1998

Re: Postmodernism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0271  Saturday, 28 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 06:16:00 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 13:19:35 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   RE: Postmodernism

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:12:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 06:16:00 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism

William Godschalk writes,

If I read a long s as an f in one of the Folios, I am in error; but the
long s remains a long s.  And, yes, this is a matter of faith. I cannot
prove that my inadequate perceptual system does NOT affect external
reality.

A long s is only a long s within a system of letters. When I say to a
student, "Oh, that's really an s," I think I mean something quite
different than when I say, "Oh yes, there's "really" some sort of
physical world out there that functions without respect to my
perceptions of it." In the student's case, I'm making an ultimately
rhetorical point, "Your reading will be easier and make more sense if
you understand that mark as we do." I firmly believe the two statements
are fundamentally different.  One urges us to join the conventions of a
linguistic system. The other expresses faith in something that causes
our perceptions and the knowledge we build out of them.

Hamlet may not be "really" fleeing his father in the swearing scene, but
it sure makes sense to me to see him as doing so. (It's a new one on
me.)

In haste,
Pat

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 13:19:35 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        RE: Postmodernism

Sean Lawrence quotes Gabriel Egan:

>> And if anybody has the cheek to tell me that I'm not
>> qualified in the subject, I shall remind them that the
>> Internet email discussion lists are places where
>> amateurs and professionals meet as peers.

and comments:

> Don't you think it in rather bad faith to write this while
> bewailing (on Ardennet) the fact that SHAKSPER "has suffered
> increasing trivialisation as Internet access has spread
> beyond academia"?

That's not 'bad faith' but rather irony. I used a rhetorical device to
suggest that those who believe that amateurs should be treated as the
peers of professionals would have to give as much credence to my amateur
physics as they would to any professional's ideas.

Sigh!

Bill Godshalk jumps into the amateur physics debate with me:

> Newtonian mechanics works just fine on this planet.

If the sun ceased to exist in an instant, Newtonian mechanics would have
the earth flying off at a tangent at that instant. Einstein would have
the earth continuing on its orbit for 8 minutes while the flattening of
the space-time continuum spreads out, at the speed of light, from the
centre of orbit.

This is space-time, nor are we out of it.

I would second any motion that we take this debate off of SHAKSPER and
onto alt.physics.amateur.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:12:28 -0500
Subject: 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism

>What is at point is
>how any knowledge claim about, say, the physics of flight or the editing
>of the first folio, has a history that continues into the present.  Of
>course, if you insist that in our post-Enlightenment "brilliance" we
>somehow have complete insight, then history can be forgotten.

Okay, granted. I suppose the point here is that our model of the
universe WILL undoubtedly change as time goes by.  Ptolemy was wrong,
and, as human instruments became more reliable, we humans realized that
Ptolemy's model was incorrect. I believe that our current model is
better than Ptolemy's, but that it too will be replaced.  However, the
fact that we can build airplanes that fly (i.e., when a model leads to a
usable technology) indicates that we are on the right track. Or so I
pragmatically think.  As Aldous Huxley used to point out, even the
smartest caveperson could not fly to the moon.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

Re: SHAKSPER Description

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0270  Saturday, 28 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Bill Cain <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 09:15:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0267  Re: SHAKSPER Description

[2]     From:   Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 12:34:21 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Elitism, revisited

[3]     From:   Paul S. Rhodes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 12:47:10 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0267  Re: SHAKSPER Description

[4]     From:   John Robinson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 16:01:22 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0261  Re: SHAKSPER Description


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Cain <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 09:15:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.0267  Re: SHAKSPER Description
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0267  Re: SHAKSPER Description

RE: the Arden dismissal of SHAKSPER

I, too, was surprised by the Arden dismissal of the SHAKSPER list. The
interest and quality of the postings seem to me quite high, from
academics and non-academics, and from professional and non-professional
Shakespeareans. This list manages to avoid the two problems that (in my
view at least) mar so many lists: 1) requests from students for very
basic help with papers, and 2) very general, hurried requests from
teachers (e. g., "Hi! I'm teaching MIDDLEMARCH tomorrow-anyone have any
suggestions?").

Bill Cain

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 12:34:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Elitism, revisited

As for Mr. Egan's remarks, which happily do not represent those of
Ardennet, I am trying to remember if this is the same Egan with whom I
shared barbs, over the issue of elitism in the theatre.  If I remember
correctly, he made a categorical statement to the effect that theatre
was an elitist enterprise; as an actor and director, I took exception to
this statement, which to me smacks of vulgar Marxism.

