Archive for the 'Arts/Pop Culture/Misc.' Category

Taking you there

Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point.

Joni Mitchell

I think Joni’s probably right about some stuff here; that’s why I’m starting my discussion of Glee’s Madonna episode with a quote from a totally amazing interview that ran two days after it aired. I don’t know that it’s really popular or interesting to say, but something did change around 1980. I wasn’t there, so I don’t exactly know how people felt at Woodstock, but you get the sense that people still really felt like things could change. Things were changing, and there was nowhere to go but up: our institutions would all be remade. Then what really happened is basically every progressive movement and piece of culture either got forgotten or it got co-opted.

I’m not trying to be all boo-hoo death of the 60s here. I can’t really imagine what endless potential could have felt like because I grew up in a world where it was already foreclosed.

Madonna’s a good avatar of a lot of this stuff because of what she’s stood for. She’s a master appropriator, the face of “post-feminism,” and she’s kind of the perfect postmodern pop star in that no one really talks about her talent at singing: it’s all about her persona. (Not to say that she hasn’t produced some amazing music, but that tends to get submerged in the Madonna narrative. She reinvents herself, she makes smart choices, she positions herself.) More importantly, Madonna was one of the first people to basically say that she was going to work the system. She couldn’t sell out, because she’d already bought in. When the Beatles were in a Nike commercial, it was controversial, it was Yoko tarnishing their legacy. When Madonna was a in Pepsi commercial, it was cross-promotion. (Pepsi wound up pulling her ad after two airings because the video for the same song included burning crucifixes, but Madonna was cool with it. She did what she wanted and she got paid.)

That’s why — more than the gay icon thing, which is admittedly a huge part of all of the above, since camp is one of the most powerful weapons we have against the corporate monoculture when it’s deployed right, though you have to be careful, because it’s not immune from being packaged and sold to us — Glee devoted a whole episode to “the power of Madonna” this week. The way they frame Madonna — as an unproblematic feminist icon and force for equality — puts Glee pretty firmly in the pop as liberation camp. Not that there aren’t political positives to the whole hour. A group of seven dudes harmonizing on “What It Feels Like For A Girl” — and realizing that they are kind of responsible in little ways for making the women in their lives feel a bit smaller — is a pretty inspiring and progressive scene to have on TV. Plus the part where America was all really psyched to watch a 50-year-old lesbian reenact the “Vogue” video. Even having a real conversation about how disempowered girls feel seems crazy-progressive these days. Hearing Quinn tell Mr. Schue that women make 70 cents on the dollar, and the implied sense that there’s nothing we can do is heartbreaking.

I want to point out that I really do love Glee since I will be saying some pretty cynical things about it. I think it’s really well done. It’s a musical about high school. And feelings. Its title is even a feeling. It’s also awfully dark and cynical. At its best you get the sense that living in a small town in Middle America is really shitty and singing pop music in glee club is all these people have.

The fact that they sing already-existing pop music is the best part of the show. For me, this makes it really so much about how much we shape our emotional lives to the prepackaged content made available by “the music industry.” It feels more “real” than something like “Fame” where they mostly sang originals because we’ve all probably done the exact same thing. What teenage girl hasn’t sung something like “Take a Bow” into a hairbrush after a breakup?

They do manage to wrench some strongly felt emotion out of stuff like this:

Avril Lavigne has never been so poignant.

But, some people complain, the musical numbers don’t always feel right. Even the New York Times, on what’s maybe Glee’s most awkward scene.

With that, he tears into “(You’re) Having My Baby,” the maudlin 1974 Paul Anka love dollop, saying the words he wasn’t able to without a melody.

In the “Glee” universe, which revolves around the show choir from William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, music is a curative, a perfect problem solver. It’s not a job or an obligation or a drag in any way, even when the subject matter is heavy, music is only joy. Finn’s plan ultimately backfires — Quinn’s father, infuriated, throws her out of the house — but by the end of the episode his outburst of song has paid dividends. The couple is together, in love and, for the moment, healed.

But still, that song: lumpy, unsteady, cringe-worthy. “Glee” may love music, but often it abuses it, with performances wholly lacking grit. In each episode a handful of songs receive similar treatment: antiseptically elated, heavily doctored recordings, with no line between the truly affecting and the genuinely off-putting.

