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Some Questions about "The Essentials" and Political Correctness?


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31 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

I have some of that in my family. The problem is, you don't feel good if so much of your lineage is connected to people who did not accept you. If you're more than 50% of a race that doesn't accept you and the other percentage doesn't accept you either, where do you go ? Who are you ? We all want to belong at some level.

And, often times, we go to the movie because we want to be that cowboy, astronaut, tycoon or whomever the character is on the screen. At least pretend to be her/him for 90 minutes. That's where diversity comes in.

Don't confuse that with political correctness, they aren't the same thing. Diversity is about making the screen look more like real life. PC is about forcing contrived changes down people's throats who didn't ask for them.

And people come in all shapes, colors and ethnicities.  So do good and bad movies.

I'm 50% of two different "races" (cultures);   Japanese and White (German \ Czech) and I have to say neither side  accepted us kids,  since they didn't accept my parents getting married.      Of course the main reason was WWII;     neither side accepted that their child married the enemy.     (the Japanese side,  especially my grandfather was the most bitter never once acknowledging that we existed).

As for "where do you go",   and "who are you",  as well as the 'need to belong at some level";     I was defined by my neighborhood;    I.e. Southern California culture.     One isn't defined much by their parents' "race" or even culture from a genetic POV,   but instead based mostly on the environment they are raised in.      

 

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3 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

I don't get what you say.

Imagine Greta Gerwig saying that she doesn't care what black people think, because her film has white people and she made it for white people. Then imagine her expressing explicit shame that she has Africans in her lineage, and celebrating that she is mostly European by declaring "I'm white!" and "This makes me so happy." In today's culture, I can only imagine we wouldn't be hearing from her again for a while, if ever, at least in the mainstream.

I'm just clarifying what I meant, by the way, not trying to start a debate.

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16 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

Not being familiar with Ms. Gerwig, I cannot imagine.  Do you have an explanation for the difference in treatment?

I chose Gerwig as an example, because she is similar to Ava in certain ways, but she is white. And I have my suspicions on why the double standard exists, though I don't want to explain because it would likely start a debate in which I have no interest in participating.

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2 hours ago, Spritz Nipper said:

I was only trying to point out that learning more about Ava made it more clear why the films she selected were important to her. Though the videos I pointed out did make me raise an eyebrow. Reverse the races and you would likely see that person excommunicated from Hollywood.

White critics have promoted white movies since the film industry began. I don't recall one critic being excommunicated in the 100 years of film.

Unless you have mind reading skills, you can't know why Ava chose those films. People choose films they like for all sorts of reasons. Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and others promote films all the time. I don't see anyone analyzing their personal lives to figure out why they choose what they like.

People will watch them or not watch them. Its really that simple.

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50 minutes ago, Spritz Nipper said:

Imagine Greta Gerwig saying that she doesn't care what black people think, because her film has white people and she made it for white people. Then imagine her expressing explicit shame that she has Africans in her lineage, and celebrating that she is mostly European by declaring "I'm white!" and "This makes me so happy." In today's culture, I can only imagine we wouldn't be hearing from her again for a while, if ever, at least in the mainstream.

I'm just clarifying what I meant, by the way, not trying to start a debate.

As I said before, its difficult for a person to feel pride in being a race that has shunned them. Its should be no surprise that she would want to be the race that has embraced her. Being ashamed or hiding  being non white has been a common thread  throughout film history:

Pinky (1949)

pinky-poster.jpg?w=610&h=453

Imitation of Life (1934)

Imitation_of_Life_poster2.jpg

Actresses like Carol Channing and Merle Oberon had careers as "white women" even though they were multi racial. This is nothing new. You might just be shocked that its coming from the other side for a change. What you feel now, we have been feeling all the while.