The irony of his remarks about SHAKSPER is even clearer to me, as I
begin to make acquaintance with postmodern criticism.  How a scholar who
works in modern critical method can adopt such an explicitly elitist
position is beyond me.  I thought the whole point of postmodernism was
to attack this sort of elitist posturing, and to examine the ways in
which ideologies past and present have done us a disservice.
Substituting a new elitism for the old one certainly doesn't advance
scholarship in a field devoted to a playwright whose work explicitly
rejected elitist modes of dramaturgy.

Andrew White
Arlington, VA

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul S. Rhodes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 12:47:10 -0600
Subject: 9.0267  Re: SHAKSPER Description
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0267  Re: SHAKSPER Description

I would think that Gabriel Egan has been sufficiently shamed for his
arrogance and smugness.  I don't think anything I write will add to his
ignominy.  Let me, then, just state the obvious for it does need
re-stating if only to remind post-modern academics such as Mr. Egan that
a whole world exists beyond their theories:  Shakespeare wrote for
everyone.  This has been shown time and again by performances in almost
every single language and in almost every conceivable culture.  One
touch of Shakespeare and the whole world is kin  This glorious universal
vision, I suggest, is what make Shakespeare so thrilling fun.  But this
vision has almost been blocked out by those academics who would like to
keep the Bard locked up in the tower-ivory, that is.  These academics
would like to allow in the tower only those with the proper credentials
in their transcendence-denying theories.  But the academics should know
that the Bard has never been locked up in their tower.  The Bard they
think they have is nothing but a straw man stuffed with insubstantial
air and inconstant wind.  Mr . Egan, the academia and all its theories
will crumble and be forgotten, but people of every stripe and class and
culture will still discuss the inspired poetry of Shakespeare.  That's
what disturbs you more than anything else, isn't it?

Paul S. Rhodes

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Robinson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 16:01:22 EST
Subject: 9.0261  Re: SHAKSPER Description
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0261  Re: SHAKSPER Description

>Do other SHAKSPERians feel that the list should be reserved for
>"scholars" and the rest of us should at best be allowed to lurk on the
>sidelines observing the debate?  Or do we actually have something to say
>that can stimulate discussion even from those lofty "scholars" Ardenites
>seem to find the only worthy participants?

I quite agree. Enlightenment can come at the most unexpected times and
places. Someone, for example, might make a comment on this list that
another person may think is foolish-then again, in rebutting that
foolish comment or question you might start thinking about the subject
in a way that may never have occurred to you otherwise.

Don't forget... the lion lives on digested sheep.

John Robinson

Re: Anti-Semitism; "looking-glass"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0268  Friday, 27 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Peter T. Hadorn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 09:42:59 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 9.0254  Re: Anti-Semitism

[2]     From:   Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 11:25:04 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0258  Re: Anti-Semitism

[3]     From:   Douglas Lanier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 17:15:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0259  Re: R3's "amorous looking-glass"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter T. Hadorn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 09:42:59 -0600
Subject: 9.0254  Re: Anti-Semitism
Comment:        RE: SHK 9.0254  Re: Anti-Semitism

I found Jacob Goldberg's response overly selective in its focus.  When I
teach *Merchant* I suggest that the play as a whole is intentionally
unsatisfying because we can't find ANYBODY to like with the exception (I
think, significantly) of old Gobbo (a helpless/hapless father who cares
deeply about his child and who is only abused by him).  A few examples:
Antonio, the "Merchant" of the play, would gladly abuse and spit on
Shylock again if he had the chance (1.3). Bassanio may be after Portia
only for her money (specifically, his exchange with Antonio in 1.1).
The same goes for Lorenzo for Jessica.  Talk about cheating fathers,
Portia may very well have provided Bassanio with the necessary clues as
to which casket to choose (to be sure, it's a director's choice, but
there are a number verbal clues that could be played to indicate that
she does just that).  And then there is her cruel cat-and-mouse exchange
in the trial scene.  Sure, she gives Shylock an opportunity to show
mercy, but then she gives everyone the impression that Antonio is going
to be killed (the scales are ready, Antonio bares his chest, and she
asks if a doctor is ready).  Only after this long tease does she reveal
her hand.  Why, I ask, doesn't she do this the moment she first enters
the scene?  So to say that Jessica is a villain because she is a Jew
(and I admit that this is not exactly what Goldberg said), is to
imply-falsely-that the others are good because they are Christians.
They aren't.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 11:25:04 -0600
Subject: 9.0258  Re: Anti-Semitism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0258  Re: Anti-Semitism

Re Leah's turquoise:

WS makes the thing "blown" on the honeymoon *unusual* (i.e., not just
"cash"), specifically detailed, in two seemingly meaningful ways: 1) it
has some kind of relic or heirloom status, whoever Leah is; it's
time-loaded; 2) it is traded for a monkey.

Shylock's reaction seems to me to be a wail of personal grief, activated
by the juxtaposition of the two attributes, which strike me as
contrastive.  If it's not a (special, consecrated) relic of Leah, I
don't know what her name is there for (though there may well be other
answers).

