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Subject: Roman Polanski and two views of justice rss

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Benny
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Most people I've heard on the radio talking about Roman Polanski's arrest are against. Interestingly they seem to fall into three broad categories.

1) Arresting Polanski after inviting him into your country is rude. While someone out there may have a really developed sense of hospitality, I think this is mostly a facade and the person actually falls in one of the other two groups.

2) Roman Polanski is a great artist and what he has given us far outweighs what ever crime he committed. I am pretty firmly against this line of argument because it means that some people should be above the law. To be fair, this one mostly came from the film festival that he was to attend and they may have lacked perspective.

3) The one I'm most interested in is the "Stop him before he does it again!" line. Polanski shouldn't have been arrested because putting him in jail would serve no purpose. He is not a habitual criminal, rather he is just a guy who made a mistake. I think this comes down to two very different views of what justice means. The traditional view (and the one being taken by the countries involved) is that justice means punishment. You rape a thirteen-year-old girl and you go to jail for that act whether you will do it again or not. Those opposed to the arrest seem to view justice as rehabilitative. If you aren't going to commit another crime, there seems to be little point in punishment. Especially if that punishment is jail time or some other abridgement of freedom.

I've found myself leaning more and more to the rehabilitative side of things without even realizing it, but this case has got me thinking and I'm not sure where the proper emphasis of justice is. What do you think?
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In addition to the three categories you mention, another I've heard is, in essence, inconsistent justice -- that this guy has been out there, totally grab-able, for all these years, without anybody finding it important enough to grab him, which then makes it inconsistent for somebody to reach out and grab him now.

Out of the rationales you mention, the only one that makes any sense to me is the "he won't repeat the crime" one. I don't know if this is true for him . . . I suppose that if he'd been roofie-raping 13-year-olds willy-nilly, I'd have known about it, but then, I could be wrong.

Regardless, it's not fully persuasive, because I think that an important component of justice is retribution. If you drug and rape a 13 year old, I think you should pay the piper for that.
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If an adult has sex with my soon-to-be teenage daughter, I'll be pushing for them to throw the book at him. Actions have consequences (certainly, they would with my daughter) and Mr. Polanski admitted the act, entered a guilty plea, and then decided to run when it appeared the judge might not follow the sentencing recommendation included in his plea. He has never faced the punishment for the crime he committed.

Whether or not one is likely to commit another crime weighs on the sentence, not whether or not one should receive a sentence. While I appreciate that there's no indication that Mr. Polanski has re-offended, that doesn't mean he shouldn't have faced the punishment determined to be appropriate for his (admitted) guilt.

We shouldn't reward someone for successfully evading the law over any crime for years. Mr. Polanski needs to face the music and accept whatever punishment the court deems appropriate. It's what adults do when they've done something wrong - face the consequences of their action.
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DCAnderson wrote:
I also don't see the need to sperate Polanski from society. He isn't really a threat to anyone, and it seems unlikely that after all this time he is going to make the same mistake again.


I do. He took it upon himself to decide he was above the justice system. That can't be tolerated. Let's be clear - he never even heard what his actual sentence in the case would be, just that it might not be the deal he'd negotiated. Even a deviation from that deal would likely have been on the shorter end of the guidelines, and could have been appealed. He rabbited because there was a chance jail time would be involved.

Nobody should get to put themselves above the law. And when we catch someone who did, they need to face the courts to determine how society expects them to pay for that.
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Benjro wrote:
What do you think?

I think men who drug and have sex with 13 year olds have no place in modern society.
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CapAp wrote:
Benjro wrote:
What do you think?

I think men who drug and have sex with 13 year olds have no place in modern society.


If nothing else you have him for the charge of skipping town whilst on bail - the whole "being a fugitive from justice" thing.

-DK
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LeeDambis wrote:
Roman Polanski directed two of my all-time favorite movies: Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby.

What does that have to do with his raping a 13-year-old? Nothing. He should have been sent to jail thirty years ago, and he should be sent to jail now that he's been caught.

I am amazed at the number of Hollywood types who are lining up behind the guy. OK, it's Hollywood, so I'm not so amazed--just tempted to pull out some Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy to remind me again how much I hate the rotten core surrounded by all that tinsel.


