The Love That Dare Not Read Its Name

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Oy vey:

An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries.

A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda."

"Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle," Allen said in a press conference Tuesday.

Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.

"I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them," he said….

When asked about Tennessee Williams' southern classic "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," Allen said the play probably couldn't be performed by university theater groups.

The obvious wisecracks involve historical novels ("Better burn that one; it's about Tchaikovsky"), but what I want to know is this: What will Allen do about books whose homosexual content is a matter of academic dispute? Is Billy Budd banned? What about The Merchant of Venice? And let's not forget my contrarian readings of Treasure Island and Green Eggs and Ham—they haven't caught on yet, but give them time…

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  1. “Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle,”

    … and yet, I feel fine.

  2. a newly-cannonized saint in the cult of Thou Shalt Not Catch The Gay.

    hallowed be his insanity.

  3. It’s a good thing no one is going to want to check out Alexander when it comes out on video.

  4. We can, yes, only say thank you to M. Allen.

    He brings us so much business. Wine for all!

  5. Let the book burning begin!

    And then we can get those bastards who say we used to be monkeys!

  6. And a few weeks ago there were those on this board poo-poo-ing anyone who poked fun at the part of America where this bigoted bullshit comes from.

    If the South wants the bible-beating, cross-buring, white-trash sterotype to cease, then they better stop acting like it and join the rest of civilization. In the meantime, if the white robe and pointy hat fits, WEAR THEM!

  7. “Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle,” Allen said in a press conference Tuesday.”

    Man, I guess irony really is dead.

  8. I love the phrase “homosexual agenda.” What does that look like?

    1:00 – 3:00 : Homosexual evangalism, PS 132
    4:00 – 6:00 : shoe shopping
    6:00 – 7:00 : Will & Grace
    7:00 on : Butt sex

  9. “I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them,” he said, then spun around and accused a photographer from the Mobile Gazette of “staring at my ass.”

    All this talk about “from every angle” and “big holes” makes me happy as a little girl.

  10. “A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for the purchase of textbooks or library materials.”

    Now_that_I’d be OK with.

  11. These guys always live up, or down, to the worst stereotypes about them.

    Seriously, you try to keep in mind “ok, they’re not all mouth breathing redneck white trash barely closeted klansmen with a strange and constant fixation on gay men” but then they go and do stuff like this.

    Besides, burning books is a lot cooler.

  12. You’re absolutely right, Akira. Because the statements of this one person reflect the entire population of the South.

    I should note that school districts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have started teaching creationism on the same footing as evolution. If the North wants the bible-beating, cross-burning, white-trash stereotype to cease, then they better stop acting like it and join the rest of civilization. In the meantime, if the white robe and pointy hat fits, WEAR THEM!

  13. Dammit c, you made me laugh so I hard that I’m going to get fired.

    What is the homosexual agenda doing from 9-1PM?

    So does this mean any biographies of the Cheney family that mentions Mary in a positive light is right out too?

  14. We better get rid of The Iliad before Western Civilization is subverted.

  15. What is the homosexual agenda doing from 9-1PM?

    The lazy bastards have to sleep in coz of all the partying.

  16. 9:00 – groom the poodle
    10:00 – “groom the poodle”

    That’s it, I’m done, I promise.

  17. Akira, last time I checked, anti-gay defense of marriage laws are on the books in all of the following NON-southern states:
    Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington, as well as Missouri, which not everyone considers entirely southern. Yes there is bigotry in the south, just like EVERYWHERE else. Your bigoted anti-southern comments just prove it. And before you get back up on your stinking high horse and tell me all about the history of racism and prejudice in the south and how egalitarian northerners, midwesterners, and westerners are, I’ll remind you that Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California are home to just about as many organized hate groups as any state in the south with the exception of maybe Texas and Georgia. Hell, the KKK is active as far north as New York state. I’m not saying there aren’t bigots down here, we’ve got our hands full. Just do a little research before jumping to incorrect conclusions about a segment of the American population. After all, you wouldn’t want anyone to think you were prejudiced, would you?

