Honest To Fuck, Internet

by anna on November 1, 2010

I don’t know what I’m going to do with you this time.

Here’s the deal, for people who maybe saw me ranting a bit today on Twitter and couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. There was this thing where some once-powerful daddyblogger whose url ends in xxxgonemad.com was allegedly sending Favre-inspired texts and/or DMs to several mommybloggers (and to clarify, when I say Favre-inspired, I do not mean that he sends texts threatening to retire, but then doesn’t retire, and comes back to blogging, and then says he’s going to retire, and then comes back to blogging again). I don’t know what happened REALLY, I just know what a post written by Karen Sugarpants alleges happened. You can read her post here and decide for yourself.

Come to find out that it’s not just one person who has allegedly been receiving said texts or allegedly getting unwanted attention of a sexual nature from this formerly powerful daddyblogger, but in fact it’s many many mommybloggers, or mommyblogger hangers-on, many of whom seem to know about each other, and some of whom indeed seem to have communicated with one another about this behavior after the fact. I’m sitting here trying to envision how this would go down, and I think it must be a little something like this:

Mommyblogger 1: You know what is totally fucked up? Creepy dude just sent me a picture of his junk by text! OMGWTFBBQ1!
Mommyblogger 2: You know what is even more fucked up than that is that I got a picture of his junk too! OMGWTFBBQ1!
Mommyblogger 1: You too? OMG! What the hell?
Mommyblogger 2: Yeah, and also like 24 other people! Many of whom are talking to each other about it. Now, after the fact!
Mommyblogger 1: What should we do?
Mommyblogger 2: Well, I don’t see how we can do anything. The risks are clearly too high here.
Mommyblogger 1: Yes, because if we said anything to anyone, I mean, other than each other, we would —
Mommyblogger 2: We would suffer awful consequences, clearly. Awful consequences that dare not speak their name.

STOP.

YOU DO NOT start lecturing me about victims of rape and sexual crimes and shame and the fear of coming forward. Setting aside the disturbing fact that some people are comparing receiving junk texts via DM on Twitter to real, literal, bodily rape for a moment, let’s just focus on the fact that people who are capable of communicating with one another about this cannot possibly be undergoing the kind of shame and self-blame that keeps rape victims from coming forward. Is this dude a dirtbag, assuming this stuff is true? Of course. It goes without saying. But that’s not the whole story.

YOU DO NOT call somebody a hero for posting a passive aggressive post that reveals but doesn’t reveal, but does, but doesn’t reveal alleged criminal behavior about which many, many people have known for a long time and could have done something to protect other people but chose not to because they were selfish and wanted to do something for their own gain.

YOU DO NOT applaud a woman for staying silent, after all that we have worked for — NO, what our mothers and grandmothers have worked for, to get us this far.

YOU DO NOT take cover in the language of feminism that was developed to protect rape victims from patriarchal institutions that are historically designed to silence them, and turn it against another woman who is asking you WHY ON EARTH you would choose NOT TO USE YOUR VOICE against somebody who victimized you.

YOU DO NOT use your privilege of speech only when it is convenient to you, or when it makes you feel good, or when there is a clear reward at the end of the tunnel. You use it because you have to, because it’s the right thing to do and because you HAVE to. You use it because you have an obligation to the rest of us to use it.

Asking that people take personal responsibility to protect others from being victimized is not “blaming the victim,” and you know it. YOU KNOW BETTER. Suggesting otherwise is insulting to the women who have been physically assaulted by men they have worked for, who have spoken up and lost their jobs, and not been able to feed their children, and not been able to get back to where they were in their careers even 10 or 20 years after the fact. That is harassment. That is a high risk situation, THOSE are consequences.

Heroes. What a fucking joke.

{ 95 comments }

BHJ November 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

And she called you taint face.

Sara November 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Best thing you’ve ever written. Blogging and twitter are spectator sports for me and I was GLUED to twitter today watching it unfold. I’m sure I used half of my new limited punk ass AT&T data plan following all the @-replies and individual twitter feeds, but it’s worth it to say that you are so money. 100% agree with you Anna and I’m so very proud of you for speaking up.

