Whoosh! Issue 52 - January 2001
Letters to the Editor

To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor" to expedite the process. All letters received are subject to publication and may be edited. Due to the volume received, some letters may not be answered individually or receipt acknowledged and may be published at the editor's discretion. Letters received after the 15th of the month may be reserved for a later issue.

Deconstructing Fan Gripes in Season 5
Cry Murder Redux
Rumors and Rumors of Rumors
Marxism Lives! Or Does It?
The State of Xena
Sword and Staff Year In Review
A Day in the Life of a Webmaster Contest

Letters To The Editor

Deconstructing Fan Gripes in Season 5

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000
From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I was left with mixed feelings after reading Rich Furman's article "Deconstructing Fan Gripes in Season Five". While I agree wholeheartedly with his take on Joxer's life and death, I have difficulty with aspects of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship.

Firstly, if Xena and Gabrielle ARE married, it is a marriage in which one partner takes the other very much for granted and expects her to do as she is told. Xena has an almost pathological inability to say sorry, something best demonstrated during The Rift. Both women make mistakes, but until the last few scenes of THE BITTER SUITE Xena refuses to accept ANY responsibility for the events leading to Solan's death.

Note also the double standards displayed in SEEDS OF FAITH. Xena criticises Gabrielle for being too quick to fight, then goes off to gleefully butcher a platoon of Ares' troops! On her return, she proceeds to castigate her already traumatised friend for NOT fighting Ares to protect Eli. Had Xena just cut the bridge to begin with she would have been back in time to defend Eli herself, a fact she conveniently ignores.

During their sojourn with the "Thunderdome" Amazons, Xena quickly becomes bored out of her skull with domesticity. She is used to doing what SHE wants, when SHE wants to, and is prepared to abandon Gabrielle until she belatedly reads her friend's scrolls. Even then, it is Gabrielle who gives up her responsibilities as Amazon Queen to follow Xena once more. Does the word "whipped" spring to mind?

Moving on to the "Chak Attack", options 3 and 4 almost made me laugh out loud. How could Xena have known that (a) Eve was still alive and (b) Ares would save her? He was the one who just suckered Xena into giving Gabrielle a free shot at Eve, remember? Finally, after years of watching Xena defy the laws of physics with her chakram, are we honestly expected to believe she could mishit a standing target at 20 feet?

In conclusion, the level of abuse which crept into Season Five hammered the lid down on the Xena/Gabrielle relationship's coffin for me. Gabrielle believes a man (and presumably any romantic partner) should be "kind and gentle", an idea which Xena scornfully dismisses. Since Gabrielle IS kind and gentle, and Xena most definitely is NOT, what could they possibly see in each other?

Cry Murder Redux

Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
From: Ogami
Subject: Issue #50 Article: Cry Murder Redux


Paragraph 12:

"Meanwhile, Internet fans divided into warring camps. Those disgusted with the third season took pretty much the same view of murder that I did in my Whoosh! article and used it to deride the moral view of the show. They sneered. They derided some more. They tried with might and main to act as spoilsports. Trying to ruin the fun of others is immoral. Reveling in disgust is immoral. Only if the show really were advocating murder would such behavior be justifiable."
So criticism of an immoral television character is itself immoral? I hope that concept doesn't extend to criticism of immoral people. For that would make the author of this article immoral as well. Cogito, ergo doleo. (I think, therefore I am depressed.)

Paragraph 17:

"Xena, meanwhile, took up her role as Icon. She lost part of her humanity. But then, even if she had not become a god killer, familiarity would have robbed her of this. How many bad warlords or crooked casino operators can she thwart before the tedium of these actions made her appear small? How many times has Superman stopped bullets with his chest? Unlike Superman, Xena moves beyond comic-book torpor. Xena remains large, mythical, potent and impossible to chain to one moral view, or one pigeonhole."
The opening show credits would seem to contradict the premise of the author's article, to whit:
"In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess, forged in the heat of battle. The power... the passion... the danger... Her courage will change the world."
It would seem executive producer Rob Tapert believes he is portraying a hero. Since this is at variance with your view that Xena cannot be pigeonholed as such, does this make him immoral as well? Between the producer and the audience, perhaps the only moral person in all of this is Xena herself.

