>Why I am arrogant, crazy, ugly, and not worth listening to

>I’m discovering that trackback links are a mixed blessing. Sometimes you find super-interesting stuff as a result. And sometimes you find out that a couple dozen people are slamming you over on reddit. I’m mostly getting the hang of not taking the attacks personally, because it’s not really ME that they’re attacking, if that makes any sense.

Anyhow, one of the gems I discovered in the trackback links was a podcast called the Dungeon Master’s Round Table – their most recent podcast links to this blog in the show notes and featured the first half as a discussion of sexism in gaming. Curious, I fired up the podcast only to find out that the discussion was prompted by the fact that one of the contributors (Jerry) had seen my blog and tweeted that clearly I must be ugly. Because I’m a feminist, or something. I got a laugh out of that and kept listening, hoping to hear some good conversation since the host was pretty clearly upset by that tweet.

Unfortunately, what I heard was pretty much what I expected – a bunch of gaming dudes being defensive and coming up with reasons why no one should listen to me. The first portion is about half an hour, so I’ll spare you from listening and pick out the highlights. For clarity, if I use elipses in the middle of a sentence, it’s to remove things like “uhm, ah” that are just verbal filler. I otherwise tried to limit myself to quoting only complete sentences. I’ve also added some things in brackets to the quotes, just to make clear the context of the comments.

In their words (with my responses)

right now they [Blizzard] have a marketing strategy that works, so calling them out is kind of ridiculous

3.2 million women play WoW. 48 million women play FarmVille. Do the math and tell me that alienating gaming women is a sound business decision.

I haven’t read her website, so you know, I’m talking completely blind about this… She is, from what I understand… telling everybody else why this morality that she’s assigned exists for them too, which it doesn’t…

 

(I think the post he’s referring to is my original article, since he mentions charts and graphs. Anyway, original article is this one here.)

You know, I really admire their ability to know what I was saying without ever actually reading what I had written. Saying that I’m trying to dictate a universal morality based on seeing at an article, that you didn’t read, that happened to have charts that you also didn’t read… That would be about as sane as if I flipped through an issue of Time Magazine, saw a picture of Barack Obama, and started bitching about how Time was telling me what to think about black people. (In other words, not very.)

This is a fantasy world where I want to play, and the reality is I like chicks with big boobs and very little clothing. I’ll admit that. Maybe I’m a pig. (Another contributor, interrupting: “You are a pig.”) Yeah, I am. That’s fine.

 

Yeah! Hear that, chicks? That’s fine! How dare us wimminz have the nerve to complain about unequal treatment? We’re failing to consider something far more important! This male gamer likes boobs! I mean, come on! Case closed, slam dunk, let’s move on.

[Here Jerry – the dude who initially tweeted about me clearly being ugly – speaks. He starts off by apologizing for his comment on twitter.] Her ideas I completely agree with. [Long rambling monologue about how he was raised by women and shouldn’t be misogynist and how because he’s married he’s seen some estrogen-filled chick flicks and enjoyed them and then starts talking about Sex in the City 2 and how ridiculous it was. Apologies if I’m not summarizing accurately.]

…Sex in the City 2 or this woman’s blog where you take the bullet train to Too Much Fucking Time on Your Hands We Get It Town and it gets ridiculous. Like, I understand her point but…

 

“Okay, look. I said something that was out of line and I apologize. Here’s a bunch of reasons why I have anti-sexist cred and why I agree with your ideas. Now that we’ve established that, could you please just shut up and not talk about them?”

So why do I think that if this dude would get serious backlash if he started saying things like: “Like, oh my god Haiti. We get that you’re poor and all your shit was destroyed and you have lots of corruption and stuff, but can you please take this money and SHUT UP? We’re kind of tired of seeing you on the news. It’s been a year, move on with your lives.”

…but since I’m just a woman, it’s okay to tell me to just SHUT UP AND MOVE ON ALREADY.

She has a clear agenda, that is true … Looking at most feminist writings, its clear that there is an agenda there.

Oh my god, they’re on to me! I want to make the same amount of money as my male counterparts, equal representation in government and corporate board rooms, and I want people to stop blaming rape victims for being raped. I’m a crazy fucking radical who has to be stopped! Quick! Somebody put a stop to me before I have a chance to do more damage!