Michele November 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Bravo Anna.
First as a woman who has been the victim of DV, I know a hero when I see one, and Karen is not. A hero would have put a stop to this the minute it happened. A hero would have spoke up the minute it was found out there were other victims. A hero would have put a stop to these eons ago. She wrote that entry for personal gain, period.

I have to add how fucking disgusted I am in those who knew about this and said nothing. You have failed me as a woman, mother, sister. You all want to spew about the awesome community you have here, but when given the chance to actually do something more than just throw donations at someone you failed.

I tell you what, if a mommy blogger sent some daddy blogger a tit or vagina shot, and people found out that woman would have been hung to dry the minute it happened. She would have been called a slut, people would have tracked her down personally, contacted her work etc, and all hell would have broke loose. But he supposedly does this, (and honestly at this point it’s only an accusation.) and people just whisper he’s a creepy guy and let it go on? Why the double standard?

Doing the right thing is hard; if it were easy everyone would do it. But some people only do the right thing when others are looking, and that’s what happened here.

Heather November 1, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Anna, I love you.

Daily Coyote November 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Anna, I agree. Primarily about the need and responsibility for women to speak out in circumstances such as these. I’m in the middle of writing, on my blog, about my summer-long ordeal with a stalker. And it’s not easy – after typing each post, there’s a little part of me that resists pressing ‘publish’ because it’s the most vulnerable stuff I’ve ever written (this, after a full published memoir!) But I do it because to contribute to the dialogue. To OPEN the dialogue for some. To do my part in taking female victimization out of the closet of shame and denial. To hopefully, hopefully, help someone avoid a similar situation or to give strength and empowerment and validation-of-self should they ever face it themselves. And I’m always so glad, moments after I hit ‘publish,’ that I did.
(here’s the latest post, if you’re interested: http://honeyrockdawn.com/2010/11/part-iii/ )

Susan November 1, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Always. Someone runs into the building and screams “fire” then is all like “okay wait everyone settle down, it’s not a fire it’s actually a tornado, but not a real tornado you see there is a cold front and a warm front and what looks like a jet stream but I don’t know….okay it’s a fire but a small one so everyone JUST CALM DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” And can you boycott fires and tornadoes? Does this make any sense at all??
To me this is how all blogging dramas go down.
The passive aggressive post did more harm then good- I saw a number of innocent people being accused, which made me sick. Is it worth not naming names to hurt other innocent people in the process??
I would call what this “un-named” blogger did sexual harassment and everything he allegedly did was harassment. Sexual harassment continues and gets worse the more you allow it to happen. It is a total power play.
For it to go on that long and to so many women and for no one to say anything?!? That is sad.

The Stiletto Mom November 1, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Amen. It’s all I can say. AMEN. Good job Anna.

Cy November 1, 2010 at 8:59 pm

First thing I’d do if someone sent me a picture of his dick, would be to tell all my friends, “Dumb Fuck sent me a picture of his dick!” I mean, I’d tell ALL OF THEM. And if anybody said, “Oh he’s not like that,” I’d say, “Oh, yeah? Here’s his dick picture.” Case closed.
Additionally? The comments over there are hilarious. “Is it So and So?” “Is it Whathisname?” Hmmm. Sounds like they’re all pervy. (Relax. I know they’re not. Or do I?)

Eliz November 2, 2010 at 6:35 am

Yes! What of that?? By being equal parts sly, cowardly and passive aggressive, Karen left the door open to all that speculation. The names of good and kind men were bandied about, all because she didn’t woman up.

Yeah, that’s some heroism.

Eliz November 2, 2010 at 6:43 am

Know what … I need to modulate that comment a bit. First of all, the hue and cry wasn’t coming solely from Karen’s blog (hola, Twitter), and other women have piped up to say they’ve been on the receiving end of the same foul treatment. So pointing fingers at Karen alone is not fair.

However, she should have shut that speculation on her blog DOWN when people started calling uninvolved bloggers pervy and such.

Grace Davis November 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

This abuse survivor says thank you, Anna, thank you.

Ren November 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Yeah, Anna! Well done.

Maria November 1, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Wow. This whole thing got convoluted.

