Whoosh! Issue 12 - September 1997


Letters to the Editor


To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor".



Shock Of Recognition
Steven Sears Interviews Himself
Hudson Leick
Whoosh!: Xenatainment Weekly!
Male Intrusion
Perdicus Lives!
Changing Times
XENA Scrolls Date Switcheroo
XENA FAQ Kudos



Letters To The Editor





Shock Of Recognition

[Whoosh! No. 11 (August 1997), "The Shock of Recognition: A Lesbian Appreciation of Xena: Warrior Princess", by Diane Silver]


Fri, 8 Aug 1997
Subject: Your Touching, Perceptive Article

Hi! I'm Corinne from the provinces in Texas ... not very far from Amphipolis, but at least a day's ride by griffin.

All joking aside, I just read your article in Whoosh! and wanted to say thank you for a really perceptive piece of creativity. You seem to understand what I do: namely, that true love can be so deep and profound that it surpasses all our attempts to define it and put it into a little box! Quite frankly, I don't even think our labels, like lesbian, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual even truly apply! Because, when true love comes and finds you, it changes you--not the other way around.

Another thing: I am a student of history and archaeology and myth. I have a deep intuitive sense that Xena/Gabrielle and their tale is the resurrection of the Amazon civilization that thrived up to and including Classical Roman times (0-100 AD, roughly). There is a city, named Ephesus, in what is now Turkey that was the home of a massive temple dedicated to the patron deity of that civilization: Artemis! Imagine, if you can, a temple whose environs are so massive that over 5000 priestesses serve there! The ruins of the five temples of Artemis date back several thousand years ... but, for millennia, temples were natural! This civilization of women warriors and priestesses goes so far back that, on a personal level, all that remains for us (from that time) is snippets of wistfulness and a wish that it could all come back ... a time when we were truly free!

I believe in reincarnation, too, so that factors into this. My sense is that XWP calls out to those memories that we all carry within--men and women alike. This is what makes XWP so doggone irresistible!

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm in a longterm love affair with my soulmate and I feel a lot of what you feel. Many blessings for sharing yourself like this.

Corinne Chacon
NRDFC@aol.com


Sat, 02 Aug 1997
Subject: Shock of Recognition

Hello, Diane

Thank you for your essay in "Whoosh". Unfortunately I'm not able to publish "Sacred Moments" but you wrote about the matter so movingly that I feel an obligation to respond and to encourage you.

Your interpretation of Xena and Gabrielle's partnership is very similar to mine. Such intimacy - whatever its basis - results in an interchange of personal traits which can become pronounced after several decades. The price, of course, is that the loss of the partner is literally the loss of a part of oneself. This tragic but beautiful phenomenon seems to me to be a key part of the relationship between the series' two heroines.

Please allow me to wish you success and fulfillment in seeking publication of your book and to wish you well in every possible way.

Bill Phillips
wphillip@vip.net


Sat, 9 Aug 1997
Subject: Your Article in Whoosh, #11

Dear Ms. Silver,

I read your article and just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it. You are an excellent writer. If you're not a professional, published writer now, keep trying. You definitely have the talent and skill.

Your writing about your life partner was very beautiful and moving. You might consider self-publishing if you grow tired of seeking a publisher.

You have my admiration,

Dianne Rider
Jaderider@aol.com


Tue, 12 Aug 1997
Subject: A simple thankyou...

Silver,

I just read your piece "The Shock of Recognition..." in the August issue of Whoosh!. Where more descriptive words fail, a simple thank you seems most appropriate.

I have often read your posts on XWP mailing lists (where I mostly lurk myself) and I have always appreciated your thoughtful, insightful, and supportive words to fellow Xenites. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Shock of Recognition. I believe your interpretation to be accurate and true.

The "Shock of Recognition" has been slowly happening for me over the last year or so as I have begun to re-examine who I believed myself to be. And, until I began immersing myself in the fellowship of other Xenites, I nearly believed myself to be isolated in my love for XWP. It is comforting to discover that the very qualities of the show/characters which caught my attention and won my devotion are equally appreciated by many, many others -- and for the same reasons.

Thank you for writing your article...