Jerry, don’t beat yourself up. I understand where you were coming from with your comment. I think it was a reactionary comment… [Jerry agrees that it was] …if you felt like you needed to apologize, that’s fine. But you could also tell the world to eff themselves too.

Yeah! She’s just some bitchy feminist, so who cares if you hurt her feelings? Boo fucking hoo. Go cry me a river and go back to writing love letters to Gloria Steinem!

[Jerry – twitter guy – again] Oh, by the way, my wife… has the capacity to really hate men, but she’s been able to spend some time with this blog today and she thinks she’s [meaning me, not his wife] maybe a little crazy. So, that makes me feel good because my feminist wife thinks that maybe the blog lady is a little out in left field.

Congratulations! You’ve found one woman who agrees with you! Clearly that invalidates everything I am saying! Sexism only exists if ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE say it does.

(Also, mental illness automatically invalidates anything that a person says. True story.)

[about art on Blizzard’s site] …the fanart is more racy than the official art because they’re pretty classy folks for the most part…

 

Yup. CLASSY.

She seems like someone who plays WoW too much and has too much time to bitch about things.

Make up your minds, guys. EITHER I have too much time to bitch about things, OR I play WoW too much. It can’t be both, because if I play WoW too much, then I don’t have time to bitch about things and vice versa. C’mon. If you’re going to find reasons to dismiss me, at least don’t make statements that logically contradict themselves in the same sentence.

[The host] This woman makes some good points, however crazy she must be.

I’m glad one of you agrees with me. I would have appreciated you calling your friends on their bullshit rather than taking the easy way out and throwing me to the wolves, but I guess that would be asking you to feel uncomfortable. So, on second thought, never mind. It’s easier for everyone involved if we all agree that I’m crazy.

The feminist point of view for me as a guy is when they come out and say all men are pigs and all men like this and that…

Oh, shucks! I have to admit, there’s nothing I love more than man-hating and gender-reductionism! Guilty!

Not every feminist is a feminazi

Consensus: Did they Godwin themselves? I’m inclined to say yes, but I’m open to other opinions.

I hate to say it, but I may come to this chick’s site just to see awesome pictures

… I can’t come up with a response that isn’t a proofless insult. However, I suspect the ridiculousness of this statement is its own counter-argument.

So, Jerry, it would be inappropriate at this time to say that your wife is hot?

 

Yes. Jerry’s wife is hot while I am clearly a shambling, drooling horror. (Remember, feminist = ugly.) Pretty wins the day!

[Soon after this they changed the subject and started talking about D&D at GenCon.]

What came next

I held off commenting until I’d listened to the whole conversation. Even then I debated with myself for a bit on whether I should comment at all. I decided to err on the side of stupidity (read: commenting), mostly because the host really did seem earnest in his desire to address the issue of sexism in gaming. I may not like the fact that he caved in the face of a unified resistant front from the other contributors and called me crazy, but I do appreciate the fact that I think he at least was attempting to have a productive conversation.

And that’s the thing. As much as I appreciate my dedicated readers, you’re kind of the choir. I enjoy preaching to you, but sometimes it doesn’t feel productive. It’s guys like the host that I want to reach out to, guys who maybe don’t agree with me but who are still willing to listen to what I have to say without dismissing it out of hand.

As such, I made the effort to keep my comment vitriol-free. (It’s still snarky, but I felt a little entitled after being insulted for half an hour. Not terribly mature, I know, I know.) Here’s the comment I left:

Hi. I’m the crazy ugly feminazi with too much time on my hands who writes Go Make Me A Sandwich. I feel compelled to assert a few things, since I couldn’t exactly defend myself. First, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts, which is a five-year honors program and gives me an excellent grounding in art history and theory. Secondly, I have worked as a freelance illustrator in the rpg industry. I won’t make any assertions as to my hotness or my mental health.

If you’d be interested in doing a followup show and actually talking TO me instead of ABOUT me, I’d be game. My contact info can be found through my blog, which I hope you would read more in-depth before addressing my credentials, appearance, politics, mental health, or my radical “agenda”.

 

So I guess we’ll see what happens. Should be amusing. Just one more thing.

Don’t troll these guys.

I mean it! (Also it’s not worth it. Srsly.)

