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TopBilled

Why does TCM skip black history month every year..?

63 posts in this topic

3 minutes ago, fxreyman said:

TCM is not doing an entire month of Irish themed movies. Yes, there are Irish themed films on their schedule but not everyday nor are there that many Irish themed films scheduled. I'd be curious to see what the make-up of ethnic people there are that watch TCM on a monthly basis really is. And I am going out on a limb here to suggest that I do not think many black people watch TCM on a regular basis. I would also suggest that many more black people watch more of BET and it's sister cable channels than would ever watch TCM.

So this really comes down to one thing and one thing only. Your belief that maybe, just maybe TCM is being a little too non-caring when it comes to not paying enough attention to the plight of black awareness. Could this be the case?

Are you aware that Black History Month started out as Black History Week in 1926?

Historian Carter Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February to be Negro History Week. This week was chosen because in coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. Both of their birthdays had been celebrated by black communities since the late 1800’s. Woodson and the association wanted emphasis placed on the teaching of the history of American blacks in the nation’s public schools. It took awhile, but through efforts by liberal commentators, and many mayors and churches across the land did black awareness not only become a staple of teaching in public schools, but gained an even greater following after the civil rights riots in the 1960's.

Eventually, Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. This was followed by the first celebration of BHM from January 1970 to February 1970. Six years later President Gerald Ford recognized BHM during the cerebration of the US Bicentennial year.
BHM often sparks debate about the continued usefulness and fairness of a designated month dedicated to the history of one race.

There has been recent criticism. Actor and director Morgan Freeman and others have criticized the concept of declaring only one month as BHM. He noted at the time “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”

 

Not sure I get why you need to counter the idea that TCM could benefit from more diversity.

In terms of the Irish theme set for March, nobody said they were airing Irish films all 31 days. However, they have set aside four Sunday evenings. And the 17th will be a 24-hour block of Irish themed classics. 

The Morgan Freeman example seems like you are trying to use one black person to discount the fact that many black people (and non-blacks) could benefit from seeing more films about the black experience on TCM. Why would his one opinion matter more than anyone else's?

You also used the word plight to make it sound like these poor black people who probably don't watch TCM could care less because they're too busy watching BET. First, there doesn't have to be a plight of anything to raise awareness. And second, who's to say there aren't people who watch both BET and TCM. I would guess that a lot of viewers are multiracial in this day and age and watch a variety of channels. 

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5 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Not sure I get why you need to counter the idea that TCM could benefit from more diversity.

In terms of the Irish theme set for March, nobody said they were airing Irish films all 31 days. However, they have set aside four Sunday evenings. And the 17th will be a 24-hour block of Irish themed classics. 

And just to reiterate, TCM did spend a month highlighting Black films this past September. So it's not like TCM has completely disregarded this segment of the populace. 

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15 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

And just to reiterate, TCM did spend a month highlighting Black films this past September. So it's not like TCM has completely disregarded this segment of the populace. 

Yes, Larry, thanks for reminding us. However, this is like saying "TCM did show some films with Santa in them back in the summertime so there is no need to show Santa or holiday films at Christmas." 

It's about visibility, timeliness and broadcasting a broader cross-section of films relating to a specific segment of the American experience.

TCM is not doing its Irish themed month at any other time of the year. And February is Black History Month in the United States. As I said in the original post, they surely could set aside some hours in February not devoted to the Oscars, and do birthday tributes and other more socially relevant programming.

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39 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Not sure I get why you need to counter the idea that TCM could benefit from more diversity.

In terms of the Irish theme set for March, nobody said they were airing Irish films all 31 days. However, they have set aside four Sunday evenings. And the 17th will be a 24-hour block of Irish themed classics. 

The Morgan Freeman example seems like you are trying to use one black person to discount the fact that many black people (and non-blacks) could benefit from seeing more films about the black experience on TCM. Why would his one opinion matter more than anyone else's?

You also used the word plight to make it sound like these poor black people who probably don't watch TCM could care less because they're too busy watching BET. First, there doesn't have to be a plight of anything to raise awareness. And second, who's to say there aren't people who watch both BET and TCM. I would guess that a lot of viewers are multiracial in this day and age and watch a variety of channels. 

I never said anything about more diversity being needed on TCM. You however have stated on several occasions that TCM should devote some of it's 31 Days of Oscar to more black films to increase diversity. And the fact that Black History Month just happens to fall within the same period of time that the 31 Days of Oscar is going on. I happen to disagree with that premise. Especially given the fact that the 31 Days of Oscar is a ritual programming block of time devoted to specifically showcasing films that were either nominated for or that were awarded Oscars over the years. I have also stated that the only other full-month of scheduled events is the Summer Under the Stars month.