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15 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

As I said before, its difficult for a person to feel pride in being a race that has shunned them. Its should be no surprise that she would want to be the race that has embraced her. Being ashamed or hiding  being non white has been a common thread  throughout film history:

Pinky (1949)

pinky-poster.jpg?w=610&h=453

Imitation of Life (1934)

Imitation_of_Life_poster2.jpg

Actresses like Carol Channing and Merle Oberon had careers as "white women" even though they were multi racial. This is nothing new. You might just be shocked that its coming from the other side for a change. What you feel now, we have been feeling all the while.

I heard right up into her Middle Age that Merle Oberon kept up the fantasy that she was from Australia and not India.

I also recall that she kept her dark-skinned mother as her personal maid.

She led a double life.

Ironically, in the British Hollywood Colony, she was close friends with Boris Karloff. He also carried a secret that he was mixed race and he had family members who were from India.

These kind of Secrets the old Stars had to maintain in order not to be ostracized or to lose the opportunity to work in Hollywood.

It's really no different from the kind of lives that Tab Hunter, Anthony  Perkins , Rock Hudson or Raymond Burr had to live also in Hollywood in the 1950s and 60s.

Being a star is hard enough. Can you imagine the kind of pressure that was brought to bear on these kind of people?

And the third category I can think of is Loretta Young, Who had Clark Gable's daughter out of wedlock. She adopted the girl later and raised her. That was something that must've been quite stressful for her to handle all during her career. Especially when she had to reunite with Gable in the movie "Key to the City". By this time she was married. And I can remember reading that she had a miscarriage during the shooting of that movie.

There are all kinds of standards that stars had to uphold in order to keep their positions in Hollywood.

Hopefully things are different today.....

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22 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

Well, then we can dismiss you.

Please do.

 

22 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

1. White critics have promoted white movies since the film industry began. I don't recall one critic being excommunicated in the 100 years of film.

2. Unless you have mind reading skills, you can't know why Ava chose those films. People choose films they like for all sorts of reasons. Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and others promote films all the time. I don't see anyone analyzing their personal lives to figure out why they choose what they like.

3. People will watch them or not watch them. Its really that simple.

1. Your first point is a false equivalency, unless these white people have been promoting films by explicitly stating that they are films about white people made for white people, and black people's opinions do not concern them.

2. I don't need to read her mind, she has explicitly stated how race is an important factor:

DuVernay is looking forward to audiences discovering 1982′s “Losing Ground” and Kathleen Collins in particular, who she considers on par with any of the white male contemporaries of the time, like, “a Woody Allen, per se.” The film was never released beyond screenings at film festivals and Collins died in 1988 at the young age of 46.

“It was just a slice of life from her perspective and yet because she was a woman and because she was black it went nowhere,” DuVernay said. “And now that film has been forgotten by so many — not even forgotten, it’s never been known.”

She continued, “That’s one that especially as a black woman filmmaker, I feel so connected to wanting to make sure people know her, know that she existed, know what she said and what she put out in the world and to really appreciate that she just was.”

3. I never stated or implied otherwise. In fact, I stated that I appreciate her bringing films I had not heard of to my attention. Remember, I did not create this thread, I never questioned Duvernay's place as co-host nor did I criticize her film choices.

 

11 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

1. As I said before, its difficult for a person to feel pride in being a race that has shunned them. Its should be no surprise that she would want to be the race that has embraced her. Being ashamed or hiding  being non white has been a common thread  throughout film history.

2. Actresses like Carol Channing and Merle Oberon had careers as "white women" even though they were multi racial. This is nothing new. You might just be shocked that its coming from the other side for a change. What you feel now, we have been feeling all the while.

1. I would say that any pride in race is a character flaw, but that's just me. Not sure what race shunned Ava, I'm guessing it was white people? Is this documented?

2. I don't understand this point. I don't feel any way really, I only posted because there seemed to be some debate about why she made some of her selections. If I feel anything, it is indifference. The defenses being posited for her more questionable comments aren't convincing to me, but oh well.

