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Tara Ariano

S03.E06: What Kind Of Day Has It Been

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I think she's too principled to do this.

 

...but didn't she take the job, knowing that it was due to her being a woman instead of Pruitt thinking she was the best person for the job?

 

I strongly disagree with this, and I feel it's almost offensive to women to appoint them to positions of power just to teach a man a lesson.

 

I didn't mean to imply that she *should* take it to teach him a lesson; I meant that it might be a byproduct of her doing the job.

 

Regardless, I feel that the groundwork for "make people be better" has been a consistent theme with this show, regardless of gender.

 

Yes, Mac has been at the unfortunate centre of two of the more recent questionable examples (come to ACN, make Will be better at his job! Accept this job and make Pruitt's PR problem better!) but everyone was pushing Bree (or whatever that sad-sack web dude's name was) to be better, to work better etc., everyone was pushing Pruitt to be less of a prat, etc. 

 

IMO, the burden to encourage others to be better hasn't been the sole burden of the female characters.

Edited by NoWillToResist
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...but didn't she take the job, knowing that it was due to her being a woman instead of Pruitt thinking she was the best person for the job?

Yes, of course. And that's exactly why I've railed against this storyline and how badly it was written - it was sexist and inconsistent with her character. Hard to stomach in every way.

 

Regardless, I feel that the groundwork for "make people be better" has been a consistent theme with this show, regardless of gender.........IMO, the burden to encourage others to be better hasn't been the sole burden of the female characters.

Oh I agree. That's one of the hallmarks of Aaron Sorkin, and why he gets called out a lot for being arrogant. The West Wing, anyone? Even though my politics were aligned with those on TWW, I could understand why others rolled their eyes or called it preachy.

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LotusFlower: Do you mean you think Mac--who took a job where Will could fire her at the end of each week, was willing to work on a shitty daytime talk show with cooking, was willing to take a salary cut, was willing to stomach Brian Brenner following her around, ran off to a war zone out of guilt, and basically called Genoa all her fault--would say "take this job and shove it" rather than protect her husband's and team's ability to do the right kind of news? And not only only protect it, but have some ability to control it? "Take this job and shove it" is all about Mac taking a stand for Mac, but Mac has never about herself. She's selfless and loyal, almost to a fault. She's never been about grandstanding or pride; everything she does is for the greater good. What tangible greater good would be served by turning Pruitt down? Feminism? So she can have some pride, but lose out on working with Will and the team and let Pruitt bring in god-knows-who to oversee them? Man, talk about depressing. That would be even sadder than how this actually played out.

Would it be OK if a real person did what Mac did, took a job even though she knew it had been offered primarily because of her gender? Or would that woman also be an insult?

Edited by madam magpie
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"Take this job and shove it" is all about Mac taking a stand for Mac, but Mac has never about herself.

I don't think it would have been the selfish choice at all; quite the contrary, in fact. But you guessed at my answer to your Q - turning the job down would have been a stand for feminism, telling Pruitt (and others) that a job should be offered on merit. That's the greater good she'd be serving. You can take any situation and find ways to justify doing something, such as here, with Mac possibly wanting to continue working with her husband. But at the risk of sounding preachy, taking a stand often comes with great sacrifice, and changes (ie. in the workplace) never happen unless brave people are willing to fight the status quo. I think turning the job down would have made her a role model for everyone there - that you should believe in your worth as a producer, writer, etc. and take a job in your field accordingly, not because your male chauvinist boss is having a PR problem with women. Would she do a lot of good if she stays? Of course, but that's the easy answer, and the safe route. Taking a stand is much harder, and that's why it's so rarely done.

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"Would it be OK if a real person did what Mac did, took a job even though she knew it had been offered primarily because of her gender? Or would that woman also be an insult?"

Imo, if the real life woman were as privileged as Mac, no, not ok. If she were someone who cannot afford to be out of a job, then yes, I would say take the job.