The 31 Days of Oscar is NOT about

Quote

visibility, timeliness and broadcasting a broader cross-section of films relating to a specific segment of the American experience.

It is about the celebration of films that have something to do with the Academy Awards. Nothing else.

If you want more awareness of films dealing with what you are espousing, then I would suggest looking elsewhere.

You are the one that wrote the following:  "In March, they are doing a whole month on Irish in the movies. Considerably more than just green beer on March 17th."

As far as Freeman is concerned, he gave that opinion during an appearance on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace. I used his comments because he is a respected actor/producer among many people of many colors. He has a voice. He espouses common sense. I have to wonder if other blacks feel the way he does?

Freeman reiterated those comments with CNN's Don Lemon who has gone way out of his way to explain that white rich people are to blame for the plight of black Americans. Both Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman have dared to say that the plight of black Americans begins in their own homes.

As far as awareness is concerned, you obviously feel very strong about the fact that TCM does not show enough awareness or raise enough awareness of black culture through the use of film. Is this basically correct?

But then why does it have to fall upon TCM then to showcase additional films about black history during the same month that 31 Days of Oscar is being programmed and not the rest of the year?

As others have written, there are other times of the year where TCM can showcase and raise awareness about black films. Indian films, British films, German films, Polish films and so on.

Just leave 31 Days of Oscar and Summer Under the Stars alone.

 

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Yes, Larry, thanks for reminding us. However, this is like saying "TCM did show some films with Santa in them back in the summertime so there is no need to show Santa or holiday films at Christmas." 

It's about visibility, timeliness and broadcasting a broader cross-section of films relating to a specific segment of the American experience.

TCM is not doing its Irish themed month at any other time of the year. And February is Black History Month in the United States. As I said in the original post, they surely could set aside some hours in February not devoted to the Oscars, and do birthday tributes and other more socially relevant programming.

As you know Oscar month is TCM biggest promo event by far.   E.g. commercials on CNN,  the Food Network (I only mention these two because I watch them and I have seen the commercials,  but I assume they run ads on other networks).

I don't know how successful this promo has been,   but since TCM continues it year-after-year I have to assume they are getting the desired bang-for-their-buck.    Therefore I wouldn't mess with it.

Also,  it TCM was to only 'set aside some hours in February' it might look like a token tribute and that could cause an even bigger backlash.

 

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2 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

As you know Oscar month is TCM biggest promo event by far.   E.g. commercials on CNN,  the Food Network (I only mention these two because I watch them and I have seen the commercials,  but I assume they run ads on other networks).

I don't know how successful this promo has been,   but since TCM continues it year-after-year I have to assume they are getting the desired bang-for-their-buck.    Therefore I wouldn't mess with it.

Also,  it TCM was to only 'set aside some hours in February' it might look like a token tribute and that could cause an even bigger backlash.

Since the beginning of the thread, I have been advocating for more diverse programming in February.

It would not be a token tribute, not if they were also setting aside hours for much deserved birthday tributes. Why does any programming related to a minority group have to be seen as tokenism?

You might as well say that the Irish spotlight is a token theme too. Words like plight and token are loaded terms meant to downplay the importance of cultural groups in America. 

I am waiting for someone to come on to the thread and say black viewers don't watch TCM because it's easier for them to watch BET when they're picking cotton and eating watermelon.

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I don't know.  Seems like we as a society should move past this in general (having weeks, days, months where we "focus" on certain races, genders, ect).  TCM shows a diverse range of movies all the time.  There are two on tonight in fact, one of them being one of my favorite movies of all time, In the Heat of the Night.   I'll enjoy it just as much tonight or in July.   

 

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I am waiting for someone to come on to the thread and say black viewers don't watch TCM because it's easier for them to watch BET when they're picking cotton and eating watermelon.

No, they just have much better things to do than to watch an old movie channel after they have driven a bus all day, or cleaned up offices during the overnight hours, or taken tickets from train riders, or any other type of discriminatory job they could possibly have. And yes, I have met many black people in the Chicago area who have these kinds of jobs. And when most of them climb into my car for a rideshare, often they sit back and watch whatever cultural black thing they like on their cell phones. I know that they are NOT watching the TCM app. I can hear loud and clearly what they ARE watching or listening to and it has nothing to do with classic films...

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3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Since the beginning of the thread, I have been advocating for more diverse programming in February.