I’ll say this: I’m not sure that this SPECIFIC situation is the right type of situation to spur a widespread discussion on when/how/where/whatever women should talk about being victimized.

This, ultimately, will go down as yet another Internet kerfluffle featuring well known names. The kind we all read about and then pretend we didn’t read about because we’re all above gossip.

And that’s fine.

But it’s not, NOT, NOT AT ALL the time or place to start talking about what women owe one another or what a victim of sexual assault or abuse or stalking OWES. ANYONE. ELSE.

I wish folks could step back and see that things have derailed a bit here. It’s gotten breathtakingly bad.

Kerry November 2, 2010 at 5:54 am

You are absolutely right, Maria. There should be connection whatsoever to this event and discussions of rape survivors, sexual harassment victims, etc.

Because this behavior, while awful and upsetting to the people who experienced it during times they were already under duress, is not the same as those events. To say it is is honestly the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen on the internet.

And yet…that’s what I saw on Twitter yesterday. I saw people saying things like, “Would you say that to sexual harassment or rape victims?” Well, no. I wouldn’t. But this isn’t that. Just like I wouldn’t compare the day my dog got run over to, say, the Holocaust. Because they’re not the same. They’re both bad, but they’re not the same.

And then I see people saying, “But think of his family. You’re ruining his family.” How is that not the ULTIMATE in the “blame the victim” game? You’re saying, “If you speak up, you are responsible for ruining his family.” No. The person who is responsible for ruining the family is the one taking and sending the photos and DMs. Somehow, though, in this twisted universe, it’s totally okay to put THAT on the shoulders of the victims…but if you say, “But why didn’t you say something sooner? And why didn’t you have him remove the picture of you wearing his t-shirt in his website store?” you are a horrible, horrible victim-blaming woman-hater.

It’s disgusting. We’ve had bad kerfuffles before, but this…this exposes fault lines that I just cannot stand to look at.

Daily Coyote November 2, 2010 at 6:26 am

This may be an unpopular stance but I totally disagree with this comment. I wouldn’t be writing publicly about my experience if I didn’t feel I OWE it to other women to do so. In my opinion, stating that ‘women who have been victims of predatory men don’t owe anyone else’ keeps them in a place of victimhood! It takes their power away. Change occurs when victims of hate crimes – against a race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender – stand up and speak out. Not everyone feels that they can do so, of course. But that in itself is part of the greater problem.

Maria November 2, 2010 at 6:51 am

Saying that someone OWES a response, a public one, just piles more pressure and guilt onto a victim. YES we should CELEBRATE those who have the strength to speak out. But should we make anyone feel that they OWE a damn thing? Hell. No.

I understand where you’re coming from and I guess I’m just stuck on that concept of owing, obligation, etc. Women and men who are victimized have to find their own ways to heal in their own spaces. There should never been some perception that there’s a right or wrong way to carry on or an obligation.

I hate discussing this in the same realm as discussing this asinine wiener texting issue. God.

slynnro November 2, 2010 at 6:59 am

Yes, What Maria is saying. Here’s my deal- it’s not that I disagree with Anna, because I think she has a point and the point is largely correct. But the way it was delivered? NOT effective. I left a comment, with a similar sentiment, without ATTACKING anyone, and I got a few nasty comments my way in return (i.e. I was blaming the victim). I’m not. And just like people who were making accusations that saying someone should have spoken up are blaming the victim, going around and well, actually blaming the victim isn’t helpful either. All I’m saying is maybe delivering this same message without all the angry language would have been a better way to go.

Kerry November 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

Well, but aren’t victims allowed to feel angry? Isn’t telling victims they’re not allowed to respond angrily the same as telling them they should have said something?

Because I’ve been a victim of behavior like this (NOT from this guy, who I don’t know at all–just to be clear). And what pisses me off to this day about it is not so much the behavior itself…but the fact that I found out later that the guy who did it had been doing it for years, and no one said anything. That left ME to be the one to say something, at age 20, when things spiraled out of control to the point where the guy was leaving me messages telling me that he knew my address (and rattling it off) and my schedule (and rattling that off too) and then telling me what horrible things he was going to me when he got there that night.

