HuffPo: Showing Muslim terrorists on t.v. dramas is “Islamophobic”

PuffHo has a new editor to replace Arianna, but the beat goes on, and that clickbait cesspool is still doing what it does best: risible left-wing outrage. Here’s a headline from today’s entertainment section (click on screenshot if you must);

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-27-53-am

24: Legacy” is a spinoff of the “24” television drama, in which each episode depicted 24 hours in the life of an antiterrorist agent (played by Kiefer Sutherland), with each season having 24 unified episodes. That first show ran for 8 seasons and was, I’m told, immensely popular. It’s now given rise to “24 Legacy,” which has aired only two episodes. Sadly, according to PuffHo, the first episode, which aired on Sunday after the S*perbowl, was “unacceptably Islamophobic” because it depicted an episode of Islamic terrorism. Never mind that its predecessor show depicted terrorism of all stripes, including Russians, Mexicans, Chinese, and Americans. Nope, the producers are now “Islamophobic” because they showed a Muslim terrorist right after the Superbowl (so lots of people watched it) and in the first episode!

PuffHo:

Millions of Americans watched the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Afterward, the next bit of programming they saw depicted an unidentified Middle Eastern man murdering a white American family in the name of someone called Sheik Bin-Khalid. The terrorist shoots the father in the head, and the camera pans to reveal the bloodied bodies of a mother and child as he exits the home to coordinate a devastating attack on American soil. This reductive depiction of Muslims wasn’t the only one in the episode, but it was certainly the most explicit. And it was first.

. . . That’s why it matters that the show’s producers chose to peddle the same fuzzy representations of Muslims we’ve come to associate with the franchise in the premiere of “24: Legacy,” which continues Monday night. Executive producer and showrunner Manny Coto addressed concerns by stating Sunday’s episode brought an intentionally “inflammatory” start to the series, hinting that future episodes will reveal new truths that complicate our perception of events.

“If we didn’t know the way the entire season went and how it came out the other side, we might be concerned,” Coto told The Hollywood Reporter. “But here’s the thing: The story of this season deliberately starts on an image that you might call jingoistic, expected and possibly inflammatory. We weren’t trying to be inflammatory, but it’s what the story itself called for.”

Yet for many Americans ― likely millions ― that violent first image will be part of the only episode they’ll see. However the show develops over the season is inconsequential. [JAC: PuffHo to Americans: “you’re morons with short attention spans”]

Social media users immediately took issue with the decision to center the terrorist plot around extremist Muslims, as both “24” Season 2 and 4 hinged on similar threats. Some rejected what they saw as an “old and tired” stereotype seen on FOX too often, while others said the show made for “Islamophobic” and even dangerous TV.

. . . Every presumably Muslim character in “24: Legacy” is either directly involved in terrorist acts or accused of being complicit in some way. Accepting a show where Muslims are American-killing terrorists as casual entertainment runs the risk of legitimizing the all-too-real discrimination Muslim people face in and outside U.S. borders. Now more than ever, vigilance is necessary when it comes to consuming media, regardless of intention. “24: Legacy” might have only just begun its season, but for many watching at home its clock has already run out.

And I guess PuffHo has appointed itself the Curator of Television Vigilance.

So here we see the self-censorship of the Regressive Left, which implicitly maintains that while it’s okay to show diverse kinds of terrorists, it’s a no-no to show a Muslim terrorist, because that’s Islamophobia. I guess it’s okay to show Mexican or Russian terrorists, though Mexicans are seen as “people of color”, but PuffHo is on its usual campaign to worship all things Muslim. (They particularly love fetishizing the hijab.)  That’s simply an overreaction to real Islamophobia: bigotry against Muslims, and also the kind of virtue signaling in which PuffHo specializes. The fact is that there is Islamic terrorism, and it’s happening worldwide. To leave out one particular group because it’s  seen as “Islamophobia” is ridiculous.

What’s next: the demonization of “Orange is the New Black” because it shows women as criminals, when we all know that they’re supposed to be victims?