  18. Dave Potts and the guy who keeps posting under unnecessarily long sentence-names are right.

    This is not about the South being populated by backassward, hillbilly, homophobe throwbacks. This sort of bill would never come up in Atlanta, New Orleans, Gainsville, or Memphis. Something like it could well pass in certain areas of upstate New York, eastern California, or the Upper Penninsula of Michigan.

    This is not about the South being populated largely by hateful, ignorant bigots. This is about rural, Bush-voting counties througout the nation being populated largely by hateful, ignorant bigots. The enlightened north/west/midwest vs. the redneck south is completely unfair.

  19. OK, people, a little perspective, please.

    Does anybody in the Alabama legislature, besides this clown actually support this particular bill (not the sentiment – THE BILL)? How many people in all of Ala-fucking-bama actually support this bill?

    And even if it passed it would self-destruct at its first judicial challenge.

    Notice that not a single concurring statement was reported in the article vs three opposed (all in AL).

    Also note “Allen has sponsored legislation to make a gay marriage ban part of the Alabama Constitution, but it was not approved by the Legislature.”

    So let’s enjoy our little joke at the expense of the rubes and hayseeds, but fer chrissakes quit acting like it’s the end of civilzation.

  20. Dave, don’t forget to put Ohio on that list of northern states with a ban on gay marriage (and civil unions). We may have our fair share of butternuts, but we like to tell ourselves we’re northern.

    and on the gay agenda, where’s the eating christian babies? Well, the ones we can’t “turn” anyway.

  21. Something like it could well pass in certain areas of upstate New York, eastern California, or the Upper Penninsula of Michigan.

    you forgot south boston

  22. “you forgot south boston”

    Ten years ago, maybe. But it isn’t Mrs. Murphy taking the siding off those three deckers and turning them into condos, htsi.

  23. As other South supporters have said:

    It’s one guy. There’s one crazy guy saying crazy things and to generalize an entire region based upon this is analogous to my determining that the entire City of New York is full of slavering schizophrenic alcoholics because I got off a Grayhound at the Port Authority bus terminal once and saw a guy yelling at his curtain rod.

  24. brooklyn would be close, i think, simply because of the large religious population we have here that is not too happy about the equation of the struggle of blacks in the 60s with the struggle of gays in the 00s.

    then again there’s all them carpetbaggers, so who knows?

  25. well, tijjer, this is not a some slavering schizophrenic at the Birmingham greyhound station. This is an elected official voted into office by a plurality of his district. To say he’s not representative of his regions citrizens is to ignore the fact that he is, indeed, a Representative.

  26. Is the loon proposing we edit the Bible as well, so the kiddies don’t ask embarrassing questions about verses proscribing the “laying down with a man as with a woman,” or words to that effect?

  27. You know tijjer, the quiet death of this bill isn’t good enough. If such a bill were sponsored in Massachusetts, every elected official in the Commonwealth would immediately charge to the nearest camera, and begin holding forth on why the bill is wrong, how offensive it is to free speech and individual freedom, how backwards the thinking behind it is, yadda yadda yadda.

    While I don’t doubt that the gentleman from Cottondale’s bill will fail, it’s demise is going to come in the most private manner possible. I predict that not a single proud conservative in the state will be seen on the nightly news, or be quoted in a newspaper, thundering against this bill, and taking the opportunity to give voice to the principles of free speech and tolerance that make it so detestable. Any Rep. unfortunate enough to be cornered by the press will mutter a few apologetic words to the effect that it “goes too far,” but will be sure to do his best to make it clear to the people who support banning books with gay people in them that, deep in his heart, he really is one of them, and is being restrained by the doggone First Amendment.

  28. This is about rural, Bush-voting counties througout the nation being populated largely by hateful, ignorant bigots.

    Yeah, they’d never do this sort of thing in Kerry country. They’re too busy beating and raping black men and torching businesses owned by people identified by Democratic Party spokesman Al Sharpton as “bloodsucking Jews”.

    I don’t expect joe to form any intelligent thoughts about this, but the rest of you need some perspective.