[Edit: The host did contact me through email and has been pretty apologetic about the whole affair. We’ll see where it goes from here, but I’m cautiously optimistic for a positive outcome.]

36 thoughts on “>Why I am arrogant, crazy, ugly, and not worth listening to

  1. >I'm sure it was a profound act of bravery on the part of the host just to to slip the "she has some good points" in there, even coupled with the ableist disclaimer. The crushing weight of conformity gets us all, I guess. I'm curious to see if he engages you at all.I went through something similar about two weeks ago. The Feminist Hub, which I am a writer for, was besieged by the staff of Cracked.com after we ran a piece deconstructing sexism in their writing. And we got a lot of the same crap. "I dated a feminist once and she loves Cracked." "We have women writers on our staff so we can't possibly be sexist." "Sexism is a comedy goldmine, you expect us to give that up just because it upsets you?". And so on. Against my better judgment I engaged them, and yeah, there was a level of snark, but somehow I found common ground with one of them and we've been in constant contact ever since. And I know for a fact he's more aware now than he was two weeks ago of the way his words can hurt people.Next week I start running a Steampunk Cthulhu pbem game with he and some of his cohorts from Cracked.🙂

  2. >I am normally on the show but couldn't be that night because we were in the middle of a project launch the next day for my day job (I'm a programmer). I am also the person who called Jerry out on Twitter. As I said on twitter, I'm very glad I wasn't on that particular episode. I hope things work out with scheduling but if not, I would be more than happy to record with you and post it on my own website, SarahDarkmagic.com.

  3. >As a fan of some of the characters you've criticized in the past, I fit the bill of "guys who maybe don't agree with me but who are still willing to listen to what I have to say without dismissing it out of hand." So you've reached out to one guy at the very least. I hope you get a chance to appear on that podcast, I'd like to hear from you and listen to whatever discussion you may have with the hosts.

  4. >Maverynthia:'DnD with Pornstars? Tell me why I would want my comment on such a site?':Have you been there? Please don't let the name turn you off, it's an excellent game blog. I've seen no prejudicial tendencies myself. If you haven't:(I don't think you have, judging from the dice-stacking reference, so)It's very civil, laid-back, and without acerbic flame wars, at least when I visit. You may not be aware that the aforementioned pornstars(and a hairdresser[now departed for another clime]), a stripper, some local other movie-types, etc… are the friends he games with; there's actually no porn clips/pics on the site.(Though he does occasionally list the names of the movies some of the pornstars have been in.)wow. Interesting pics there. I guess I see why you chose 'em.

  5. >@maverynthiaThanks, I'll move those over to the thread so people can see them.Questions:So if there were these types of fellows all over games and the ad campaigns for them would you be a happy gamer, or do you feel there would be imbalances to be corrected?

  6. >Maverynthia: Those pictures were glorious. Especially the crotch-tastic first one. And blog names can be misleading, take this one for instance. A lot of the guys I've shown it to thought it would be chock full of misogyny.As to the podcast, it amazes me what some people will say without thinking. Especially without thinking that the subject of their derision will want to respond.

  7. >I truly hope that you and DM's Roundtable do get a follow-up arranged(and that Tracy is able to attend when that happens). When that happens, please, please, PLEASE start the conversation with what, precisely, they meant by feminism, and how that differs from your perspective of the same term. During the entire half-hour segment, I got the impression that each panelist was using a slightly different definition of the term that didn't quite mesh with everyone else's – or reality – and I cringed a little bit every time I heard something get attributed to "feminists" or "feminism".

