Anonymous Questions And The United Simpleminded Douchebag Liberation Front

by anna on April 1, 2010

Hi there people. If you’re not following me on Twitter or keeping up with the latest absurdities in the mommyblogosphere, you might be unaware of the fact that I’ve been in a foul mood for the past day and a half due to some really stupid stuff that is so stupid that I’m not going to even waste any stupid pixels here talking about why it is so stupid (did I mention how fucking stupid it all is yet?). But if you want, you can read Metalia’s decidedly unstupid post about it, though you might want to skip some of the comments because in between intelligent thought from the usual suspects is — you guessed it — more stupidity.

Why am I linking to it? Because it’s been suggested to me in the past day that to not link to whomever I’m talking about or mocking is hypocritical, when I blasted people for doing this to me in the above stupidity. Fair enough. I’m not sure that I agree that satire needs to be explained ad nauseum with links. In fact, I think that might kind of ruin the humor, but in any case this is not a satirical post, it’s just a monumentally annoyed post, because the fact I am even mentioning any of this here means I haven’t let any of this go yet, and therefore have not moved on. Which is even more annoying.

The only good thing to come from the past day for me, internet-wise, was the coining of the term “United Simpleminded Douchebag Liberation Front,” to describe how certain people are behaving at present. I’m looking into having t-shirts printed up for BlogHer View definition in a new window 2010.

Why would this particular internet dust-up annoy me so much, when there have been worse and more prolific ones, even in recent memory? I suppose because, mostly, I cannot understand where it is coming from. I don’t like things that defy explanation, and this one does. Even in the midst of being called a taint-face, I could sort of recognize the logic — flawed and short-sighted as it might have been — behind the rage. In this case, there must be a lot going on behind the scenes that I don’t know about or else, I don’t know what.

See? Do you see how annoying this is?

Anyway, I also wanted to let you know, those of you who haven’t found it already, about my Formspring page, where you can ask me questions anonymously. And there’s a whole backlog of stuff there, complete with all of my typos, for you to peruse during the time you would ordinarily be reading a post here. Because, today, this is apparently all I’ve got.


Kalisa April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm

well the only good thing to come from all this for ME was that I found some new people on twitter that I whole-heartedly admire, like you and jonniker, so bonus for me.

anna April 2, 2010 at 9:05 am

Cool, Kalisa! Welcome.

Marcy from The Glamorous Life Association April 2, 2010 at 3:29 am

I just left this comment at Greeblemonky:

ABDPBT is absolutely without doubt 100% right in her twitter comments.

Nothing she said was flaming or inaccurate.

Asking Dooce to be on the panel is a huge HUGE insult to REAL working women. You know women you have to wake before dawn put something in the crock pot for dinner, do two loads of laundry so the kids have something to wear to school, make lunches pay a few bills and skip the shower because she realizes she has to get gas and go to the bank on the way to work- and something had to give. THOSE WOMEN? Where were they on the panel? Dooce? Her biggest problem is asking her lazy husband to move his butt from the couch so she can sit down and watch TV while she types. I gotta say. I am STUNNED anyone supports this decision. Good for women? HELL NO.


anna April 2, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hah. I bet that went over really well!

Michele April 2, 2010 at 4:07 am

After reading the linked posts all I kept thinking was, “are these people still in high school?” Obviously, I’m just too old.

Then I thought… maybe, I’m not understanding all this? This is all about a government forum? On workplace flexibility? And, some in the blogosphere are bitching about who is representing them? Do I have that right? Seriously? Have none of them worked for the government or watched how it works? Nothing ever comes of these things. It’s just good press. If mommy blogging is being considered a job than who cares who is the representative? At least it is being represented. Hopefully, she won’t say something stupid. Who is Heather anyway?

All this brouhaha makes me glad that I am out of the mommy blogging (see I don’t even spell it right, if it even has a correct spelling) loop because I think it would just make me tired all over.

anna April 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

Yes, the original thing was a small deal, and so I made a few jokes about it on Twitter, and that’s what led to all of this exhausting recap over the past day. I didn’t even want to talk about it because it really is so stupid but I don’t feel like working of writing, all because of this, so . . . oh well.

cagey April 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

I left the following comment on Metalia’s post, but would also like to add about the “not linking part” that I often don’t link to Dooce or other Big Bad Bloggers because why the frock would they care that I linked to THEM on my little snorefest of a blog? They will not notice me anyway and I am too damned lazy to go to the trouble of locating the URL and linking. LAZY.