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 11:58 PM, slaytonf said:

My impression is that you took my post as aggressive in some way.   I was simply speaking clearly and directly.  I assure you I never attack, insult, or demean anyone.  I may sometimes use satire, but only to burst a balloon of pretension.  Then I hope I am not hurtful.  There was something worthwhile in what you posted that merited a response.  My analysis, or criticism, of your comments was phrased intentionally and intended to show the flaws in your rationale.  I'll give you an example of each:

As I stated, you misrepresented the character of the movies chosen for this season as being out of the ordinary for TCM, whereas even a quick review shows the great majority of them are standard fare for TCM, including highly regarded classics from all periods of the studio era.

You state in your original post that the movies for this season were chosen using race, ethnicity, and gender as criteria.  Yet nowhere in the discussions between Ben Mankiewicz and Ava DuVernay did I hear any such criteria mentioned.  There is no justification for making any inferences on what Ms. DuVernay used in selecting her movies.  Based on her commentary, you may guess at what she used, but it would be unfounded.

I will be generous and concede the point that the movies were chosen considering racial, ethnic, and gender issues.  Your conclusion that doing so would result in an inferior line-up of movies is belied by the movies themselves.  Even the ones not usually aired on TCM are well-made, entertaining and engaging. 

I made my observations not to belittle you, or inform you of your faulty reasoning, but to allay your fears and apprehensions for TCM and it's future.  Far from breaking new ground, with Ava DuVernay's guest-hosting of The Essentials, TCM is continuing in it's tradition of highlighting marginalized populations in American culture in an attempt to raise people's awareness of injustices in the past and present, and in it's own small way work toward making it a more equitable place for everyone.

Like I said...We Agree To Disagree.

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On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 2:38 AM, MovieMadness said:

Yes, since you're a liberal Democrat then I guess we'll have to tell you it's a conspiracy against you. TCM is secretly getting marching orders on what to show the masses, it's all meant to bring awareness and innuendos so you vote how they want.

Now, now, no need to be sarcastic.

But now that you mention it, I would bet TCM is being pressured to present more films that highlight minorities.  Political correctness is a reality in America today, whether one approves or disapproves of it.

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On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 10:08 AM, Roy Cronin said:

I would like to ask the author of this thread, who admits to posting infrequently, to please place his political commentary in the proper forum which, inexplicably,  is provided by TCM.

I prefer to read about films and movies in this particular region of the boards.

Thanks for the tip about message board geography, Roy (sincerely).  I'll keep this in mind next time I start a thread.  However...the title of my thread is pretty self-explanatory, and no one is forcing you to read the thread.  Thou dost protest too much, methinks. :)

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On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 4:35 PM, Spritz said:

A quick Google search of Ava Duvernay shows that she spends a large portion of her time focusing on race. Some interesting videos too. One in which she mentions that she doesn't care what white people think of her documentary because "I made it for black people." In another video of her on the show Finding Your Roots, she expresses disappointment when she learns that she has more white people in her lineage than she thought. She is afraid that she may be more than 50% European, but is ecstatic to find out that she is 57% African, exclaiming "I'm black!" in celebration.

This is the whole problem.  When you start using race as a criterion...in anything, whether minority or majority...you merely exacerbate a festering wound. Duvernay was quite supportive of ripping the Gish name off the Lillian and Dorothy Gish Theatre at Bowling Green University (to the consternation of numerous more rational people both inside and outside Hollywood).  Forget Lillian Gish's legacy, forget her sister, forget context.  Let's just go around removing names, that will help solve the problem.  Sorry, don't think so.

TCM has made a conscious decision, in my view, to jump on the PC bandwagon by employing her as a co-host.  The funny thing is, "classic" movies are by and large dominated by white males!  At best they ignored women and minorities, and at worst they were sexist and racist.  By bringing in Duvernay and her bag of less-than Essential films, they're trying to paint lipstick on a pig.  Give her a separate show, outside of The Essentials. (Just like someone suggested, probably correctly, that this thread should be separate.)