A real Life woman in Mac's position would be coveted and would have the upper hand in negotiations. Taking a stand would be a positive thing to at least expose the culture and hypocrisy. There are risks, of course. Everything has risks.

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LotusFlower: That's the easy answer, though, the one from the safety of the outside that judges the woman on the inside. Mackenzie and her team stand to lose a lot by her leaving. They lose her wisdom, leadership, ethics, compassion. She loses the ability to shape a news broadcast she put her soul into. She loses the chance to work with her husband, a relationship that allows them both the space to be their best selves. When Pruitt brings on someone who thinks like him instead, man or woman, it's entirely possible that everything Mac wanted to accomplish could be for naught. Then she loses so that she can take your stand. Mackenzie was never painted as someone whose main cause was feminism. Her cause was much broader than that; she wanted to inform an entire population and do a news show "worthy of a great nation." For many women, feminism is just something we live and breathe everyday; it's in how I live my life, not in how I live up to someone's expectations. So if what matters to Mackenzie is the team she built and doing the news to her satisfaction, I'm not going to judge her negatively, or her creator negatively, for choosing that path. Feminism is about everyone woman having the right to be the kind of woman she wants to be, whether it's my kind or not. If your cause is feminism, then when it comes time to take a stand, I'd expect you'd come down on the side of feminism. Mackenzie's cause has always been information and truth. I believe she has the right to choose that, which is why I still wonder...if she were a real woman who made this choice, would she be an insult, or would she be following her truth? Am I not a strong enough woman if I choose the path I value over the one you value? Or is Mackenzie only an insult because her creator is a man?

Edited by madam magpie

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madam magpie

The question was not directed to me but I have an observation

Your post is about two different things. What could happen to the team, to Mac, to Pruitt, ranges from nothing to a lot. Since the show is over we could speculate ad infinitum.

Now, in real life, people tend to think about their own values first, so a woman taking a job because of gender (tokenism) probably would not think about what her co-workers would gain, how happy and accomplished they would be.

I am in favor of non-compliance and i would rather support someone exposing the farce than holding back as if protecting co-workers (which is a little arrogant, to think they would not be able to succeed without their "leader"

About feminism, I don't really think too much if the character is feminist or not. I have some problems with what I call mainstream feminism, some prominent groups that exclude other opressed groups. I simply don't like how Sorkin writes women, he gives us someone who is shown as strong and all the qualities I consider positive, then he throws all the silliness, making the characters frustrating to me. I really liked the idea of Mac. But so many times I just wanted to give up on her!

Edited by alexvillage
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alexvillage: I'm not sure what to say except that some of us who are strong and silly in real life just see the character Mackenzie through a different lens. Others see her as you do. I think that's OK.

Edited by madam magpie

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I am in favor of non-compliance and i would rather support someone exposing the farce than holding back as if protecting co-workers (which is a little arrogant, to think they would not be able to succeed without their leader.)

This goes to what I was trying to say. Should someone swallow the shitty way a job was offered in order to fulfill one or a number of things? (I also agree that it's arrogant to assume she's the only person for the job. Like I already wrote, keeping the team intact, or creating a good newscast, etc.,. are all noble reasons for staying, but it's really easy to justify staying, if staying is what you want. It's a lot harder to take a stand). My answer is obvious - no, but of course financial reasons personalize this differently for everyone.

I always viewed Mac as principled, not necessarily a feminist, although that probably was one of them. When I held up her leaving as a role model, I didn't mean as a role model just for women, but for anyone whose worth at the company was being devalued or mocked. And with Pruitt now at the helm, that's likely to happen a lot.

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I have a stupid question: with Charlie dead, would Mac have been fired if she didn't take the promotion? Or would she have kept her old job despite Pruitt wanting her and Sloan gone after the whole web interview fiasco?

 

Yes, of course. And that's exactly why I've railed against this storyline and how badly it was written - it was sexist and inconsistent with her character. Hard to stomach in every way.