It’s not just that the songs are pre-recorded and lipsynched, unless you want to raise that complaint at virtually every movie musical shot in the last 80 years. It’s not just the autotune, though that probably doesn’t help. It’s the subtle disconnect between the “feelings” expressed in “You’re Having My Baby,” and the complex emotions of the actual situation.

This happens to Finn a lot, actually. Possibly because he’s so dumb. Just last week, Mr. Schue gets him to buck up by singing the Doors. It wasn’t really that the song expressed his feelings — it’s more that his feelings get changed by the song. The song is like a magical incantation that changes his feelings at least temporarily. I will at some point quote someone other than Adorno on my blog, but I think he has a totally germane point here, which is essentially that rather than expressing some thing we inherently feel, pop culture introduces us to things that we should be feeling: “The dream industry does not so much fabricate the dreams of the consumers as introduce the dreams of the suppliers among the people.”1

The short version of my point is that Glee is a postmodern musical. Instead of having original songs meant to be perfectly integrated expressions of the characters’ innermost feelings, the characters try (and often fail) to express their feelings using the packaged emotions available to them in pop music. Pop music even drives what they should be feeling, like with Finn, or with the way Madonna’s strong take-charge sexual ethos convinced Rachel and Emma both that they should be ready. Madonna has a positive effect too: Sue learns to love herself by reeanacting the “Vogue” video, and Kurt and Mercedes decide to step outside glee club and be the stars they are in probably the most joyous performance of the night, “Four Minutes.” So, I don’t want to be all-negative about how pop music makes us feel, because it’s really not. As much as it sells us stuff, including itself, pop music also brings us together and it can and does speak to real things we’re feeling.

Ending with “Like a Prayer” makes perfect sense. Though I’ve always maintained that it’s a song about blow jobs (“When you call my name it’s like a little prayer/ down on my knees, I wanna take you there/ In the midnight hour, I can feel your power”), I am willing to consider that it probably has other meanings. The “there” where she wants to take you, where your voice can take her: it’s wherever you want it to be. There is an obvious sexual meaning, but the juxtaposition of the sex with the gospel choir gives the whole thing a sense of a kind of religious ecstasy. On Glee, where religion when it’s mentioned at all is just another form of hypocrisy (the celibacy club, Quinn’s parents who throw her pregnant ass out in a very un-Christ-like manner), letting the choir sing is as close as we get to the sense of community and of touching the numinous that everyone can get. It’s kind of an invocation to pop. For a few minutes, it really seems like we can get there. Does it really matter that the song was first heard in a Pepsi commercial?

I really don’t have an answer to that question. If I did, I would have culture pretty much solved. At its best, like it was this week, Glee makes a strong case that pop’s ability to shape our feelings is full of positive potential: potential to make us more empathetic, stronger, more beautiful, more free. But it also ultimately limits what we can feel: as much as Madonna’s message is equality and strength, it really still does emphasize a certain kind of sexualized “strong woman” who’s okay with the system as long as she gets paid. (Like she did. This week.) This wouldn’t be a problem if there were non-commercial versions of female strength and sexuality available to us — or even if the market allowed for more alternative versions of what that could look like — but that’s not the world we live in. So celebrating the times when something progressive or even subversive breaks through the net is often the best we can do.

  1. Page 93, “The Schema of Mass Culture,” in The Culture Industry

Cherry Bombs

Besides both being movies I saw this weekend, Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976) and The Runaways (Floria Sigismondi, 2010) have in common that they both open with scenes of a teen girl getting her first period. Carrie is from 1976. That first scene in The Runaways — which actually opens with a shot of blood falling on pavement — is set in 1975. Both of them are about different ways the power of womanhood runs away with the main characters. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Sigismondi chose to start The Runaways with that image, also.

In Carrie, and this has I’m sure been discussed ad nauseum by all the people who’ve seen it in the past 35 years, Carrie’s telekinetic powers first start to manifest when she gets her period. In the beginning, this seems like a good thing. Carrie asserts her own power, telling her mom it’s not the devil, it’s her, and decides to make a cute dress and go to the prom and be happy for a minute without worrying about sin. But of course — this totally backfires. When Carrie gets upset by a cruel high school prank, she loses control and burns down her school gym with everyone in it. Then she kills John Travolta by crashing his car and crucifies her own mom. (Granted, her mom had already stabbed her, but Carrie’s “fling every pointed object in the kitchen into her mom’s torso” method seems excessive.) The takeaway is that menstruation and therefore the female body are scary and monstrous.