    You’re also missing the funniest aspect of this call for book-banning, which is that the Bible contains homosexual characters.

  29. “Does anybody in the Alabama legislature, besides this clown actually support this particular bill (not the sentiment – THE BILL)? How many people in all of Ala-fucking-bama actually support this bill?”

    Back in 2000, when Alabama had a referendum on officially ending the state’s ban on interracial marriage, a full 40% of the populace voted against doing so. And keep in mind here that about a fifth of the state’s population is black.

    Yes, there are bigoted cultural reactionaries throughout the country, and particularly in rural areas. But percentage-wise, the South still takes the cake.

  30. I went to high school in a rural Ohio county that was populated by idiots who believed LPs played backwards revealed demonic messages that were placed there to destroy their children. Several churches held record burnings. Quite a few people also swallowed the story that P&G was putting a satanic symbol in its trademark. They would have voted for an idiot who thought homosexual characters in library books were evil.

  31. Thanks all, this thread began with a refreshing Red Herring by Walker and dozens of groupthink/circle jerk posts.

    It’s (obviously, read above) not difficult to inflate the ravings of a sad, weird person into some massive insidious threat.

    I’ll chalk this one up to Walker intending a guaranteed 30 response post.

  32. Isn’t it amazing how this rediculous story and resulting rediculous banter devided the Reason readers into urban democrat sympathisers vs. southern conservative sympathisers? At least we have the humor latent in the term “homosexual agenda” to keep every fourth post civil.

  33. A Red Herring posing as a serious story on your/Reason’s continuing “jihad” against civil/constitutional rights infringement.

    Unless the post/commentary was a “Wednesday Fun Link.” In that case, a thousand pardons.

    I could castigate the usual suspects for the ensuing posts, but Capt. Awesome has done a fine job above.

  34. I’m with Captain Awesome, less rural-urban (or South-North) fighting and more sarcastic comments about books and the homosexual agenda.

  35. It’s turned into another North/South, Red/Blue, Gay/Straight, my governor can kick your governor’s ass thread.

    New Jersey has ever been and will always be the greatest state in the Union. I will admit that your governor can probably kick our governor’s ass, especially our former governor.

    And, Joe, New Jersey had the first ever corrupt, Gay-American, adulterous, outed governor. New Jersey uber alles!

    Although I do feel sorry for his wife and family. Bet they were unpleasantly surprised.

    QFMC cos. V

  36. So are they going to burn the Bible!?!

    I mean, what about that part when Jesus F’s that guy in the ass? I suppose he gets a pass.

  37. snake, how many of the posts on H&R are not 100% serious? Just because it isn’t a “Friday Fun Link” doesn’t mean that it has to be so profound as to steer away all attempts at a little levity.

  38. joe said:

    “I predict that not a single proud conservative in the state will be seen on the nightly news, or be quoted in a newspaper, thundering against this bill, and taking the opportunity to give voice to the principles of free speech and tolerance that make it so detestable.”

    I predict that joe is correct, but not for the reason he seems to think. There will be plenty of legislators who will stand up publicly against it, but none of those responses will be widely reported. The MSM has its own stereotype of southerners, every bit as narrow and mean as the one near the top of these comments, and I predict that it will be a cold day in hell before they broadly disseminate any information that would contradict it.

  39. A Red Herring posing as a serious story on your/Reason’s continuing “jihad” against civil/constitutional rights infringement.

    One thing we do at Hit & Run is post links to stories about politicians saying stupid things. That’s all this is. I do not believe, and did not write, that the bill will pass.

    The fact that my commentary in the post consisted entirely of jokes might have been a tip-off…

  40. I’m all for States passing idiotic, socially regressive laws. If they want to make pariahs out of themselves by undoing decades of social liberty and turning into mini-Irans then, by all means, step out of their way and let them suffer the consequences.

  41. Back in 2000, when Alabama had a referendum on officially ending the state’s ban on interracial marriage, a full 40% of the populace voted against doing so. And keep in mind here that about a fifth of the state’s population is black.

