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Games and Music, the New Book Burning 218

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the someone-needs-to-reread-fahrenheit-451 dept.
It seems that a Newport News, VA pastor finally got around to reading Fahrenheit 451 and has decided that it was a good idea. Despite several studies claiming the contrary, Rev. Richard Patrick is blaming violent video games and music for crimes that he say has affected 90% of his congregation in one way or another.
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Games and Music, the New Book Burning

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  • read the interview (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:52PM (#23715453) Homepage Journal
    It's worth clicking through to this interview [dailypress.com] which is linked in tfa. It's not as bad as they are making it out to be, in my opinion. He talks a lot about reasons for the problems and doesn't talk about video games that I could tell. The closest was this question and answer:
     
      Q: How significant a problem do you believe violent video games and violent rap music is?

    A: It has a tremendous influence on young people and violence. That's basically all they see. Most of them try to emulate what they see, when in reality, the people they see don't even live in those communities. Some of the rappers they see on TV portraying crime don't live in the urban areas - they live in the suburbs somewhere. It's all a facade.

     
    It sounds to me like he is responding to the rap music part of the question and never deals directly with the video game part. But ultimately that doesn't even matter. If people want to voluntarily burn their own property - more power to them. Where I live we call that freedom of speach.
    • by jacquesm (154384) <j@ww.3.14159com minus pi> on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:59PM (#23715545) Homepage
      Rock music in the fifies, rap music today, it makes really no difference. Anybody that 'emulates' some figure be it a pop musician, a movie star or a religious figure should learn to think for themselves.

      All these people getting their panties in a twist about some kids being influenced should spend more time educating individuals, not attacking the availability of role models, no matter where you go you'll find good ones and bad ones.

      If parents can't educate their kids to the point where the kids are so easily influenced then the solution is not to attack the people that are being followed.

      It's not like these rappers have mind control or anything like that.
      • by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:27PM (#23715921) Journal
        What's funny to me is that we in the west look at conservative mullahs in the middle east shutting down rock music and dancing, and we have a good laugh at how backwards they are. Then conservatives in the west turn around and try to ban comic books, or dungeons and dragons, or marijuana, or violent video games.

        It's all the same thing, some conservative nitwit gets scared of something new, and they try to ban it instead of understanding it. It's a real shame we keep falling for it.
        • by Applekid (993327) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:39PM (#23716113)

          . . . Then conservatives in the west turn around and try to ban comic books, or dungeons and dragons, or marijuana, or violent video games. . . . It's a real shame we keep falling for it.
          Only 1 out of the 4 you mentioned are successfully banned in the US. Sounds to me that we're not continually falling for it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by debatem1 (1087307)
            Depends on where you are and who you are. In some parts of South Carolina, for instance, it is illegal to sell games that include graphic violence or other "immoral material". D&D is banned in many conservative parts of the country under inconsistently enforced witchcraft laws, comics are sometimes covered under 'adult printed material' for age limits, and of course ex cons are restricted from pretty much all of the above in many cases.
        • by gcalvin (325380) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:58PM (#23716357) Homepage

          What's funny to me is that we in the west look at conservative mullahs in the middle east shutting down rock music and dancing, and we have a good laugh at how backwards they are. Then conservatives in the west turn around and try to ban comic books, or dungeons and dragons, or marijuana, or violent video games...
          ...and we have a good laugh at them too.
          • by mgblst (80109)
            He makes a good point. What the report on the media is the extremists, whereas most people don't really care, and do laught at them. But we see the extermists and think that the country (Iraq, Iran) is full of them.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Kemanorel (127835)
          For what it's worth, marijuana was banned due to pressure from the cotton industry. "Reefer Madness" was just a front. The effects of marijuana are arguably no different than smoking (health-wise) and alcohol (impairment-wise), if not less than either. in fact, I know someone that turns into a raging violent person when he drinks, but can smoke all day, enjoy it more, and not want to beat the shit out of everyone in a 5-mile radius.