Most of the time, when I read columnists like Brent Bozwell and the like, who love to rake Hollywood over the coals for their lack of morality, I just make a little 'meh' sigh and move on. His goal is to whip up a public frenzy in order to justify greater government controls on the content of artists, something that I am fundementally oppossed to.

But then things like this come up, and I start to see his point. The problem is the Hollywood types see what they do as IMPORTANT, not just popular. And, from that, seem to have a vision of morality that they have no problem with pushing out over the rest of the culture.

How often do you hear that- that a given movie, or rap album, or TV show, is not just good, not just going to entertain you, but somehow is going to make the world a better place for having been made?

Chinatown is one of my favorite films of all time. But Roman Polanski, as a person, is a schmuck and should go to prison. And the Hollywood types who argue that he should be free need to realize that the Earth doesn't revolve around LA....

....and that the more they do crap like this, they just give ammunition to their political enemies like Bozwell- who would LOVE to start imposing more stringent, government sanctioned 'standards' over what comes out of New York and LA.

Darilian
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Smoking Gun has the transcripts of the young girl's testimony online. Go to about page 29 and see if you can envision any circumstance where Polanski ought not be in jail.

I agree with Darilian. I don't want to limit art and yes, Polanski is gifted. Still, we have a cultural obligation to extract retribution for what this person did.
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For some reason, this matter has caught my interest this week, and I've given it some thought. My feelings on Mr. Polanski are thus:

1. He committed a very serious crime in regards to the 13 year old girl he raped. I don't know the details surrounding the event other than what I've read, but it's enough to know he did commit a crime. Whatever the punishment is for this crime, he should accept it.

2. I feel a great deal of sympathy for the man from the standpoint that his world was essentially destroyed when his wife, whom he apparently loved very much, was butchered, along with his unborn son, in the horrendous Manson murders. This left him a sad and lonely man, and the grief he felt (and I'm sure feels to this day) must be unimaginable. This does not excuse his crime however, and he still needs to face whatever punishment awaits him for that act.

3. I don't really have an opinion on the man's art, but I understand his movies are quite good.

I would hope that he returns to face the law, and I hope he can find peace.
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DCAnderson wrote:


I still don't completely have myself convinced of this, but I always find it kind of weird whenever someone who commited some crime decades ago and has otherwise been an upstanding citizen the whole time, finally gets caught, and people feel there is some sense of justice in it.


Well, he was smart enough to play it safe so as to not draw attention from the law.
 
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Darilian wrote:
But then things like this come up, and I start to see his point. The problem is the Hollywood types see what they do as IMPORTANT, not just popular. And, from that, seem to have a vision of morality that they have no problem with pushing out over the rest of the culture.


The problem with this argument is that it is stupid.

That might sound harsh, but there is simply no other way to describe it, particularly when it comes from someone who isn't familiar with the actual entertainment working culture. The "Hollywood types" you're complaining about do not dictate what gets produced and promoted: studio suits do. And studio suits have two concerns:

1.) Make money
2.) Occasionally make something artistically worthwhile

And the second concern is always, always subordinate to the first. (Some have complained that this makes Hollywood artistically bankrupt, which is also stupid. Artists have to pay the rent just like everybody else, and there's always a tradeoff involved.)

On top of that, your argument also ignores the fact that there are plenty of conservatives in Hollywood - both at the star level and behind the scenes - who get plenty of work. (Websites like Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood are filled by the conservatives who can't get work, and the reason they can't get work is simple: they're mostly shitty at the job in question.) Are they pushing out their version of morality?

And the answer is: yes, as much as they can, mostly by pushing projects they want made. That's how Hollywood works: people who have proven successful can point to their success and say "look, I'll cheerfully work on your next blockbuster romantic comedy Transformers Get Married, but only if you also agree to make this movie I want to do about an Arab-American disabled hooker junkie who becomes a trampolinist."

I mean, how do you think they decided to remake Red Dawn? It's not because the original is good (even conservatives have to admit it is a goddamned cheeseball of a flick); it's because someone in Hollywood believes strongly that a remake can be profitable and is willing to bank their credibility on that. That's how anything that isn't a popular license/franchise or a by-the-book romcom/grossout comedy gets made. That's how American Carol got made. (Well, it flopped, but that is neither here nor there. Then again, Fireproof got made too, and that made money, so good for the conservatives who fronted that piece of shit.)

