actors were faceless entities in my perception, just lending their vocal chords to characters like Spongebob and Sora. Now that I'm older I have more of an appreciation for what these people do, and am a massive fan of the likes of Cherami Leigh and Ryan O'Donohue. When it was revealed that Quinton Flynn preyed upon his young female fans like an ambush predator, I didn't really react (well, I wasn't SHOCKED by it at least). I hated Axel from the start and his cocky attitude and overwhelming popularity didn't help matters. So I was more than happy to see him lose roles and be effectively erased from games like League of Legends and the FFVI remake. Other people didn't share that sentiment and stood by him, but others did share it and for that I'm grateful.

Then there's the aspect of historical figures such as Christopher Columbus and Thomas Jefferson, two figures that have created as much controversy as familiarity. Near where I live there is a statue of Columbus that was taken down out of fear that it would be smashed in May of 2020 like several other statues. Most of the Italian American population didn't want to see it removed, as it was one of very few acknowledgements of their culture's contributions to America. Eventually a compromise was reached and a new statue celebrating Italian Americans (generalized figures with no ties to actual people of course) was commissioned to stand in its place. Then there is former president Thomas Jefferson, one of few historical figures that (at least to me) is very important to the scientific field. Many know of the atrocities he committed to his slaves, and the fact that he was a slaveholder alone doesn't help his popularity much. But I know that he contributed greatly to the scientific fields I love so much, as he was one of the first paleontologists long before that was an accepted scientific field of study. His fascination with the American Mastodon sparked many debates and intrigue among the budding scientific fields, and his desire to see a living specimen was one of the purposes behind Lewis and Clark's famous expedition to the western United States. With this in mind, it's hard for me to hate him completely for what he's done for society, even if he's done egregious actions towards people or different races. So in a way, I understand the dilemna that most people face in regards to their favorite person being a confirmed criminal/rapist, times and attitudes change.
 

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Back at that time, there were so many people that owned slaves that did many good things. For example, America wouldn't exist without George Wahington, and without him, we might still be trapped in the olden times where we had little freedom and life was harder.
I think in the cases of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the good outweighed the bad. They should be thanked for what they did but we also shouldn't ignore the bad. Anyone who had slaves should not get away with it.
I'm a much bigger fan of Alexander Hamilton because he did so much good for the country and spoke out against slavery (Eliza did too).
 

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I don't really have a hard separating the art from the artist in certain instances, but mostly cause it depends on the medium. In an instance like voice acting, I personally don't understand hating a character based on their VA as all they do is lend a voice to that character. Their personal views or values of a character aren't being reflected by the VA, rather the person who wrote the character. Now in something like music, you could make that argument hold some weight, but I'm not usually that pedantic when it comes to musicians I listen to and lyrical content isn't necessarily written from the perspective of the writer 100% of the time. The only time I could have any difficulty separating (if you could even call it "art") is content created by a person who is well known and has influence over the pervading culture, such as celebrities or commentators (this might be a crass example, but some people like EDP445 or Harvey Weinstein come to mind). They did things that are absolutely morally reprehensible and I can view the things they make the same way anymore.
 

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I don't really have a hard separating the art from the artist in certain instances, but mostly cause it depends on the medium. In an instance like voice acting, I personally don't understand hating a character based on their VA as all they do is lend a voice to that character. Their personal views or values of a character aren't being reflected by the VA, rather the person who wrote the character. Now in something like music, you could make that argument hold some weight, but I'm not usually that pedantic when it comes to musicians I listen to and lyrical content isn't necessarily written from the perspective of the writer 100% of the time. The only time I could have any difficulty separating (if you could even call it "art") is content created by a person who is well known and has influence over the pervading culture, such as celebrities or commentators (this might be a crass example, but some people like EDP445 or Harvey Weinstein come to mind). They did things that are absolutely morally reprehensible and I can view the things they make the same way anymore.
For me, it's mostly writers like J.K. Rowling. VAs are fine and musicians are fine for the most part. VAs just read what they're told to read and I usually don't listen to words in songs. But writers can insert things into their stories that reflect their beliefs.
 

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I normally don’t have a problem separating art from artist and can usually do it easily.

However there is one situation where I can’t do it and that is with Quinton Flynn and Axel and as too why I can’t separate them I honestly don’t know. The only possible explanation I can think of is perhaps it has something to do with the fact I actually met Quinton Flynn at a convention one time and I was actually a big fan of Axel character at that time so of course I would of been excited to meet the man who voiced one of my favourite characters plus a bunch of characters from games and shows that I really enjoyed when I was growing up and the fact when I did actually meet him he came across as a really nice person who took time to take a photo with me even when he was told he didn’t have time too and was told he had to rush signing autographs as staff said he had to be somewhere else.