It would not be a token tribute, not if they were also setting aside hours for much deserved birthday tributes. Why does any programming related to a minority group have to be seen as tokenism?

You might as well say that the Irish spotlight is a token theme too. Words like plight and token are loaded terms meant to downplay the importance of cultural groups in America. 

I am waiting for someone to come on to the thread and say black viewers don't watch TCM because it's easier for them to watch BET when they're picking cotton and eating watermelon.

Again,  you completely misunderstand what I said.   I knew I shouldn't have entered this discussion with you and will no longer discuss any issue with you in the future.

 

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Just now, jamesjazzguitar said:

Again,  you completely misunderstand what I said.   I knew I shouldn't have entered this discussion with you and will no longer discuss any issue with you in the future.

It seemed as if you entered the discussion because you believed a monthly theme of showing films with black characters constituted tokenism. YOU are the one who bought the word token into it. I did not. It never crossed my mind.

So yeah, I don't think I misunderstood the purpose of your prior post. Notice I am not upset, not putting you down, not threatening you with "I won't talk to you again" just because I happen to disagree with you on this. We can disagree, it's okay to have a healthy disagreement. Moving on...

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7 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It seemed as if you entered the discussion because you believed a monthly theme of showing films with black characters constituted tokenism. YOU are the one who bought the word token into it. I did not. It never crossed my mind.

So yeah, I don't think I misunderstood the purpose of your prior post. Notice I am not upset, not putting you down, not threatening you with "I won't talk to you again" just because I happen to disagree with you on this. We can disagree, it's okay to have a healthy disagreement. Moving on...

You're so arrogant that you knew what I was trying to communicate, and even when I say it wasn't, well, you still know better.    Yea, moving on for good.

 

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19 minutes ago, fxreyman said:

No, they just have much better things to do than to watch an old movie channel after they have driven a bus all day, or cleaned up offices during the overnight hours, or taken tickets from train riders, or any other type of discriminatory job they could possibly have. And yes, I have met many black people in the Chicago area who have these kinds of jobs. And when most of them climb into my car for a rideshare, often they sit back and watch whatever cultural black thing they like on their cell phones. I know that they are NOT watching the TCM app. I can hear loud and clearly what they ARE watching or listening to and it has nothing to do with classic films...

This post makes me smile. So to be clear, you are saying that the people who get into your vehicle are a perfect sample of what black people enjoy for their media-related entertainment? How do you know that one of the people you describe isn't watching TCM when they get home?

Incidentally, and I am sure you must know this, white people and people of other racial backgrounds have "discriminatory jobs" too. (I think you mean stereotypical jobs.)

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I looked at Starz's website and notice they have a Black channel and a Classic Black channel. So TopBilled, maybe that makes the whole thing easier for them. I don't have Starz. My television bill is high enough and Starz goes for an extra $12.

It is sad to see this thread get ugly.

I live in a area with many Hispanics. I think TV is different when you speak Spanish. African American people also speak English. I would not think they only focus on TV dedicated to them.

I don't mean to be rude, but what will TCM play on Cinco De Mayo?

I say again, just play the movies. If you play them, we will watch.

I plan to watch In The Heat Of The Night, as I watch the TV show. If I've seen the film, I don't remember it.

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11 minutes ago, Michael Rennie said:

I looked at Starz's website and notice they have a Black channel and a Classic Black channel. So TopBilled, maybe that makes the whole thing easier for them. I don't have Starz. My television bill is high enough and Starz goes for an extra $12.

It is sad to see this thread get ugly.

I live in a area with many Hispanics. I think TV is different when you speak Spanish. African American people also speak English. I would not think they only focus on TV dedicated to them.

I don't mean to be rude, but what will TCM play on Cinco De Mayo?

I say again, just play the movies. If you play them, we will watch.

I plan to watch In The Heat Of The Night, as I watch the TV show. If I've seen the film, I don't remember it.

You can stream Starz for slightly less than $12 a month. That's what I do. 

As you pointed out, Starz has considered the black experience in its business model, offering plenty of programming for viewers interested in films and TV series about the black experience in America. So kudos to them. I think TCM is lagging behind in this area, which is why I created the thread.

When I was in my first Masters Degree program, in education, a gal I studied with-- she was African American, and she did her grad thesis on Ebonics. She insisted that black children talk and listen differently than their white or non-black counterparts in the classroom. That's another topic for discussion, but according to her, blacks do not speak the same sort of English as the rest of America.

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7 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

You can stream Starz for slightly less than $12 a month. That's what I do. 