And when I finally, at the dumb, naive age of 20, complained, I found out that he’d been saying stuff to women for YEARS, and nobody did anything because it would have been inconvenient and people might have not liked them anymore. Those women were all in a much better position than I was to put a stop to it, but they didn’t. They left it to me. I had to quit the job, and then I had to move out of state. And I’m still pissed about it, nearly 20 years later.

It’s not unreasonable to feel angry when you find out that people with a fair amount of power covered up something that harmed people (and advertised…advertised! for the guy in question).

slynnro November 2, 2010 at 7:39 am

I don’t think it is unreasonable to be angry no one spoke up, but I don’t think communicating that anger via angry 140 character sentences is really aiding the discussion about the matter. I just think it pushes people to their respective sides on the matter in a way that doesn’t really facilitate talking about the issue.

And to say that considering the consequences for Perv Gone Mad’s family isn’t something that should even be thought about when deciding how to handle this is pretty ridiculous to me. That is not my way of saying one should consider NOT saying anything, but that you have to decide HOW to say anything.

Kerry November 2, 2010 at 8:03 am

Oh, I agree that it’s reasonable to consider the effect on the family. I would have handled this less publicly for that reason.

But I’m blown away by the irony of people saying, “Don’t blame the victims” and “Let’s not talk about this at all because it will ruin his family.” For me, those two statements don’t go together at all.

If this is true, and his family ends up in ruins, that’s his doing. It’s not fair to blame the people who objected to his behavior for that.

Katy November 2, 2010 at 7:05 am

Karen put this out in the public. She did so in a way that put other, innocent people, into the line of fire and she did so very passive aggressively. If I were in her shoes, I would not have made it public unless I was willing to make it public. All of it.

You not only have to “blog with integrity”, but you have to live with integrity. If you’re not willing to name names, then maybe you should not be willing to post publicly veiled jabs and information?

I understand that she’s been victimized and that guy is a fucking asshole. I think she should fry him. However, I respectfully disagree on how she handled it and am annoyed that anyone who disagrees with how she handled it is being labeled as “mean” and “victimizing the victim”.

Daily Coyote November 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Maria – I think you and I are actually on the same page. By “need” in my original comment, I mean: a need for these things to be brought to light, and “responsibility” I mean the most literal: an ability to respond. But I can see how both those terms also can also be synonyms for “obligation,” which was not my intent. I do think this post of Anna’s and other posts that may be stemming from this are a GOOD thing – it is creating space for A LOT of dialogue around a topic that has historically been shrouded in silence.

Overflowing Brain November 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm

It’s tough coming from the perspective of someone who has been sexually assaulted because on the one hand, I didn’t speak up when it was me (and also a lot more serious an offense), but on the other hand, if I knew the guy was doing it to other women or it went on and on as long as this seemed to have been? You bet your ass I would’ve.

I don’t want to condemn the women who experienced this, but I also don’t want to applaud them for letting it go on as long as it did either because that is not okay. They should’ve said something sooner, done something sooner and it’s really sad that they didn’t. As to how they can stand up and be proud of that, I don’t understand. I’ll never be proud of staying quiet and letting someone abuse me.

No one is walking away from this situation in a good position, all I know is that they could’ve walked away from it much sooner and with less personal damage. And I simply cannot comprehend why they didn’t.

Chag November 1, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Wow. Had no idea.

Dangermonkey November 1, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Thank you for this post Anna, and for not drinking the Flavor Aid. (See, I like to be historically accurate when possible.) As if I didn’t have enough reasons to roll my eyes at the mommy-blaahging community, a juicy piece of what-the-fuck lands into the virtual lap of the internet. Seriously. What the fuck people? It is moments like these that make me want to call my doc and say “Have you SEEN the internet?? Why am I the one on anti-crazy meds?”
Maybe the problem is that, as I said on twitter, I would have posted that shit IMMEDIATELY if I was in that position. Why all the worry about the dude’s wife? Clearly he doesn’t give a shit about her if he’s flashing his wang at everyone. Why is NOT calling the guy out considered classy? If some famous dude walked up to you and showed you his dick, would you post veiled tweets of disapproval but protect the guy’s identity? “Dear guy who won that Oscar one year. Do NOT want to see your penis. Stop that pls.” Or what if someone you knew robbed a store. Would you make a post “To that guy who robbed that store. We all know it was you and we’ve all been talking about it. Knock it off, ok?” No, cause that would be insane, right? Why does this balding weasel get a free pass?

