David Thompson
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November 10, 2014

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Connor

I think the clue is in the first word of the headline.

JuliaM

"...which means: How hard it is to have a vagina in this world!”"

When I hear most feminists speak these days, it seems it's the vagina which has them...

Anna

Without warning

How precious.

David

How precious.

Ms Kai seems to have made a journey from man-child to woman-child but shows no interest in adulthood.

DSV

5mins of my short and meagre life that has been taken again (thank you David) by an almost sordid obsession with “knowing who the enemy is”.

sackcloth and ashes

'Apparently, our “would-be musicologist” is unfamiliar with the genres afro-punk and queercore, to say nothing of Pussy Riot, Pansy Division, Dinah Cancer and of course The Slits'.

Skunk Anansie (with Skin) as well.

Oh well, being a Guardianista means cuffing off without doing that boring stuff called 'research'.

David

I think the clue is in the first word of the headline.

Well, quite.

It strikes me that wanting to find “authentic rebellion” and your “whole, authentic self” in punk music, or any music scene, is something that teenagers do. And if you don’t grow out of it and find other things to build your life around, I’d imagine disillusionment is hard to avoid. And by Ms Kai’s own account, the punk “community” she inhabits is fairly accommodating of difference – barring one reckless suggestion that women tend to have vaginas. So I’d say the problem isn’t with that “community” as such, but with her expectations of it. She seems to want a rebellious and “authentic” free-wheeling punk utopia that’s governed by the latest fashions in political correctness, and in which people aren’t allowed to say things she doesn’t agree with.

David

Oh well, being a Guardianista means cuffing off without doing that boring stuff called ‘research’.

Punk and its identitarian sub-genres aren’t really my area of expertise. But if even I can think of contrary examples it’s odd that Ms Kai, a jobbing punk musician and “would-be musicologist,” apparently can’t.

Anon

anyone can sing, anyone can play, anyone can listen, anyone can participate

False, false, true, oh dear.

Nikw211

But if even I can think of contrary examples it’s odd that Ms Kai, a jobbing punk musician and “would-be musicologist,” apparently can’t.

No, but Kai at least has spared no time in getting down to the serious business of shallow self-flagelleting narcissim she no doubt mistakes for deep self-reflection.

For instance, she says that:

    one major thing: I overstepped in writing as if I had any authoritative knowledge about people of color in punk. even if I have a sense of trans women in punk, that’s just one corner of this world …

And she also notes that:

    my piece is not sufficiently intersectional.

More here if your curiosity takes you that way.

Tom Foster

Nik,

From the piece you directed us to:

'as if whiteness could ever be anything but violent'

Just when I think I've got to grips with the way these people think, they manage to say something to surprise me all over again.

Theophrastus

TF
But they don't think: they emote and pose.

Lancastrian Oik

...(I)n a messed-up, still-exclusionary scene made up of mostly white, abled middle-class men who make and buy most of the music.

Illustrated by pictures of various people playing the piano accordion, the French horn, clarinet (two of) and trumpet (also two of). Not middle-class at all then- not that there is anything wrong in being "middle class". It does mean, perhaps, being honest in acknowledging that it helps at an early stage in your obsession with rock 'n roll if you know what a Bbmin7 is, which in turn usually means you have access to a decent instrument and have had some lessons.

It's still rather unlike my day (Tuesdays, after school, sometime around November 1977) when "being in a punk band" meant sitting in your mate's bedroom whilst his Mum was at the bingo and his Dad was on nights, trying to bash out the chords to "Roadrunner (Twice)" on a Japanese Les Paul copy with a bowed neck, amplified via something somebody's uncle had made out of an old telly. Times were hard, let me tell thee.

I did think of commenting that if (s)he eschewed wearing a dress then (s)he could fit right in and maybe even be in charge, but I don't think it would have gone down at all well.

Lancastrian Oik

Anon- indeed, which is why most of what passed for punk was rubbish. Despite their protestations to the contrary, the successful bands of the late 70s could actually play their instruments and come up with a decent tune or two. To dismiss (for example) The Ramones, The Clash or The Jam as three chord wonders was a mistake made by many at the time. They were much more able than that, and The Jam in particular took pride in their ability to play a bit, having the slogan"Fire And Skill" fixed to the front of their amplifiers.

