Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fix up, young men

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  • Cordelia Lockett,

    Re: the incident with the TV reporter, I wish the MSM would stop minimising it (and cutesying it up) by referring to it as 'the F bomb'. The problem is not that they used the word Fuck; the problem is that the phrase they used threatens rape. The two guys should be charged in my view. But convictions and apologies will do nothing, we have a big old problem here...

    Auckland • Since Feb 2016 • 1 posts Report

  • Robert Urquhart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    > You’re talking about your events being tarnished and how to prevent that. The women on this thread (and some of the men) are talking about this being only one facet of the wider issue – sexual intimidation and lack of respect for women. I think your priorities are a little skewed.

    They’re not “my events”, I’m not the promoter. We’re talking about concrete steps to stop this happening at music events. I think that’s a laudable aim. And, again, it’s what we were talking abut upthread.

    A mountain is moved (or levelled might be a better metaphor in this instance) one rock at a time. It's perfectly possible to acknowledge (or not) a wider problem and say "well here are the areas I have interest and influence, here is where I will try and make my difference" and hope it spreads; or that others are doing the same in their respective spheres.

    That is what I think is happening here. The two conversations are not at cross-purposes.

    I am not at all a music person or part of the festival scene so I have nothing concrete to offer there. And the few times I have had real opportunity to call strangers out on their behaviour I admit I 'froze'. But within my social circles (which mostly consist of younger people) there is a definite movement to address the same sort of issues and as one of the "elders of the tribe" I do my best to support that.

    Men need to step up to address the issue; however that does mean that often as not, and with the best intentions, we are going to take a "male" approach to "analysing" and "solving" the "problem". I have learnt that we need to listen to women / those affected *first* and *in an ongoing fashion* to gain the perspective needed to usefully frame our responses, but that lesson was a long time taking and in truth it's still something that requires constant attention.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m kind of annoyed at being told it has always been thus

    I'm happy to accept that other people experienced something different, I'm just annoyed that my experience is being dismissed.

    I don't remember my cohort being like this.

    I KNOW women were abused when I was a teenager.
    Not, I heard
    Not, I believe you when you say
    But, I know

    Don't dismiss my experience and I'll try not to do the same.

    I know my own experience and it is different to what I see now.

    That says to me that something has changed and given my utter hatred of the abuse women receive I'd like to understand what the hell it is that has changed and if it can be fixed.

    I utterly agree that at the bottom of the cliff we need to figure things that can be done but I also think there are things that need to be done at the places where this behaviour is being generated.

    For me part of that is the casual acceptance that we place middle aged white men in positions where they can spout this shit to the nation AND WE LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT.

    How can we let Paul Henry imply the only reason a women scientist gets invited to a think tank is because she is having sex with the organiser???? How do we let Mike Hosking diminish the bahaviour of young rapists???? How do we let our PM harass a waitress???

    We wonder why these teenaged boys think it's cool to abuse women - hell they get shown that it's OK every fucking day.

    And yeah while I agree this is a problem where women absolutely get to call the shots please don't dismiss the possibility that some of us males are just as fucking angry about this and want it to stop.

    Sorry my anger spilled over into my language.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Joanna,

    it conveniently passes on the responsibility

    That isn't what I think. It's exactly the reverse. It must be something we've done and it has to be something we change in order to fix it (I can see Emma nagging at me to stop trying to fix things).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Danielle,

    I was once sexually harassed in the late 1990s at an Elliott Smith show. ELLIOTT SMITH. It really kinda fucks me off to have youth and hiphop scapegoated in this way. I haven't really had too many issues at shows because I usually attend them with my similarly nerdy large husband, but I think that's telling in itself. I really don't like to attend shows alone, no matter the genre. Just in case.

    PS When you refer to women as "females", you sound a bit douchey. Just a heads-up.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report

  • oga,

    I recently moved to Mexico City from Playa del Carmen, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Playa del Carmen is a resort town one hour south of Cancun, which could fairly be described as spring break central.

    I lived in Playa del Carmen for two years, mainly because I work from home and it was easy to meet Mexico’s temporary residency requirements, and I could challenge my aging brain by trying to learn Spanish (even though I am profoundly deaf). My partner and I moved to Mexico City for a variety of reasons, but one of the main reasons was because we were repulsed by the party culture in Playa del Carmen. It really destroyed our love for the Caribbean environment, the white beaches, the warm sea, the humid briny air, and the constant sunlight.