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Secondly., I apologize if I offended anyone with what i said about the book in this thread. I have nothing against some of the films that Ava has picked this year (I loved Claudine and Dsaughters of the Dust was strong and atmospheric), but I can't help but say that La Pointe-Courte was very dry in my opinion. And as for the book, maybe I just bristled seeing films that many people loved over the years replaced by titles like Touki-Bouki, which only had about a 197 word review. I didn't mean to sound racist or anything because i'm not, but I was just a bit stunned that so much was replaced. (Not to mention, some of the newest films put in seemed thin, like The Florida Project)

If you want to judge the contents of this new edition to see how "essential" they are, go to Amazon to look at the look inside option (click over the book's cover and it will come up) ... https://www.amazon.com/New-York-Times-Book-Movies/dp/078933657X

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On ‎1‎/‎2‎/‎2020 at 4:35 PM, CinemaInternational said:

Secondly., I apologize if I offended anyone with what i said about the book in this thread. I have nothing against some of the films that Ava has picked this year (I loved Claudine and Dsaughters of the Dust was strong and atmospheric), but I can't help but say that La Pointe-Courte was very dry in my opinion. And as for the book, maybe I just bristled seeing films that many people loved over the years replaced by titles like Touki-Bouki, which only had about a 197 word review. I didn't mean to sound racist or anything because i'm not, but I was just a bit stunned that so much was replaced. (Not to mention, some of the newest films put in seemed thin, like The Florida Project)

I thought your discussion of that 1,000 essentials film book (page one of this thread) was illuminating and informative.  There's no reason to apologize or proclaim that you're not racist.  We're just way too sensitive these days, in my opinion.  While racism is still a huge problem in America, if we can't have a reasoned and mature discussion about the subject...and the related subject of political correctness...then we're in truly bad shape.

My movie guide is Leonard Maltin's, and he and his team drop movie reviews every time the guide is revised, to accommodate newer films.  Since I'm more interested in the 2 1/2-star films from yesteryear than the 3- and 4-star films of today, I keep a tattered copy of his 1997 edition on hand.  And like you, I've noticed some interesting substitutions and changes.  A guilty pleasure of mine is the 1965 film Bunny Lake Is Missing (Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley, The Zombies).  The original review of that film mentioned "several homosexual" and "oddball" characters, and I noticed Maltin revised that description to "interesting offbeat characters in the margins." (!)  While I can see why some people might read into this a stigmatization of gays, there are other instances of wholesale film review substitutions, like you mention, that are undoubtedly made to accommodate a "social justice"  mentality and are totally unjustified...again, in my opinion.

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On 12/30/2019 at 7:49 AM, greenpete58 said:

Now, now, no need to be sarcastic.

But now that you mention it, I would bet TCM is being pressured to present more films that highlight minorities.  Political correctness is a reality in America today, whether one approves or disapproves of it.

I find this comment interesting: I would bet TCM is being pressured to present more films that highlight minorities. 

Pressured by who?     Of course TCM receives "programming" request by individuals,  as well as activist groups  (from all "sides").     E.g,   that TCM doesn't show enough request for the military \ veterans on Memorial Day or Veterans Day.         

But I doubt TCM's management views these "request" as pressure.        

Oh,  and political correctness has ALWAYS been a reality in America.      The difference today is only in what generally considered to be "PC".  

E.g.   during the Production Code era having sex outside of marriage wasn't PC.    Cruse words were not "PC".      Showing too-much skin,    a gay character,   etc....

Both "sides" wish for content to conform to their expectations.          

My POV:   creators and content-providers should be free to provide whatever type of content they want.       Consumers can avoid content they don't view as "PC".

 

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26 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I find this comment interesting: I would bet TCM is being pressured to present more films that highlight minorities. 