          When are we going to realize that prohibition really doesn't work and onl
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by FLEB (312391)
            When are we going to realize that prohibition really doesn't work and only serves to prop up criminal enterprises?

            Once they take off the "PSA" ads and allow a little open discussion. Unfortunately, it's a nice little feedback loop once you get the "drugs are bad" message repeated over and over sans opposition for a generation or two.

            Even as someone who would like sane permission-- or even a start toward open, fair study and debate-- on less harmful recreational drugs, the constant anti-marijuana sentiment f
        • Works both ways (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Reziac (43301) *
          TFA says, "Young people are being influenced by what they see and what they hear."

          Okay, for the purpose of argument, let's allow as how that's true. Given that, what sort of influence is thereby exerted when children watch adults burn video games, books, or any other "bad" stuff??

          • by fermion (181285)
            What scares me is not what they see in video games, but what they hear in the church

            Misogynism and general hate [washblade.com], "Sisters making more money than brothers and it's creating problems in families ... that's one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians," Wilson said. One might attribute such hate to the women being raped and killed in video games rather than the Baptist church. I wonder where the game developers learned to treat women as objects, in church, as kids?

            Bling Bling [lakewood.cc]. God wants yo

      • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:31PM (#23715997)
        In the 50s, rock music was radical - compared to society - but society was pretty rigid back then. You called your teacher/cop/authority figure "Sir" otherwise your father gave you a thrashing.

        Now rap music is radical - compared to society - but society has lost those controls that it had. Extreme now != extreme then.

        In the 50s very, very few kids would have taken "Kill the fucking cop" songs to heart.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by profplump (309017)
          Are you suggesting that in the not-50s (i.e. now) not-very-very-few kids (i.e. a non-trivial portion of kids) would take "Kill the fucking cop" songs to heart? Because I think we're short a few thousand cop killings for that to be statistically accurate.

          And if that's not what you're suggesting I don't understand the point of the last line of your post, other a somewhat more topical (though no more useful) "kids these days" complaint.
        • by dangitman (862676)

          In the 50s very, very few kids would have taken "Kill the fucking cop" songs to heart.

          Likewise, in 2008, very, very few kids would take the "kill the fucking cop" song to heart. It's just a performance, not a command or statement of intent.

      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:35PM (#23716063) Homepage Journal

        learn to think for themselves.
        That's not what organized religions want.
      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:38PM (#23716095)
        Here's what cracks me up: apparently, the kids are so easily influenced that just listening to some rap song or playing some video game corrupts their minds. However, the parents and community, with whom the kids interact far more than with their music and games, is incapable of influencing them.

        The only conclusion I can draw: parents and preachers are less involved in their kids lives than music and videogames. Either that, or they are less interactive than Nico Bellic.
        • by fool4jesus (1301297) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:46PM (#23716205)
          It would be great if you knew what you were talking about. I spend a lot of effort trying to interact with my kids. I spend a lot of time talking to them, and listening to them. However, they spend a lot more time talking to their friends and being on-line. It's easy to do nothing and then point the blame at the parents when things go wrong. The reality is that most parents are trying hard to do the right thing, but time and peer pressure make it very difficult. Finally, I find it interesting that some of the same people who support "it takes a village to raise a child" scream like crazy when somebody so much as suggests that the community even HELP raise kids.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jacquesm (154384)
            I have a child too and my experience runs quite contrary to yours. My child comes to me to ask me about the weird behaviour of their friends and if it is ok not to be a 'part of the group'.

            This is europe, I'm not sure where you are though, and I can imagine that depending on the cultural background individuality is harder to maintain.
        • by jc42 (318812)
          [A]pparently, the kids are so easily influenced that just listening to some rap song or playing some video game corrupts their minds. However, the parents and community, with whom the kids interact far more than with their music and games, is incapable of influencing them.