As you pointed out, Starz has considered the black experience in its business model, offering plenty of programming for viewers interested in films and TV series about the black experience in America. So kudos to them. I think TCM is lagging behind in this area, which is why I created the thread.

When I was in my first Masters Degree program, in education, a gal I studied with-- she was African American, and she did her grad thesis on Ebonics. She insisted that black children do talk and listen differently than their white or non-black counterparts in the classroom. That's another topic for discussion, but according to her, blacks do not speak the same sort of English as the rest of America.

So I guess she was a bonafide authority on this matter, huh? Just like you are with what it takes to show diversity?

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15 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

This post makes me smile. So to be clear, you are saying that the people who get into your vehicle are a perfect sample of what black people enjoy for their media-related entertainment? How do you know that one of the people you describe isn't watching TCM when they get home?

Incidentally, and I am sure you must know this, white people and people of other racial backgrounds have "discriminatory jobs" too. (I think you mean stereotypical jobs.)

I am glad it makes you smile. You need to do more of that around here and less trying to show us all how arrogant and the continued put downs of other posters. Not all of us have snubby education degrees in film studies.

We are just average folks who want to watch films on TCM.

I can not answer what they watch when they get home. But if they are doing the jobs I see them doing I can't imagine that they can afford what it costs to get TCM into their homes. Now maybe they stream? Again, I have no clue.

Oh yeah. I am quite aware of the other races who are also trapped in what many in our society would call lesser jobs.

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Just now, fxreyman said:

So I guess she was a bonafide authority on this matter, huh? Just like you are with what it takes to show diversity?

Not sure why you are twisting things. Nobody's saying they're an authority on anything. Not to sound patronizing, but to explain, when a person develops a research project in a Masters program, they are building a thesis and testing it. In her experience as a lifelong learner and teacher, she defined the black experience (in education) as a very specific thing then tested her theory with research and wrote about it.

I've been very careful not to speak for black viewers in this thread, because as I said, I am a German/Irish-American and my home culture is defined in its own way (for lack of a better phrase). But I like to see diversity in programming reflected more on TCM's schedules. I don't see it as tokenism, but about learning more about groups of people in America. Nothing wrong with that.

One of the most memorable experiences I had in my late teens was being invited to a festival at a Catholic church in a Filipino neighborhood. I was raised Catholic and had never been around Filipinos before. So it was interesting to see how our shared faith was practiced in a different ethnic community.

Seeing films on TCM about different groups can help us realize how we share things in terms of being Americans, but also how things are unique and specific to a culture. I want to see more of this on TCM. And I want to see less of the obsession that TCM has with the Oscars. My opinion.

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21 minutes ago, Michael Rennie said:

I looked at Starz's website and notice they have a Black channel and a Classic Black channel. So TopBilled, maybe that makes the whole thing easier for them. I don't have Starz. My television bill is high enough and Starz goes for an extra $12.

It is sad to see this thread get ugly. 

I live in a area with many Hispanics. I think TV is different when you speak Spanish. African American people also speak English. I would not think they only focus on TV dedicated to them.

I don't mean to be rude, but what will TCM play on Cinco De Mayo?

I say again, just play the movies. If you play them, we will watch.

I plan to watch In The Heat Of The Night, as I watch the TV show. If I've seen the film, I don't remember it.

Unfortunately, this happens from time to time around here when a poster starts to get a little agitated about the lack of whatever ills affect him in regard to the programming or other things written about TCM.

I am glad to hear you like In the Heat of the Night tv series. It was pretty well done for the times. The movie is great!

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4 minutes ago, fxreyman said:

I am glad it makes you smile. You need to do more of that around here and less trying to show us all how arrogant and the continued put downs of other posters. Not all of us have snubby education degrees in film studies.

We are just average folks who want to watch films on TCM.

I can not answer what they watch when they get home. But if they are doing the jobs I see them doing I can't imagine that they can afford what it costs to get TCM into their homes. Now maybe they stream? Again, I have no clue.

Oh yeah. I am quite aware of the other races who are also trapped in what many in our society would call lesser jobs.

I think you're piggy backing on James calling me arrogant which I don't feel I am. And I think you're getting a little too personal with all this. I value what you're saying but do not agree with most of it. And it's my prerogative to disagree with you if I choose to do that. Also, I think you are trying to cut me down to size by attacking my education, which feels like a jab stemming from your own insecurity. I am not putting you down because of your station in life. As I told James, we can have a healthy disagreement. 