    Playa del Carmen is a slightly tamer version of Cancun, and any night of the year, one can go out to a variety of beach clubs or nightclubs, have a drink or two, and dance to some generic EDM. I frequented a bar called Dolores, which usually had more eclectic and interesting techno DJs playing. It’s a nice space upstairs above 12th Avenue, which is lined with superclubs playing inane doof doof EDM. Predictably, they are filled with transient tourists every night of the week. This suited me initially because my days off work usually fall on a Monday or a Tuesday, and it was always great to go out and have a dance in a full nightclub at the beginning of the week. You can’t do that in Auckland!

    At the beginning of January is a two-week EDM festival called http://thebpmfestival.com/BPM, during which the town floods with EDM fanatics. For the most part, they are Americans and Europeans, with a large contingent of Mexicans from cities like Juarez or DF. What they all seem to share is that millennial sense of irresponsibility, of sunburnt dudebro tourist gangs roaming the streets high on bad cocaine and ecstasy analogues looking for women to objectify, and groups of women wearing barely anything. It doesn’t help that the climate means that almost all of the male and female tourists are wearing togs day and night, so everyone is showing as much skin as they can. I became so desensitized to the constant leering and harassment from these tourist gangs that I barely even noticed it anymore. I’m a guy, and it still bothers me to see the rapey male gaze.

    Eventually (about one year into living in Playa del Carmen), we stopped going out at all, because of this pervasive culture. I started clubbing in the mid 1980s, going to see bands like Head like a Hole in the pub in the Square in Christchurch, eventually graduating to Worcester bar and the rave scene. Sexual harassment or objectification of women seemed a little less obvious than in the general rock/punk scene, but I knew from my female friends that it was still present, and never went away over the years.

    As I aged, I noticed the more ignorant youth coming through, who didn’t care about the music and just wanted something to dance to while they were high on party pills. I felt a growing disconnect from these kids, who invariably ruined the vibe whenever they showed up. In the age of the Internet and the lack of proper MDMA drugs, there seemed to be an increasingly aggressive vibe from kids preloading on alcohol and then taking amphetamine analogues. I missed the more mellow vibes of the 1990s. Yes, I’m saying the drug culture changed, and the party culture changed with it.

    Coming back to Playa del Carmen, my experiences showed that the culture seemed to be straight out of reality TV shows like Girls Gone Wild, and I greatly suspect that this type of media has had a great influence on the millennials of today, in addition to the example given by our political leadership (Ponytailgate anyone). Whenever National is in power, there always seems to be an emerging culture of entitlement or selfishness that somehow seems more muffled when a more considerate or altruistic political party is in government.

    My partner and I went to one day club during BPM this year, mostly to see Timo Maas play. He was epic as always, and a stark contrast to the much younger DJs before and after him. It was clear that he really could bring the vibe, whereas the other DJs played track after track that thudded dully through the sandy dancefloor of the club but was predictable enough not to alienate the young crowd who were mostly shirtless, bikini clad, and imitating countless rap video moves for and with each other. I still don’t understand why these women need to do a grinding dance or to twerk to show that they are having a good time. I blame the music video and reality TV show culture.

    I’m not sure what I as a man can do except step in to ask if people are OK if she/they are obviously being harrassed, or find security guards to throw out the miscreants. Sadly, the behavior described in this thread is everywhere during BPM. That’s a big reason why my partner and I left the paradise environment of Playa del Carmen to move to Mexico City.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report

  • Joanna,

    It's great that you want to make concerts a safer happier place, that's a really good thing, so it's totally worthwhile bringing in people in the industry like LISTEN to talk about what's possible.

    If only there was another kind of community you had more control over where women were telling you repeatedly about the uncomfortableness of and you were ignoring them...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Robert Urquhart,

    A mountain is moved (or levelled might be a better metaphor in this instance) one rock at a time. It’s perfectly possible to acknowledge (or not) a wider problem and say “well here are the areas I have interest and influence, here is where I will try and make my difference” and hope it spreads; or that others are doing the same in their respective spheres.

    The context was people discussing earlier what event promoters could do, including universal bans for identified harassers. I thought it was worth noting that one major festival and concert promoter has undertaken to do just that.

    And yes, there is also the dimension of rejecting this behaviour in our spaces. As I noted in the original post, I'm angered by the suggestion that women shouldn't report from festivals being canvassed. And equally appalled by the possibility that this threat might deter Jean and her friends from going to enjoy the music they love. That's why I wrote this paragraph:

    It’s not good enough for women to feel at risk because of their age or gender. I understand that’s a fact not just at annual music festivals. But there’s a nasty undertone of exclusion when it happens in this kind of environment – which can only function on trust. When women who love the music these events are supposed to be about can’t trust that they can safely enjoy it. It’s already happened to some extent at Rhythm & Vines. What that appalling Stuff poll really said was that we should countenance some cultural events being no-go areas for women.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joanna,

    If only there was another kind of community you had more control over where women were telling you repeatedly about the uncomfortableness of and you were ignoring them…

    I'm not ignoring anyone, Jo. I'm trying to get it right and I'm sorry if defending the older man upthread made you and others feel uncomfortable. That wasn't my intention, obviously. One of the things I try to encourage here is the sharing of experiences, and that was how I read what he wrote. What would you like me to do?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen,

    Someone made a comment at tea time that is interesting.