 

I am not sure that I'd agree that it was inconsistent with her character, considering the Charlie/Mac flashback. She took the job at ACN knowing full well that Charlie was hiring her because of her romantic history with Will; that Will would work harder and be better in order to impress her. She could also do "real" news at ACN instead of whatever the fuck waste of time job she was about to start but Charlie wanted her to bring Will around. So, I kind of saw that Mac's story came full circle: one again she's starting a job based on her uterus more than her skill set, but the opportunity to do solid news was too tempting for her to turn down.

 

 

 turning the job down would have been a stand for feminism, telling Pruitt (and others) that a job should be offered on merit.

 

What I find muddies the waters in this situation is that - if Will and the other characters can be believed - if merit were to have been factored in, Mac would have been the front-runner anyway. If she were just a pretty face, I can see her maybe thinking "no, this is wrong. I don't deserve this job and shouldn't take it". But I feel bad for Mac because she deserves that job, and fuck Pruitt for making her debate whether she should take it because of his own shit. I think that was what Will was meaning when he said it didn't matter why she was offered the job. She earned it and deserves it; Pruitt's having his head up his own ass shouldn't hold her back. I think it's also important to note that LEONA was the one pushing Pruitt to hire Mac; Pruitt didn't think of that by himself. I honestly think that Leona sold him on Mac by appealing to his sexist nature (she flat out told him that he had a problem). Conveniently, Leona likes and respects Mac but probably figures that the only way Pruitt would ever consider Mac is if Leona sold it as a way to solve his PR problem.

 

Someone like Pruitt wouldn't give a flying fuck if Mac said no; any woman would do as far as his motives are concerned.  But as far as Mac is concerned, I suspect she feels that she is the right woman for the job. So, she has a choice: take the job, kick ass at it, and fight with Pruitt every hour of every day about doing 'real' news...or turn down the job and, IMO, basically accomplish nothing except watch Pruitt hire some other woman with less skill and journalistic integrity to run ACN. Considering what we've seen of Mac thus far, I don't think it was OOC for her to take the former option.

 

I completely understand why people are upset about why she was offered the job. But IMO, the show has clearly demonstrated Mac's skills at her job, so the fact that Pruitt simply lucked out with his choice of woman (thanks to Leona's prompting), makes me not hate her for accepting it.

Edited by NoWillToResist

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I am not sure that I'd agree that it was inconsistent with her character, considering the Charlie/Mac flashback. She took the job at ACN knowing full well that Charlie was hiring her because of her romantic history with Will; that Will would work harder and be better in order to impress her. She could also do "real" news at ACN instead of whatever the fuck waste of time job she was about to start but Charlie wanted her to bring Will around. So, I kind of saw that Mac's story came full circle: one again she's starting a job based on her uterus more than her skill set, but the opportunity to do solid news was too tempting for her to turn down.

That's a good point. The "Will will work hard to impress you" line really bothered me, but I argued it was sexist, and she took the job, so.....

 

What I find muddies the waters in this situation is that - if Will and the other characters can be believed - if merit were to have been factored in, Mac would have been the front-runner anyway. If she were just a pretty face, I can see her maybe thinking "no, this is wrong. I don't deserve this job and shouldn't take it". But I feel bad for Mac because she deserves that job, and fuck Pruitt for making her debate whether she should take it because of his own shit. I think that was what Will was meaning when he said it didn't matter why she was offered the job. She earned it and deserves it; Pruitt's having his head up his own ass shouldn't hold her back. I think it's also important to note that LEONA was the one pushing Pruitt to hire Mac; Pruitt didn't think of that by himself. I honestly think that Leona sold him on Mac by appealing to his sexist nature (she flat out told him that he had a problem). Conveniently, Leona likes and respects Mac but probably figures that the only way Pruitt would ever consider Mac is if Leona sold it as a way to solve his PR problem.