Why do I dislike PuffHo so much? I suppose it’s because they’re supposed to be progressive, but they’re actually regressive. Stupidity from someone who’s supposed to be on our side sometimes rankles more than stupidity from the right wing—and Lord knows I call that out often enough. I suppose it’s a matter of intellectual honesty: it’s the reason why I sometimes prefer honest Biblical literalists like Ken Ham over mealymouthed metaphorizers and accommodationists who want to have their Jesus and their Darwin, too. Give me Fox News (which I don’t watch) over the Pecksniffian moralizing of PuffHo and its branding of certain television shows as “unacceptable.”

62 Comments

  1. Cate Plys
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I admit that I watched all 8 season of 24–as did our whole family–and we loved it. I think most 24 fans also laugh *at* the program as they watch for its predictable tropes and Jack Bauer’s complete lack of any sense of humor. I considered 24 a guilty pleasure not because of Islamic terrorists–only 2 plots involving Islamic terrorists out of 8 seasons is a pretty good diversity record, actually–but because it justified torture by always having Jack confront terrorists in the classically bogus people-will-die-in-two-minutes-if-you-don’t-talk-now scenario that, in fact, never really happens. THAT is the reason people need to be critical of 24.

    However, more can be said about the silliness of attacking 24 for sometimes having Islamic terrorists: 24 actually used the Islamic terrorist bad guy to subvert the usual stereotype of Muslims, albeit I’m sure their intent was to come up with surprising plot twists. In one season, I think it was Season Two but don’t quote me on that, it looks like the terrorist is going to turn out to be a young Muslim man about to marry into a wealthy white California family. In the end–spoiler alert!–the real terrorist turns out to be the young man’s wealthy white blond fiancee, who was radicalized while living in London. In the other season featuring an Islamic terrorist plot–again, spoiler alert– an innocent Muslim teenager who loves America is caught up in the terrorist plot being brought to fruition by his parents, who, unbeknownst him, have been living in America all this time as sleeper agents.

    Finally, the 24 producer quoted in Huff Po makes it pretty clear that this new version of 24 is going to do something very similar–make it look like a stereotypical Islamic terrorist right away, and then twist the plot.

    My conclusion: Besides being morons, apparently these Huff Po people didn’t even watch 24.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never watched 24, but my immediate response to the HuffPo story is they’re the ones being Islamophobic by assuming that someone dark-skinned with an Arabic sounding name in a Muslim.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Well my objection to such things is NOT that they’re being Islamophobic, but that they’re being racist by showing the villain as some sort of swarthy dark-skinned non-white character.

        Now I don’t know 24 or this episode so I can’t comment on that. But it used to disgust me the way Hollywood B-movies ‘always’ had the villains as repulsive Latino or Arabic-looking thugs, and such characters were ‘always’ barely competent at anything e.g. they could never shoot straight. It was quite surprising how much trouble they managed to cause the clean-cut all-American heroes.
        But if they wanted to show a criminal mastermind or an audacious thief i.e. a superior class of villain then he was ‘always’ white.

        cr

        • HaggisForBrains
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 4:58 am | Permalink

          And usually British! Second choice German, but played by a Brit.

  2. Zado
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I recently watched a snippet of True Lies on cable, in which the terrorists are (very stereotypical) Persians. That movie came out in ’94, and no one batted an eye.

    My, how times have changed.

  3. Kiwi Dave
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    As a person of distant Scots descent, I would like to ask your readers to boycott all productions of Macbeth, a Caledoniaphobic tale depicting the Scots as brutal murderous lords, drunken underlings, henpecked husbands, weak kings, cruel and manipulative wives,and lying crones. We are a realm of peace, but have been misrepresented by a dead, white, culturally appropriating English male.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Now here’s some cultural appropriation for you (not really)

    • eric
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      depicting the Scots as brutal murderous lords, drunken underlings, henpecked husbands, weak kings, cruel and manipulative wives,and lying crones

      So, you’re upset because Shakespeare forgot the sheep-screwing?

      • Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t that Wales, not Scotland?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          I thought that was New Zealand. But then, we have a lot of Scottish descent in South Island (where most of the sheep are).

          (Disgruntled Aussie punter, after another NZ horse has won the Melbourne cup:
          “What makes Kiwi horses run so fast?”
          “They’ve seen what happened to the sheep”)

          cr

          • Rasmo carenna
            Posted February 8, 2017 at 3:11 am | Permalink

            Ha, ha, I found that joke really hilarious…

            • Mike
              Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

              It’s Wales, traditionally they are supposed to run around in Gumboots, into which they insert the back legs of the Sheep to make the operation easier.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I’m British and pretty proud of the fact we get to play the best villains.