    A 1997 Gallup poll found that, nation-wide, 39% of whites and 23% of blacks disapproved of interracial marriage. So we would expect approximately 36% of Alabamans to be opposed to interracial marriage, even if Alabamans were no more racist than the national average.

    Also bear in mind that these sorts of things tend to disproportionately bring the racists out of the woodwork. This happened in Oregon in 2002, where 30% of the voters supported continuing the state constitutional ban on allowing blacks (with the exception of slaves) to live in the state. I don’t think anyone has seriously argued that 30% of Oregonians wanted all the black people kicked out of Oregon.

  42. Let’s get John Ashcroft proper, non-gay version of Walt Whitman’s patriotic poems.

    “O Captain! My Captain! Now that victory’s assuered
    Our work has ended terror and kept America secure,
    ‘Tis been a pleasure serving, but I can’t go another four,
    So one last time let me sing thee ‘Let the Eagle Soar.'”

  43. My poor homestate. 🙁

    Twba,

    Those folks sound a lot like many of my relatives. 🙂

    Call me snake,

    The write-up is not a red-herring. I’m from Alabama and I have no problem with Reason slamming this moron. Why you take such great offense to it I don’t know. Now, some of the individual posters responded rather stupidly to the write-up, and we posters here have properly policed that non-sense (as seems to be Reason policy), but that’s not the fault of Walker.

    And if Reason is part of a “‘jihad’ against civil/constitutional rights infringement,” then sign me up as one of the faithful.

    Captain Awesome,

    Its more like Southern bashers (e.g., Akira McKenzie) v. the “no area is immune from this idiocy” crowd (I being part of the latter).

  44. It’s just one guy…, but then so are all elected officials, and mouthpieces for various annoying groups.

    To my great amusement the bigger fear of the “agenda” is men penetrating each other.

    Why is that when I rarely read anything about women with women. Is it because the mental image looks like it could be so much fun?

  45. Let’s humor the “gentleman from Cottondale” by privatizing the public libraries. Then he can join a liberry that has only Bowdlerized editions, and we can join ones with every kind of “filth” that would shock and horrify him. Or we could save our dues money by not joining, and buy more copies of Choice.

    But, silly me, that would be a libertarian response.

    Kevin

  46. Although we may not hear as much about the inherent “evils” of hot chick-on-chick action, I remember hearing recently that lesbianism was so rampant that there were girls bathroom monitoring initiatives. Some people just have no sense of a good time.

  47. “A 1997 Gallup poll found that, nation-wide, 39% of whites and 23% of blacks disapproved of interracial marriage. So we would expect approximately 36% of Alabamans to be opposed to interracial marriage, even if Alabamans were no more racist than the national average.”

    There’s a more than a slight difference between disapproving of an action and wanting it outlawed. Consider the gap between the percentage of people who disapprove of homosexuality and the percentage who support anti-sodomy laws. Granted, it’s possible that some of those who voted in favor of keeping Alabama’s ban on the books did so only because they realized that their bigotry wouldn’t have an impact in the realm of law enforcement.

  48. I retract my earlier sarcastic statement. Young exploratory lesbianism is inherently evil, because by definition I cannot participate.

  49. Among other things wrong with this bill, as a practical matter, where do you draw the line between literature that “promotes” homosexuality vs. that which merely depicts it?

    And regarding homosexuality in the Bible: On the now-defunct forurm intellectualoutcastscafe.com, a blasphemous but witty person once pointed out that the Bible describes acts that are not only gay but incestuous to boot:

    “For I am in the Father and the Father is in me …”

  50. Here comes Rep. Allen from Cottondale, hopping down the bigotry trail…

    Sorry.

    What Kevin at 07:04 PM said!

    Also, could a libertarian support Rep. Allen’s legislation if it included an equall reduction in public funds for the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote *heterosexuality* as an acceptable lifestyle?

  51. Oh, boo-hoo. The big bad Yankee is pokin’ fun at you good ol’ boys fur bein’ a bunch of dimwits. Kiss my grits, Mr Butler, what ever shall I do?