There were always a few crusty buggers who would sit around bashing tin pans, blowing penny whistles and strumming out-of-tune guitars whilst off their faces on 'shrooms or speed, but they were just hippies with their hair cut short. The likes of Alternative TV tried to make a virtue (and a living) out of musical incompetence, but they were impossible to listen to and probably to go and work in record shop or behind a bar to keep the wolf from the door.

A fast-paced two-and-a-half minute pop song which incorporated a couple of minor chords and maybe a modulation after the middle eight will always triumph over ideology when it comes to attracting an audience, and selling records/downloads means you can afford new guitar strings.

Nikw211

Just when I think I've got to grips with the way these people think, …

The image of an iceberg comes to mind for some reason …

I found this agonised expression of a dark-night-of-the-soul moment particularly unmoving:

    in retelling histories of marginalization through surface-level and barely-sub-surface-level details, we make things worse: it takes a lot of work and care and humility to access and honor suppressed histories, and without doing that work, we’re just rewriting, affirming, and strengthening existing dominant bodies of knowledge.

There was an anecdote about Francis Bacon going round years ago, that may be untrue but is rather good nonetheless.

Full of anguish and despair, a young painter seeks out Bacon in The French House pub in SoHo. Having found him, the young painter starts to off-load to the older man about the darkness and despair he faces at the canvas face everyday, the sheer bloody agony of creation and other such cliches. The painter assuming all the while that Bacon is a kindred spirit to whom he can reach out.

After a minute or so of this agony, Bacon turns to him and says 'Oh darling, do lighten up - have a glass of pink champagne, it's awfully good'.

It's a story Miss Kai could probably learn something from if she were inclined to do so.

Rob

These people must be a nightmare to know socially. The egocentricity is completely overwhelming. Everything in the entire world is always about them. If it rains they see it as oppression by capitalism.

lovegoats

She's in a punk band and she can hear people in the audience? The whole purpose of punk is drowning out the fucking audience.

David

my piece is not sufficiently intersectional.

Ms Kai does seem a tad confused, to say nothing of doctrinaire, pretentious and comically self-involved. As so often with such people, she seems to be regurgitating someone else’s lecture notes.

Our tearful punk musician wants us to believe that she’s unfairly put-upon and “excluded from the supposedly ultra-inclusive community [she’s] trying to build,” but what she tells us actually suggests the opposite - that by and large she is accepted by that same community. And so she scrapes the barrel for any particle of evidence to justify her claims: A pro-feminist declaration that doesn’t meet her exquisitely niche standards. Or the fact that the number of female, brown or disabled punk enthusiasts doesn’t meet her unrealistic expectations (while carefully ignoring any number of brown, gay or female punk musicians). These are Ms Kai’s excuses for ostentatious umbrage, and they aren’t terribly convincing. As one indignant punk says in reply, “Just because you consider yourself in the margin doesn’t mean that the scene has marginalised you.”

Based on what she’s written, Ms Kai seems to want a kind of “anti-establishment” conformism, a pointedly anti-capitalist “authentic rebellion” in which everyone in the “community” has to agree with her.

That being what anti-establishment types do.

Kathy Shaidle

Her grasp of punk history is poor.

As one of the commenters said, I'd like to be there when she tells Bad Brains, Don Letts and Viv Albertine that they were just "in the gaps."

sk60

while the genre hasn’t yet torn down the state apparatus, it has enacted that state’s violence on the lower class, non-white, disabled and non-men folks in the scene.

Wow. There's a mountain of horseshit in that article.

Kathy Shaidle

The last word on "selling out"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMD7uQRAyPY

TDK

Wasn't there a punk band called Wayne County and the Electric Chairs led by transvestite Wayne? Their 5 minutes of fame was "If you don't want to f*** me baby f*** off". Following world success he became Jayne and conquered Venus.

I only mention this because clearly their lack of success was due to intolerance and many intersectionalities that are too obvious to list. I'm sure Boy George, Marilyn, Annie Lennox and the entire Glam rock era would agree.

I will accurately guess that Kai's lack of success is down to the same reasons.

David

Wow. There’s a mountain of horseshit in that article.