      The US has yet to produce a villain who can match Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Terrence Stamp, Mark Strong, Gary Oldman, Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasance, Malcolm McDowell, Ray Winstone, Stephen Berkov, or Boris Karloff *

      Even the Islamists tend to be played by actors with RADA accents.

      You want an Evil Galactic Empire? Staff it with Brits. Nazis? Even an authentic German can’t compete.

      *Okay, you had Dennis Hopper. Point still stands.

      • darrelle
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I’m a USian and I have no argument with you on this. There have been a few that are in that league but overall, no comparison.

        • Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Vincent Price, I suppose, though he was an Anglophile, and many of his best films were British: Witchfinder General, Theatre of Blood, The Abominable Dr Phibes.

          Villains get the best lines. Unfortunately they don’t get to make so many sequels.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 7, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            I love Vincent Price. I saw an old black-and-white movie with him in where the villain (some typical Latino) very elaborately called him (or his character) a ‘ham’. Cracked me up.

            But he had – what would you call it? ‘Presence’?

            cr

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          More than a few, I think. Off the top of my head:

          Nicholson, De Niro, Walken, and Malkovich spring to mind as memorably chilling villains in a variety of roles.

          Also Bryan Cranston as Walter White (with a nod to Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring).

          Jeffrey Dean Morgan is currently killing it (so to speak) as The Walking Dead‘s villain-of-the-year.

          Bill Irwin did an impressive turn as a wily serial killer on one season of CSI.

          James Spader on The Blacklist. Ron Rifkin on Alias. Michael Emerson on Lost. Gregory Itzin (as already mentioned) on 24.

          And no doubt more that I’m not thinking of at the moment.

          • Mike
            Posted February 8, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            I’ll give you Jeffrey Dean Morgan, in the Walking Dead, I can’t wait to see the grisly end Rick has in store for him.I think the thing that enhances his villainy ,is, he seems so personable, a Guy you could have a drink with.lol

      • Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        … and Tim Roth.

        • Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          Roth played Rillington Place serial killer John Christie on TV recently.

          Bloody terrifying and barely raised his voice.

      • mordacious1
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        You left out Hugo Weaving, Roddy McDowall and David Prowse. I suppose though, the list could go on forever.

        Of course, your avatar was an Australian.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Ya got us there, hands down.

        On the distaff side, however, Glenn Close was pretty damn good as the bunny-killer in Fatal Attraction and as Cruella — and as the cold-blooded lawyer in Damages.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          Also, as a Yank female villain, Linda Fiorentino’s tour de force performance as the man-eating Wendy Kroy in The Last Seduction.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        I think you should include Jonathan Pryce in that list. His performance as the media mogul Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies was right up there. Very controlled yet somehow you felt he was flaky and might ‘let go’ at any moment.

        Donald Pleasance (you mentioned him) was another of those understated villains – a mousy little man who managed to be sinister and creepy at the same time.

        cr

      • Cate Plys
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Overall yes, since Hans Gruber will never be topped. And yet, you forgot Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life, Lionel Barrymore. He comes in second, right after Hans.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        I’d add Ralph Fiennes, playing against type, as the volatile mob boss in In Bruges, as the schizo killer in Red Dragon, and as sociopathic SS captain Göeth in Schindler’s List.

        • Posted February 8, 2017 at 4:56 am | Permalink

          Not to mention Lord Voldemort.

          • Gregory Kusnick
            Posted February 8, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            Perhaps Ken thinks he wasn’t playing against type there.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 8, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              I always think of Ralph as the charming, WASPy academic in Quiz Show or as the nebbishy romantic lead in — and I can’t believe I’m admitting to once sitting through 15 min. of this — Maid in Manhattan.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Orson Welles handled that for you by staging Voodoo Macbeth — set on a Caribbean island and featuring an all-black cast — at the Lafayette Theater in Harlem.

      Their witches were way cooler than your witches.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      I know a Scot who does encourage people to boycott Macbeth but mainly because it depicts historical people in a defamatory way.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I watched part of that episode after the Super Bowl (which was.. awesome; an emotional roller coaster).
    But I know that quite a few television series and movies these days feature Islamic terrorists since that is simply a reflection of our topical concern right now. The producers want to give an audience something they can ‘get’, and feel invested in to hold their attention through the commercials.
    Before that it was drug cartels from countries to the south that were used for entertainment. Before that it was Russian espionage. Were there objections then?