I’ll admit that when rumours first came out I didn’t want to believe it was true. However when the first bits of evidence started to come out it’s impossible to deny facts that proved how awful and twisted a person he really is and the more evidence came out the more I disliked him and hoped he would be punished for what he did to all those girls.
 

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Depends. If the person is just a big asshole, like not nice to people or just full of themselves, then eh. I'm not going to go out of my way to watch their stuff and I might roll my eyes when I see them. But it's not that big of a deal. Sometimes people are just born assholes for no particular reason and even assholes can be talented. In this case, there's no need to truly separate the art from the artist and it's not hard for me to consume content they happen to be in.

Then you have the gray area. I put people like Michael Jackson in this category. I'm not going to claim what he did or didn't do, but I still feel weird about all that stuff. I recognize the talent, but maybe I might avoid their content when possible cause I feel weird. Depending on where I hear his music or voice, it's not necessarily in the forefront of my mind that it's him.

Then there's the people that are 100% just bad people. Such as, R.Kelly. I avoid their content. Hate it even. Like, maybe in a different universe I very well could've been one of those girls he picked up at their school to hit on and have sexual relations with. Would my younger self know better? A lot don't. I carry this guilt for not knowing about what he did, for ever liking his stuff. There is no way to separate his songs from him for me. I can't listen to the songs I used to love (such as 'I Believe I can Fly') without being creeped out remembering he sang it. There's just no way.

To summarize, it depends on the 'crime'.
 

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Depends. If the person is just a big asshole, like not nice to people or just full of themselves, then eh. I'm not going to go out of my way to watch their stuff and I might roll my eyes when I see them. But it's not that big of a deal. Sometimes people are just born assholes for no particular reason and even assholes can be talented. In this case, there's no need to truly separate the art from the artist and it's not hard for me to consume content they happen to be in.

Then you have the gray area. I put people like Michael Jackson in this category. I'm not going to claim what he did or didn't do, but I still feel weird about all that stuff. I recognize the talent, but maybe I might avoid their content when possible cause I feel weird. Depending on where I hear his music or voice, it's not necessarily in the forefront of my mind that it's him.

Then there's the people that are 100% just bad people. Such as, R.Kelly. I avoid their content. Hate it even. Like, maybe in a different universe I very well could've been one of those girls he picked up at their school to hit on and have sexual relations with. Would my younger self know better? A lot don't. I carry this guilt for not knowing about what he did, for ever liking his stuff. There is no way to separate his songs from him for me. I can't listen to the songs I used to love (such as 'I Believe I can Fly') without being creeped out remembering he sang it. There's just no way.

To summarize, it depends on the 'crime'.
What a very logical approach to this question, I expected no less from you Kira.

I guess to further elaborate on my perspective, to me there is no grey area, only black or white. If they committed a deplorable act, chances are my opinion of them will plummet. And if they're someone who I already despised like Quinton Flynn, then I'll jump on the bandwagon against them. For some of these people they've used their power and influence to manipulate the lower class and that's something I can't condone.
 

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When you think about it the fact that the concept of separating art from artist has to exist in the first place is bad. As separating art from artist is something everyone should be automatically able to do without difficulty in the first place but unfortunately that‘s never going to be the case for everyone as so many factors can play into it.

After all “hero worship” and admiration are probably the most dangerous of factors in this as these twisted people know how to manipulate those who admire their art and are able to to get away with so much awful stuff and in some cases their position of power and fame make them untouchable and they know it so that’s why they keep doing it and innocent people will always get hurt in the end. I guess it’s true what they say positions of power can truly corrupt some people ( well if they aren’t corrupt to begin with)

The saddest thing about all this is when it comes to fans separating art from artist is that in some cases some people will not be able to this and will remain blinded by their admiration for these people no matter how much awful stuff they do as perhaps for some people it’s easier to turn a blind eye rather than face the disappointment and accept the reality that the artist isn’t as wonderful as they thought them to be.
 

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I personally believe that only people with a very twisted dark mind can produce real art. So then it's really problematic. XD
 

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The thing is, I don't have any celebrity crushes or idols. I think some of them are cool, but I'd hardly call myself a fan. Even for celebrities I sorta like, I don't keep up with their products, merch, or anything. I just revisit them every so often (can be years in between) and find new things to like.