Anyway, my comment on Metalia’s:
Yes, it is sad that any time a woman questions another woman’s place or representation in an event, it is downgraded to a catfight. Which only serves to diminish the conversation. Which is probably the intent, of course. Label it as a catfight, so that folks will not pay attention. Smart move!

Oddly enough, I am in a similar situation as Dooce. My husband and I have a business together, we bandy back and forth childcare throughout the day. Somedays are more flexible than others. But damned straight, I would rather be doing THIS, than having to march time in an office, reporting to someone else. So yes, Dooce’s place on a forum for workplace flexibility is a bit laughable.

Still, I could care less that Dooce is on the forum. Let’s face it – a group of highly-privileged women are going to sit around and chat for several days, then head back to their lives, with little effect or change on OUR lives.

anna April 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

I would assume most of them don’t care about being linked here, but to avoid being called a hypocrite (again), I’ll do it anyway.

I agree that forum is not going to change much, anyway, so there’s not a ton at stake. But I still think we should be allowed to crack jokes about stuff without people getting their panties in a wad, and apparently that’s not allowed.

Ginger April 2, 2010 at 9:25 am

I’ve followed this whole thing, and I have to say, it’s annoyed me to no end (and I’m not even involved). I saw your original tweets and they were 1)dead on and 2)obviously meant to be funny. For people to then come along and create this huge deal just because you (and others) weren’t on the “OMG YAY!” bus is stupid.
Someone said something about us (women/bloggers/mommybloggers) having to present a united front to be taken seriously. I call bullshit. Do men do that? No. Do successful businesses do that? No. Do successful businesswomen do that? No. Those folks look at the world with a critical eye, not just a united front. Drives me crazy that if we do the same thing we’re being jealous/harpies/mean.

Kerry April 2, 2010 at 9:26 am

Well, duh. Do you not get how this works?

Saying negative things about Dooce = crime against the sisterhood.
Saying negative things about Anna = the new black

Saying Dooce is not the most qualified candidate for this particular job = bashing Dooce
Saying Britney Spears is better qualified = bashing Dooce (actually, isn’t referring to such a remark actually bashing Britney Spears? How is she NOT more qualified? Isn’t she a single mother of two kids who works? How is it okay to question HER qualifications, but not Dooce’s? Does the sisterhood not include Britney Spears?)

One funny thing about this: I’m one of the people who DMed Anna because I was furious about this choice (for reasons that I won’t even bother to list, because I’ll just get trashed and what’s the point?). My criticism was of THE WHITE HOUSE for making the choice. I interpreted Anna’s and Jonniker’s subsequent remarks as criticism of THE WHITE HOUSE for making the choice. It didn’t even occur to me that this could be interpreted as Dooce-bashing, because it’s not her fault that she’s not qualified for the job. She’s not qualified to be crowned Queen of Short Women Who Love Maytag either. It’s not a knock; it’s a fact.

I can’t believe we’re even fighting about this. This is even dumber than the sippy cup crap.

Heather April 2, 2010 at 9:37 am

This situation, and the countless others like it, are the reason that although I’m a blogger and a mother, and occasionally blog about being a mother, I don’t consider myself a “mommyblogger” or market my blog as such. How can these people expect to be taken seriously when they engage in this kind of junior high BS? Honestly, who has the time (let alone the desire) to spend their days dealing with these manufactured crises? Didn’t we graduate from this crap when we left school?

Personally I couldn’t care less who is going to this thing – and I think it’s a bit presumptuous to believe Dooce is going to represent the mommyblogger community in the first place. She doesn’t seem to be the best choice, given what the event is ostensibly about. But the fact that we’re not allowed to discuss our opinion (or JOKE) about this kind of thing without being crucified for it? Because we need to present a “united front?” That’s insane. I guess I don’t tow the party line consistently enough to be successful as a politician or a mommyblogger.