    They pointed out that when we search the internet or use twitter or facebook or any of the social media tools, the algorithms in the background promote items that are similar to what you’ve recently looked at.

    It’s a feedback system. You can see its effect by just liking a couple of things on facebook and seeing what gets fed back to you. But it exists in every social media and search engine.

    Essentially it’s like being in a room full of folks saying “yeah, you’re so right” even if what you are saying is stupid.

    I wonder if part of what is driving these groups of boys to behave so openly abusive is that online that see that behaviour as universal, not because it is universal but because that’s what their information feed shows them.

    And please don’t assume I’m so stupid as to be saying “it’s all the fault of the internet”.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Joanna,

    The idea of apps to report abuse is laughable. Gosh I have no idea why women would be offended at being asked to provide proof.

    Didn't mean just women. I'm talking about crowd control so everyone could be using apps to help. Hell, if I see anything like being mentioned here including Jean's experience, I'd be straight over there to help, and I've been decked before and I'll do it every time. This sort of behaviour needs to be called out every time by every one. Period. I'd also certainly get proof if it could help anyone. Our experience at Vector happened to my partner. It happens to men too .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    I have a photo of the harasser and the two women with him, btw. They're laughing. They really look like Young Nats.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Those are the kinds of memories I’m speaking from too. Not pretending it was rosy, but that this behaviour wasn’t acceptable, and that scenes where it was were the opposite of us.. But I’m a bit tired now and and I guess I should come back and talk about it in the morning.

    It's morning! Hey RB , Sweetwaters , got the tent up ,took a trip , smoked too much and passed out next to the Hells Angels.They looked after me , my friend sat there the whole time (probably the first of my brain problems) and when I came to the concern these guys had for me was humbling. So yeah. that can happen too.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    (I can see Emma nagging at me to stop trying to fix things).

    Oh Bart no, not this time.

    A couple of times now I've sat down to type this story and decided not to, because it felt like a side-track. But I'm going to do it, and if it does, people can just ignore it. The TL:DR is 'sometimes things feel like they've got worse because they've stayed the same'.

    So the last year or so, I've been dating. And what I've found is a bunch of men - in their thirties and forties - who can't understand that women can set boundaries, and those boundaries should be respected. And I've found myself wondering aloud if men are actually WORSE now than they were when I was in my twenties. And of course, they're not, it's just that the intervening twenty years having made no fucking difference is so frustrating, it feels worse.

    The last guy I went out with, winnowed from a pile of cruft that was even worse, could not accept that I didn't want to be touched while I was sleeping. After we broke up, I asked him not to contact me any more. He messaged me six times that same day. I blocked him from my phone, from a bunch of social media sites... three months later, he's still finding new ways to get to me. I feel like I've never been afraid after breaking up with a guy before, but I started off on this site talking about a guy taking me hostage with a crossbow, so... I guess not.

    In the end, it doesn't really matter whether it's got worse. It hasn't got BETTER, and that there is enough of a problem. Guys my son's age are being douches to women, and I'm so fucking SICK of it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    ETA: Not @bart…that’s accidental.

    Not being a concert goer, and looking from the outside inwards, I’d have to say my instinct on how to make sense of the dispute over whether there’s been a change of culture recently would be to weight far more heavily the testimony of the targets of the abuse.

    How much more heavily would be an arbitrary number picked out of thin air. I’m not going to say that women’s voices count tenfold, or a hundredfold. But I’m mindful that abuse very often goes on right under the noses of people who are not the targets, and would be furious to find out it had happened. They’re not very good judges. But anyone being abused tends to have quite a good feel for how much of it is going on, because they can’t ignore it when it’s happening to them. I use abuse widely here, to mean harassment of all kinds. Something visible and obvious to outsiders is most likely the tip of the iceberg – the final straw even. Any time I’ve felt I was receiving unwanted attention, it was very hard NOT to notice it from then on. I’m not talking about sexual harassment here (in my own case), just attention generally – we humans are very, very good at spotting when someone is concentrating on us, personally. We’re not alone in the animal kingdom on that, and for obvious reasons – our survival depends on it. I would think that if anything, the more of a target the creature, the better it is at this. So women are likely to have hypertuned sense compared to men, when it comes to sexual attention. Men, OTOH, quite possibly have hypertuned sense of impending overt violence towards them. Which may explain the reluctance many have to intervention – the outcome can be a severe injury. However much we talk bravely that we will intervene whenever we see it, no man throws himself without pause into such a situation, and rightly so. Those who do can be as much of a problem as a solution.