Things are different in The Runaways: it’s not a horror movie, it’s a rock n’ roll biopic. But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it starts with De Palma’s image of female grotesque-ness. In the hands of a lady filmmaker making a movie about lady culture, the period is no longer a source of supernatural horror. It’s just a pain in the ass. But it sets the scene for the story that follows, which is about Cherie Currie having her own form of power – the ability to make herself, to perform, to be fierce, to be Bardot and Bowie – packaged and sold as something she can’t really control. It’s not a coincidence that Cherie’s song is “Cherry Bomb”: “Hello Daddy, hello mom/ I’m your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb/ Hello world, I’m your wild girl/ I’m your ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb.” She’s offering herself up to you in all her jailbait sexiness, but it is clear that she will blow right up in your face. In the movie, a lot is made of the way Kim Fowley tries to commodify her self-made image and claim it as his own. This is the main source of conflict between her and the other heroine, Joan Jett. Selling yourself like Cherie does is (as countless contemporary female celebrities can tell you) a hard road to walk: it doesn’t take much for things to blow up in Cherie’s face, and she’s left alone, working a menial job in a store.

Cherie’s story is not that much of a different message about teen female sexuality from Carrie’s. But the difference is that The Runaways has two girls in it. Joan Jett’s going through the ups and downs of fame right along with Cherie — but for her it’s never about anything but the music. It’s not a simple good girl/bad girl story: Joan’s complicity in turning Cherie into a Cherry Bomb is pretty clear. She’s seen contributing to the song (and the narrative); her relationship with Cherie is also complicated by lust. Where Cherie (at least in the movie, I know things were different in real life) gets lost, Joan’s able to symbolically cleanse herself through songwriting and emerge with a badass solo album (that she released herself after every label ever turned her down, though we don’t learn that until the end credits). I didn’t love everything about the movie — the bathtub scene where New Joan emerges cleansed of her corporate past was lame, and I wish the rest of the band got more to do since they also seemed interesting — but the core story about Joan and Cherie was really well-done and kind of amazing for a mainstream film.

That said, I’ve been reading Adorno lately, and I think it’s worth pointing out that the “power” that Cherie and even Joan have are limited to their abilities to enter into a male-dominated and corporate-owned milieu. This isn’t women’s lib, it’s selling some records. It’s women being powerful, but they are getting power by imitating culturally provided ways of being powerful and masculine.

That’s a pretty standard “pop culture makes us all zombies” argument — which doesn’t make it not kind of true — but at the same time, what else are girls supposed to do? If we’re stuck in the system, the least we can do is win on its own terms. And maybe blow things up a little.

My Greenberg Letter

Dear Noah Baumbach,

My original plan was to write a standard review of your new movie Greenberg responding to some of the other things I’d read about it. But I can’t really be critical and objective about your movies. It’s not so much that I love them so hard; it’s more like I relate to them so hard. It’s not so much that I find myself in situations like Greenberg and Florence’s (though being in a similar age and situation except not single, I found Florence very easy to identify with). When I walked out of Greenberg, I felt suddenly self-conscious, imagining what my life would look like if it were a movie. Walking down the street, picturing how the camera would frame me. Part of Granville Street was closed so a TV show could film some kind of police car thing. It was very cinematic. Hearing movie speech rhythms in the way my boyfriend and I bantered. We were weirdly on that night.