          Well, y'see, that's because the kids have been going to Sunday School, where they were introduced to the Bible. That book is well known as one of the most violent, vicious, racist, misogynist, things ever produced. After all that biblica
        • I was reading my paper a couple of weeks ago, and there was a column at the back of one section that talked about video games in a rather negative light. The columnist referred to a study about the effects of video games on children's minds. It said nothing about the violence (kudos, because so many people conflate video games with violent video games), rather it talked about the neurological effects of excessive playing (not just playing, excessive playing). It said that the constant gratification from sho
      • by Eil (82413)
        That's all well and good, except that your post has nothing to do with the one you replied to. The parent (which you presumably didn't read) outright said that there wasn't much substance to the article and that there really isn't anything in there to get worked up about.

        But of course, you'd also have to read the article to know that.

        The Fahrenheit 451 reference in the Slashdot summary is a bit over top since he's not advocating making either games or music illegal. He's just saying, "Hey, these things are
        • Dave Mustaine, frontman for Megadeth, said in the late '80s that he was glad people (the PMRC, IIRC) were burning his albums: "they have to buy them before they can burn them." <grin>
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by davolfman (1245316)
        I dunno. I think rock lacked much of the "Sell my culture down the river for a buck." theme that rap seems to embrace. And don't get me started on how much basketball sucks these days.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clang_jangle (975789)
      Yep. Looks like the real headline for this summary should be something like, "Paranoid, Over-Caffeinated Gamers Fear Christian Wrath". Jeesh!
    • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:04PM (#23715611)
      I live in Va, on the south side of the river. What the post and tfa fail to mention is that the area where his congregation are is a heavy drug crime related area.
      search Wickham Ave [spotcrime.com]

      Some more interesting data, the average income in this area is less than half the states average income. Income and home value tables [city-data.com]

      With numbers like these the problem is not video games or violent music, the true problem is socio-economical.
      • With numbers like these the problem is not video games or violent music, the true problem is socio-economical.

        You raise a very good point about incomes, but, video games and violent music make up some of the "socio" part of socio-economical.

        Your point raises the deeper question, which is what causes violence to be such a large part of poor culture in that area? Why is violence glorified?

        I know, it's a big question for a Monday afternoon, but a lot of people think that glorification of violence in music a

        • by dangitman (862676) on Monday June 09, 2008 @07:01PM (#23717091)

          I know, it's a big question for a Monday afternoon, but a lot of people think that glorification of violence in music and video games carries over into common life, moreso in poor areas than wealthy ones.

          Why do people only ever seem to mention the glorification of violence when it comes to music or video games? the other day I saw the new "Indiana Jones" film - and it had parts where grisly deaths were actual comedic elements, and the entire cinema laughed out loud.

          On the other hand, even in very violent video games or rap music, the violence is usually portrayed as something dark and sinister - not as a punch-line to a joke.

          Personally, I find the use of violence as comedy in Tv and films to be much more disturbing that its use in video games and rap music. It's much more contextualized in the music and video games, while in the film/TV mediums it often appears to be entirely gratuitous. Yet the moral crusaders appear to be more concerned about showing boobies or saying "fuck" than they are about the consequence-free violence.

    • by Essron (231281) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:10PM (#23715689)
      agreed, but i think we can all agree that invoking the reputation and usual applications of 'book burning' is in terribly bad taste due to how horrible the connotations are.

      furthermore i doubt he was thinking of this in terms of a clever free speech statement, rather he made a poorly thought out statement using unnecessarily loaded words.
    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:19PM (#23715809)

      If people want to voluntarily burn their own property - more power to them. Where I live we call that freedom of speach.
      Where I live we also call that needless pollution.

      If you disapprove of a particular book (or video game, etc.), don't burn it: rather, just don't buy it in the first place.
    • If people want to voluntarily burn their own property - more power to them. Where I live we call that freedom of speach.

      Exactly the point that most people seem to be missing.

      1. Farenheit 451 (and real oppressive governments): the government seizes and burns books from people.
      2. What is being proposed here: people voluntarily burn their own property as a symbolic gesture.
      3. Being unable to see the difference is plains stupid.