    Cry me a river, Scarlett.

    The last time I checked “To Quoque” was a fallacy. Just because the North its own minority (count the Blue state elcctoral votes)of bigots, doesn’t change the fact that that Christian fundamentalists dominate Southern culture, creating a climate of entrenched bigotry and ignorance. There maybe some exceptions to the rule up here, but you’ll NEVER see it get as bad as it is in the fucking Bible Belt.

    Also, Pointing out bigotry and intolerant on the part of a culture doen’t make YOU a bigot. So spare me your pretzel logic.

    When the South is ready to join the rest of civilization and tell the X-ian Right to go to Hell (of course, there would have to be a Hell to begin with), I’ll hold my tounge. Otherwise, it’s open season on holy roller hillbillies.

  52. There’s a more than a slight difference between disapproving of an action and wanting it outlawed.

    So should we therefore assume that the 30% of Oregonians who voted to continue the constitutional ban on blacks represent the *minimum* percentage of Oregonians who want all of the blacks expelled from the state?

    Of course not. The Oregon referendum wasn’t about outlawing blacks, and the Alabama referendum wasn’t about outlawing interracial marriage. Both interracial marriage and black residence in Oregon were entirely legal before the referenda were held, and would remain so regardless of how the people voted. People are always far more willing to advocate draconian government measures when they know their opinions don’t count.

    Another note — there are also people who simply refuse to support amending Constitutions in any way at all unless they are convinced the change is necessary. Witness the people in this forum who, despite suposedly having no problem with naturalized citizens, refuse to support an amendment allowing them to run for President because there are “more important things” to worry about, etc. I have no idea how significant a portion of the population those people are, however.

  53. I currently live in North Dakota (which geographically at least is about as non-Southern as you can get) and trust me: the warm-climate states have no monopoly on Bible-thumping knuckle-draggers. It’s about as bad here as anywhere I’ve lived (with the possible exception of North Carolina). Personally, I’ve had enough of this crap; I’m moving to a Blue state ASAP. Seriously.

  54. And regarding homosexuality in the Bible: On the now-defunct forurm intellectualoutcastscafe.com, a blasphemous but witty person once pointed out that the Bible describes acts that are not only gay but incestuous to boot:

    More adolescent than witty, it seems.

  55. Though there is a lot of actual incest in the Good Book: brothers with sisters, fathers with daughters, fathers with daughters-in-law, etc.

  56. doesn’t change the fact that that Christian fundamentalists dominate Southern culture

    But in your original post you cited “cross-buring white trash”, not Christian fundamentalists, as the cause of Southern problems. Christianity is a problem, but it’s not one you can pin on white people.

    Within the South (as in the rest of the country) whites are better-educated, less homophobic, and less religious than blacks and hispanics are. So what do KKK members have to do with this? Hell, if you granted the few thousand remaining members of the KKK their fondest wishes and removed all of the blacks and hispanics from the South, the entire region would (ironically) become significantly more secular, tolerant and educated.

    In any event, the notion that the North has trivial problems with bigotry compared to the South doesn’t pass a laugh test. When Al Sharpton is as much of a pariah in blue America as David Duke is in red America, then we’ll talk.

  57. Dan,

    Much of the argument in Oregon centered on whether the historically racist roots of the Oregon Constitution should be preserved, much the way the racist roots of the Federal Constitution are preserved (every copy of the Constitution keeps mentioning that 3/5 of a person thing).

    The model presented by the Federal Constitution is that repealed language is preserved, to help people understand the evolution of the Constitution. This was the argument used by those who opposed the 2002 amendment to the Oregon Constitution. Since the amendment passed, and all racist passages where tossed down the Memory Hole, the argument for historical preservation was unpersuassive.

  58. “But in your original post you cited “cross-buring white trash”, not Christian fundamentalists, as the cause of Southern problems.”

    Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

  59. An Oregonian,

    Little do you know, we’re getting the 18th ammendment and the 3/5 clause classified next month.

  60. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other

    Huh. To think that all those black Baptists and Pentacostals I went to school with were actually cleverly-disguised cross-burning white trash. Pretty sneaky of them.