Keep your chin up, Anna. Don’t let these people get to you. They obviously don’t get it, but in the end – it doesn’t matter.

anna April 2, 2010 at 9:41 am

Oh look, now Dooce has to write about it! AWESOME. The dumbest controversy in the history of the interwebs that WILL NOT DIE. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go shoot myself in the frontal lobe.

Kate April 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

I’m pretty indignant so I hope this comment makes sense. I’ve been really dispirited by the way disagreeing (or even questioning or making a funny comment) has been made out to mean you don’t like the person. How old are we? I admire that you keep blogging in the face of so much criticism. Such “controversy” over such trivial matters only underscores the need for the type of analysis that you do.

Monkey April 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

Right on.

I was sort of following things on Twitter (I don’t follow everyone involved, so I’m sure I missed some nonsense) but it was seriously like being in bizarro world. I didn’t see A SINGLE THING that said “dooce sucks” and I saw a lot of well-reasoned people (like the very smart and cool jonniker) who basically suggested that this was an odd choice of person for that particular forumn.

I don’t think you can be involved in blogging and not admire what Heather has created for herself and her family. That doesn’t mean you can’t say “Huh?” occasionally about something she (or any other blogger) is involved in.

kalisa April 2, 2010 at 10:23 am

On the The-WH-made-the-mistake front: That’s the part about the selection of Heather that I think is the biggest affront to me — that people (companies, organizations, media outlets, etc.) look at her and go “Oh! Mommyblogger! She speaks for women!”

I don’t think the WH selected her as a media tactic. I think everyone just assumes that b/c she’s the most well-known of the mommybloggers, she represents women everywhere. I think they just didn’t bother digging any deeper or doing any more homework than that.

It’s like when I used to do PR for a national charity and at least twice a month in a meeting it was all, “Let’s pitch Dooce! Maybe she’ll say something about it!” Nevermind if there’s a good fit there. She’s just the go-to “MOMMY.”

Personally, I’d rather be represented by someone who’s not taking haldol but I guess that’s a topic for another post. How’d she get past that WH background check anyway?

monkey April 2, 2010 at 11:05 am

I didn’t think you/Jonniker did bashed anyone or did anything wrong, but I don’t particularly care that Dooce got to go, nor was I upset that she was chosen. Personally, I think she was picked for other reasons-she’s been very vocal about the healthcare debate, she’s well-known, she’s seen as the “voice” of the mommyblogosphere or as someone who has the 411 on what modern moms are thinking and if she chose to write about the forum, it would reach a wider audience.

My eyebrow (the right one is the one in question) was raised because the last time I checked, the forum did not call include a single federal employee (I may be wrong on this, but it looked like they only invited private sector people). I pointed this out in Sundry’s comments, along with another federal employee who agreed with me and pointed out some of the same issues. Technically the federal government gives its employees up to 3 days telecommute by statute and federal regulations-however, the ultimate decision on whether or not to grant the employee’s request is left up to first line supervisors. This has resulted in discrepancies in compliance across the agencies, and even across the country within agencies. Some (I know the FAA is one of them), really promote a flexible workplace. Mine does not. Telecommute is given on a cronyist basis, or in my division, based on marital and child status (which is prohibited under the regulations incidentally, because the regs explicitly say it’s not supposed to be given out to supplement or substitute for childcare). Getting a supervisor to agree to a flex schedule is like pulling teeth. This is in spite of the fact that 90% of most federal deskjobs could be done at home, saving taxpayers money that’s spent on inflated rent spaces that the GSA negotiates for us.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law, the CTO of a multi-state accounting firm that also develops specialised software, works from home 4 days a week and worked in an entirely different state when my sister was going to medical school.

The problem is that the Feds have always portrayed themselves as having better benefits and progressive management that make up for the huge paycuts that people take to work for them. In the last 5 years I’ve woken up to the fact that my private-sector siblings are getting better benefits, work with better managers and *still* make more money than me. I wish the forum had included the voices of young federal employees and parents-many of whom leave federal service after 3 years because of frustration on not only this issue, but others as well. It seems ridiculous to set up a forum that didn’t take into account the fact that this issue is one that hits way closer to home than they want to admit.

kakaty April 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

Well, I started following you on Twitter over this, so something good came from it!