Trading a jewel for a monkey seems complex, if not opaque. Perhaps the
monkey is a quasi-homunculus, a fake human, and thus a comment of some
kind on Jessica's own rank/religion shape-shifting (also present in her
boy's disguise). Perhaps the degrading (if it is) trade is meant to show
some kind of psychic violence on Jessica's part. (I habitually teach
this in conjunction with her earlier balcony statement "I'll make fast
the doors and be with you straight," exhibiting a residual "fast-bind,
fast find" nominally Jewish trait even as she breaks away.) The flinging
away of a precious (and female-line) family jewel (in this complexly
uncomfortable and transgressive marriage) seems to go, semiotically
speaking, somewhere beyond youthful high-spirited prodigality of the
sort we find usual in honeymood behavior, seems to me. Surely at least
some of it is an ostentatious (well, maybe not; maybe just
self-directed) exhibition of "Christian" belonging, open-handedness,
anti-grasping (thus partly but clearly anti-semitic in my view), etc.

Anyway, I quite agree with Bill Godshalk that such high spirits are
there to expect. I just wonder about the Leah/monkey framing of the
jewel.

Frank Whigham

>yes, the two kids
>(I take them as very young lovers) are improvident and blow all the
>money on their honeymoon.  I realize that they should have considered
>investing wisely in blue chip stocks, but they're young and they don't.
>And, yes, Jessica and Lorenzo are dirty, rotten scoundrels.  But maybe
>some auditors really don't mind when the scoundrels get away with the
>cash, and maybe some auditors don't think that the marriage of Jessica
>and Lorenzo is doomed to failure.
>
>Leah may not be Shylock's wife.  She is not so identified in the text,
>only in the footnotes.
>
>Yours, Bill Godshalk

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Lanier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 17:15:21 -0500
Subject: 9.0259  Re: R3's "amorous looking-glass"
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0259  Re: R3's "amorous looking-glass"

Might the phrase "amorous looking glass" in performance be relatively
indistinguishable for a casual listener (someone not following a text)
from the phrase "amorous looking lass"?  I wouldn't emend the text to
reflect that possibility, but I do think that a listener might easily
hear it (or at least hear an interestingly productive ambiguity).

Cheers,
Douglas Lanier
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

VRML Dream Auditions Reminder

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0269  Saturday, 28 March 1998.

From:           Stephen N. Matsuba <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:52:18 +0000
Subject:        VRML Dream Auditions Reminder

This is a reminder to everyone that the VRML Dream Project will be
conducting auditions for the various parts on 29 March from 12 PM to 1
PM Eastern Time.  Copies of the script are available at the VRML Dream
site (http://www.shoc.com/vrmldream).

To participate, you will need the Speak Freely play (available from
http://www.shoc.com/vrmldream/downloads/speakf.zip).  You will also need
to sign on to the IRC chat we will set up.

Start Speak Freely.  You will need to set the following in Speak Freely:

  Options/Jitter Compensation/None
  Options/GSM Compression
  Options/Transmission Protocol/Real Time Protocol (RTP)

Bernie and I will also have an IRC chat open so that we can communicate
with everyone should things go awry.  The group will be on DALNet.
There are several IRC networks, and DALNet happens to be the one we're
using.  The group we will be on is

vrmldream

You can use mIRC for the connection.  It is available for free from
www.tucows.com.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Bernie or myself.

Please let me know if you will be participating, and please feel free to
contact me if you have any questions.  You can reach me by e-mail at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I'm looking forward to hear from you.

Regards
Stephen

Re: SHAKSPER Description

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0267  Friday, 27 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Dana Spradley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 09:27:00 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0261  Re: SHAKSPER Description

[2]     From:   Nick Kind <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 18:11:50 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0247 Announcing ArdenNet

[3]     From:   Ed Peschko <epeschko@den-mdev1>
        Date:   Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 11:50:52 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0261  Arden arrogance

[4]     From:   Belinda Johnston <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:30:24 +1100 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0247  Announcing ArdenNet

[5]     From:   Tim Richards <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:21:42 +1000
        Subj:   Arden.net description of SHAKSPER


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Spradley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 09:27:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 9.0261  Re: SHAKSPER Description
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0261  Re: SHAKSPER Description

Though but a lurker on SHAKSPER, I heartily agree with Marilyn Bonomi.
Unfortunately, Arden's academic snobbery extends to almost every other
participatory Shakespeare site on the Web, where the customary panoply
of peer review to ensure the "highest academic standards" is being
recreated ad nauseum. Surely even academics have something better to do
with their time than forge new Web-based eyes of the needle through
which the untenured must pass on their way toward professional
salvation?