  8. >3.2 million women play WoW. 48 million women play FarmVille. Do the math and tell me that alienating gaming women is a sound business decision.Blizzard could certainly make their character designs more realistic, but it's hard to say if that would make any notable difference one way or another. If a woman is able to play WoW but chooses not to, the overwhelmingly most likely reason is a basic lack of interest in the game. Players care relatively little about aesthetics (observe the continued popularity of other Blizzard games, or Counter-Strike, which look very outdated by now), and they care even less about what the game's artwork looks like.…but since I'm just a woman, it's okay to tell me to just SHUT UP AND MOVE ON ALREADY.Repeat after me: real or imagined sexism in a video game is not equivalent, in any conceivable way whatsoever, to the problems of a third world country ravaged by a catastrophic natural disaster.Oh my god, they're on to me! I want to make the same amount of money as my male counterparts, equal representation in government and corporate board rooms, and I want people to stop blaming rape victims for being raped.The pay gap is a lie, and young women are now outearning their male peers in many cities.Equal representation may only occur (legitimately) if there's an equal number of equally competent women trying to get into those positions, but this is not realistic because of differences between individuals and men and women in general. If you are talking about quotas and affirmative action, you are not talking about equality at all.Blaming rape victims is unthinkable now. Even if a naked woman with "rape me" painted on her chest strolls down Rapestreet in Rapetown, her culpability is considered to be exactly 0 % (needless to say, the same does not hold true for male victims). Many women are now abandoning all attempts at personal safety because they don't consider it their responsibility. Which makes it all the more likely that they'll be raped. Indeed, you really should be stopped before you do any more damage…So in conclusion, you should pick some better examples.Yup. CLASSY.The elf in this picture is clearly displaying a lot of strength: she is muscular and imposing (the low angle suggests power and dominance), holding two swords while covered in blood, and the Horde around her are shitting their pants and running away. But it's all for nothing because of her outfit? She's no different from Conan the Barbarian or Kratos. And let's again remember that women willingly sexualize themselves to the same degree in real life, so what suddenly makes this so objectionable?Did they Godwin themselves?No, because "feminazi" does not really have anything to do with Nazism.

  9. >…wow, this thread really went places since this morning. =/Rewinding back a bit…Zak, I'm not sure that posting Maverynthia's response on your comment thread before waiting for a response from her was the best idea — you can't really be sure that she'd want it there even after knowing the true nature of the site. (I know I'm a bit iffy about posting over there, if only because I use this screen name everywhere I post, and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that site name coming up in a Google search for me)As for whether increasing the amount of sexualized guys, the physical aspect of it is only part of the issue. A much larger part of it is that a lot of female characters don't have much going for them beyond that physical aspect — using the guys for fanservice is all well and good, but it doesn't change the fact that they're still much better developed as characters.Though this is getting kind of off-topic, so I probably shouldn't say too much about sexulized guys here. (It seems like the kind of thing that would be interesting to discuss, though, especially if it was illustrated with examples like the ones Maverynthia gave up there and could be linked as a reply to "but men are sexualized too!")

  10. >Sorry, too busy for specific comments so I'll just say real quick – guys, please stop engaging with ghost4. It's not worth your mental bandwidth since he clearly has no intention of having a real conversation.

  11. >@Zak S: It would depend. I have been motivated to try games based on the sexy dude in the ad. Though I also have been turned off to the game when I get to the homepage and see two almost naked chicks in the poses described here. Even the ones I posted aren't in any real, spine breaking, ASSet showing poses save for Polnareff who is kind of thrusting his hips forward. (Also notice the heeled boots. Too often women are forced into ridiculously heeled shoes/armor/leg attachments and the male versions are all flat on the ground. It was nice to see a man wearing something heeled for a change. Also notice that the heels are "chunky" and not spike thin.)So in conclusion, the imbalance is that women are continuously objectified in art, adding these guys won't do much for that. Correcting it would be to have the women in the full plate and the men in the plate subliger. Or like Polnareff, the women get something that covers all their torso and low boots and the men get.. that. BUT, that's just my fantasy about men, it's what I like to see. The the crux might be that nobody should be objectfied on the box, they should wear what is appropriate for the situation and if you want some flamboyant fashion show for the armor and clothes then the clothes fit (or not fit) both equally. A game that does this the best is Final Fantasy XI. While some armor has a few problems (red mage artifact pants), overall the armor fits both equally.. including the famous bronze subligar.(Pictured is the cotton subligar from Final Fantasy XIV, worn for the armor and not the looks… if you can believe that.)

  12. >@maverynthiaSo then the question is:At what point does an artist take on a level of responsibility and/or significance that these equality standards should be applied to him/her?Should this happen…-As soon as any artist in any medium sets pencil to paper?-As soon as it is shown publicly or on the web?-As soon as their work becomes a commercial venture?-As soon as they are hired by any company?-As soon as they are hired by a company that sells products to children? To teens?-As soon as they are hired for a project that has a mass audience?-As soon as they are part of a project (like a video game) where the artist are designing avatars that consumers 'pretend' to be or otherwise use as 'pawns'?(-should an individual artist never be asked to meet these standards but if s/he becomes part of a commercial venture should the art directors hire other artists to balance out whoever they hire?)-Or something else?