Lauren (carterbiosea) November 1, 2010 at 9:37 pm

my phone is dying so I must be concise: BRAVO.

Veronica November 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Bravo.

I don’t get the culture of silence that the mummybloggers exist in. Silence and occasional passive aggressive posts. Seriously, are we not adult enough to discuss things without having to whisper?

And I’m not quite sure why so much emphasis was put on ‘protecting his marriage’. In my opinion, he lost that right when he started sending photos of his dick to women. Someone should have posted the photo with a NSFW warning, named and shamed and we could have all moved on.

Maybe passive aggressive just makes my head hurt.

Jennie November 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I was never sent a photo of this man’s penis (now, THAT’S a sentence I never thought I’d type) or have ever had a conversation with him, even, and while I would certainly do SOMETHING if I had — go to my husband and discuss the matter with him first, most likely — I don’t know if I’d hop on Twitter or post a blog about it right off the bat.

I just don’t know that I’d take it online right away until after I took a bunch of steps offline first.

It’s a serious situation, absolutely, but I think people handle these things in tons of different ways and the more cautious person isn’t always the wrong one. Just because you haven’t heard of the story before today, when a bunch of people said, “me too!” that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone was staying silent, does it? I mean, maybe people were taking legal action? Maybe? And that required them to be really careful what they said online? Possibly? God, I don’t know. I just know that assuming every woman who was approached shut her mouth out of fear might not be fair.

I’m probably missing some info here, maybe, I don’t know. I agree with a whole bunch of what you’re saying, and it always makes me hesitate to comment on an issue I don’t know all the info about, but I just know that if it WERE me, I’d be really careful how I went forward online until after I talked thoroughly with some people offline first.

tracey November 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I will admit, i thought you lost your twitter mind today. but reading what has happened, makes me so nuts that i’m right there with you on it.

NOT speaking about it is such a terrible lesson to our children. mummy blogger or not – what would you want your son or daughter to do? ssh up? just sweep it under a rug? think about that …

Teach your children, and friends and yourselves, some self respect and stand up for something as important as this. And yes, it’s important – it’s not just some dude’s junk let’s all laugh about it. (this is how we get desensitized…)

Sundry November 1, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Something else (!) fucked up about the whole thing: I was told Karen’s post referred to more than one “Internet Boy.” Who sent the dick photo(s)? Who are the other dudes, and who committed what offense? This is a problem with sort-of-vague not-really accusations.

Kristen November 4, 2010 at 12:08 am

Yeah, I was kinda wondering about that, too. The title was “internet boys” . . . so it sounds like she is implicating more than one person.

Laura November 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm

At my son’s football practice, the coach always says, “Boys, you gotta commit to the hit. Otherwise, someone’s gonna get hurt.” I think that applies here. Commit to the entire truth or risk innocent names being brought into the conversation. Of course, we know who this is now, but the comment section was a bit brutal in terms of conjecture. Perhaps comments should be moderated? Anna, how do you think this type of conversation (once started) should be/can be managed?

Madge November 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm

This really isn’t happening, really? People have too much damn time on their hands. Jeez US. Please tell me there was no use of that awful hipstamatic app in the taking of the schlong shots.

Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy November 1, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I saw some of this today and I was disgusted that any woman would want to protect someone who would do this (allegedly) multiple times just because of his name. As Jennie said, maybe there’s something happening behind the scenes but I agree with you that passive aggressive should not apply in this situation.

Lolly November 2, 2010 at 2:38 am

Bravo Anna. What a bunch of wankers.

Juli November 2, 2010 at 2:45 am

Sorry, this seems like a witch hunt to me. We don’t know–maybe we can’t know–the full story.