  5. S.K.Graham
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Wait! Wait!! I’ve got it!

    Don’t you see?

    ISIS is an Islamaphobic organization!

    Al-Quaeda? Islamaphobes!

    All these “Islamic Terrorist” …they are really just false-flag anti-Islamic fronts!

    Hmmm… ya know, from a winning hearts&minds, political strategy point of view…

    …that might not be too bad a line to take.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Many people, including ex-president Obama have already characterised ISIS, al Queda and other such groups as “not the real Islam” – so you may have a point.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Huff Post is just bending over so far it is broken. You cannot reason with the unreasonable. With the regressive left – the patient is dead. The mirror opposite of Donald Trump if you can stand looking in the mirror.

  7. eric
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Social media users immediately took issue with the decision to center the terrorist plot around extremist Muslims, as both “24” Season 2 and 4 hinged on similar threats. Some rejected what they saw as an “old and tired” stereotype

    Um, this is a spinoff of an 8-season use of the same schtick from a decade ago. The time to complain about it being ‘old and tired’ was 2005.

  8. Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I might familiar with the 24 format enough to know that the bad guys early in each season always turn out to be false flags or working for someone else without even knowing it. The show is twist after twist and it usually involves a betrayal by someone close.

    It reminds me of The Guardian gloating last year because some graffiti artist had written ‘This show is racist!’ in Arabic in the background in an episode of Homeland. The producers were unable to defend themselves without giving away the twist that a bomb attack blamed on Islamists was actually a Russian plot.

  9. Cindy
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Pakistan bans Bollywood film as main character is a smuggler who happens to be Muslim:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/07/pakistan-bans-raees-bollywood-film-shah-rukh-khan

    Muslims are not criminals and no Muslim would ever break a law anywhere ever.

  10. Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Just remembered who the real villain was in Season 5: Nixon lookalike Charles Logan, a corrupt (white) president who colluded in the assassination of his popular black predecessor:

    Charles Logan is a fictional character played by Gregory Itzin in the television series 24. During the show’s fourth season, Logan is the Vice President of the United States who is sworn into office as President of the United States when former President John Keeler is critically injured in a terrorist attack. Subsequently, Logan’s administration fell into corruption. The show’s fifth season sees him engage in a massive conspiracy to solidify United States oil interests. Logan appears in the fifth and eighth seasons as the primary antagonist.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Quote from Wikipedia.

    • eric
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      For some reason that brings to mind the South Park satire, where after numerous fake bad guy twists the ‘real’ enemy turns out to be the British queen, who is intent on taking back the colonies (complete with redcoats and tall ships). 🙂

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      … the real villain was [a] Nixon lookalike …

      So an ogre sired by Grendel, utterly without redeeming social grace? 🙂

  11. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    each episode depicted 24 hours in the life of an antiterrorist agent (played by Kiefer Sutherland), with each season having 24 unified episodes.

    Not quite right. Each episode depicts one hour (“events occur in real time”) and each season spans a single 24-hour period. The defining gimmick is that the audience sees everything that happens during that period, minute by minute, frequently in split screen as two plot threads progress simultaneously. (Which kind of makes you wonder when Jack Bauer stops to grab a sandwich or take a leak.)

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    A much smarter show about terrorism is the sci-fi epic “Battlestar Galactica” (the 2000s reboot not the really weak 70s version) which treats the subject in a far more relevant, complex, and layered way.

    • Pali
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Not many shows during the Bush years had the guts to make the argument FOR using suicide bombers as a tactic, nor have the “good guys” being the ones to use them.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I became a fan of BSG. It was full of unexpected plot twists (like ’24’ is said to have, though I don’t watch 24).

      The Cylon enemy started off being seen as ruthless implacable killer machines intent on destroying all human life, then as the series progressed (and some of the humans showed that they could be vindictive and bloodthirsty too, as humans are) and the Cylon ‘skin jobs’ (human clones) became actual characters, the whole scenario became much more complex and interesting.
      And yes, the question of terrorism and how society responds to it did crop up. But also how ‘occupied’ populations get on with their occupiers (‘resistance’ vs ‘collaborators’ – and who is right?)

      cr

  13. Taz
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    A Muslim terrorist? Where does Hollywood get these crazy ideas?