        There are plenty of Farenheit 451 situations around: The British law banning possession of certain books (with a very vague definition of what is banned) is a good example. This is not.

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:54PM (#23715479)
    See above
  • by pigiron (104729) on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:56PM (#23715507) Homepage
    and has every right in the world to burn whatever he wants that is his in order to make a point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yep, and I'm sure the video game industry doesn't mind his followers burning stuff they've already bought. If they ever decide to "turn back to their own vomit^H^H^H^H^Hvideo games and rap albums" in the future, they'll have to buy them all over again. Hell, the *IAA will be thrilled, because they'll be burning them instead of giving them away to their friends. ;)

      I recall seeing a documentary once (too lazy to look it up now to verify the story) that claimed William Tyndale's production of bibles in the 1
  • I think we set the webserver at gamepolitics.com up in smoke as well...
  • by object88 (568048) on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:57PM (#23715523)
    ... think of what burning all that plastic will do to the environment!
  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Monday June 09, 2008 @04:57PM (#23715525) Homepage
    As long as we always have SOMETHING or SOMEONE to blame, we never have to be responsible for our own actions.

    Slashdot made me do it!
  • Crime is new (Score:4, Insightful)

    by electricbern (1222632) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:01PM (#23715567)
    Yes, yes, it's all music and games fault, after all, before music and games there was no crime and no violence. "Witch" burning only happened after a Burn the Witch video-game and war and massacre only happened after we got a song telling us to do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, yes, it's all music and games fault, after all, before music and games there was no crime and no violence.

      Cool - so since people died before guns were invented, guns aren't dangerous? Or since people got cancer before radium was discovered, it's OK to stand in the reaction chamber of a nuclear reactor? I don't agree that video games and music are the source of all of society's problems - I'm not even sure I'm convinced that they are the source of any of society's problems. However, just because th

  • by everphilski (877346) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:04PM (#23715623) Journal
    The original article [dailypress.com] is pretty tame. Nowhere does "Rev. Richard Patrick is blaming violent video games and music for crimes that he say has affected 90% of his congregation in one way or another". Rather he answers the question "Have you been affected personally by the violence", in which he responds, "Not only has it affected me, but, I would say, 90 percent of the congregation has been affected in some way by violence or crime."

    The closest he comes to bringing games to violence is when he answeres the question "How significant a problem do you believe violent video games and violent rap music is" with "It has a tremendous influence on young people and violence. That's basically all they see. Most of them try to emulate what they see, when in reality, the people they see don't even live in those communities. Some of the rappers they see on TV portraying crime don't live in the urban areas -- they live in the suburbs somewhere. It's all a facade."

    Where I think, to a point, he's straight on. Note, he never says "games cause violence". Rather he says the same thing most parents will tell you about kids, and most computer scientists will tell you about comptuers - garbage in, garbage out. What you surround yourself with is what you become familiar with. And the sad part is, like he says, it's all a facade.

    Please, RTFA before blowing it out of proportions.
    • by thermian (1267986)
      Read the article? What are you, sick?

      I think this whole things laughable. Its just the same old 'them versus us' thing, only this time its the pro game people trying to perpetuate the argument.

      Next up, some psycho kid will go on a rampage and try to get his sentence reduced by claiming it was all because of the games he played, and then it'll be the anti game peoples turn.

      Sigh......
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:27PM (#23715923) Homepage Journal
      Actually this guy does seem to be trying to make a difference. I don't think that Gangster rap or video games cause violence but as I have tried to say time and time again if books and art can influence people they why not music and video games?
      Anyone want to claim that the Turner Diaries or Mein Komf never influenced anybody to act in a less than pleasant way?
      Who hasn't heard someone say that this or that book has changed their life?
      There is nothing wrong with saying "I don't think kids should play violent video games"
      Just as there is nothing wrong saying that "I don't think people should eat meat".
      This is only a problem when people try and make them illegal.
      There is a huge difference between dislike and censorship. I don't want my kids reading the Turner diaries but I don't want them outlawed.