It is quite feeble and dishonest, even by the standards of the Guardian’s comment pages. In an earlier version of the same article published on Ms Kai’s website, she says,

My first tour changed everything. It was me and eight men for two weeks: playing community spaces, rocking basements, selling weird [merchandising], the whole thing. It was gorgeous. I was astounded at how good I felt around these men. We didn’t talk about my gender, they didn’t call me “he,” and I managed to still feel normal around them.

A description that doesn’t exactly support her grandiose claims of victimhood and “non-white non-men” being “excluded.”

Gary from Jersey

If I knew this Kai person, I'd pay him or her to read this thread then write a song about his/her reaction. I'd have to bang it out on pots since I can't play an instrument, but the sneering from him/her would make my song inclusive punk. I could even play it in the cellar to be authentic.

R. Sherman

'Apparently, our “would-be musicologist” is unfamiliar with the genres afro-punk and queercore, to say nothing of Pussy Riot, Pansy Division, Dinah Cancer and of course The Slits'.

Of the genres and groups/"artists" listed, I've only heard of Pussy Riot. I like them, not because I know their music, as I've not heard any, but because they gave Putin the finger. So they've got that going for them.

Franklin

Related: Jed Perl, Liberals Are Killing Art.

Paul Nottingham

"The whole purpose of punk is drowning out the fucking audience."

Remember gobbing at the band?

The whole purpose of punk was to get drowned by the audience.

Paul Nottingham

Which reminds me. Didn't Ian Dury once say something like:

When the audience spit at me, I spit back. Difference is I don't tell them I've got hepatitis.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

David - Because feminist punk that doesn’t nod to transgendered women and their pseudo-vaginas is just no punk at all.

You should be ashamed of yourself! I spat out half of a perfectly good can of Diet Coke on reading that.

From the BAAAWrticle:

without warning, in the audience or on a stage, I’ll hear someone say, “This song is about feminism, which means: How hard it is to have a vagina in this world!” or “I saw Ralph in a dress the other day, that was pretty funny” or “That last songwriter, he was pretty cool”.

Either getting a sex change gives you super hearing, or this must be the quietest punk music venue ever. I'm imagining Ms Kai playing to about five people in a public library.

And even if I don’t walk out, I’m still gone, excluded from the supposedly ultra-inclusive community I’m trying to build.

I wonder how inclusive it truly is. Would they welcome a band called "Rafe and the Young Conservatives" singing "Austerity in the UK"?

I have my doubts.

you can retell the early history of punk exclusively by referencing white men: Johnny Rotten in London, Joey Ramone in New York, Henry Rollins in Los Angeles, and so on and so forth.

And...
Alyssa Kai, before he got the sex change to look like Nicola Murray.

No matter how many dialogues we stage on anti-oppression, safer spaces, radical inclusivity and mutual aid

Yeah! Punk rock!

When you’re a trans woman, you learn to keep your expectations low and your hopes at arm’s length.

There ain't no drama like tranny drama. This person makes Morrissey look emotionally stoic.

So, what terrible traumas has Ms Kai bravely survived?

My first tour was me and eight men for two weeks, playing community spaces, rocking basements, selling weird merch, the whole thing. And I was astounded at how good I felt around those men: we didn’t talk about my gender, they didn’t call me “he” and I somehow managed to feel “normal”. I called their silence about me respect, and called my own silence about them the price of belonging. I fell asleep on strangers’ couches and hoped I’d be safe; I sat through hours of aggressively male banter; I told the breathless boys who moments before had been barreling into me, knocking over my mic, and cutting open my lip, “Thank you, thank you for coming, great to have you here.”

[...]

Meanwhile, punks like me, and those unlike me [...] struggle to get what most men in our scene are all-but automatically granted: not just power, but meaning. They get to be their whole, authentic selves on stage and off, they get to decide what’s punk, they get to “let” the rest of us in. To break into their scene doesn’t feel like a success; rather, it feels like being give permission to play along when I shouldn’t have needed to ask. Not in punk – and not anywhere.

That's gratitude for you. But it's typical of the aggressive parasitism of the SJW.

So... a bunch of mostly middle class white men invented punk. By Kai's own account, they're tolerant of transexuals and other minorities, and are quite happy to share a stage with, or pay money to see Gem and the Holograms, or whatever her band is called. She even got to sleep on strangers' sofas.