Leges sine moribus vanae. (Laws without morals are empty.)


Rumors and Rumors of Rumors

From: Jasper Hedger
Subject: Letter to the Editor. Rumours and "Mitchy's" letter in issue 51.
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000

Sorry to have seen the slightly strained exchange of views between you and Mitchy in the last issue. I didn't actually read the rumour that Lesley Keech referred to so I can't really comment on it. However I do agree 100% with Lesley's views on Cathy O'Grady and I'm very glad to hear that you and Cathy are friends.

As an example of rumour though, I recently attended a UK Xena/Hercules convention, Starfury: Chariots of War 2. (Trips off the tongue don't it?) Ted Raimi was one of the guests and when asked if he was going to be in season six he replied, "Yes, probably about five-six episodes."

This rumour would seem to be from an unimpeachable source. Yet it now looks as if Ted Raimi won't be appearing in any episodes of season six!

Please note, I am not casting doubt on Ted's truthfulness. I believe he was telling the truth as he saw it, *at that time* and I also wish him a speedy return to full health, I am merely poining out that until it actually hits our screens rumour and speculation remain just that.

As the executioner at Shark Island Prison might have put it, "It ain't over 'til the fat lady swings."

All the best,
Jasper Hedger

Marxism Lives! Or Does It?

From: Dafydd Thomas
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2000
Subject: letter to the editor


All TV stations are owned by the Government, the Mega-corporations and the Church (also known as THEM). Therefore no overtly anti-Capitalist TV program will ever be permitted.

The Peasants, the Oppressed, the Toiling Masses yearning to breathe free want Love to blossom and want the good guys to win. We want laughs, tears, action and adventure.

Hence, Ideology. All TV programs must be based upon a solid core of government propaganda but then they are dressed up with enough Razzamatazz for us peasants to bother to watch them. The mish-mash of these two totally irreconcilable viewpoints leads to inconsistencies, hence YAXIs. Centaur Mentor Journey combines the Peasant doctrine that Racism is evil with the Capitalist doctrine that Racism must be opposed non-violently. Altared States: Kids, don't do drugs, M'kay? Drugs are bad, M'Kay? Gabrielle's obsession with blood-innocence only applies to kings and priests. In One against an Army, she is perfectly happy pouring boiling oil on the Persian soldiers.

Our heroes will rescue any slaves they happen to meet, but never make a consistent, organized attack on the economic root of the Slavery system itself.

But for all this, XWP went too far down the left hand path. It promoted Love, the most subversive Communist doctrine of them all. It became so successful, it developed a momentum of its own. It became a monster THEY couldn't control. It had to be destroyed.

Star Trek: Kirk and Uhura was the first ever multi-racial kiss on TV. Our Lords and Masters pulled the plugs, banned the show and thought it was all over. But the Trek fan base was so strong that Trek came back. The Mega-corporation had to destroy the Xena fan base before THEY could pull the plugs. Hence the cult of Eli.

Eli censored the sub-text, destroyed Gabrielle's soul, turned Xena evil, took away Joxer's sense of humour, made Lucy's baby into Damien 2 and rammed Roman Catholicism down our throats throughout every episode. The ratings plummeted. The spin-off shows collapsed. The fans scattered. And to the ringing of many cash-registers Studios USA pulled the plugs. God save the Pope.

Dafydd ap Thomas

The State of Xena

From: fwj60
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000

The reason for the decline in Xena's ratings is not bad time slots. Rob Tapert seems more interested in driving fans away than in giving them reasons to watch.

My reason is simple. I'm a big fan of Hudson Leick and I think she has been screwed by Rob Tapert. The two highest rated shows last year were episodes with Hudson in it. Apparently she is a slightly bigger draw than Kevin Sorbo and a top draw at the conventions but that is apparently not enough. It seems like every connected with Tapert's shows has gotten a chance at a show but Hudson.