(name withheld)


Sun, 03 Aug 1997
Subject: THE SHOCK OF RECOGNITION

Your article in Whoosh! struck a cord with me. I made me realize why I love seeing the small gestures of support and the devotion between Gabrielle and Xena: it's what I love to see in my own life. Thank you for sharing your vision and experiences.

Liz
whalenke@esuvm.emporia.edu


Sat, 2 Aug 1997
Subject: Whoosh! article

Diane,

I've just finished reading your very eloquent--and very moving--article for the latest issue of Whoosh!. This extremely personal view of XWP was really quite effective and will probably carry your message far better than any number of rational and academic arguments. Kate and I are flattered and pleased to be listed among those people who contributed, if even in a small way, to this essay.

Carmen Carter
ccarter@shentel.net


Thu, 14 Aug 1997
Subject: Whoosh! #11 ...Recognition...

Diane,

Thank you for putting into words what we feel in our hearts. Also thank you for the reference to Carmen's letter in Whoosh! #10. Your article and her letter speak volumes to us, bringing an understanding to our lives. We live isolated lives and are glad the internet has come along to see we are not alone.

Be well sister,
(names withheld)


Tue, 12 Aug 1997
Subject: The Shock of Recognition

I just finished reading your essay in Whoosh! and wanted to say it was one of the most moving pieces I have read in a long time. I have been a fan of XWP from the beginning, but it was a while before the "Shock of Recognition" hit me, too. It certainly was not something I was looking for, and was not on the Internet at that time to witness the various discussions of subtext, etc. I too, recognized feelings, emotions, conversations, etc. that I have had with my lover. I was additionally moved by your telling of your relationship with Patty. I am a breast cancer survivor, and with the support of my friends, got thru my own experience with a minimum of trauma. So, regardless of what the shows writers may or may not intend, Xena and Gabrielle's friendship is what draws me back week after week to watch the show. Again, it was a beautiful article.

Shirley A. Landon
slandon@erols.com


Sat, 16 Aug 1997
Subject: Thank you for excellence

Diane:

Your article was both emotionally and cogently written; its clear ringing points both personal and Xena based had a spare beauty and were truly touching. Thank you. I am sorry for your loss and respect your grief.

The following excerpt had such exceptional strength in stating what has never been so obvious to me.

[20] But I ask those of you who are heterosexual to think about my dilemma. If people refused to see the reality of your love, how could you prove it? In my case, how do I prove that Patty and I would fall asleep each night holding hands? How do I prove that we held each other when we cried? That we cared for each other when we were sick? That we confessed our shames to each other, and sometimes sat up into the night with each other, just like Gabrielle did with Xena? How do I prove the words we said to each other? The feelings we had in our hearts? All of these things occurred in our most private moments. There were no witnesses and cameras. The truth is that I cannot prove it anymore than a heterosexual couple could "prove" their love to someone who refused to believe.

I don't know how long it took to frame this clarity, but what works so well is its apparent ease in observation.

Keep writing!

Bonnie Sheppard
bonsu@interlog.com


Mon, 25 Aug 1997
Subject: Xena

Hi, just wandering through the web when I came across your Xena article. Interesting. I just wanted to bring up a point with the "Note to Heteros." I've done a few operational tours with the military, the point I hope to make is this business of "finer feelings." I've done mountain tours of months on end with the same faces, etc. You do feel a strong bond with the guys (try watching "Tour of Duty" to get the general effect) that isn't an exclusively homo (sorry about the label) thing, heteros can have these finer feelings too! (The sense of panic when you hear of a 'chopper going down, the smug grin when you see an old mate (er...I'm British so I mean friend) that's just part of human nature (the better part) and is just that, you are prepared to er... take risks for your mates etc) it's not exclusive to any race/creed etc. As our Christian chums say "love of your fellow man" (in the generic meaning).

I enjoy Xena the TV series very much, in fact it's opened up a new area of interest for me. As you know the whole thing is loosely based on Greek mythology. When an old friend heard I was watching Xena he lent me some books on the subject, and let me tell you, if you think that some of the story-lines are a little far-fetched you want to try the original stories! (if only I'd known I'd have paid more attention at school.)