Nobody even mentioned she's a tranny.

So far, so good.

But it's not enough. The evil white able bodied men are still around! They haven't altruistically all died or something to let Kai inherit the punk rock earth.

Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. When people who use words like "inclusivity" and "safe spaces" demand access to your club or hobby, don't think they'll be satisfied being treated like everybody else.

It won't be long before they're trying to drive you out of your own club/hobby/fandom in the name of "social justice".

Blather about "inclusivity" is just the frosting on a cake made of cultural Marxist poo. What they really want is to censor, to dictate what music you should hear or what games you may play. The new left is totalitarian in the fullest sense - there is no aspect of life or culture so trivial as to be beneath their desire to control it.

David

That’s gratitude for you. But it’s typical of the aggressive parasitism of the SJW.

Identitarian dogma does seem to attract certain psychological types and is then used to excuse their least likeable traits. Or as Jim Goad put it, “So many of these multitudinous oppressed ‘identities’ seem like nothing more than cheap cloaks to mask nakedly annoying personalities. People with bad personalities seem to have a built-in defence mechanism that makes them believe you actually hate them for any other possible reason besides their bad personalities.”

Mojo

Punk?

Long dead. Last trace died with the Ramones.

The Phantom

The longer this whole "conversation" regarding "gender goes on, the more fabulously fucked up the Left side of it becomes.

Possibly because the "Right" side of it is mostly guys like me rolling our eyes and saying things like "Stop being obsessed with your pee plumbing and go get a job, for fuck sakes."

Also, boygirl seems to misunderstand the purpose of punk rock. The purpose of modern music, including punk, is to sell beer. If it doesn't sell beer, there's no point to it. Nobody wants to come and drink while watching a bunch of gender-bent cripples hobbling about the stage wheezing asthmatically into a microphone about social injustice. They might want to go someplace else and drink to forget seeing it though.

Really. Nobody cares. Transgender mental disorder is at most 0.001% of the population, I refuse to be even the slightest bit guilty that boys who think they should be girls have a hard time in life.

Hey transies. You want to have a hard time in life, try Asperger's Syndrome. When you have Asperger's, every fucking institution in the world, private or public, is specifically designed to KICK YOUR ASS all day, every day, no matter what you do. Now that's a hard time.

You want to rebel against something, why not rebel against something that's actually harming you personally? Like taxes.

Karen M

punks of color, working class punks, disabled punks… struggle to get what most men in our scene are all-but automatically granted: not just power, but meaning.

Er, what?

Sam Duncan

But if they did “tear down the state apparatus”, who would pay their dole money?

Anyway, the clue is in the name: punk rock. You're not supposed to give a shit about anyone or anything except making an almighty racket. That is the whole bloody point of the thing: taking rock and roll back to its roots of carefree abandon, instead of pseudo-intellectual philosophic wank. Like the above. A bit of ranting against The Man, sure (in the noble tradition of Eddie Cochran), but not wringing the hands over “inclusivity”. Or anything, for that matter.

It can therefore be stated categorically and without reservation that Alyssa Kai is not a punk. I, a balding 43-year-old IT geek in corduroy trousers and a button-down shirt, am more punk than Alyssa Kai.

And Phantom, amen to that. Well said.

dicentra

build authentic rebellion and powerful community

Rebellion for its own sake rather than rebellion against something that is wrong or evil that happens to be in charge.

No, it's "I feel rotten inside so the outside world must harmonize with my inner self so that I won't feel rotten anymore."

If you feel unharmonious inside, you can either rectify the dissonance or you can reconcile yourself to the fact that you just don't fit in.

Which, there's nothing wrong with not fitting in. It can feel awful to members of a social species, but feeling awful isn't the same as being awful, nor is it a sign that the world needs to be torn down.

I wonder what bitty fish thinks of this

… No, wait. No I don't.

dicentra

Hey transies. You want to have a hard time in life, try Asperger's Syndrome.

Unless you work in IT: then every day is Christmas.