  61. Al Sharpton has his own TV show now. He’s a bit like a black version of

    Dan,

    Within the South (as in the rest of the country) whites are better-educated, less homophobic, and less religious than blacks and hispanics are.

    That’s arguable, and certainly not true of the area of the South I am from (lower Alabama). Now, maybe in Auburn or Athens or Oxford or Huntsville (Al) or Atlanta or Montevallo or Charleston or Chapel Hill that’s the case, but get your ass into an area like Bayou la Batre, Troy, Laurel (Miss.), Valdosta, Columbus, Morgan City, etc., and it just ain’t. There is a hell of divergence in the South when it comes to matters like homosexuality and those aren’t based exclusively on the racial/ethnic lines that you try to draw out. Its far more a rural v. urban split (or suburban say in the case of Homewood, Al.), as it is in much of the rest of the country, and that split has much less to do with “race” in the South these days than it has.

  62. If such a bill were sponsored in Massachusetts, every elected official in the Commonwealth would immediately charge to the nearest camera, and begin holding forth on why the bill is wrong, how offensive it is to free speech and individual freedom, how backwards the thinking behind it is, yadda yadda yadda.

    Well, of course. But the deep south is largely Republican and the sponsor of this bill is Republican. They won’t take shots at one another.

    Had a Democrat introduced some piece of legislation in Massachusetts that inflammed the right, you’d unlikely see many Massachusetts democrats taking shots at the sponsor.

  63. “When Al Sharpton is as much of a pariah in blue America as David Duke is in red America, then we’ll talk.”

    David Duke has received well over 40% of the vote in statewide races.

    Al Sharpton can’t even get elected in New York City.

    Try again.

  64. “When Al Sharpton is as much of a pariah in blue America as David Duke is in red America, then we’ll talk.”

    i know that al sharpton, or rather, have gotten the sense that mr. rev. sharpton, has become the example of the evils of racial politcking outside of new york city. but yet it puzzles me, considering how little power and influence he has versus his exposure. not many people, black or white, religious or not, take him seriously here.

    apparently, this is unfortunately not so elsewhere.

    i mean, david duke? wtf? maybe you have him confused with leonard jeffries? or the lost tribes of israel guys?

  65. there are also people who simply refuse to support amending Constitutions in any way at all unless they are convinced the change is necessary.

    Activation energy. Nothing changes without it.

    I wonder the punitive measures. One could go to prison for distributing a book with a certain subject matter. How very German in its prior restraint. I wonder who our first Salman Rushdie will be.

    Maybe we can’t judge the South simply because of the Bible belt, but a number of states south of the Mason-Dixon line are dominated by hillbillies with fewer clues than teeth. Some even serve in government it seems.

  66. Big fish in a barrel.

  67. and btw in re: southern tolerance of homosexuality: Don’t confuse tolerance of the popular homosexual lifestyle and culture with tolerance of fucking another man in the ass in private.

  68. Does this mean that they would have to remove biographies of our first gay President Abraham Lincoln?

  69. Crimethink: “More adolescent than witty, it seems.”

    As might be apparent by now, I often have a hard time telling the difference.

  70. If it passes, someone should make a test case by trying to donate a copy of Lynne Cheney’s lesbian bodice-ripper to a library down there.

  71. Anyone notice this?

    “The bill also would ban materials that recognize or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of Alabama. Allen said that meant books with heterosexual couples committing those acts likely would be banned, too.”

  72. David Duke has received well over 40% of the vote in statewide races. Al Sharpton can’t even get elected in New York City.

    Um, getting elected mayor of New York City is a hell of a lot harder than getting 40% of the vote in Louisiana, joe. New York’s bigger and a lot more diverse. You’re also conveniently forgetting that Duke’s political fortunes collapsed years ago.

    But in any event, my claim was that Duke was a pariah and Sharpton isn’t. No prominent Republican will have anything to do with Duke, while Sharpton gets given a choice speaking slot at the Democratic Convention. QED.

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