The main point of Diane's article was about the strong (supposed) lesbian angle to the show. What caused me to break my normal level of inertia was was the part "Introduction for Heterosexuals." I got the impression that the activities she labels as "Lesbian" such as caring and sharing etc are almost exclusively so. Quote "These practices are lesbian because of they are the hallmarks of our relationships. Although that does not mean they cannot be done by heterosexuals." Taking this one stage further as I care for my mates of both sexes does that make me a bisexual? (I don't remember filling in the forms....)

The implication that "finer feelings" are reserved for the Gay community is a bit insulting isn't it? As I said originally I'm in the RAF (British Airforce) and have spent several tours in remote places living very closely with a few people for long periods of time under pressure and some danger. Bonds build. You come to rely on your mates (I'm a Brit...it means friend) You'd risk your life for them, you worry about them and accept them for who they are. Now girls are sometimes on these units (girls/lads, it's how we view ourselves also Pondlife, none of the terms are meant as insulting if you want a fuller explanation e-mail me) and the same bonding occurs, but sometimes, because of sexual chemistry it can be even stronger with the girls (spending all your off duty time together etc) almost, but not quite lovers. Sometimes it even goes further. It is this element that seems to surface between our two main characters in Xena. Yes, they are the same sex (my eyesight's not that bad) but the principle is the same, exposure to danger and living closely together forms a bond, where it goes from there is anyone's guess!

From the lesbian perspective I can see that Diane felt hurt that on occasions she felt that she wasn't considered by the hetero community (whatever that may be) to be in an equally valid partnership etc, but not everyone thinks like that. A recent letter in a UK national newspaper best summed it up for me. Two girls (see above) had written in saying they had fallen in love and had been living together for three years. That their relationship wasn't about making a statement about lesbianism or anything else, it was just about being with the person they loved....this works for me. Fine, no problem, just remember that everyone can have "finer feelings" for their fellow man regardless of sex(uality)"

Nick Suddery
nick.suddery@virgin.net




Steven Sears Interviews Himself

[Whoosh! No. 11 (August 1997), "Tyldus Interviews Himself: Response to Last Month's Editorial And Then Some", by Steven L. Sears]


Sat, 02 Aug 1997
Subject: Common Knowledge Editorial and Steven Sears' Response.

Being both a newcomer in the "Xenaverse" and a new on-line user, I was quite surprised to discover what an emphatic following the show had on the net. I came to the "Xenaverse" at about the same time as all the third season "rumors" started flying about XWP. In newsgroups and chat rooms, I heard repeatedly how "aghast" viewers were that TPTB were contemplating a rape storyline & that it would irreparably harm the spirit of the show.

I must respectfully disagree with those opinions. Rape in our society is unfortunately a common occurrence. Approximately 1 in 4 women will experience sexual trauma sometime in their lives, the majority suffering at the hands of someone they know. These are horrible statistics, horrible realities. The path of recovery from sexual trauma is an arduous one, oftentimes more taxing than the traumatic event itself. Repeatedly, I have heard XWP referred to as "inspirational," "life-affirming," and "empowering." A rape storyline on XWP could provide a forum not only to expose those who (thankfully) have not suffered such trauma, but also to offer that "empowering" support to survivors. That's purely on an extra-textual level.

On a textual (or dramatic) level, the rape storyline would work not only as a dramatic exercise for the actresses, but would serve to deepen the characters' (X&G) bond with each other. Xena would be forced to lower her emotional barriers in order to help Gabrielle heal. It could also serve to help Xena continue her healing as well. It seems to me that most fans follow the show because of X&G's relationship. This is another milestone for them to pass. Most women, if they have not suffered sexual trauma themselves, usually know at least one person who has.

For those who follow the sub-textual path of the show, this is an opportunity to watch Xena come to terms with the fact that someone has violated the person she loves more than her own life. Xena would be placed in the position of coping with her own rage while helping her partner heal. The darkness would loom large as Xena fought her instincts for revenge.

As for all the furor over the Internet fans' perception of whether or not they are being treated with "respect," perhaps they should have more faith in the show they have followed so devotedly for two years. Rumors are called that for a reason. And in real life there is always more than one truth to any story. But to attack the show before the episode has even aired is senseless and self-defeating. The group at RP has set a standard for "interactivity" with the fans, encouraged by the new technology of the Internet. The fans' dark mutterings about how they won't be "abused" only discourages communication and creates barriers of distrust on the part of RP (Sears in particular) and a disinclination to share *anything* with the fans. Everyone should just hold tight until the show airs, and then if it angers you, you always have the ultimate power: turn the TV off.