Katy November 2, 2010 at 3:50 am

*GOLF CLAP*

Though part of me thinks she is being vague because she’s full of shit and doesn’t want to get sued. I mean really? You can write a whole passive aggressive, diatribe about your struggle, tell the entire INTERNET you’re a victim of dick pics, however, you’re too classy to name names?

No no no no no no….. You are either too chicken and need a does of the Feminist Mystique to get the balls to shut that asshole down: OR: You’re exaggerating.

Jett November 2, 2010 at 8:17 am

Completely uncool, Katy.

There have been plenty of things I agree with in this comments section and plenty of things I don’t.

But you’re just being a douchebag for the sake of being a douchebag.

Katy November 2, 2010 at 8:24 am

You say douchey, I say asking an honest question. Why is it okay to publicly write a cryptic post about some asshole harassing you, but not naming names? I mean, why do it? Why put it out there on the internet? Sure, I can word things better, but I honestly don’t understand why you wouldn’t name names, not to mention risk other people being lumped in with this asshole. Sure, I’m not a big fan of Avitable, BHJ, Mayopie, etc. But all of them, and that Neil guy, were brought up for being the dick pic perp, because she left that window open. How is that fair or cool?

I have a right to cast doubt when people are not 100% honest with what they are accusing in a public forum. To do be coy is to be cowardly, as well as to leave the window open for people who have nothing to do with this to be dragged in.

I feel badly for this woman having to deal with this asshat. However, I have a right to disagree and to voice my opinion on a situation that people make public. Who knows? Maybe she’s being savvy as to not name names, so she doesn’t get sued?

Katy November 2, 2010 at 8:33 am

Also, I rattled off that post before coffee and after becoming highly annoyed with the cyber circle–jerkily and handwringing in the comments section, so my snark meter was off the charts. My wording is not nice, and for that I’m sorry because even I can have more tact than that, however I stand by my sentiment that the matter this was carried out pings my doubt meter.

It may not be “nice”, but I’m still wondering “why?”

Katy November 2, 2010 at 8:34 am

MANNER. NOT MATTER. MANNER.

gah.

This is what happens when I let the internet distract me.

Jett November 2, 2010 at 8:48 am

There is absolutely a difference between asking honest questions to seek honest answers and fanning the flames of hysteria or just being offensive for offensiveness’ sake.

It’s all in the approach and you, say, taking a sledgehammer to a lock when you could very well have used a key is ineffective, childish, and damns the faintest hope of a discussion.

Also, I don’t think you understand the difference between having the luxury of doing something and having the right to do something.

And to everyone: The one thing that has occurred to me in all this that I’ve yet to see stated (and there have been a lot of well-scripted, salient points voiced) is that maybe Karen was approaching this incrementally? Maybe she was giving the offending party a warning: “It stops here, or it gets handled in a way that names you.”

I don’t think that’s passive-aggressive. I think that’s showing some mercy, and hoping that the message is heeded by the intended party.

All this is only conjecture on my part, though. I don’t know Danny at all and I know very little of Karen. I will say this, though: I’m not comfortable with people whaling on her. This man apparently approached his victims in a calculated fashion, during a very vulnerable time for them.

And ultimately, the way ANY victim processes the offenses levied against them is extremely personal and varies wildly from person to person.

Katy November 2, 2010 at 8:56 am

Point taken and understood.

It really isn’t my intention to further victimize this woman. I’m infuriated with what happened to her, and I see what you are saying when maybe she meant this as a warning. I guess I get suspicious when someone posts something incendiary and then wonders “why all the fuss?”, when anyone could tell you a post like that is going to go off rails.

Kerry November 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

Maybe she did. My beef isn’t really so much with her, because maybe she’s been handling this for a long time and this is just the finale…or maybe she handled it imperfectly. I don’t know. I don’t know her from Adam.

My beef is that if I object at all, I see people on Twitter saying things like, “Would you treat sexual harassment and rape victims like this too?” Well, fuck you. I spent my entire career helping sexual harassment victims. I got into that line of work in part because I WAS a sexual harassment victim. So I feel very strongly that if we don’t talk loudly and publicly about how to handle these things when they occur, more women will be victimized.

We need to be able to discuss how to handle situations like this. Silence (or high-fives) don’t help anyone except perpetrators.

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