For example, Utada Hikaru. She's awesome and has a lovely voice. I haven't been keeping up with her newest releases but I heard they're awesome. Her music has brought me much joy, so I think positively of her as a person. There's no need for me to separate her from her talents.

Then you have sketchy people like Quintin Flynn. Axel isn't exactly one of my favorite characters, nor did I know who Quintin Flynn was or why people liked him until like, maybe DDD. Probably AFTER that (I'm just that slow). I don't associate Axel the character with Quintin Flynn, but now knowing the voice associated with the actor, it makes me feel icky. I can still play Kingdom Hearts no problem. I just sigh when I hear Axel's voice and move on (and hope future games of KH and other series don't include him)

Same with that guy who plays Junpei from Persona 3. I REALLY didn't know who this guy was. I didn't know who he was even as the drama was going down. I didn't find out until I watched someone play Persona 3 for the first time and the chat went 'ew' in unison. Like Axel, I don't associate the character with the actor. I actually like Junpei more than I like Axel as a character. Just wondering if there could be anyone who could voice Junpei in the future.

It really just depends. I don't think it's natural to separate art from the artists. We're human. If that were a natural phenomenon, celebrities wouldn't exist. Even before the internet when most people couldn't even read or write, celebrities of some kind existed. It's who we are.

It takes a lot of time, long after the artist is dead, for society to separate the artist from the art. We can look centuries old art now a days and not even think about the person who made it. But if that person is or was living on this earth in close proximity to your existence, I don't think it's totally possible.
 

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Pretty easily now but it's a skill set you learn and it takes practice.
 
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The thing is, I don't have any celebrity crushes or idols. I think some of them are cool, but I'd hardly call myself a fan. Even for celebrities I sorta like, I don't keep up with their products, merch, or anything. I just revisit them every so often (can be years in between) and find new things to like.

For example, Utada Hikaru. She's awesome and has a lovely voice. I haven't been keeping up with her newest releases but I heard they're awesome. Her music has brought me much joy, so I think positively of her as a person. There's no need for me to separate her from her talents.

Then you have sketchy people like Quintin Flynn. Axel isn't exactly one of my favorite characters, nor did I know who Quintin Flynn was or why people liked him until like, maybe DDD. Probably AFTER that (I'm just that slow). I don't associate Axel the character with Quintin Flynn, but now knowing the voice associated with the actor, it makes me feel icky. I can still play Kingdom Hearts no problem. I just sigh when I hear Axel's voice and move on (and hope future games of KH and other series don't include him)

Same with that guy who plays Junpei from Persona 3. I REALLY didn't know who this guy was. I didn't know who he was even as the drama was going down. I didn't find out until I watched someone play Persona 3 for the first time and the chat went 'ew' in unison. Like Axel, I don't associate the character with the actor. I actually like Junpei more than I like Axel as a character. Just wondering if there could be anyone who could voice Junpei in the future.

It really just depends. I don't think it's natural to separate art from the artists. We're human. If that were a natural phenomenon, celebrities wouldn't exist. Even before the internet when most people couldn't even read or write, celebrities of some kind existed. It's who we are.

It takes a lot of time, long after the artist is dead, for society to separate the artist from the art. We can look centuries old art now a days and not even think about the person who made it. But if that person is or was living on this earth in close proximity to your existence, I don't think it's totally possible.
Ah, I remember Vic Mignogna. I also liked Junpei as a character and felt that his arc was pretty solid. It is a shame he turned out the way he did, I remember watching a few videos of him interacting with fellow VA's Erica Lindbeck and Mela Lee on their YouTube channel where he just barges in with an EasyBake oven.
 

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Pretty easy for me, due to one simple fact: unless they're inserted into their works, an artist's works is not a reflection of their beliefs.
 

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It depends on what the art is, how involved they are with said art, and what they did.

Like you will never catch me reading or watching Rurouni Kenshin ever again. The artist was looking at child porn. That’s unforgivable, and I can’t enjoy that series anymore because he crafted the story and art himself, and the anime was based on what he created.

Same with JK Rowling. I won’t touch the series ever again. I might watch the films I own because they are more removed from her and I already spent the money on them, but I don’t have love or respect for the franchise anymore. I’ll enjoy fanworks, though.

In regards to Quinton Flynn or say James Woods, I won’t stop watching things they’ve been in like KH because they aren’t the only people in those projects. Now if it was like something James Woods would make royalties off of because he had a leading role, then I probably won’t watch it.