Other people who have it rough in Our Society:

Short men
Tall women
People with speech impediments
The deaf
The blind
Burn victims
Little people
The lame and halt
Schizophrenics, bipolars, and depressives
Those with obvious physical afflictions: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amputations…
Those with developmental disabilities: Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia…
Anyone in the third world who isn't rich
Lepers

Oh look: it just might be that the number of "defectives" or "outcasts" is pretty high and pretty varied, and a good lot of them don't have the privilege (yes, privilege) of belonging to an identity group that gets championed on college campuses.

I am certain that it's truly distressing to look into your pants and perceive "That just ain't right."

I am also certain that at least half of the torment comes from other people's reactions.

Joint the club: most of humanity belongs to it anyway.

Henry

I keep going back to the same paragraph in Nik's link that we've been dipping into, so to speak. Here it is in all its glory:

my piece is not sufficiently intersectional. I stand by my critique of men and masculinity as such, but I neglected to build in a stronger analysis of the forms that the centrality and glorification of masculinity takes place in subcultures, and how those forms operate as one with other axes of oppression. I did not want to overestimate my ability to ‘own’ my whiteness,: as if whiteness could ever be anything but violent, as if simply mentioning one’s own whiteness does anything to combat white supremacy. yet I did not find a way to stage a more careful discussing

Behold the inside of Kai's head.

I mean what the bloody hell is all that about? Is it a test? So if you read this and nod furiously you are 60% of the way to being Judith Butler?

No it's not a test, it's just the way these folk assert their cleverness to each other - people like Kai who have ditched any standards of intellectual rigor. Look! Sooo clever, he/she/it speaks of a "discussing" rather than a "discussion" or "debate". Sure am impressed by that.

And I love the endless pretend self-castigation of these people; 'I may be trans but sadly I'm still white so I have to whip myself with a soggy noodle repeatedly just to piously show how aware of my bleeding privilege I am'

That's the sort of life I should get - so clever and yet so humbly aware of privilege! Happiness clearly lies that way.

Nikw211

What they really want is to censor, to dictate what music you should hear or what games you may play. The new left is totalitarian in the fullest sense - there is no aspect of life or culture so trivial as to be beneath their desire to control it.

I've often noticed that such statements as this are met with much scoffing incredulity or angry denunciations. In that context, I found the following comments from an independent games developer quite illuminating:

    I grew up during communism, when comics books were prohibited as capitalist decadent propaganda, western movies were censored, any book that could be in conflict with socialist ideology was prohibited and you went to jail for saying what you think. So I am allergic to any kind of censorship in the name of any ideology. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I would like to give all the ideologues a piece of advice – If you want something to be made, do it yourself. ...

    … The biggest problem we have is, that there is a group of people that think they know what’s right and what’s wrong and that they have a mission to make the world a better place and protect the oppressed by any means. They don’t even care what the “oppressed” people think. They censor any feedback they don’t like ...

    ... If women in your game look good, you are sexist, if they look bad, you are sexist, if you can fight with them, you are misogynistic, if you can’t fight with them, you are using them as objects, if you don’t have any women, because there is no correct way how to have them, you are misogynistic.

    It’s a witch hunt and it’s affecting my artistic freedom.

If you're interested, the complete interview is here.

Shiggz

1."But they don't think: they emote and pose." Brilliant!!!

2. Glad they included a picture, Like to see the faces of the people at the neurotic roots of western white leftardia. Wonderful that the guardian doesn't pretend to be but what it is. Here in the states the left really hides who they are yet they are all marching to the same tune and in same direction as this specimen that today they would dismiss but tomorrow will be right with them.

3.I notice in her picture he/she has a red sweater around his/her waist but more tied around the front. So wimmin tie a sweater around the waste to hide stains/lumpy posteriors. But.... He/She tied around the front to hide.... erections?

Watcher

Sometimes, the poverty of ambition spiced with a lack of talent comes cloaked in many guises.

Shiggz

I also noticed I had a an advertisement for mcdonalds at the top of the guardian page. priceless.

jimmy

From Cif

The elite reinvents itself as anti-establishment to co-opt the revolutionary spirit of the new generation and to channel its energies into new waves of capitalist innovation. In the postmodern world style and presentation are everything; substance nothing:

This has to be a type of Koan for the new age. Is the Guardian the elite or the anti-establishment?

Shiggz

Great article at national review by Jonah Goldberg on new intergrity.