    We have a thread here with about a 30-70 female-male split. But I notice reading back through it that about half of the women’s comments are about this very point, that they dispute that systemic change has happened, and that men are unlikely to be reliable witnesses. This began mostly around page 4 where the numeric trend was pretty clear. The women commenters quickly agreed with each other, even if they hadn’t themselves kicked off with any such observation. Many of the men also agreed, although, like me, we are doing it from behind the blindfold.

    I’d agree with them, except in so far as abuse of men is concerned, where of course men are the more reliable witnesses. But we’re talking about one report in the entire thread here, and that might even have been more about an age discrimination, I couldn’t tell.

    It’s going to be hard to have an evidence based conversation that is about subjective experiences, across a long period of time in which many confounding factors have changed (not least that every single person got a lot older). Which is why threads about harassment, particularly sexual harassment/violence, very quickly go south. The only real point I have to make here is that if you’re a women out there with a perspective on harassment, I at least am likely to weight it much more highly than any man’s story about it. But I doubt that there will be any “winning” going on. It’s an unstructured match and as likely to degenerate to shouting as not. When it doesn’t degenerate, it’s not always because it went well, either, quite often it’s because one team just leaves the field, either voluntarily or forcibly.

    None of which is to say this conversation should not happen. I’m of half a mind that this is a worthless contribution to it, adding only another penis to the mix, and a particularly uninformed one at that, when it comes to the specific context of the original thread. But, fuck it – it’s very hard for me to accept the idea that when it’s male behavior that mostly needs changing that males should keep out of the conversation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Dan Salmon,

    The Rock’s recent National Crate Day, meant booze companies got free advertising from bozo DJs, and we get young, dumb and full of cum dickheads wandering around the burbs, harrassing women and smashing bottles on the road.
    Call them out. Take their photos. Ring their mothers.

    Do we know the mothers of these so called DJ's?...
    I think a better way to send the message is to sack said DJ's, not easy when our "Prime munter" thinks they are so Kool. (see what I did there? cool with a k, really klevar).
    Kids today have no empathy, must be a Key thing.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • B Jones,

    I remember the story Maggie Barry told about being assaulted by Rolf Harris during an interview. Didn't get called out at the time; only years after. I remember the talk about young groupies in the 70s that broke out after David Bowie's death. Things have changed - we're more able and willing to call it out now. It's depressing and disheartening to see our friends and idols' clay feet, and depressing to think of how slow progress is, but maybe this will serve as the kind of consciousness raising that was so important to second wave feminism.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report

  • Ali Gill,

    First time post, long time follower here. Felt the need to contribute a thought/opinion because this whole thing touches on something that's been bugging me for a while.

    I guess I too am in the camp of 'this shit is getting worse' even though I'm only freshly 30. I just don't recall me or my friends having the sort of strong opinions and demonstrating the same extreme behaviour I seem to observe within 18-25 year olds nowadays.

    In saying this, I feel the misogyny was always there, this in itself hasn't changed. My Dad and his buddies are just as bad as me and mine, and we're all as bad as 'kids nowadays.' I just feel that maybe, just maybe, there is less inhibition now. That the kind of extreme misogyny shown here is a product of the same attitudes, but on steroids. It's like there's this tumour that's been hiding in plain sight, killing us all this time, but we've decided to give it a boost.

    Hate to scapegoat or point to an all too easy reason for our woes but one example of this 'roiding can be found in porn. Porn HAS gotten more violent towards, incredibly so. Whether or not this is a catalyst for, or just a reflection of, change, is beside the point. This shit is just waaaaay more accessible than it ever has been. Young men are watching the legitimised abuse of women dressed up as legitimate sexual fantasy - sexual abuse has being sold as normal sexual behaviour, the legitimate expression of a normal male sexual drive. Just think on that. how fucking damaging is this shit?

    And that's why I think that maybe, just maybe, things ARE worse than they used to be in the sense that things are objectively less physically safe for women? Previously, during my heyday as a teen, guys would look at a girl and think 'what a piece of ass' as if that girl's only role in life is as a sexual object for you. Now however, maybe guys think that and ACT on it. Because they've been desensitized, acting aggressively on the worse impulses bred into us by years of patriarchal shit has become normalized.