I’m not always sure how to deal with the way I relate to your movies. Lines like “We call each other ‘man,’ but it’s a joke. It’s like imitating other people” are clearly inviting me to judge Greenberg, and maybe people who don’t do stuff like this will judge Greenberg, but don’t most people do stuff like this? I sure do; I’ll start saying stuff “ironically” and then before long it’s just part of my vocabulary. That’s the thing about Greenberg — the details and the throwaways are really the bits that convince me such a cartoonishly awful person lives in my world (that, and the fact that we have all lived with facets of his cartoonish awfulness). Details like the recycled POM-brand iced tea glass Greenberg’s drinking out of when he writes his letters: they don’t even sell POM tea in those glasses anymore, and haven’t for a while, so I’m pretty sure some art director had to find that and choose it for the scene. I have one of those at my house! Also, Florence’s holographic dinosaur ruler. I had that exact ruler! It’s a cutesy way of showing that she still lives like a kid (and I don’t still have my dino ruler) but that moment of recognition really did work. We all know movies are captured images of things that really happened — though CGI means that that direct relationship is always in doubt now — but the things they capture so often feel fake, removed from our everyday life.

I feel uncomfortable about the precise way I like your movies, because I like them because they feel real. I know this is why a lot of people like a lot of stuff, but I, being a Greenbergian asshole, feel like that’s a really naive way to like things. I tend to pride myself on liking things that are self-consciously artificial, either in the art film way or in the genre way. “Realism” is a totally bourgeois notion, right? I don’t know, I think people like having things they relate to in movies? But I’m still pretty sure it’s somehow like I’m totally “buying into” an emotional experience. My laughs are coming from a place of (occasionally uncomfortable) recognition, which I totally think was your intention; but it was still a place that I paid money to be in, and a place that’s just as “artificial” as the self-conscious camp that I love.

I realize the device of writing a letter about these feelings to you, which is similar to the way Greenberg wrote letters to Starbucks and Hollywood Pet Taxi, is a trite literary device.

But your movies make me feel trite.

Sincerely, Brenda

Gimme Sympathy

I have long gotten over any conflict between my image of myself as a woman of culture with two degrees and the fact that I am also a woman who watches American Idol on purpose. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gone from being all Frankfurt school about the “culture industry” to seeing value in the mainstream; it doesn’t need to be subversive to be pleasurable. Not all fun is ideologically suspect. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a lot less concerned about what’s good, to the point that I always find myself mentally composing defenses of Taylor Swift against her detractors whenever I read feminist blogs about all the (totally present) virgin-whore issues in “You Belong With Me.”

So I watch American Idol. For me, it is partly about fun, not going to lie. It’s also partly about getting a lot of stuff about America, and also for reminding me, a Canadian, that America is a whole other country. I tend to think I “get” American culture because Canadian pop culture is so suffused with American products and American forms, but then I watch American Idol and I remember that the red states are real places where people live and love and are loved, not just Daily Show punchlines. It’s easy to forget that America isn’t just like a bigger Canada in a lot of really deep important ways.

But I just couldn’t handle Rolling Stones night last week.

It’s weird that of all the serious artists who’ve had their music karaoke’d on Idol — the Beatles, MJ, Leonard Cohen, Marvin Gaye, Dolly Parton — it’s the Rolling Stones that I just couldn’t hear covered. I actually thought Rolling Stones night would be good for Idol, since they write great blues-rock songs, and the vocals rely as much on personality as ability. I am not even that big a Stones fan — I like their music, but I would not ever list them as my favourite band. I think it’s because my dad does. I grew up listening to this music. I know the songs automatically; they’re part of my musical landscape, and a piece of my vocabulary of what rock n roll is. I can’t tell you what album every song is from, but I know the words and the melodies instinctively. This was the soundtrack of my childhood to the point that every now and then I’m shocked by the goodness of these songs, just because I heard them so much growing up that they are just there. It’s in my bones.

I started losing it when Andrew — who did that great version of “Straight Up” early in the season — sang “Gimme Shelter.” I don’t know how you can sing “War, children, it’s just a shot away” without conveying that you understand any of those words, but he manages. I wondered why I watch this show again.

Then pageant teen Katie came out and sang “Wild Horses,” which she interpreted as being about her dream of being on American Idol. Then I remembered that this show is produced by people who think the Susan Boyle version of “Wild Horses” was a good idea.

But here’s where I experienced a break. My AI feelings went from kind of amused affection and a fun investment to detached hate in five minutes. Tim Urban, coming up with “Under My Thumb”. Oh no he is not! Yes, yes he is. He is singing a totally earnest reggae guitarbro Jason Mraz “The Mellow Show” version of “Under My Thumb”, the nadir of rock misogyny.