  13. >Zak S: Yes, the wage gap is a myth. It's also impossible to make men and women earn exactly the same amount in a free society, and I don't know why you would even attempt such a thing. Unless, of course, you are not planning on having a free society.wundergeek: I assume your definition of a "real conversation" is one where everyone essentially agrees with each other.Zak S: At no point should such "equality standards" (lol) be applied to artists. This, too, is something that has no place in a free society.

  14. >"As much as I appreciate my dedicated readers, you're kind of the choir. I enjoy preaching to you, but sometimes it doesn't feel productive."We the choir need to be preached to. It's why we come to church – Amen Sister! My doctorate in the humanities allows me to calculate that this blog is worth 150+ lesser blogs. Seriously, this is a standout blog. Keep up the great work.

  15. >Even the ones I posted aren't in any real, spine breaking, ASSet showing poses save for Polnareff who is kind of thrusting his hips forward.I've always wondered what a pose like that designed for the male figure would look like — even Polnareff there isn't posed in a way that seems particularly illogical or uncomfortable.The closest I seem to have gotten is hips forward with torso leaning back, which still doesn't look as painful as the twisted waist that gets used so often for women.In some ways, it seems like it would be impossible to create an equal level of sexualization without lowering the level for women, even without the context of everyone else sexualizing women more.

  16. >That was cringing to read. I know a lot of guys who have called me horrible things to my face because I refused to date/sleep with them and I was getting horrible flashbacks to that.Being attractive or unattractive doesn't matter, it just makes me sick that people who have never seen you would insinuate you were without any real reason.

  17. >@Wundergeek: Hi there, I've been following your blog for a few weeks here. I cannot say that what you write is pleasant or easy for me to read, but I nevertheless feel that what you write about is an important issue for gamers to contemplate.I sincerely hope that this doesn't come off as some form of attack (because gods know you've had enough of that already) but after reading your latest offering I felt compelled to make a particular point in regards to this: This is a fantasy world where I want to play, and the reality is I like chicks with big boobs and very little clothing. I'll admit that. Maybe I'm a pig. (Another contributor, interrupting: "You are a pig.") Yeah, I am. That's fine.Yeah! Hear that, chicks? That's fine! How dare us wimminz have the nerve to complain about unequal treatment? We're failing to consider something far more important! This male gamer likes boobs!I have not listened to the podcast which you cite, and perhaps there is some tone or subtext that is lost in it's translation to text. But from reading this, I cannot help but feel that you are intentionally/subconsciously interpreting the speaker's words in the worst possible light. Granted, it is completely understandable that you would react this way, given that these people were actively ridiculing you for a full half-hour. :(Regardless, when I read the speaker's words, I interpreted them less as "Screw u feminists, I want boobz in mai gamez!!" and more as "As a male, this is what I like. It may not be politically correct, but I cannot change what makes me (and presumably a lot of other male gamers) happy." Additionally, I am unsure whether the "That's fine" comment should be read as "It's fine for me to be a masochistic pig", or "It's fine for you to CALL me a pig." (as directed at the other contributor, indicating that he didn't take it personally)In any case, I just wanted to play devil's advocate and show an example of how things may not always be as bad as they are in your mind. I see this a lot in my personal life: people interpreting the words and actions of others in the most negative way possible, something that leads to grudges, misunderstandings, increased feelings of resentment, and an ultimately darker worldview. I know that you are both passionate and outspoken on this issue, and that drives others to react defensively to what they likely perceive as attacks on their personal worldview, leading them to attack you in turn. As such, I imagine that it may be incredibly hard for you to adopt a perspective that isn't substantially negative. But nevertheless I would encourage you to try to question alternatives when all you see is hateful, willful ignorance.@Orcus: I must question the idea of supporting Ghost4 (who appears to be Public Enemy #1 around here), but in the interest of fairness I must point out the final paragraph of "Technical Notes" found at the very bottom of the page you just linked. The text there seems to call into question the validity of using the above statistics to argue for or against the existence of a wage gap. (Just for the record, I have not done any extensive research on the topic, and as such have no personal opinion on the issue.)