 

Someone like Pruitt wouldn't give a flying fuck if Mac said no; any woman would do as far as his motives are concerned.  But as far as Mac is concerned, I suspect she feels that she is the right woman for the job. So, she has a choice: take the job, kick ass at it, and fight with Pruitt every hour of every day about doing 'real' news...or turn down the job and, IMO, basically accomplish nothing except watch Pruitt hire some other woman with less skill and journalistic integrity to run ACN. Considering what we've seen of Mac thus far, I don't think it was OOC for her to take the former option.

She might feel she's the right person for the job, and we the viewers might, but Pruitt doesn't think so. Remember, he's the new boss, with a different view of the news, and less regard for her skills. Pruitt is not Charlie! He only kept her on/promoted her because he needed a woman in that spot! Any female news producer or executive would do. Would the place be run with less integrity? Maybe (although we're certainly giving Mac a ton of credit by saying she's the only woman capable of this task). To me, it's practically inconceivable to think a new person, with such radically different views on the news, wouldn't come in and change things, and that includes personnel who are more aligned with his different philosophy. If Mac stayed, she might win some battles, but she'd also lose some, but I think that would be true for anyone in that position, wouldn't it? So to me, the sexist way in which she was offered the promotion was only a taste of what the new ACN will be (think Pruitt), so I think her decision needs to be seen in this context, and not the old school (think Charlie/Leona/Reese).

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There is so much that we can speculate, and so many possible reasons and outcomes for every character, plus so much inconsistency in how the characters behave and their stories as told by the writer(s), sometimes I think this last episode might be in the top two of the worst written by Sorkin. Was he tired? Pissed? Lazy? Already too invested in something else? I usually watch episodes at least twice. This time, I could barely watch the first time

 

Sorkin, you can do better

 

(to be read with a dose of snark, but not too much)

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She might feel she's the right person for the job, and we the viewers might, but Pruitt doesn't think so. Remember, he's the new boss, with a different view of the news, and less regard for her skills. Pruitt is not Charlie! He only kept her on/promoted her because he needed a woman in that spot! Any female news producer or executive would do. Would the place be run with less integrity? Maybe (although we're certainly giving Mac a ton of credit by saying she's the only woman capable of this task). To me, it's practically inconceivable to think a new person, with such radically different views on the news, wouldn't come in and change things, and that includes personnel who are more aligned with his different philosophy. If Mac stayed, she might win some battles, but she'd also lose some, but I think that would be true for anyone in that position, wouldn't it? So to me, the sexist way in which she was offered the promotion was only a taste of what the new ACN will be (think Pruitt), so I think her decision needs to be seen in this context, and not the old school (think Charlie/Leona/Reese).

 

Where exactly does Leona fit into the corporate structure anyway? Does she have any actual sway with Pruitt or did she just take advantage of the fact that they were both at Charlie's funeral and for some reason, Pruitt actually heeded her advice?

 

I guess what it comes down to for me is whether Mac deserved the job. I mean, yeah, Pruitt doesn't give a fuck about her skills and just needs to hire any woman. Miraculously, he accepted Leona's suggestion of Mac (perhaps because he at least knew that Mac was known and respected in the field so him choosing her would look a little LESS like a PR move). The job offer he extended was due to sexism. Had she turned it down, Pruitt wouldn't care; it wouldn't change his stance and Mac would be out a major career boost  - that, IMO, she has earned - for nothing (again, IMO).

 

BUT I feel that the show balanced it out a bit by making it abundantly clear that (A) Pruitt was a fucknut and no one should give two fucks about what he thinks  ;), (B) Mac is actually totally qualified for the job, and (C ) while the offer was made by him for shitty reasons, LEONA, the person who really wanted Mac for the job, wanted Mac for the right reasons.

 

Mac constantly indicated that she didn't know why Leona forced her into hanging out with her and Pruitt and I can't help but think that this was why - so that Mac would know who was really behind the job offer. If Mac hadn't been around to witness what Leona was doing and then Pruitt out of the blue offers Mac the job? Not sure she'd take it, to be honest.