Pressured by who?     Of course TCM receives "programming" request by individuals,  as well as activist groups  (from all "sides").     E.g,   that TCM doesn't show enough request for the military \ veterans on Memorial Day or Veterans Day.         

But I doubt TCM's management views these "request" as pressure.        

Oh,  and political correctness has ALWAYS been a reality in America.      The difference today is only in what generally considered to be "PC".  

E.g.   during the Production Code era having sex outside of marriage wasn't PC.    Cruse words were not "PC".      Showing too-much skin,    a gay character,   etc....

Both "sides" wish for content to conform to their expectations.          

My POV:   creators and content-providers should be free to provide whatever type of content they want.       Consumers can avoid content they don't view as "PC".

 

Well, I'll take these one at a time, James (Django). :)

Pressured by who (sic)?  I think you answered your own question when you said "activist groups (from all "sides")."  It's no secret that Black Lives Matter and the #meToo movement are currently very high-profile.  BLM representatives made a very public appearance at Bowling Green immediately prior to the Gish Theatre being renamed.  I'm speculating on TCM being pressured, of course, but I think it's a valid speculation.  And I'm not convinced TCM receives similar pressure from other "sides," as you suggest.

Oh,  and political correctness has ALWAYS been a reality in America.  I think this statement comes down to how we define "political correctness."  Most of us view PC as being attempts to assuage certain disadvantaged or historically discriminated groups through certain careful, "sensitive" language and actions.  George Carlin called it "censorship from the Left."  What we call PC is a recent phenomenon (maybe dating to civil, women's, and gay rights of the '60s and '70s?). What you refer to...censorship of sexuality and curse words during the Production Code...relates more to the prudishness and conservatism of studio heads, beginning with Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, etc.  in the 1930s.

My POV:   creators and content-providers should be free to provide whatever type of content they want.       Consumers can avoid content they don't view as "PC".  I'm on the fence with your first sentence.  The First Amendment is a cornerstone of American democracy, but I'm not a strict interpreter, particularly when it comes to excessive/gratuitous violence and child pornography.  I do agree with your second sentence, and I avoid certain TV all the time, mainly because the majority of it is an insult to my intelligence.  TCM is one of the few television refuges remaining for me, along with PBS, and I hate seeing it "dumbed down" with PC on Saturday night at 8 PM. 

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1 hour ago, greenpete58 said:

Well, I'll take these one at a time, James (Django). :)

Pressured by who (sic)?  I think you answered your own question when you said "activist groups (from all "sides")."  It's no secret that Black Lives Matter and the #meToo movement are currently very high-profile.  BLM representatives made a very public appearance at Bowling Green immediately prior to the Gish Theatre being renamed.  I'm speculating on TCM being pressured, of course, but I think it's a valid speculation.  And I'm not convinced TCM receives similar pressure from other "sides," as you suggest.

Oh,  and political correctness has ALWAYS been a reality in America.  I think this statement comes down to how we define "political correctness."  Most of us view PC as being attempts to assuage certain disadvantaged or historically discriminated groups through certain careful, "sensitive" language and actions.  George Carlin called it "censorship from the Left."  What we call PC is a recent phenomenon (maybe dating to civil, women's, and gay rights of the '60s and '70s?). What you refer to...censorship of sexuality and curse words during the Production Code...relates more to the prudishness and conservatism of studio heads, beginning with Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, etc.  in the 1930s.

My POV:   creators and content-providers should be free to provide whatever type of content they want.       Consumers can avoid content they don't view as "PC".  I'm on the fence with your first sentence.  The First Amendment is a cornerstone of American democracy, but I'm not a strict interpreter, particularly when it comes to excessive/gratuitous violence and child pornography.  I do agree with your second sentence, and I avoid certain TV all the time, mainly because the majority of it is an insult to my intelligence.  TCM is one of the few television refuges remaining for me, along with PBS, and I hate seeing it "dumbed down" with PC on Saturday night at 8 PM. 