  18. >It's more that it's a good data illustration from a reputable source across a single industry for a variety of nations, as opposed to a op-ed from a slightly questionable online newspaper.

  19. >Benjamin: The problem for me is that the difference between "Screw u feminists, I want boobz in mai gamez!!" and "As a male, this is what I like. It may not be politically correct, but I cannot change what makes me (and presumably a lot of other male gamers) happy" is a matter of degree. At the heart of both statement lies a resistance to change and a desire to dodge any responsibility for one's views. By saying "I can't change what I like", you're also saying "I don't have to feel bad if what I like hurts others".And who knows, maybe you're right. Maybe that's not what he's saying at all. But when the standard response to "cheesecake art is stupid and demeans women" is STFU I LIKE BOOBZ, how do I know that this is any different? It certainly doesn't feel different – not when it comes with half an hour of defensiveness, insults, and flailing at strawmen.

  20. >If what you like and the way you choose to pursue it hurts people, yes, why not feel bad? And if you can pursue what you like without hurting people, why not do that instead?

  21. >Well, to be honest to a certain extent I do feel bad that the sexy art/characters that I like cause offense to others. Thing is I'm not entirely sure how to rectify that, or "how to pursue what I like without hurting other people." Which is why I really hope Anna gets a chance to appear on that podcast, it should make for an interesting discussion.

  22. >Liking women is not the problem. It's the unnecessary parts of sexualizing a large amount of the women in games/art/whatever and making it seeming priority all the time that it becomes a problem. To me it's not the existence of it so much as the exaggerated presence of it and that there's hardly any balance.I call it unnecessary because it's not like actual porn is hard to get these days. It's not some precious, limited resource or anything. And the porn obviously will be better than the cheesecake. And so, if all that already does exist, what is the need for this disrespect toward women and this resistance to seeing their own criticisms as valid? So it goes beyond just liking what one likes to the constant implication that women are seen women in a one-dimensional, but more importantly, degrading way in which they're just sort of only existing as blow-up dolls and barely clothed and submissive that exist for the guys. It's like an extra price of admission women and women characters have to pay to even be included.Like that one guy up there said "This is a fantasy world where I want to play". But women want to play too, and not constantly have themselves and representations of themselves' primary purpose reduced to sexual parts. It's just like a big neon sign, from developers-artists-what-have-you and chunks of the audience, to women that reads 'Sex sells or something so tits or gtfo'.

  23. >"how to pursue what I like without hurting other people."I think the simple answer to that is "Live And Let Live". You can like sexy women all you want. That's not the problem. The problem is when you deny women (and everyone else who simply doesn't like ridiculously sexualized women) an equal opportunity to choose a form of representation that they like. Speaking of games this would be advertising and character design that doesn't pander to these very narrow boundaries of the male gaze.So when someone says: "I like boobs so I don't see a problem with this." they totally claim the "Live" part for themselves but at the same time deny everyone else the "Let Live" part. Before someone starts whining "But this is exactly what you whimminz do!!11eleven" I personally don't think that we would have this discussion or this blog if there were equal opportunities in the first place. For games: If there were just a few women that were ridiculously sexed-up for fan-service and the vast majority would show realistic depictions of female warriors and adventurers and mages all in practical armour doing their fantasy fights and all that there wouldn't be a big deal at all. You'd have your fan-service and we'd have our realistic non-sexualized women. We'd all just be happily gaming instead. ;)@wundergeek:I love your block so don't let any idiots and trolls let you down! <3I'm kinda excited about the idea of you joining those guys in their podcast. While I was listening to the discussion I got the feeling that some of them (I couldn't really follow who was speaking when… maybe it was all the same guy lol) had at least the right idea but then just failed to articulate it. For the most part I felt they were just stuck in their "man-box" and since it was a total sausage fest there wasn't any chance for them to escape that. So yeah, I think there's some hope here.

  24. >LilithXIV: I can see what you mean and I personally don't consider your complaints invalid, especially when it comes to MMOs where the options are limited and lazy(ie. DC Universe Online).Sabrina: Your solution sounds pretty good to me! Now if only we could convince the developers to go through with it……

  25. >Just an update, folks. I will be doing a follow-up podcast with them – we've scheduled it for two weeks from now. I'll let everyone know when it goes live.

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