The second problem is that I feel that I have been lied to by Rob Tapert. I remember Tapert dangling the idea that Hudson would get a show. That was dangled tantalizingly at another convention by TPTB. Now we know that it was not true. We then had this story about Callisto's sister. Everything was ok. It was approved by Rob Tapert. That should have been a tip-off about the veracity of that story. The final indignity is that Hudson should be playing Eve. It would have been nice to see her back on a regular basis but we get a nobody instead. With decisions like this, no wonder the show has lost over half its audience in a space of three years.


From: Katie
Subject: "Whoosh!" is Enlightening
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000

As a new viewer of "Xena" (I just started watching in March '00), I appreciate all of the information and opinions of all the past episodes of "Xena."

Although I have viewed approximately 87% of all "Xena" episodes as of today (yes, I keep track on my calculator with each completely viewed episode), which I owe to the USA Channel and the Sci-Fi Channel. Your site helped me clear up the utter confusions that jumping into the show had caused. You can understand my confusion when I tell you that the first rerun I saw was right in the middle of "Hate is the Star" in "The Bitter Suite."

After viewing a few more reruns (out of order, of course) my confusion grew beyond my mental capability. I immediately went to "Yahoo!" and entered 'Xena'. There it was - the link of all links - "WHOOSH!" After browsing around, reading commentaries, articles, etc., my understanding of all that is "Xena" became concrete. Today, I feel that "Xena" is on the top list of my hobbies. It's actually quite an obsession. And "WHOOSH!" has shown me that I am not the only one obsessed and amazed with the show. There are others...

I just want to say good work on the site -- it's the practical "Xena" handbook. And one more thing -- will you continue to keep the focal point of the site to "Xena?" once the season has ended?

A fan of eight months (and counting!)


From: Chris
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000

With a few exceptions, notably the articles from Andrew Shaughnessy and Kate James, December's issue was one of the worst issues of Whoosh in recent memory.

I realize that you only publish what you get. That doesn't mean, however, that you should publish *everything* you get.

I guess I can forgive the top ten list and the filk as boring but fan-related, but quite frankly I don't really care if some chick is an extra in The Gift, even if it was directed by Sam Raimi. I would have liked to hear a story about Raimi, so that I could at least pretend that this article sort of related to Xena, but apparently that was too much to ask for.

And WHAT was the point of Nina Knapp's "Not Your Typical Fan" article? Yeah, great, she's an actress and she can draw. So can lots of people. Is there a reason I should be interested in Deb Abbott's life, other than because she owns a Xena costume and knows Melissa Good? What does it have to do with XENA?

Is all this because the show is ending soon? Is Whoosh trying to branch into other fields? I was alarmed when the Episode Guide began to contain more non-Xena content than not, but now it is beginning to seem that those fears were well-founded.


Sword and Staff Year in Review

From: Mist
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000
Subject: S&S: Year in Review

Donations made to date in 2000:     $  78,093
Total Donations made in 1999:       $  49,316
Total Donations made in 1998:       $  37,965
Total Donations made in 1997:       $  25,111

TOTAL DONATIONS All Years:          $ 190,455

Total Rainforest Saved: 466 acres

Well, it's that time of the year again, and I have to say that I didn't think it would be possible to top what we accomplished last year, but I am delighted to report the results of Xena fandom's efforts to help support worthy causes around the world. Fans worldwide worked to make their corner of the world just a bit better and brighter, and as a result, together we made more than a little ripple in the quality of life for a lot of people. As you can see from the donation totals above, we surpassed last year's efforts by nearly $30,000. Amazing!