Sharon Bowers
sbowers04@sprynet.com


Mon, 04 Aug 1997
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I read the Steven Sears editorial with great interest, wondering if he could really interview himself frankly. I have to say, I was impressed.

I've seen newspaper and magazine journalists flinch from even asking the kind of questions he answered in his "interview" for fear of offending an important source, of having the interview canceled part way through, or of burning a bridge with a source for good. Thank you Mr. Sears for being so bluntly candid. It is like a breath of fresh air.

I left the field of journalism in the '80s when (as I perceived it at least) sucking up and watering down became standard operating procedure. The editor of Whoosh does have a boldness I like (someone called it being "non-kissy"), and it left the door open for more boldness from Mr. Sears.

Rumors fly across the Net faster than the transcript of Kurt Vonnegut's commencement speech at MIT did. It is the nature of the beast that highly interactive users inflame easily, talk back, and lack credibility.

I know of journalists who would not go online simply because of the credibility problems. All information was suspect. That was the tradeoff, and in return, a new ethos has prevailed, with an attitude of bluntness, of telling it like is, instead of how corporate media empires want us to think it is. It gets messy online. Boundaries blur. But by god, at least we can't be party-lined to death, you know?

Give me the contentious ground any day. Leave the watered down stuff for the sheep. But let's always guard against one-sidedness, and leave lots of space for people like Mr. Sears to talk back. Where I come from, PR-land, he'd have been forced to clear his editorial through a PR person from the show. And h*ll, maybe he did. But I'd like to think he didn't.

regards,

Christine Boese
boesec@rpi.edu


Fri, 08 Aug 1997
Subject: Letter to the editor

Dear Whoosh,

I continue to be impressed with the quality of the 'zine. You guys are doing very well.

With regard to the Steven Sears self-interview, I have one thing to say: Bravo. I have read some of the controversy on the lists and it was a terrific thing for Tyldus to have the opportunity to speak for himself.

I often think that Tyldus, Robert Fields and others who communicate with the fans are in something of a lose - lose proposition. The pressure on them to give detail must be enormous, and if there is a misstep or perceived misstep, the recriminations are strong. There is an element of unfairness there as some fans demand more than they can give and others interpret the little hints that are given with great latitude and insidious implications. The rape controversy is a case on point.

So, I applaud Whoosh! for giving Steven Sears the opportunity to speak for himself. And to Mr. Sears, applause for your candor.

Job well done and kudos to all involved.

Sincerely

Lynn Sicade/AKA CoyoteBlue
lsicade@ix.netcom.com




Hudson Leick

[Whoosh! No. 11 (August 1997), "An Interview with Hudson Leick", by Gillian G. Gaar]


Mon, 18 Aug 1997
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Hi Gillian,

I'm new to the world of Xena and I just read your interview with Hudson Leick in the Issue 11, August 1997 edition of Whoosh! I have to say that I was a little taken back with her character, "Callisto" the first time I saw her. I didn't know what to think. But the more she's on Xena: Warrior Princess the more in depth her character becomes and the more I find her very fascinating.

When Hudson said in the interview, "but they're not necessarily honoring Hudson, they love the character Callisto", in referring to her fans, I think she's totally wrong because I don't think any other actress could play this character as wonderfully as she does. Her fans are definitely honoring Hudson for doing that so well. I know I do and I look forward to seeing more of her brilliant acting. So thank you for doing a great job on the interview, I found it very enlightening.

Linda Parham
lparham@gte.net
Tampa, FL




Whoosh!: Xenatainment Weekly!


Wed, 6 Aug 1997
Subject: Whoosh!

Kym:

I want to express my disappointment with the proliferation of interviews with personalities of XWP. It seems the scope of Whoosh! has now changed from interests of the nuts-and-bolts of the series to personalities: it is almost a Xenatainment Weekly. It seems especially so with the softball and fluff questions. I may be a lone opinion but I am interested in the show itself and feel the actresses and actors and production team are in a different arena of interest. Especially when they seem to go to such great lengths to create a barrier between them and the rank-and-file fans. You don't realize it because you have clout, but I've written to several individuals and the only responsive one was Hudson Leick.