I’m glad to see that Dooce basically admitted today that she was there as a pawn to get publicity, not because she had anything to add to the conversation other then a few tidbits on healthcare for the self-employed (and if was a forum for HC she would have been the hands down best choice, IMO, but that wasn’t the topic).

But, I’m still scratching my head over WHY this became a dust-up at all. I will never agree that just because someone is female they should get all the female support (Best example: Sarah Palin – she makes me shutter). I will never understand how someone who thinks me questioning a selection (not the person – the selection, mind you) becomes an affront to the person or some unseen “sisterhood”.

Nothing I’ve seen yet questions Heather’s work ethic, what’s she’s built or how hard she worked to build it. But the things she blogs about everyday – those posts that “feed her family” – are usually about things that full-time, working-for-someone-else parents would love to do (taking a kid to school daily – sometimes with both parents, nursing a child on demand, enjoying family moments on a daily basis, taking off to a cabin for a long weekend without having to have prior approval from a boss and enough PTO time saved up, taking a child to a doctor in the middle of a weekday…). I still maintain that if this is the kind of flexibility the forum was to explore then maybe talk to someone who can affect that kind of change for several employees. Or talk to a parent who works for a company that allows for this kind flexibility and find out how they achieved that balance with their employer.

Heather April 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Right. Didn’t say this the first time around because it was other people, and not Heather Armstrong herself, who was making a scene about this. But after reading her post, it needs to be said.

1) First of all, nothing that was said was hurled as an insult to Dooce. The fact that she’s playing the victim here is ridiculous.

2) Heather Armstrong has a show on HGTV and two (?) New York Times bestsellers. She has achieved what I believe I can safely say is “celebrity” status in our culture. You name me ONE other person with a TV show and/or bestselling book – or person in the public eye, period – who takes to her website or Twitter to make a scene when two or three people are mildly critical of something regarding them. NAME ME ONE.

Dooce cannot have it both ways. She cannot be a publicly traded persona with TV shows, books, and advertising deals AND be some anonymous housewife on Twitter who gets all up-in-arms when a few people don’t see things her way and decides to feel picked on.

I realize that perhaps her kind of celebrity is a first, and she may not know how to handle it – particularly seeing as her celebrity revolves around the details of her personal life. But she needs to get her arms around it, because with it comes a responsibility to rise above the junior high school fray when it comes to these things.

Susan Tiner April 2, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I want to be crowned Queen of Short Women Who Love Maytag. I swear I’m qualified.

Kerry April 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Susan–done. You are thusly crowned (or therefore crowned, or whatever the hell it should be…there are tons of English majors here who would know)

I came back to say this:

This actually could have been a huge opportunity. Dooce could have seen this response, and instead of tweeting about her outfit and her meals and the Lincoln memorial, she could have posted something that said:

“Look, I have this opportunity. I’m going to Washington. I have lots to share on this topic, but I recognize that many of you have different work situations than mine. Can you tell me what you’d like me to share in this forum? What are your struggles with work/life balance? What do you want me to go in there and tell them?”

What an amazing thing that would have been. We ALL could have had a real opportunity to be represented. How cool for Dooce, and how cool for us.

But instead the conversation was completely one-way. There were tweets about her outfit, her clothes, the Lincoln memorial…but no opportunity to provide input. Then, the only post about it isn’t a recap of what she shared or what she learned or what we can do to solve some of these problems…it’s whining about how mean people are to her (even though NO ONE questioned her work ethic or the idea that she’s worked hard for what she has…just her atypical experience with balancing work and family).

What a wasted opportunity. I think what I’ve learned from this experience is that the only way I can communicate with Dooce is to talk about her on Twitter. Lesson learned.

SoMo April 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Well said, Monkey.