I'm sure black activist groups have written TCM many letters but as a TCM "insider" and someone that has talked to Ben TCM has received many letter from the other-side;  E.g.   letter complaining about the latest version of the  essentials,   or TCM's focus on the HCUA (which some view as supporting those dirty commies in the industry).       In fact TCM receives letters complaining about Ben being a member of the Young Turks.        My overall point here is that it is my understanding TCM hasn't changed it's programming based on any of this so called "pressure".

Yes the term PC was created by conservatives to marginalize the "left" and as as way to mock the type of content that left-leaning folks are sensitive about.      But the bottom line is that regardless of what term is used,   the goal is to conform content to that which is politically correct to that "side" of politics.      Take the commercial with two lesbians kissing and the Hallmark channel;    religious folks lobby Hallmark to remove the commercial.      Hallmark does.    I define that as Hallmark being PC;   conforming content to what these religious folks wanted.      Left leaning activist groups  (as well as moderate ones),   complain and Hallmark makes another PC move by putting the commercial back on.   

As for your last paragraph;   I should have been more clear that some content should be banned by the government.         E.g. any content that shows an actual crime. 

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I'm sure black activist groups have written TCM many letters but as a TCM "insider" and someone that has talked to Ben TCM has received many letter from the other-side;  E.g.   letter complaining about the latest version of the  essentials,   or TCM's focus on the HCUA (which some view as supporting those dirty commies in the industry).       In fact TCM receives letters complaining about Ben being a member of the Young Turks.        My overall point here is that it is my understanding TCM hasn't changed it's programming based on any of this so called "pressure".

Yes the term PC was created by conservatives to marginalize the "left" and as as way to mock the type of context that left-leaning folks are sensitive about.      But the bottom line is that regardless of what term is used,   the goal is to conform content to that which is political correct to that "side" of politics.      Take the commercial with two lesbians kissing and the Hallmark channel;    religious folks lobby Hallmark to remove the commercial.      Hallmark does.    I define that as Hallmark being PC;   conforming content to what these religious folks wanted.      Left leaning activist groups  (as well as moderate ones),   complain and Hallmark makes another PC move by putting the commercial back on.   

As for your last paragraph;   I should have been more clear that some content should be banned by the government.         E.g. any content that shows an actual crime. 

 

 

 

OK, I see your point about PC.  If we define it like you do, perhaps it does swing both ways.  I guess removing two lesbians kissing could be regarded as Hallmark being politically correct for conservative religious groups.  Those religious groups probably view the original commercial as Hallmark trying to strike a blow for diversity (i.e., being politically correct).  Like John Prine sings, "It's a big old goofy world."

I like Ben Manckiewicz.  I hope he remains as TCM host a long time (Young Turk or not).  And since you're an "insider," nice to hear that TCM hasn't bowed to any pressure, right or left, and I'm glad it continues to air its films uncensored.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, greenpete58 said:

OK, I see your point about PC.  If we define it like you do, perhaps it does swing both ways.  I guess removing two lesbians kissing could be regarded as Hallmark being politically correct for conservative religious groups.  Those religious groups probably view the original commercial as Hallmark trying to strike a blow for diversity (i.e., being politically correct).  Like John Prine sings, "It's a big old goofy world."

I like Ben Manckiewicz.  I hope he remains as TCM host a long time (Young Turk or not).  And since you're an "insider," nice to hear that TCM hasn't bowed to any pressure, right or left, and I'm glad it continues to air its films uncensored.

 

 

Note that TCM set-up the "insiders" before Backlot.     I don't know why I was selected.   All I know is that I received an e-mail from TCM about 3 years ago asking me if I wanted to be an "insider".      I was honor so of course I said "yes".       I get survey questions related to TCM services;     e.g. how much do you use the TCM streaming service?      

Of course we all know that Groucho Marx quote about club membership:  I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member!

 

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