I enjoy learning about the show itself but don't really care about the personalities outside of their characters. I enjoy your episode guide updates and information about the show itself. Whoosh! seems to be moving away from that. Case in point: I submitted a precedent to the warcry to Xenaic Encyclopedia some time ago. I didn't even get a response and saw nothing updated about it, so I assume you aren't interested in those aspects of the show anymore.

Like I said, I may be a lone opinion. I still like Whoosh! and am grateful you accepted my submissions. I felt I should provide you with my opinions.Thanks for a great job.

Nicholas Nayko
i001402@disch3.disc.dla.mil


Editor Responded:
Thank you for your thoughtful letter, Nicholas. You touch upon some issues about which the staff of Whoosh! have had some very animated conversations. Yes, Whoosh! has changed over the last three months. However, Whoosh! has always been organic. We innovated an all-convention issue way back in February 1997, which in my opinion, was a major fluff piece and was the best example of pandering I have ever had the honor of being a part of! However, Whoosh! is attempting to offer as much as we are able to fans. Xena fandom is an incredibly diverse and ravenous group. I can sense in your letter a concern that our latest innovation of in-depth interviews with cast and crew is taking away from our original mandate of original research done by IAXS members. In fact, since we have started the interviews we have been releasing more registered projects than before. I think of the interviews as "additions" to the regular presentation.

I can assure you that as long as I am editor and as long as people are sending me their arcane research results, there will be a home for it at Whoosh!

Our policy on the interviews is to offer to the reader more than what they would get from a commercial interview. We pride ourselves that we do ask tough questions and that we also take the time to get into the head of the interviewee. We respect our subject and try to ask questions which would be of interest to our highly Xena-educated audience. Examples of this approach come through in the Robert Field and Michael Levine interviews. We were making these guys deliver information on each single episode they were associated with! I also found their topics to be about "the nuts and bolts of the series".

You also raise the issue of accessibility. Whoosh! is proud of being a reliable conduit for information both from and to the production staff of the show and from and to the consumers of the show. It is a privilege that we take very seriously and the staff here regularly discuss what the impact of whatever we do will have on this balance we have achieved. It is a precarious balance and we neither want to be a "yes man" nor a "nay sayer", we just want to enhance our enjoyment of the show and be true to ourselves.

[Nicholas Nayko penned last month's "Callisto: Die Furies" and an upcoming article called, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun versus Euripes: The Bacchae"]


Wed, 06 Aug 1997
Subject: Thanks

Just dropping a short note to let you know how much I enjoy and appreciate your interviews with the folks involved in the production of XWP. Please keep it up.

Tracey McCartney
tracey@mindspring.com




Male Intrusion

[Whoosh! No. 10 (July 1997), "Xena: Warrior Princess Through the Lenses of Feminism", by Melissa Meister]


Sat, 12 Jul 1997
Subject: Xena, Joxer, and feminism.

Read your article in Whoosh! I too was impressed that finally there was a TV show, Xena, where the female characters get along fine without a man hanging about. However with the announcement that Joxer will become a regular character in the third season, appearing in at least half of the episodes, it looks like the producers have once again sold out, and feel female characters cannot exist on their own, without the need for a male character as a companion. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, I guess. OmegaMan69@aol.com




Perdicus Lives!

[Whoosh! No. 07 (April 1997), "The Perdica Collection", by Mary Beth Cavert]


97-08-10
Subject: Big Fan

Dear Mary Beth Cavert:

I just read your contribution to the April, 1997 issue of Whoosh! and I must congratulate you on a most in-depth piece of work. I'd be more effusive, but I am still recovering from a 23-minute giggle attack inspired by your piece. I think that my vocabulary shall never be quite the same.

Perdictably but not perdniciously,

Christine Ann Petersen
MBloomen@aol.com




Changing Times

[Whoosh! No. 11 (Month 1997), "Changing Times", by Debbie White]


Sat, 9 Aug 1997
Subject: thank you!