Richard H. April 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I am curious as to why there seem to be all these different assumptions being made about how and why Heather was chosen to participate in this event? Some people seem to think she was there to represent all mommy bloggers. Others, all working women. I don’t think she has mentioned it and I don’t think any of us know the answer. Also, while she is not someone I necessarily always agree with or relate too, I think what she said in her post regarding this matter was actually pretty accurate.

anna April 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Really? You think people were “hating” on her and questioning her work ethic? Because I’m guessing you never saw the original tweets that caused this stupid fucking mess.

monkey April 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I brought it up because I wanted to make a point about what the organizers thought she might contribute to this type of forum.

Furthermore, if the goal of these fora is to result in some real-world change as it pertains to workplace flexibility, it makes sense to question whether or not the policymakers are getting the full spectrum of opinions on how effective certain measures may or may not be. Hey, no one gets it right the first time. Maybe providing some constructive criticism on other people they might think of inviting to Round 2 of this type of event might result in an effective solution. I already provided the federal situation as an example-we have mandated workplace flexibility but the regulations are structured to have the first line supervisors make the final decision based on individual employee requests. It would make a lot of sense to have a federal employee to be able to pipe up and talk about how effective (or not) a solution that has been for the federal sector (or, sucktor as I call it) so that the one designed for you guys in the private sector doesn’t suffer from the same problems. Personally, I think the “half-assed mandate from above” solution given to us sucks and I think a bill for the private sector would be even more watered down.

So…do I see what Dooce could bring to such an event? Yes, and I speculated in my previous post. I also think it’s perfectly acceptable for people to say “she doesn’t represent the average working woman’s concerns” without being accused of attentionseeking etc.. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t enjoy being teased online, especially if something good were happening to me. This is why I don’t make a career on being a public person.

Richard H. April 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

But saying that “she doesn’t represent the average working woman’s concerns” assumes that she was there to do just that. My only point was that we don’t know that that is what Heather was there to do. I think there were many other people there as well. Maybe some of those people did better represent other segments of the population and their varying concerns.

I am not here to defend her. I was just trying to add another element to this discussion. That is what we are doing here, right? Having a discussion? Do I think “people were hating on her and questioning her work ethic? I think maybe some were, probably most were not. I can, however, see how she might be offended by people questioning whether or not she deserved to be there. Of course, I can also see how these little brouhaha’s that seem to erupt around her with amazing regularity help maintain her relevance and brand, and so I am not surprised to see her fanning the flames either.

anna April 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Of course we can discuss it. The original description put out by the white house suggested that it was going to be with people who had some kind of relevance to workplace flexibility, though I don’t remember the exact definition. Which Dooce does not. She is a small business owner, but she doesn’t have any employees, so that is not applicable. She’s never worked outside of the home except for the time she got fired, you know, for her website. That’s all the joking was, was like, “Umm, obviously this is is a PR move, because DUH.”

The problem with this is that when I make a tweet satirizing it and she responds by making a vague reference to “haters,” the vast majority of those people will never check to see what actually happened, they will just jump of the hate train. Which, in her case, is a big fucking train with a lot of people with nothing but time on their hands. So it does frustrate me when she stirs people up like this over something that was not a big deal, and should never have warranted this much hairsplitting and agita.

monkey April 2, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Jesus fucking christ. I pointed out 4 other reasons she may have been invited and why I *supported* her being invited for those reasons. Do people even read what I am writing? Just because I don’t feel like trashing Anna for her belief that Dooce was not a good choice, or calling her a troll, or falling in lockstep in the whole “you’re a bad feminist because you decided to critique something” does not mean I actually share her beliefs as it pertains to Dooce’s invite.

I do think there’s a groupthink that exists in the mommyblogging world. The big reason I do read here and enjoy Anna’s writing is that she doesn’t scream at me and accuse me of being a hater on those occasions that I don’t agree with her 100%. And yes, I do think she’s falls into being snarky sometimes. But I really can’t get het up over it when it’s directed at people who have built their entire brand on being snarky, and edgey, and mocking of other people.

patois April 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Susan Tiner, I am only 5’2″ and I love Maytag. I should be Queen.

home and uncool April 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Anna: Don’t let those who fall in lockstep ever intimate you from ask questions.

And if you want to talk about needing work place flexibility, try being a man at a Fortune 500 company (who’s not an executive) who wants to take paternity leave. Barry, brother — call me.