 

As far as I'm concerned, Leona hired Mac...she just used Pruitt to do it. :D

Edited by NoWillToResist
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I guess what it comes down to for me is whether Mac deserved the job. I mean, yeah, Pruitt doesn't give a fuck about her skills and just needs to hire any woman. Miraculously, he accepted Leona's suggestion of Mac (perhaps because he at least knew that Mac was known and respected in the field so him choosing her would look a little LESS like a PR move). The job offer he extended was due to sexism. Had she turned it down, Pruitt wouldn't care; it wouldn't change his stance and Mac would be out a major career boost  - that, IMO, she has earned - for nothing (again, IMO).

There's a saying in psychology: we teach people how to treat us. Yes, the new job would be a career boost. Yes, she'd likely be very good at it. But at what cost? By taking the job under the circumstances in which they were offered, she's telling her boss that she can be treated this way. Like you said, Pruitt's not going to change (so much for his life lesson!), so she's setting a precedent as to how she can be treated. Good luck with that, Mac!

 

BUT I feel that the show balanced it out a bit by making it abundantly clear that (A) Pruitt was a fucknut and no one should give two fucks about what he thinks  ;), (B) Mac is actually totally qualified for the job, and (C ) while the offer was made by him for shitty reasons, LEONA, the person who really wanted Mac for the job, wanted Mac for the right reasons.

 

Mac constantly indicated that she didn't know why Leona forced her into hanging out with her and Pruitt and I can't help but think that this was why - so that Mac would know who was really behind the job offer. If Mac hadn't been around to witness what Leona was doing and then Pruitt out of the blue offers Mac the job? Not sure she'd take it, to be honest.

I think the only way Leona was able to keep her company was to spin off ACN, so I don't think she has any influence there any more. I think she was just taking advantage of the funeral - the timing, everybody there, access to Pruitt, to pitch her idea. But Pruitt's the boss now, so I don't think it matters that Leona wanted Mac for the "right reasons," nor do I agree with your assertion that they don't listen to Pruitt or care what he thinks. Again, he's the boss. The live TV rape debate, the stalker app - all things he was behind. And it took him literally seconds before he threatened to fire Mac and Sloan when they went against the grain. With Mac there, will she win some battles? Sure, but not all of them.

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I don't blame Mac for taking the job if she wants it. 

 

I wonder if there are a lot of men who would turn down a job opportunity they want because they weren't hired for the "right" reasons.  Most would take the job and celebrate, right? 

 

Lots of people get promoted for the wrong reasons.  But what does turning it down accomplish if you really want the job?  Most people want something that promotions bring, whether it be money, or power, or challenge, or prestige, or whatever.   She knows what kind of boss Pruitt is; if she's up for the challenge, then why not?  She can always leave it it doesn't work out, as she would have done since Pruitt fired her.  And she'd have more experience for the next news director job she applies for. 

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Lots of people get promoted for the wrong reasons.  But what does turning it down accomplish if you really want the job?  Most people want something that promotions bring, whether it be money, or power, or challenge, or prestige, or whatever.   She knows what kind of boss Pruitt is; if she's up for the challenge, then why not?  She can always leave it it doesn't work out, as she would have done since Pruitt fired her.  And she'd have more experience for the next news director job she applies for.

Well this discussion has really shifted from its origins to the pros and cons of Mac taking the job. I still think the sexist way in which the promotion was offered to her is just a precursor of things to come in the new ACN. But the topic really started with the ridiculously sexist way the promotion was written, with consulting Mac about it apparently an afterthought, not to mention the hire only being a damage control move in the first place. Since then I read one of the leaked e-mails in the Sony hack scandal written by Sorkin, in which he said female Oscar-winning performances are nothing compared to the depth that male Oscar-winning actors go to in their roles. Wow. I realized that his inherent sexism runs so deep. Maybe that's why he gave so many dopey scenes to the actresses - could it be he didn't think they were capable of more difficult material? I always thought his protagonists were men because he's a male writer (nothing wrong with that), but maybe it's also because he respects the work of male actors more, and wants the men to do the heavy lifting, similar to Pruitt and Will making the decision for Mac without her input. They know best.