I read your article on the "Changing times" in this months Whoosh! I was really impressed. Despite my inability to put into words my feelings, know that you did a wonderful job, and I hope to see many more such articles!

Reinette
Reinette1@aol.com




Xena Scrolls Date Switcheroo


Sat, 09 Aug 1997
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Hello, I would like to have some help in clearing up something that's been puzzling me. It's in regards to THE XENA SCROLLS (#34), as I'm not sure if anyone else has brought this up. I hope you will bear with me. In the Encyclopedia Xenaica, the date given for the team up of Dr. Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas takes place in 1942. I have viewed the episode over again, and it clearly shows the date as being 1940. So, have I possibly missed something? Also, the fact that Jack Kleinman stating that he'd been 4-F'd from joining the fight against the Nazis, made me wonder "Why". The United States didn't join the war for another year. I would really like to know the answers, if they are available, thank you.

Angela Vidrio
spellfice@earthlink.net


Rita Schnepp Responded:
Dear Angela,

Your question sent us scrambling for our Xena-vaulted XENA SCROLLS as well as our history books.

You're right, the correct date for THE XENA SCROLLS is 1940. What you may have missed was the first airing which displayed the date as "1942". So two different versions of THE XENA SCROLLS exist! This is what we learned as we explored the date change with the gracious help of the Xenastaff:

A script goes through many revisions before it becomes an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. The original shooting draft read "Macedonia, 1943". At the next revision, the "1943" became "1940". This change made the story more consistent with the fact that Covington and Pappas teamed up before the Nazi occupation of Macedonia.

The script and dailies were sent to post production, where the show is edited to follow the script as closely as possible. The "Macedonia" title was dropped in during the online edit session. This is where everything comes together and it's usually crunch-time for the post production crew involved. An accidental over-sight resulted in the "1940" being changed to "1942". No one noticed until after the episode had aired. The writers requested that the date be changed back to "1940" for the re-run. The editor's obliged. The post-production crew gave this tongue-in-cheek explanation: "We just wanted to see if you fans were paying attention"!

The second part of your question refers to Jack Kleinman's status and how he got 4-F'd "from joining the fight with the Nazi's" if the United States hadn't yet committed to the war in 1940. His exact words were, "I tried to enlist to fight the Fuhrer, but I got 4-F'd...ya' dig? So I came here to fight the Nazi b*st*rds so they wouldn't get the scrolls". You're right again. America was still neutral at this time. However, despite our neutral status, Americans were fighting Germans in an unofficial capacity. The script didn't explain exactly how Jack got involved, but history tells us how he might have gotten involved.

In 1940, the U.S. instituted the first peacetime draft in its history, "The Selective Training and Service Act." The act called for the registration of all men between the ages of 21 and 36. By October of 1940, 16 million had registered and the first draftees were inducted, but they were not yet being sent to Europe. Some anxious Americans were going to Canada and Britain to volunteer their services to fight fascism. Also, the American Navy was "unofficially" fighting the Germans in the North Atlantic in 1940. Those are two ways Jack could have fought the Nazis as early as 1940. Jack apparently tried to enlist before the 1940 draft and even if he was accepted, he wouldn't have been allowed to "officially" represent his country in the war effort until 1942 when we started sending troops to Europe and Africa. I rationalize Jack's presence in war-torn Europe in my own mind by quoting Xena, herself: "He's Joxer!" (or a descendant of Joxer) [Ref., A COMEDY OF EROS (#46)]. And being of Joxer's lineage, he has a penchant for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, even if he must impersonate a member of the "French Free Army" to get there.

Rita Schnepp,
Encyclopedia Xenaica Administrator

(References: The Second World War, Martin Gilbert, 1989; A Short History of World War II, James L. Stokesbury, 1980. Special thanks to "Lord Nelson" for his historical consultation.)




Xena FAQ Kudos


Mon, 11 Aug 1997
Subject: Thank you!

I want to thank you for listing the lyrics to Joxer's theme song in your FAQ. I just saw that episode for the first time last week, but took the opportunity to watch it again and again during the week since "Xena" is on different stations at different times where I live. I love this episode and, as your FAQ says, I think Joxer's theme song is...umm...somewhat addictive.

Linda Moore
LindaMoore@aol.com




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