"when you take the modern definition of integrity all the way to the horizon, suddenly “integrity” can be understood only as a firm commitment to one’s own principles — because one’s own principles are the only legitimate principles. Heck, if you are a god, then doing what you want is God’s will.

How’s this new morality going to work out for us all? I’m reminded of the time when an entrepreneur announced he was going to release a new line of beer laced with Viagra. Some wag immediately quipped, “What could possibly go wrong?” Which is pretty much where we are today. It’s impossible to predict what Integrity 2.0 will yield — because no society in the history of Western civilization has so energetically and deliberately torn down its classical ideal and replaced it with do-it-yourself morality. But a betting man would probably wager that this won’t end well.

I suspect that before long we’ll be pining for the good old days, when, no matter how often people failed to uphold the standards of integrity, those standards actually meant something."

Jimmy

But a betting man would probably wager that this won’t end well.

My glib impression is that the individualist weeaboos will cede all moral authority (and right to moral education) to the govt and a cadre of scientistic elites. The secular govt will be the new Church.

My wife is calling out from the bedroom, urging me to tell you all that I am stubborn. Apparently this is apropos...

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Nikw211 - yes, a few years ago I'd have been sceptical too. A few things have opened my eyes since then, and the GamerGate thing that developer is referring to is a perfect case study of how these people operate.

I've been playing computer games since the early 80's, on everything from the ZX81 and Atari 2600 to the PS4 and a core i7, GTX 780 Ti system I built recently in a sadly misplaced fit of enthusiasm that I might find the time to play the new Elite on it..

One of the great things about games is that they're pure escapism. From dodging crudely animated neon-coloured toilet seats in Jet Set Willy to zooming through floating gold rings in Sonic to summoning Epona on Hyrule Field with your ocarina in Zelda, the best games transport you away from your humdrum concerns and put you in a world of wonder, and heroism, and sheer fun.

I've done some things in games that I wouldn't be proud to do in real life. I've blasted innocent traders to dust, their atomised remains forever circling the cold, black reaches of space around Barnards Star and dozens of other systems. I've stolen thousands of cars and mown down countless pedestrians, laughing like a drain while the police pursued me across Liberty City. I shot a man in Rio Bravo just to watch him die.

But until recently, I was blissfully unaware that I had been enjoying myself wrong. Or that I was a heteronormative misogynist shitlord for peacefully enjoying computer games.

But our socialisty justicey betters have spoken. Just as Kai the lachrymose layyydee fulminates against the malign influence of able-bodied white men on punk rock and seeks to make punk about social justice whingeing, there are equally hysterical voices being raised against games and the people who make or play them.

They will never be satisfied, because their complaints are not rational. Give in to some of their demands and they'll simply make more.

The new left is not a cogent philosophy, it is a grab bag of neuroses, mostly imagined grievances, and as David points out above, dysfunctional personalities.

We cannot help, compromise or reason with such people. The best thing we can offer them is our laughter.

regressive

I've just read Tracey Thorn's autobiography, "Bedsit Disco Queen". I wish Alyssa would too, she might learn something about girls and punk and how it works just fine.

I don't even like Everything But The Girl. But I do like Tracey Thorn now, she's cool.

Steve 2: You couldn't resist, eh? I have refused to build a new PC for Elite: Dangerous. I might even be able hold out until it is released.

regressive

Oh yeah, looking at the picture in the article she needs to get rid of that guy next to her playing the phallotron and making like he's having an orgasm. He's just in it for the chicks.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

regressive - You couldn't resist, eh?

I could not. They had me and my money at "David Braben has launched a Kickstarter for the new Elite".

To date I've managed to amass about 30 minutes total in the Beta, mainly admiring the physics on the dashboard bobblehead and trying to figure out how to leave the space station, before being cruelly interrupted by wife, cat, and children.

Still, that won't stop me doing something daft like buying the Rift if Oculus ever releases a consumer version. I could probably ignore the family indefinitely with a VR helmet.

ac1

>anyone can listen

WHAT DOES SHE HAVE AGAINST THE DEAF!?!
I'm offended on behalf of the hearing challenged.

BM

So... punk is still a thing? What next, new romantics?

Randy

Doesn't this person have a dick? Why all the feminine pronouns?

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