      Saying that music and video games can not effect people is the same as saying that no form of art can effect anybody for good or evil.
    • (Look, I couldn't very well let this article go by without comment ...)
       
      Just keep your facts to yourself Sir. We've got a few houses to burn down in the area ... with all this talk about "reading the effing article", I think a call to the fire station might be in order. Sounds like you might have a book or two in there.
  • All you need to know (Score:5, Informative)

    by Oddster (628633) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:13PM (#23715731)
    To disprove anybody who thinks there's even a positive correlation between violent video games, music, movies, etc and the violent crime rate in this country, simply ask them about the White House [whitehouse.gov] crime statistics, or even go to the horses mouth and ask the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics [usdoj.gov].

    The rise of exceptionally violent and explicit media, starting in the early to mid 90's, is actually inversely related to the violent crime rates. That's right - as media has gotten more violent, actual violent crime has provably gone down.

    Anybody trying to claim that violent media is responsible for any objective worsening of American society doesn't have a single iota of evidence in their favor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arccot (1115809)

      Anybody trying to claim that violent media is responsible for any objective worsening of American society doesn't have a single iota of evidence in their favor.

      Violence statistics aren't just a reflection of music or video games, it's the result of too many factors to count. You can't correlate the two, good or bad. Saying violent video games are good because crime has gone down is like saying apples are unhealthy because a rise in eating apples correlates with a rise of obesity in the US. There's no correlation if you don't eliminate external factors.

      As far as evidence for video games causing violent behavior, there have been a couple of studies now that show

      • Because the studies are done by morons who have a predetermined outcome in mind. This happens all too often in the behavioural science, unfortunately.

        The one that sticks out the best in my mind was one that found just that: People got more hyped up and "aggressive" (thought that wasn't well defined) after playing a violent game. Ok... Except the test was garbage. For the violent game they chose the original Unreal Tournament (keep in mind this study was done just a few years ago) and for the non-violent gam
    • by nomadic (141991)
      The rise of exceptionally violent and explicit media, starting in the early to mid 90's, is actually inversely related to the violent crime rates. That's right - as media has gotten more violent, actual violent crime has provably gone down.

      You think media has gotten more violent? I was around during the 80s and 90s, and I remember TV shows in the 80s being a lot more violent than those in the 90s.
  • Hasn't violent crime been steadily decreasing [google.com] despite the increase in violent video games?

    Burning the games may not make crime go back up (as I don't think the games are soley responsible for the decrease), but I like video games. Just give them to me instead of burning them.
  • This is nothing new. Church leaders have been building bonfires of whatever was deemed ungodly for centuries. Girolamo Savonarola [wikipedia.org] was spectacularly successful with his Bonfires of the Vanities in 1490's Florence. It all came to a bad end, at least from the viewpoint of Savonarola and the conservatives.
  • > Rev. Richard Patrick is blaming violent video games and music for crimes that he say
    > has affected 90% of his congregation in one way or another.

    What about fraudulent theories of cosmology that have affected 100% of your congregetion in one way or another, almost certainly detrimentally, and even more certainly far worse than video games' effects?
  • Shameful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ^_^x (178540) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:39PM (#23716111)
    We are considering having something similar to a rally where parents and children can bring CDs and video games that they consider are destructive to the mind set of our youth and have a burning...

      Young people are being influenced by what they see and what they hear. They are being influenced by television ... television and videos are telling young people a vision but something that's not reality...


    How sad is that? Kids have all kinds of games that bask in sex and violence, and if you ask most of them, they'll tell you it's just a game and that's what they're like. Then you have people like him, inciting grown adults to go out and do this empty, ignorant, exercise in hating a common enemy so they can feel like they've made a difference. The adults are behaving more foolishly and suggestibly than the children!