Once again this year we had donations of autographs from XWP cast members and production personnel. Thanks go out to Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, Kevin Smith, Jacqueline Kim, Hudson Leick, Robert Trebor, Ted Raimi, Claire Stansfield, Danielle Cormack, Alison Wall, Jeremy Roberts, Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell, Kevin Sorbo, Michael Hurst, Adrienne Wilkinson, Paris Jefferson, Alexandra Tydings, Steven Sears, Karl Urban, Jeremy Callaghan, Meighan Desmond, Ebonie Smith, Tim Omundson, Willa O'Neill, Vicky Pratt, Gina Torres, and Jennifer Sky. Thank you also goes out to Sandra Wilson (MommaROC), the Hudson Leick Official Fan Club, the Danielle Cormack Official Fan Club, and the Adrienne Wilkinson Official Fan Club for their help and cooperation. And as always, heartfelt appreciation is extended to the countless fans who make everything Sword and Staff reports possible by donating their time, energy, and merchandise to the fan events and to Sword and Staff for auction on the website.

The Starship Foundatin Safe and Sound Appeal which Lucy Lawless has been actively supporting, received donations from Xena fans from around the world. Through Sword and Staff we donated US$9,132 (NZ$21,241) plus an additional donation of NZ$1,963 that was organized by Kiwi Attic in New Zealand, for a combined total donation of US$9,975 (NZ$23,204). In addition, fans from around the world donated directly to the Starship Foundation to help in the Safe and Sound Appeal and a representative of the Foundation asked that I extend to you their gratitude for the amazing generosity of Lucy's fans.

Renee O'Connor and Steve Muir were married in October, 2000. To celebrate their wedding and wish them well, fans ROC fans from around the world donated just over $7,900 to a number of charities including Girls, Inc. (USA), the Myton Hospice (GB), Womens Aid (GB), Ronald McDonald House (USA), Hawaii Food Bank (USA) Starship Foundation (NZ), Saint Thomas Hospital (GB), National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (GB), Feminist Majority Foundation (USA).

As a result of the Bard's Brunch held in Pasadena last January, an additional Sword and Staff auction, individual donations, and an amazingly generous offer by a fan who wishes to remain anonymous to double match the first $10,000 we raised through Sword and Staff in 2000, we were able to donate $20,000 to set up a low interest loan program for prospective adoptive parents. To the organizers of the Bard's Brunch for making that possible and to the person who arranged for the matching donation, a special thank you for your efforts and generosity.

Several fan groups organized fests or other fundraising events this past year, and the results of their efforts were gratifying. The SoCal XenaFest raised $5,725 for Working Wardrobes for a New Start. In Pasadena, the Merpups raised $2,215 to benefit the Humane Society of Broward County, and that donation was double matched by the S&S donor, bringing that donation to $6,645. Another event held by the Merpups in Orlando resulted in a donation of $4,354 for the American Cancer Society. The Foothills Land Conservancy "Smith Bend Campaign" received support from S&S members, and those efforts raised $3,300 over the course of the year. The Australian 5th Annual Herk Fest raised $1,013 for Canberra S.I.D.S. D.A.H.X. (the Dutch Fan Club) held several events throughout the year, and the funds raised were used to rescue another two seals. In addition, a Sword and Staff initiative to help the Riverhead Founation on Long Island resulted in the support of a number of rescued whales, seals, dolphins, and turtles. Several fans donated their time and covered their own expenses in order to help out Habitat for Humanity in the construction of new homes down in New Zealand. Through Sword and Staff, we held another beach clean up in September, and again cleared nearly 1000 pounds of rubbish littering the shore line along Little Neck Bay in Queens, New York. Not to be overlooked are the efforts of Britsh fans who raised a lot of money for a number of organizations over the course of the year. Their efforts are to be commended because they put on several first-rate conventions, providing fun for the European fans and still managing to make the festivities worthwhile charitable events.