Well, you can watch:

I don’t remember the last time I was just quivering with “what” at the TV. Everyone was like “Hey, it’s a fun song.” But it’s not a fun song, it’s a jam, sure, but it’s not a fun song. The only way to do that song nowadays is to go the Tina Turner feminist détournement route. In the posted clip, you can see the judges’ reactions. Obviously this kid is too stupid to understand what’s wrong with the words he was singing; but I kept waiting for everyone else to just kind of stare at him open-mouthed and then for Ellen to be like “Hey bud, maybe if you don’t want to alienate people as a potential ’sensitive’ pop musician, you shouldn’t sing songs about how you’ve ground your lady’s independence down so now she just does as she’s told?”

How is it not beyond the pale to go on TV in front of millions of women and sing “It’s down to me/ the way she talks when she’s spoken to”?

Ugh, I know this a post about how American Idol is really shallow and isn’t about art. Also, did you know that many of the lyrics to Rolling Stones songs are in fact somewhat sexist? I am blowing the lid off pop culture right here on my internet blog.

I have been on this intellectual trajectory where I’m all about analysis over evaluation; but maybe to the point where I felt weird about making distinctions and everything blurred into this sort of bland field where everything is “interesting” but nothing rocks my world (except Lady Gaga). Maybe this is part of why I’ve been posting less: I feel like everything’s kind of dissolved into pop culture soup.

Eventually you fall into this murk where like, Hannah Montana is just “interesting” even though it’s seriously the worst TV show ever made. And the worst part is, I haven’t even been writing all that much! Thinking everything is interesting is, at a certain point, not all that interesting at all. It is just as snobby in its own way as just straight-up hating Hannah Montana; it’s hard to do without being condescending or pretending disinterest that you just can’t have if you want to actually do any kind of cultural criticism.

I still stand by the idea that analysis is more important than evaluation, and I still don’t think our experiences of “high art” and “low art” are all that different. My experiences of lots of “bad” stuff isn’t really all that different in terms of reactions or pleasure — I still don’t know for sure if The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans was good or bad, but I sure loved it, and I loved it not all that different a way that I loved, say, Hiroshima, Mon Amour. I’ve always felt like this is kind of an “enlightened” point of view, a sense of being “above” discussions of “quality”; not because it can’t be measured, but more because there are more interesting things to talk about. This is somewhat true, but at the same time — some things are better than other things. I want to get good things back. I want to be able to care about those things more than other things. You don’t need to be a snob to do that.

So press record, I’ll let you film me

I have a post in my head about how amazing Gossip Girl was tonight, and a Glee post I have been trying and failing to write for months now, but I am not in a position to write anything coherent right now for reasons that should stay off the internet.

I am basically just watching this video on repeat to comfort myself:

I tumblr’d this already with a different YouTube embed, but I am pretty much dying of awesome over here. I love almost everything Beyonce does, but this is maybe my favourite video of hers. It is basically her shooting dayglo guns at men with cameras for heads and adjusting her gold bra/breastplate, with Lady Gaga. It’s so amazing because on the one hand all this stuff makes it seem like this really straightforward commentary on Beyonce’s role as subject of the male gaze and her aggressive response to same – -again, she shoots bullets and arrows at dudes with giant video cameras for heads — but she still is not wearing pants. Lady Gaga always does self-aware, but it’s usually like “Look, I’m being self-aware, enjoy me!” (which I do). When B does self-aware, it’s this weird complex thing where she’s self-aware, and she’s badass, but she’s also still somehow presenting herself very carefully as a brand, and she still brings this incredible sense of passion and abandon to everything she does. But in a way that seems calculated. It’s like a faucet of abandon she turns on and off. Look at her and Gaga dancing side by side. Gaga does all the steps, but Beyonce does them with fervor. She hits it harder, she pushes it further, she snaps back faster. That’s what I’ll always love about Beyonce, no matter who else comes along; she lives in this weird dichotomy of, like, crazy passionate fire and total self-control and self-packaging.

This is my 2012 post

NB: This will have spoilers.