    If these crimes have effected 90% of his congregation, maybe the common factor to the crimes is not gaming but... his congregation?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:40PM (#23716121) Homepage
    If you are listening to violent, misogynistic garbage like most gangsta rap while you are going about your day, you are just feeding yourself a steady stream of crap. It's not entirely unlike propaganda in that respect, since it is ambient information that just keeps hitting you, hitting you, hitting you. Since it is passive, not active, your brain is probably not actively engaging and analyzing the input the way it would with a book or video game.

    I'm about as libertarian as they come. Some of my positions are damn near scary to others because I believe that people have a right to screw up their own lives. However, I'm also not blind to the fact that things like pornography and violent, depraved music are psychologically harmful when regularly consumed. I've known friends who are hopelessly addicted to porn, for example. IMO, the reverend is probably not far off when he blames violent and sexual media for some of his congregation's recurring problems.

    Granted, as a Christian, and a liberal calvinist, I would remind the good reverend what the "T" in TULIP stands for: Total Depravity. As my pastor has said before, if you want to slow down and maybe mostly stop sin in your life, don't fight the sin. Come to Jesus instead; when your focus is on Jesus, your focus won't be on sin.
    • by mbius (890083)
      If you are listening to violent, misogynistic garbage like most gangsta rap while you are going about your day, you are just feeding yourself a steady stream of crap.

      Whereas the violent, misogynist garbage in the bible has vitamin C in it.

      Since it is passive, not active, your brain is probably not actively engaging and analyzing the input the way it would with a book or video game.

      I note with some interest you say "passive" entertainment is more corruptive than "active" entertainment, for precisely t
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday June 09, 2008 @05:59PM (#23716363) Homepage Journal

    Rev. Richard Patrick is blaming violent video games and music for crimes that he say has affected 90% of his congregation in one way or another.


    So 90% of his congregation is involved in violent crimes (as perp or victim). Why doesn't he blame himself? He's the one responsible for protecting their souls. 90% is a high correlation. Maybe Rev. Patrick is the common factor that's responsible for these crimes.

    At the very least, he's insulting god by saying that rappers and videogame devs are stronger than god. But maybe god just doesn't have nearly as good an agent in Rev. Patrick as does the devil.
  • emotional content, and is subject to summary distruction.

    Wait. A Cleric stating that emotional content is bad?

    AH SHIT SHOOT HIM SHOOT HIM!

    For those people who have never seen Equilibrium...

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=lcTft47wsDg [youtube.com]

    Fun starts at 1:45.

    Also if you have not seen this movie, it is a must, a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes a movie can be worth a million (though as of late, not often.)
  • Then why was there almost the same amount of crime before video games and "violent" types of music. People dueled to the death to solve stupid arguements like 200 years ago and they didn't have to see it in video games or hear it in a song first. Today most people wouldn't even consider doing something like that.
  • Children these days are bombarded with violence. It is presented in many forms some of which are glorified.

    The majority of these forms are presented on simple broadcast television.

    I certainly don't want the government to start regulating. I also don't want some "reverend" to start preaching about it.

    I've read enough studies to know that a steady diet of violence does breed aggressive behavior. It certainly doesn't promote peaceful problem solving skills.

    That being said, I want my fucking games. I am 32
  • As always the truth of the matter is somewhere in between.

    No I haven't read the article, nor the interview, so what do I know about anything? Well, we've been over this theme before, and as always what is being made the main point of the story is the conflict, not what this or that guy has actually said; so I choose to skip all that and go straight to the point: people's anxiety concerning games, music and youth culture in general.

    It is not true of course, that violent games or rap music create violence whe
  • Speaking from a historical standpoint,this "man of God" is making wild claims as if to "create the problem" and interject himself as the one who will lead the flock to the solution.
    My point;People are much less likely to solve their interrelational problems with violence as 500 or even 100 years ago.Anything outside of a church pew that stirs the emotions of people is a potential target for "rock star"preachers.Just turn on your T.V. some Sunday morning and see if this is

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