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 nor do I agree with your assertion that they don't listen to Pruitt or care what he thinks. Again, he's the boss. The live TV rape debate, the stalker app - all things he was behind. And it took him literally seconds before he threatened to fire Mac and Sloan when they went against the grain. With Mac there, will she win some battles? Sure, but not all of them.

 

I meant that, as a fellow human being, the gang neither likes nor respects Pruitt (and with good reason, IMO) and thus don't care what he thinks in general. Any idea he has would automatically suck by their standards. :)

 

Yes, Charlie was doing as he was told in order to keep his job (and theirs) but Mac, Sloan and Don all rolled the dice on that and sabotaged Pruitt's pet stories. If the firings had stuck, I actually think Sloan and Mac would have been okay with it because they were both disgusted with what Pruitt wanted and took a stand on it.

 

I've seen enough of both Mac and Sloan standing up for themselves as women to not feel that Sorkin is pushing them into a dark corner reserved just for ladies. ;)

Maybe that's why he gave so many dopey scenes to the actresses - could it be he didn't think they were capable of more difficult material?

 

I think there was plenty of dopey material in Newsroom, and it was given to both sexes.

 

Also, while Will - a man - is clearly the main character and much of the story/focus is on him, I'm not seeing a lot of commentary on how it's generally agreed upon in the narrative that he is utterly whipped by Mac (a woman). Their big, strong, alpha male character becomes a stumbling, bumbling, 'yes dear' kind of guy around her. And she's not judged harshly for it either, which is fucking staggering IMO.

Edited by NoWillToResist

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Yes, Charlie was doing as he was told in order to keep his job (and theirs) but Mac, Sloan and Don all rolled the dice on that and sabotaged Pruitt's pet stories.

Yes, and Mac and Sloan were promptly fired for it. They only kept their jobs because Pruitt had a "women problem."

I think there was plenty of dopey material in Newsroom, and it was given to both sexes.

 

Also, while Will - a man - is clearly the main character and much of the story/focus is on him, I'm not seeing a lot of commentary on how it's generally agreed upon in the narrative that he is utterly whipped by Mac (a woman). Their big, strong, alpha male character becomes a stumbling, bumbling, 'yes dear' kind of guy around her. And she's not judged harshly for it either, which is fucking staggering IMO.

I guess we have different perceptions, then. I've never seen Will as a guy whipped by Mac, or even going soft around her. He sometimes was sweet or romantic, but unless I'm forgetting stuff, I just didn't see what you saw. And the dopey material for both sexes claim is interesting to me, too. I thought about this, because Sorkin's assertion about male vs. female acting just blew me away. I was thinking about all the characters from different Sorkin shows, from The West Wing to The Newsroom, and I couldn't think of any male characters who were of the bumbling or fumbling sort. Maybe there are, I just couldn't think of any. But female characters? Please. I remember the first Sorkin thing I saw - the play "A Few Good Men," (natch), and I loved it, but I remember the female JAG lawyer (Demi Moore in the movie) was the only one that fucked up. And of course Tom Cruise came and saved the day! That has to stand out for a reason.

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I really liked the first 3-4 episodes of this season, but man has it been a let down since then. This was a terrible conclusion to the show.

 

There was no resolution to the season long plots. There were no consequences. Neal spent a couple months in Argentina, then returns (to no fanfare, poor guy didn't even get a scene with the regular cast). Will spends a couple months in jail, then walks free because the leaker conveniently offed herself. And life goes on. 

 

Pruitt ends up with the company, but events conveniently happen off screen that force him to promote Mac. And life goes on.

 

They completely rewrote character histories with the flashbacks. Apparently everyone in the newsroom always had this holier-than-thou view about the news they wanted to do, and the only person who wanted to continue their pop culture ratings brigade was Will. It's been a long time since I watched season 1, but that seems like revisionist history to me.

 

The only good thing that came out of this was more Gary. I'd watch a show with Don, Sloan, and Gary. Screw the rest of this nonsense.

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