So 2012 has a metacritic score of 5.1 and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 39%, but I would not let that dissuade you if you like things that blow up and incredible cinematic distillations of the postmodern world. This is not a movie for critics. This is a movie that takes the apocalypse movie to its logical, incredible, landmass-shifting conclusion. It is almost avant-garde in its total disregard for explaining how neutrinos destablize the earth’s crust, and its full-on repetition of the same dazzling sequence (and it is really dazzling, every time!) of racing to get a plane to take off before the runway crumbles away beneath it. This happens not twice, but three times. Every time, our embattled family that has been broken up by modernity and technology (Dad’s always at his laptop) is left to hold each other as they fly over another destroyed city. It would be cleverly meta if this movie were in any way capable of irony.


The grand political stuff rings sort of depressingly true if you get past all the silliness and bluster and the fact that Oliver Platt is the only evil politician in the entire world and the fact that they save humanity by building arks and that they manage to keep the end of the world a secret for years. (Also, why would they assassinate the director of the Louvre in the same tunnel where Princess Di was killed? And why would the newscast in the movie mention this?) They sell seats on the arks to the richest people in the world, and then they outsource the building to China, where they can just load cheap labour into trucks. So some small proportion of the first world weathers the earthquakes and tsunamis long enough to set a course for the land of the future, the new world — now the highest elevation on earth (because the tectonic plates all shifted?), and probably the only continent to avoid flooding: Africa. We’ll get it right this time!


I’m not arguing that all this genius was in any way intentional — not that the movie is made without skill, the effects are incredible and the action sequences are well-paced and easy to follow, all the actors don’t get in the way of all this (except Danny Glover, who is trying a little hard for gravitas), and it is in general adrenaline-tastic — but oh man, it is, in so many ways, the ultimate.

Twilight may normalize overwrought relationships with vampires, professor says

Screen shot 2009-11-15 at 9.48.38 PM

Real Vancouver Sun story:

VICTORIA — With the second instalment of the Twilight vampire movies about to open, a University of Victoria professor is warning parents and young Twilight fans that the series doesn’t depict healthy relationships between the sexes.

UVic political scientist [italics mine] Janni Aragon says she understands the difference between fact and escapist fiction, but the distinction might be lost on some of the young audience for the book and movie series. “I get that, but does my 11-year-old daughter?”

The article goes on to quote a 12 year-old reader who thinks the way the relationship is portrayed is unrealistic and that Edward is condescending to Bella, and then ends this way:

Aragon said she loved reading the stories: “I could not put these books down. I think it will be interesting to see how Hollywood presents the next book. Ultimately, Bella’s character does become stronger, especially in the last book.”

But she said the danger is that the series will normalize the couple’s relationship for young, impressionable people.

“They need to realize that this is just a movie [about sparkly, baseball-playing vampires], just a book [about sparkly, baseball-playing vampires], and that it’s not the norm.”

Thanks, professor.

Teardrops on my guitar

I am just having a…bad day. Nothing actually bad, just like annoying first world problems. A Taylor Swift bad day, not a Bob Dylan bad day. Plans falling through, misunderstandings, going to like 4th choice restaurant for dinner and having it be kind of overpriced and slow, and the whole day being generally less awesome than I’d hoped when I woke up this morning.

I tried to write a post about Glee, but I wasn’t really in the right mood. I think I will just sit next to my amp and smudge my mascara for awhile.

Taylor Swift – White Horse
Uploaded by UniversalMusicGroup. – See the latest featured music videos.

Big boy rides, big boy ice


If I was going to have a threesome with a movie star, I would probably want to do it to this white girl cover of this hip hop song.

Whatever You Like – Anya Marina

I prefer brunettes

Jane Russell, winning at life. The boys? All in the naked shorts? Their bodies turned into nothing but props like the ladies in a Busby Berkley? Awesome.

I spent my afternoon watching musicals; I always forget how much I love Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

People always remember Marilyn in the pink dress, but “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is such a weird, creepy number. It starts with the girls in the chandelier. Then there are all the ballerinas in pink, which totally clashes with the orange-red background. Then you realize the ballerinas all have these weird black netting veils on their faces. I don’t really think this bit necessarily has a “meaning” in a sort of obvious metaphorical sense (though the veils look like cages and they also look a little like the veils that Marilyn and Jane wear to get married in their double wedding at the end of the movie if you want to get all feminist about it), but the whole thing is so dystopian and clashing and amazing.

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