It’s like ethical consumption. You can’t cut out every company that does bad things, so instead you need to recognize your contribution and impact and go from there. Like I think Chick-fil-A is a trash fast food company for their awful politics and anti-LGBTQ+ views, but if somebody buys me a chicken sandwich from them, I’m still going to eat it. I won’t actively go there to get chicken, though. And eating their food doesn’t preclude me or others from criticizing them. I can still call out CFA’s awful politics even though I’ve had food from them before and it’s possible I’ll have food from them in the future (even if I’m actively avoiding it myself).

But I also have actively decided against buying products from companies like MyPillow.

And that’s how I try to approach these things. You can’t just cut everything out. I can cut HP or Rurouni Kenshin out because I have a variety of other pieces of media to enjoy so I don’t have to give those two creators money. I can keep playing KH because some shitty voice actors aren’t worth cutting a series worked on by hundreds of people out of my life.
 
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It depends on what the art is, how involved they are with said art, and what they did.

Like you will never catch me reading or watching Rurouni Kenshin ever again. The artist was looking at child porn. That’s unforgivable, and I can’t enjoy that series anymore because he crafted the story and art himself, and the anime was based on what he created.

Same with JK Rowling. I won’t touch the series ever again. I might watch the films I own because they are more removed from her and I already spent the money on them, but I don’t have love or respect for the franchise anymore. I’ll enjoy fanworks, though.

In regards to Quinton Flynn or say James Woods, I won’t stop watching things they’ve been in like KH because they aren’t the only people in those projects. Now if it was like something James Woods would make royalties off of because he had a leading role, then I probably won’t watch it.

It’s like ethical consumption. You can’t cut out every company that does bad things, so instead you need to recognize your contribution and impact and go from there. Like I think Chick-fil-A is a trash fast food company for their awful politics and anti-LGBTQ+ views, but if somebody buys me a chicken sandwich from them, I’m still going to eat it. I won’t actively go there to get chicken, though. And eating their food doesn’t preclude me or others from criticizing them. I can still call out CFA’s awful politics even though I’ve had food from them before and it’s possible I’ll have food from them in the future (even if I’m actively buying it myself).

But I also have actively decided against buying products from companies like MyPillow.

And that’s how I try to approach these things. You can’t just cut everything out. I can cut HP or Rurouni Kenshin out because I have a variety of other pieces of media to enjoy so I don’t have to give those two creators money. I can keep playing KH because some shitty voice actors aren’t worth cutting a series worked on by hundreds of people out of my life.
Your post made me realize that everything is politics now. Every celebrity feels the need to share their political views nowadays. Has it always been like that?
Why on earth would you think that your opinion on any subject should be relevant to anyone when you are known for being a good actor? Especially if you risk to loose your job at the very first mistake? Why are celebrities still on Twitter?
 

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Your post made me realize that everything is politics now. Every celebrity feels the need to share their political views nowadays. Has it always been like that?
Why on earth would you think that your opinion on any subject should be relevant to anyone when you are known for being a good actor? Especially if you risk to loose your job at the very first mistake? Why are celebrities still on Twitter?
I don't think its so much that politics is in everything, but rather our access to information has allowed us to more easily find out people's views.

Also we've warped the meaning of "politics". I don't see human rights as political issues, but they have become that because politicians have turned them into political speaking points.

Politics to me would have been debating the merits of a budget on infrastructure spending. There are ramifications there that affect various communities, but these are things that always change and shift with the people in power.

But discussing if trans people have rights? Criminalizing sex workers? Debating if cops killing BIPOC in the streets without just cause is right or wrong? That's not political. These are matters of life and death. These issues affect lives and I'd prefer to know where people stand on this so I know who to give my money to or not.

Of course, it is a double-edged sword. People influence people, so negative view points get amplified as much as positive view points.

I do think if people want to avoid being called out for their views, they should stay quiet when they know their views go against human rights, but I also think everybody has a right to express their views. They aren't free from the consequences they have to deal with because of those views, though.
 

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I don't think its so much that politics is in everything, but rather our access to information has allowed us to more easily find out people's views.

Also we've warped the meaning of "politics". I don't see human rights as political issues, but they have become that because politicians have turned them into political speaking points.

Politics to me would have been debating the merits of a budget on infrastructure spending. There are ramifications there that affect various communities, but these are things that always change and shift with the people in power.

But discussing if trans people have rights? Criminalizing sex workers? Debating if cops killing BIPOC in the streets without just cause is right or wrong? That's not political. These are matters of life and death. These issues affect lives and I'd prefer to know where people stand on this so I know who to give my money to or not.

Of course, it is a double-edged sword. People influence people, so negative view points get amplified as much as positive view points.