I still don't feel it's wrong to question TCM's scheduling choices in February. If that offends you or anyone else, then so be it. I believe TCM's programmers, if they do read these threads, would value constructive feedback.

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1 minute ago, TopBilled said:

But I like to see diversity in programming reflected more on TCM's schedules.

No, you're espousing that it has to be during a specific month...this month. As I've pointed out twice, and you've dismissed twice, TCM did a month-long focus on the Black Experience in film a few months ago. They have shown diversity in their programming, you are just choosing to ignore it. Are you asking for this spotlight to be during more than a single month a year? How many months? Do any other specific groups deserve multiple months per year as a spotlight? If so, who? If not, why?

I have a feeling this is as much about a problem you have with the Oscars spotlight as it is anything to do with specific racial representation on the channel.

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7 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

No, you're espousing that it has to be during a specific month...this month. As I've pointed out twice, and you've dismissed twice, TCM did a month-long focus on the Black Experience in film a few months ago. They have shown diversity in their programming, you are just choosing to ignore it. Are you asking for this spotlight to be during more than a single month a year? How many months? Do any other specific groups deserve multiple months per year as a spotlight? If so, who? If not, why?

I have a feeling this is as much about a problem you have with the Oscars spotlight as it is anything to do with specific racial representation on the channel.

Thanks Larry for the analysis. :) 

The problem I had with your comments is that you seem to imply that if TCM previously had a spotlight on the black experience, then it should hold us over where we do not need any more black-themed films on the schedule. Who sets the time frame on that? Who says there can't be multiple months when this theme is revisited, especially during a month when Black History is being celebrated nationally? Where were you on MLK Day, telling us that TCM shouldn't air any films on that day because they had already shown black films a few months earlier? Do you see the flaw in your argument?

The Oscar obsession is a separate issue/tangent. But it not only gets in the way of Black History month, it gets in the way of birthday tributes and other possible themes. Yes, they are trying to find Oscar-nominated films that can also suggest these other themes, but why limit these themes to only Oscar-caliber films? Their focus is entirely skewed because of the Oscar blitz they do, and I feel it's preventing a more balanced schedule from being developed.

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6 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

The problem I had with your comments is that you seem to imply that if TCM previously had a spotlight on the black experience, then it should hold us over where we do not need any more black-themed films on the schedule. Who sets the time frame on that? Who says there can't be multiple months when this theme is revisited, especially during a month when Black History is being celebrated nationally? Where were you on MLK Day, telling us that TCM shouldn't air any films on that day because they had already shown black films a few months earlier? Do you see the flaw in your argument?

No, but I see the flaw in yours. I NEVER said that there should be no black films during the rest of the year. You are adding things that I did not state, or inferring things based on your own bias. I pointed out that there had been a month-long spotlight on the very topic which you keep saying they are neglecting by not doing a month-long spotlight. Are you beginning to see the flaw in your argument yet? You are stating something is not taking place when in fact it has taken place.

Like others, I don't really see the point in continuing this "discussion" as it is obviously going nowhere, and really comes across more like trolling/rabble-rousing. If you feel like responding, I'll do you the courtesy of reading it, but I've said all I have to say on this topic.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

No, but I see the flaw in yours. I NEVER said that there should be no black films during the rest of the year. You are adding things that I did not state, or inferring things based on your own bias. I pointed out that there had been a month-long spotlight on the very topic which you keep saying they are neglecting by not doing a month-long spotlight. Are you beginning to see the flaw in your argument yet? You are stating something is not taking place when in fact it has taken place.

Like others, I don't really see the point in continuing this "discussion" as it is obviously going nowhere, and really comes across more like trolling/rabble-rousing. If you feel like responding, I'll do you the courtesy of reading it, but I've said all I have to say on this topic.

Right on Larry;   Come on,  only a trolling/rabble-rousing poster would post:  I am waiting for someone to come on to the thread and say black viewers don't watch TCM because it's easier for them to watch BET when they're picking cotton and eating watermelon.

Just another attempt to say; If you disagree with my POV,,,,  well we know what that makes you.    I'm going to eat some watermelon in a cotton wife-beater T-shirt.

 

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I don't know if you get this channel but Movies! TV is showing something called Black History Movies! throughout February. They've shown/are showing soon: Stormy Weather, Claudine, The Toy, Tap, ect. It's not much just 3 nights throughout the month but I guess it's a start for this channel. 

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On 2/8/2019 at 2:05 PM, LawrenceA said:

all of which could still be done within the 31 Days of Oscar parameters. 

exactly

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