It is difficult to summarize what we as a group have been doing and continue to do because it isn't something I pay much attention to during the year. Sure, I keep track of the donations and list donation dollar totals and keep track of who is having a fest and what organization they're sponsoring. I do a little happy squiggle in my seat when I see we've reach yet another milestone. IBut Sword and Staff has become so much more than that that it is difficult to summarize events without trivializing them. And in no way do I want to diminish what a good number of fans have done to build Sword and Staff into what it is, and in so doing, make the organization stand out as a monument to the innate goodness and generosity of Xena fans. It's people working to help people. It's high school students asking what they can do to help and being directed to nursing homes and hospitals where their time as volunteers truly does make a difference. It's people on disability donating part of their limited income to help someone who is perhaps just a bit worse off than they are. It's the less glamorous chores, like picking up trash from the beach, hauling packages to the post office, spending countless hours updating websites and organizing fan events. or sweating over whether or not you'll cover expenses of those events and activities when all is said and done.

I jokingly told some friends that I had a very short Sword and Staff Year in Review message prepared. I got a horrified look when I told them I planned on posting a one sentence report that simply stated that we raised a lot of money and we gave it all away. So this rather lengthy missive is my concession to them. But in reality, that one sentence sums up what those not associated or involved with Sword and Staff might see at first glance. I assure you, I know the people who participate in Sword and Staff activities and who organize fan events, and it is far more than that. These are good and dedicated people, who want to make a difference. And they go out and do it. That they find support from other fans is a bonus that few of them expected, but it is tryly an exceptional gift.

If I've forgotten to list anyone, please know it was an oversight and not intentional. I truly believe that this whole experience is amazing, and to Sword and Staff participants during the year 2000, I simply say, ya done good! I extend all good wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year filled with all the little things that make life worthwhile.


A Day in the Life of a Webmaster Contest

Last month I shared an email interchange I had with an enthusiastic reader of WHOOSH. Because I was bored, I invited readers to advise me how to respond to the last e-mail received. Since then I have not heard from the original author, however I have received a lot of e-mails asking me more about that three-some. What follows are some responses that I received from fellow readers.

From: Cindy
Subject: What Should Kym Do?
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000

If nothing else could you keep the conversation going just to keep the rest of us amused? I about fell out of my chair, I was laughing so hard

From: Sherry
Subject: What Should Kym Do?
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000

In regards to "Pesky" who keeps asking questions about the show, you certainly are lot more patient than I would have been.

I would just tell the person to "Watch the Show!" and not answer any more questions or emails from him/her. I can't believe this person is on the up and up.

Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000
From: Charmer
Subject: What Should Kym Do? Invest in napalm.

Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000
From: Vanessa
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

"Feral Kym"?! LOL!!

Seriously though, (or as serious as I can be) you've obviously made it in the Xenaverse - you have an obsessive fan! I'd cease and desist from further contact, maybe they will get over it. Besides which, whoever is on the other end of the email is clearly too dumb to understand your replies...

Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

Unfortunately, you have already done it. You have shamed the person by mocking him/her. You should have just let it go without showing anyone else.

From: Linda
Subject: What Should Kym Do
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000

I'm laughing at the same time that my heart goes out to you!

Let's see, I counted 11 questions in 17 days -- sometimes two a day. Some qualified as trivial pursuits, others about upcoming episodes whose answers require only the patience to wait and see for onself, and one that was outright vulgar. It apparently never occurred to this person that either the nature or number of inquiries could be perceived as extraordinary.

And this person has the incredible narcissism to accuse you of being inattentive and impatient?

In my humble opinion, this is one Xenite who definitely needs to hear the words "GET A LIFE!"

"Grow up" would be my next suggestion. At any rate, I have new respect for your efforts. Four gold stars for you!!!

From: E
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

I think next time they write you should direct them to jessielee_nz@yahoo.com

Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2000
From: Einar
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

Just think of this whole thing as a wonderful opportunity to make your long list of good deeds (i'm sure it's very long :) even longer. Imagine all the additional Christmas presents this will bring you ....

Perhaps you could ask the readers of your wonderful site to volunteer so you would just forward these mails and other people would answer urgent questions like these in an open, intelligent and responsible manner.

Just a thought...

From: Linda
Subject: What Should Kym Do
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000

I don't understand why everything she asked you was URGENT.

Anyhoo, hang in there and don't let the crackpots get you down.

From: Cathy
Subject: what should kym do
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000

I think you should have Dogbert answer your mail.