    So, I'm sure I would've been guilty of thinking it would be awesome to unzip a girls top infront of me at Laneway. I wouldn't have done it though because I would've thought that'd not be cool, not normal, and I would've faced consequences from those around me. But maybe now guys don't have all that stopping them, in fact, they have a whole lot of stuff urging them to actually do it.

    Anyone understand where I'm coming from?

    NB: I'm in now way justifying the behaviour, or trying to victimise the aggressors. Sorry if it comes across that way. I'm just trying to find a reason for what I perceive as a fundamental change in younger guys.

    Since Feb 2016 • 7 posts Report

  • Joanna, in reply to Russell Brown,

    what would you like me to do?

    Good question and I don't have all the answers. I think though that maybe a good starting point might be a little like "I didn't realise how offensive many people found Jarrod & Sacha reducing to women to genitals when I was championing their work. I also didn't know that we had a commentator notorious for their dubious interpretations of consent. Would it be helpful if we had a discussion around codes of conduct? Do we need a stricter moderation policy? What are some examples from other places on the web which are really great at hearing people's voices? Would it be useful to move this conversation to a new thread so this one can concentrate purely on ways to make gigs safer?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    As an aside, I went to a big concert last year that was one of the most friendly and chilled shows I can recall.

    There was a remarkable age-range – from teens to sixtysomethings – and a lot of women, including groups of middle-aged women enjoying themselves without male accompaniment.

    The headliners of this musical idyll? Bogan totems AC/DC.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Has anyone made any complaints to the Police. It would be good if TV3 could follow through as the Employer of Kim Vinell? Will anyone else make a complaint. The Police kept saying throughout the roastbuster abuse that no one had made a complaint. TV3 are in the perfect position to follow this up.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joanna,

    “I didn’t realise how offensive many people found Jarrod & Sacha reducing to women to genitals when I was championing their work.

    Jarrod's blurt when he heard Kirsty was being attacked online was not his finest moment. I'm pretty sure he assumed it was men who were doing it. I don't recall "championing his work" since then, but are you saying I should never praise anything he writes? And Sacha? If it's what I'm thinking of, you might want to check the details. I think you may have it wrong.

    I also didn’t know that we had a commentator notorious for their dubious interpretations of consent.

    I don't know what this means, but I know you've been alluding to it elsewhere. I'd rather you emailed me about it, rather than continually alluding to something I know nothing about, which isn't helpful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Tinakori, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "They really look like Young Nats."

    Yes, of course, they must have been. Just like the people in the crowded beer hall during the 2014 election chanting Fuck John Key to a PM of Jewish descent at the urging of a German agitator . Agent provocateurs, of course. As, no doubt, was the jackass who wrote the song about abusing Stephie Key.

    Glass houses --- stones, etc

    There's a real danger that when your political allegiance becomes too large a part of your personal identity your ability to think clearly declines.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Has anyone made any complaints to the Police. It would be good if TV3 could follow through as the Employer of Kim Vinell? Will anyone else make a complaint. The Police kept saying throughout the roastbuster abuse that no one had made a complaint. TV3 are in the perfect position to follow this up.

    I think Kim feels she made her point by confronting the idiots.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Joanna,


    Indeed no. We need to look at where this behavior comes from.
    The media coverage of seemingly innocent fads, like "Planking" for instance elevates the acceptance of these actions, especially when that fad is played up to by a majour public figure and twittered about the twatosphere. Our Prime Minister would do well to acknowledge his actions toward a young woman working in a cafe sends a message of "abuse is ok if it makes someone laugh". Dj's could do better at spreading the message that being a dick is not OK.
    We have, for a long time, had this ridiculous concept of "Mad is Funny", think morning radio shows and their ilk and that leads down a very slippery slope, not to mention denigration of those with mental problems but also gets used as and excuse by youthful and sometimes not so youthful drunks in public. This behavior is self sustaining as the "you don't look like an idiot if we know you are acting" spreads to your mates and they all have a laugh, they try to "Outmad" each other and then the shit hits the fan.
    The Police have a responsibility here too. Those two morons that abused the woman doing the "Live Cross" (don't get me started on the "Live Cross", we can do that another time) have been found and named, the police have no excuse not to hold these twats up to public ridicule and punishment.
    But then they had no excuse not to act over the "Roast Busters" .
    They had no excuse not to act over the failure to go to the aid of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Iraena_Asher .
    They had no excuse not to act over the complaint of Louise Nicholas apart from their complicity.
    A thought just came to me... Was Max Key playing DJ at Laneway? were these guys representative of the culture that is encouraged by people we should normally respect?
    When those that set themselves above others behave badly then what do you expect to happen?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

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