  14. Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    “Afterward, the next bit of programming they saw…..”
    Wait…how does HuffPost know how many actually stayed tuned in? People these days are very diverse and fickle in their viewing. How many may have flicked over to “Cupcake Wars” after the game?

    I understand the aversion to stereotyping, but where does it end? Soon it will have to be only aliens as protagonists….and if we have a bonafide close encounter, they’ll cry Alienophobia!

    For decades Germans, Russians and Italians were regularly depicted as evil and no one batted an eye. Now we see a story based on a contemporary real life situation and it’s the target of potential censorship? Ya know, you can only watch so many cup cake shows!

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      After that final quarter how many still had a working TV?

  15. Ian Clark
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I thought, by their apologist’s standards, that these terrorists aren’t “real Muslims”. How can these same apologists turn around and now say that these terrorists ARE real Muslims. If these terrorists aren’t real Muslims, then showing them being terrorists, in a TV drama, by their definition cannot be islamophobia! QED!

  16. Posted February 8, 2017 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    The review was by Cole Delbyck, not the Huffington Post.

    One question is whether the 1 billion+ Muslims on this planet can be adequately represented by the hundreds of ‘Islamic terrorists’ portrayed on procedurals and espionage shows and films over the past 30 years.

    The question of what we can do about various forms of terrorism, foreign or domestic, is a separate question.

    However, one way to treat that question concerning Muslims is to allow Trump to rule by decree; you will lose many rights, but at least your New Atheism will feel better protected, no?

    No, because Trump is filling executive positions with Fundamentalist zealots; and his decrees include slamming shut access to scientific organizations run by the government.

    You either work to get back democracy, that may include Muslims – or you submit to Donald Trump. There is no third choice.

    • blond
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      The question is when, exactly, did you see atheists/New atheists supporting Trump, since you singled them out in your comment/question?

      • Posted February 8, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        blond,
        my point is that squabbling over the question of Islamophobia or whether those terrorists who are Muslim present a real threat, is misguided and irrelevant when you have an evidently Islamophobic would-be-king rule by executive order. The left is going to have to set aside certain disagreements if we’re to unite to bring the country back from the fascist cliff it’s teetering on.

        I’m an atheist and am willing to argue for atheism and the rights of atheists. I’m not willing to participate in the assault on religion in general or Islam in particular, until the political struggle against domestic fascism has been won.

        • blondini
          Posted February 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          ejwinner,
          well, I don’t think terrorists who are Muslims will will stop being threat because of Trump being in power and wait until the left has sorted out its disagreement, so discussion ( you call it squabbling ) is everything but misguided and irrelevant, one concern doesn’t negate the other. Can’t see how can you postpone one issue until the other one is solved?
          I’m atheists, too, btw. And not American.

          • Posted February 8, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            Well, as an American, I am willing for the nonce to set aside my many disagreements with Islam as a theism, in order to protest uncivil Muslim-bashing and unConstitutional Muslim bans by an authoritarian ‘president.’

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 8, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      My atheism doesn’t need protection from anybody, thanks. But then it’s not new it’s been ‘my atheism’ for sixty three years so far. Seems to be weak religiosity that claims to need protection.

      • Posted February 8, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        If you don’t see potential threats to believing differently from the accepted mainstream coming from the new Administration in Washington, I think you’re mistaken.

        As an atheist, and as someone who believes science should be taught in schools, and who believes that women and people of differing genders and differing lifestyles have ought to enjoy the same rights as I do, I am deeply concerned by current events. As I remarked to blond, I think certain discussions between intellectuals more to the left should be set aside until the political struggle against domestic fascism has been won.

  17. nicky
    Posted February 8, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Most Muslims are not terrorists , so we may not represent a muslim in a role as a terrorist, we’ll have to take a Buddhist or better, an atheist.
    Most young males are not rapists, so we cannot represent a young male in the role of a rapist, better take an old male, or better, a woman.
    Most cats do not kill birdies so…., don’t they? Better take a slug, or what?
    I feel I’m treading on thin ice here on this website: let us not insist and turn a blind eye.


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