Seriously, you must be a big softie. I would have deep-sixed this person by the fourth "please respond asasp". You've provided such a wealth of information on the site, but --- is too lazy or too dumb to read or interpret it. It does take some effort to keep up with Whoosh! - I can't imagine how much effort it takes to create it. I'm amazed you find time to respond to email. I'm also grateful when you do.

If this person keeps complaining and it bugs you, I would filter them out. If it amuses you, just ignore them. Trying to educate them is probably a waste of your time. We all dream of saying just the right thing to give someone a clue, but it rarely works. Herc would try (and succeed, yeah right), Xena would blow it off. I'd go with Xena.

From: Crystal
Subject: the twerp who asks lots o' stupid questions
Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2000

personally, i'd just post lots of personal ads about kinky sex with their email addy, and forget about them.

From: Virginia
Subject: what to do with all that mail: WHOOSH! contest
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000

I work as an archivist (international finance) at the Federal Reserve Board (aka the FED). As part of my work, I archive foreign correspondence with the Chairman (aka now Greenspan). I also fill Freedom of Information Requests. Your mail problems are not unusual. In the 1980's Chairman Paul Volcker received angry letters written on pieces of plywood decrying his high interest rate polices. (Yes, there is in the FRB archives a large pile of plywood boards written by angry home owners.)

You have four choices on the mail:

1. Answer no mail.
Probably unworkable since you are a public person (as the WHOOSH! webmaster).
2. Answer all mail.
Probably unworkable since it takes a lot of time.
3. Have an official correspondent to answer your mail.
Need to find a reliable volunteer.
4. Farm out mail among the various WHOOSH! web folk.
Need to know if they are willing to do this.
Pick one and Good Luck!

Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2000
From: Carla
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

Three suggestions:

1. Ever so gently suggest she start watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and give her the address of a Buffy web page so the writer can start bothering them!

2. CHANGE YOUR MOTTO, quick! You should have known that "we live to serve you" line would get you in trouble!! and on a more serious note:

3. Tell her that your web page policy is to only respond to one question per month per writer, and point out to her that since you are not officially connected to the show, that she might want to send questions about future episodes to RenPic or Creation (Sharon Delaney?). Perhaps you can give her a URL for a good chatroom. She might sing that some of her questions are already topics of discussion on-line, or she could raise them in a chatroom.

(PS -- I think you are far more patient with this writer than most people would be -- me included. )

Thanks again for all the good work that you and the others at Whoosh do all the time.

From: Carol
Subject: What Should Kym Do?
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000

Hook this pest up with the fan contributor in the 50th Anniversary Issue who's seen each Xena episode 100 times...That person obviously has no life other than Xena trivia!

Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000
From: Sarah
Subject: contest

I think you should tell this person that you would like to continue to correspond with them, but you'll need their mother's permission, first.

Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000
From: Margaret
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

Suggest you answer the persistent correspondent: "I've asked your server to disconnect your e-mail due to breathtaking...naivete. Further correspondence will be replied to only if carved on stone tablets and delivered by oxcart."

From: Jasper
Subject: What Should Kym Do?
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000

Leave it alone. Hopefully this individual will read this piece in Whoosh! and realise that they're acting like a jerk. However if they don't realise that after reading it, then I guess your best bet is to ignore them for evermore, 'cos no way are they ever going to take a hint.

Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 From: Lee
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

I assume this person just wants attention, good or bad, so nothing more should be said to him or her. He or she has been given their '15 minutes' so my suggestion is to deep six him or her to email 'Tartarus' and never answer their stupid questions again. For one thing that isn't your job and another thing, he or she can find all the answers by watching the show, that is if he or she can get away from the computer long enough.

Thanks for letting me give my two cents worth. Appreciate the opportunity for trying to end stupidity as we know it with a little leaning toward stalking.

Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000
From: Tricia
Subject: What Should Kym Do?

Ha ha ha ha...I would suggest doing what a friend does when she receives e-mail she is less than pleased with...send a reply with the message "unsubscribe" in the body...

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