Still, I can understand the motivations for such exclusivity. I once
more or less inactively maintained a Web site (www.shakespeare.com)
where my (foolish?) goal was to democratize the appreciation,
interpretation, and public discussion of Shakespeare. But alas, the
volume of traffic from students simply posting their essay assignments
and hoping to get a ghostwrite for free proved overwhelming - for me...

Hardy, on the other hand, is to be congratulated on finding just the
right balance between openness and seriousness in admitting people to
the SHAKSPER list. Anyone with enough gumption to write a brief essay
about their interest in Shakespeare is accepted into the fold. And that,
combined with all the long hours he must put in collating and moderating
the traffic, seems plenty to keep discussion here at a very high level -
if anything, I find it a little too high, rather than the reverse.

Maybe the Arden editor or his employer (a subsidiary of The Thompson
Corporation, an evil media empire focused almost exclusively on
generating 20% annual return for its owner that took over Information
Access Company when I worked there) is simply jealous of the
competition? "ArdenNet is the place to come on the Internet for all
those interested in Shakespeare scholarship. No other resource like it
exists" - sure seems like they want to corner the market on this kind of
forum. Still - at least they're doing a lot of what I only had the
capacity to dream of doing, in their fashion.

--Dana (formerly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nick Kind <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 18:11:50 +0000
Subject: 9.0247 Announcing ArdenNet
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0247 Announcing ArdenNet

With relation to Marilyn Bonomi's comments:

As the person in charge of ArdenNet, I commissioned Gabriel Egan to
write a review of Shakespeare sites for research on the Internet.
However, as I have made clear within ArdenNet, his article does not
necessarily reflect the views of the Arden Shakespeare or myself, but
his own.

ArdenNet is designed to be a moderated place for scholarly debate where
people can discuss the merits of SHAKSPER and any other issues that
derive from the resources we are providing within ArdenNet. It is not,
however, designed to be exclusive. Indeed, we have a Teaching section
whose purpose is to encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas between
high school teachers and university-level academics. Please see my
"About Us" section in ArdenNet for more details.

I trust this clears up any misunderstandings.

Nicholas Kind
Electronic Acquisitions Editor
The Arden Shakespeare
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Peschko <epeschko@den-mdev1>
Date:           Thursday, 26 Mar 1998 11:50:52 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 9.0261  Arden arrogance
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0261  Arden arrogance

> >"The electronic mailing list SHAKSPER includes many eminent scholars as
> >its members, but unfortunately also has many high school and
> >undergraduate students and amateurs. It has suffered increasing
> >trivialisation as Internet access has spread beyond academia. An
> >unmoderated Shakespeare Usenet newsgroup exists but its discussions
> >rarely rise above high school level."

Whoa... I missed that particular piece of arrogance!

As *another* amateur myself, I've noticed that insightful comments come
from all quarters; high-school students, professors, graduates,
under-graduates, even lowly computer consultants... And more to the
point, I've noticed that BS comes from all quarters as well.

How dare they assume that narrowness of focus is the end-all be-all?
Cross-pollination of ideas is what is great about the electronic forum.
Without it, people of all types tend to become in-bred in their ideas.

And as long as there is a good editor in place to divert spam, the
'signal-to-noise' ratio can be kept relatively high.

Or perhaps the editors of ArdenNet believe in a warped version of the
'Great Chain of Being' to suit their own fancy?

Ed

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Belinda Johnston <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:30:24 +1100 (EST)
Subject: 9.0247  Announcing ArdenNet
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0247  Announcing ArdenNet

I'm with Marilyn on this one.  I may well be an academic but I think
it's pure unadulterated snobbery to consider the input of "high school
and undergraduate students and amateurs" valueless.  I haven't been
active on this list for a while but in the past I've had debates on the
list with people whose experience of Shakespeare comes from a broad
variety of contexts and this has allowed me to rethink some of my own
assumptions.  The notion that academics represent a 'non-trivial'
constituency on the list is laughable: one only needs to look at the
Postmodernism thread...

Rather than unsubscribing from Arden, Marilyn, perhaps we should
initiate some discussion there of the notion that valuable Shakespeare
discussion only emanates from  a privileged, highly educated elite few?
I've only just signed up for ArdenNet but I'd be happy to go back and
visit and help stir up some debate!

In solidarity,
Belinda

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Richards <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:21:42 +1000
Subject:        Arden.net description of SHAKSPER

Marilyn Bonomi wrote:

>Do other SHAKSPERians feel that the list should be reserved for
>"scholars" and the rest of us should at best be allowed to lurk on the
>sidelines observing the debate?  Or do we actually have something to say
>that can stimulate discussion even from those lofty "scholars" Ardenites
>seem to find the only worthy participants?

I thought the Arden dismissal of SHAKSPER was quite insulting, and an
excellent example of why Shakespeare is often viewed by the masses as
the property of snobs in ivory towers.  What arrogance.

Tim Richards.

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