Alexis April 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Just had to jump back in and agree here…since when is workplace flexibility only a woman’s issue? The real travesty here is that introduction of this Jr High Blogger BS has made us all lose sight of the topics that really should be in the limelight here!

Alexis April 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm

I don’t have much to add that has not been vocalized, though I do feel the need to say that I never cease to be amazed at the basically ludicrous behavior of so many on the internet. I worry that anyone who applies a critical (as in analytical) eye to anything the “big bloggers” do is then labeled as mean, or suffering from sour grapes. If we can’t ask these questions then why even have such a community in existence?

On a personal note I think the real bitch about it all is then how Dooce feels the need to get all “you can suck it” on her blog. Have some professionalism for goddess’ sake. If people are being jackasses, or you think they are being jackasses, then just do what everyone was told to do in grade school: ignore them. I often worry that Dooce subsists on a her large audience of cult-like followers and heaven forbid she ever alienate them, the whole media outlet will be gone in a week. Then again, I am probably just a jealous bitch who totally doesn’t get her special snowflake-ness…oh well, pretty much over it.

Makes me wonder when it stopped being okay to a bit smart (and smart-assed) in this country….

Heather April 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Amen. To all of it.

Kader April 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

As several others have said, the silver lining of this ridiculous bruhaha (brouhaha?) was finding your blog! So, hooray!

anna April 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Cool, Kader! Thanks for stopping by. Welcome to the dark side, I suppose.

K April 3, 2010 at 10:13 am

I can see what some of you are saying here, and I think there are some really valid points.

However, I think the criticisms are missing the point, and I disagree with the conclusion. I don’t think Dooce was a bad choice. I think she’s someone who has created a flexible work environment for herself and at least one (former) employee. And as a mother of two both working at home and running her own small business, I think that further qualifies her (one of the stated issues was the parenting/career conundrum).

Yes, there are thousands and thousands of others who will also be qualified in this particular respect, but…she’s famous. And famously VERY successfuI. I think it’s her massive success that makes her a quite obvious choice for this discussion. She probably has some really good ideas.

In addition, I wouldn’t guess the White House is really trying to “represent mommybloggers” as much as it is trying to represent a totally new kind of work environment that has only emerged recently. And Dooce is a really good representation of that work environment.

amy j. April 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm



Very well said indeed. I didn’t think she’d even know about the Twitter thing…hell, she was only home like less than 24 hours when she wrote that post about all of it…I thought she had jetlag? Apparently not enough to be completely updated on all the ruckus. Silly. I would think rest, telling your husband about your experience and snuggling your kids would take precedence.

And why the hell would she care? Why not talk about her trip and meeting the President!? That’s what I would write about after such an event, ya know…not a couple of people thinking I shouldn’t have been selected or whatever. And that’s what everyone was expecting…a rundown of her trip. Nope, first things first…much tell the Internet how people don’t like her and she is fed up. (that should be a category on her site since it’s become a prevalent/recurring theme for posts).

Heather is NOT thick skinned. Her monetizing the hate site proved that months ago. It is very obnoxious when you realize a person not only can’t take the heat (yet keeps claiming she can), but purposefully seeks it out in order to get all upset over and then bitch about it.

It’s really immature and very unappealing…and the reason I have really become less of a Dooce fan over the past year after years of being in her “YAY” column.

Now I’m more like, “Boo” most of the time. Oh well, not the first time someone I once respected has disappointed me. Now to get my curiosity at bay so I will stop reading her site!!

She has changed alot over the years. I can’t say “fame” has made her a better person. And I’m being really honest there. She and Jon come across now more as self absorbed Hollywood types instead of just normal parents raising their kids. Pity.

LC April 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I am glad you said something about the poor choice. It -was- a poor choice. I will grant that she’s a hard worker, has a unique set of challenges in balancing parenting/work but she does not add any value to the discussion of workplace flexibility (imho).

You weren’t critical of her, you were critical about the decision to invite her over other qualified candidates. Personally, I feel like it was a ratings grab by the WH. I think it’s frustrating to see it given lip-service by this administration with no real intent to make changes.

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