I do think if people want to avoid being called out for their views, they should stay quiet when they know their views go against human rights, but I also think everybody has a right to express their views. They aren't free from the consequences they have to deal with because of those views, though.
You got a point while mentioning that our access to information has drastically changed over the years. Maybe that's why it feels so different nowadays. Personally, I hate it but in a sense it is forcing us to think more, which is not all that bad, haha.
I also agree with your vision of freedom of speech. Everyone should be able to express themselves and everyone should be able to respond to what's been said. That's how you build a society, by confronting ideas. The real question now is: should we be able to separate people from their ideas? In Switzerland it is not rare to see members from right parties being friends with members from left parties. They acknowledge that they are adversaries but not enemies. But again, Switzerland doesn't have the same issues that the US have right now.

However, I will have to disagree with you when you say that the current conception of human rights is not political. They have to be simply because the notion of those rights is so vague that no one agrees on them. If your criteria is simply life and death situations, then we endup straight into anarchy because someone rights will clash with someone else's rights. Simple example: miners who see their mines closed due to the promotion of green energy will most likely suffer from a higher suicide rate. That's a life and death situation. However, keeping mines open, is destroying the planet, thus depriving our children from a future. Where do we put the cursor? Which lives do we sacrifice? This is an extreme theoretical example, but it is just to show that every decisions taken, whether they seem to be for the greater good can also have an unintended negative side effect. That's why I believe that every decision for human rights is a political act.

But I would be happy to hear your thoughts about that. We do not see things the same way and that's probably because we do not have the same background so I find this very interesting.
 

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It depends on what the art is, how involved they are with said art, and what they did.

Like you will never catch me reading or watching Rurouni Kenshin ever again. The artist was looking at child porn. That’s unforgivable, and I can’t enjoy that series anymore because he crafted the story and art himself, and the anime was based on what he created.

Same with JK Rowling. I won’t touch the series ever again. I might watch the films I own because they are more removed from her and I already spent the money on them, but I don’t have love or respect for the franchise anymore. I’ll enjoy fanworks, though.

In regards to Quinton Flynn or say James Woods, I won’t stop watching things they’ve been in like KH because they aren’t the only people in those projects. Now if it was like something James Woods would make royalties off of because he had a leading role, then I probably won’t watch it.

It’s like ethical consumption. You can’t cut out every company that does bad things, so instead you need to recognize your contribution and impact and go from there. Like I think Chick-fil-A is a trash fast food company for their awful politics and anti-LGBTQ+ views, but if somebody buys me a chicken sandwich from them, I’m still going to eat it. I won’t actively go there to get chicken, though. And eating their food doesn’t preclude me or others from criticizing them. I can still call out CFA’s awful politics even though I’ve had food from them before and it’s possible I’ll have food from them in the future (even if I’m actively buying it myself).

But I also have actively decided against buying products from companies like MyPillow.

And that’s how I try to approach these things. You can’t just cut everything out. I can cut HP or Rurouni Kenshin out because I have a variety of other pieces of media to enjoy so I don’t have to give those two creators money. I can keep playing KH because some shitty voice actors aren’t worth cutting a series worked on by hundreds of people out of my life.

In a case like Chick-fil-A, I would attribute those views directly towards the CEO, who specifically stated that he held those views. I wouldn't attribute that to the employees who work there or the people who consume their product. Whether they are indirectly supporting that is a different story, but then again, some proceeds do end up going to the church organizations that would otherwise perpetuate such intolerance. However, when has the church really ever had much political sway in the US in recent years? I might be wrong, but it's also noteworthy to point out that end we up supporting a lot of companies that have their products produced in overseas sweatshops. It's mentally exhausting to try to apply my personal codes to every company cause all of them probably do shady stuff, to begin with. Call me cynical, but it's all a very moral gray area. (Didn't mean to get political with this, but I hope you see my point. I'm sure you knew most of these anyway).
 

Absent

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Case by case I imagine. Honestly sometimes it’s not even a one person thing. If there’s drama or an incident involving many people, that also sours things for me.

I really like the prospect of Fantastic Beasts, but the endless incidents and drama with multiple actors on different things soured the whole franchise for me. Then I learned more about JK Rowling and that was the final nail on the coffin.

Sometimes you know too much about something that you end up feeling too much about it and it affects the whole experience. So I wager the more ignorant and apathetic I am to it, the more easily it is for me.
 

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A youtuber I've been watching lately went into GREAT depth about this topic and explains it so much better than I can. I definitely suggest watching all the way through.

 
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