Quote:
How often do you hear that- that a given movie, or rap album, or TV show, is not just good, not just going to entertain you, but somehow is going to make the world a better place for having been made?


...almost never? Seriously, this is the sort of bullshit people always say gets said, but never actually does. At most you'll get "FILM X is a serious examination of an important topic," which is hardly the same thing as praising it for being beatific or worldchanging - and besides, even if you don't agree with the points being made, wouldn't you rather a serious examination of something get made, rather than not?
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Though personally I would like to see those who drug and rape women of any age tortured and castrated, I don't put much if any societal value on retribution. I think we would be a lot better off we could rid our culture of its obsession with retribution and desert.

The real value of returning Polanski to the US to face justice for his truly unforgivable crime, is not just general deterrence, but to combat this notion held by so many of the cultural elite that justice only applies to commoners. The Polanski defenders make me sick. In a just world, they wouldn't be able to show their faces in police society.
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That might sound harsh, but there is simply no other way to describe it, particularly when it comes from someone who isn't familiar with the actual entertainment working culture


You make movies???

Holy shit.
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mightygodking wrote:

Stuff


You know, I'd do a point by point rebuttal, but frankly, you so completely missed the point of what my post was about, I don't care.

For the record, I'm NOT agreeing with Brent Bozwell, that Hollywood types are a cultural conspiracy trying to corrupt the nation. What I'm saying is that this stunt is giving ammunition TO Mr. Bozwell.

Instead, lets look at the petition that a lot of 'Hollywood Types' signed.

Quote:
Petition for Roman Polanski

We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski's arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking.

His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals.

Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.

By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.


Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.

Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians - everyone involved in international filmmaking - want him to know that he has their support and friendship.

On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.

If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.


http://www.sacd.fr/Le-cinema-soutient-Roman-Polanski-Petitio...#
I bolded the two parts that I find to be particularly interesting.

First of all, note the phrase "His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals." Now, this could be just a mistranslation from the original French. However, the site has the original in French and I used my (admittedly weak) skills to read it, and the sense that I got was that they petition writers feel that Polanski was unfairly indicted for something that wasn't 'criminal', but is instead a contest between two competeing claims of morality. "...dans une affaire de mœurs."

Except, its not. Mr. Polanski was in the United States, and in the United States it is clearly against our common moral AND legal mores to use quaaludes and champagne, as well as the promise for a cover shot in the French edition of Vogue, to seduce a 13 year old girl, no matter how 'sexually experienced' she might have been. It doesn't matter. He was in his 40's, and she was still a child.

But yet, Mr. Polanski continues to get good press in the Film industry. Look at the acclaim given the documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" that essentially tries to whitewash the crime that Mr Polanski pleaded GUILTY to- Winner: Best Editing, Sundance Film Festival 2008. Official Selection, Cannes Film Festival 2008, IFP Gotham Award Nominee 2008.

I think its pretty clear, at least when looking at the case of Mr. Polanski, there is a big cultural GAP between mainstream America (which thinks Polanski should face a judge for what he's done) and Hollywood elites who think he should be let off, for whatever reason.

Now lets look at the second point- the idea that somehow film festivals should share the same legal status as Ambassadorships or 'Sanctuary' in a Church.

This is just complete nonsense. Extraterritoriality has never applied to film people. They just WANT it to apply in this case. Again, an argument that makes sense only if you accept the premise that somehow film people are 'important'.

Now, obviously, not everyone in the global film industry feels this way. But,

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Neil Schulman, Pierre Schumacher, Pierre-Alexandre Schwab, Ettore Scola, Luis Gustavo Sconza Zaratin Soares, Martin Scorsese, Carole Scotta, Steven Sedgwick, Andrea Sedlackova, Frank Segier, Michèle Seguin-Sirhugue, Guy Seligmann, Elis Semczuk, Lorenzo Semple Jr, Julien Seri, Joël Séria, Catherine Sermet, Ken Seton-Vyhnal, Sophie Sharkov, Boris Shlafer, Antoine Silber, Pierre Silvant, Charlotte Silvera, Noel Simsolo, Christophe Sirodeau, Abderrahmane Sissako, Beatrice Sisul , Petter Skavlan, Marcin Sokolowski, Loïc Sorel, Paolo Sorrentino, Vassilis Sourapas, Roch Stephanik, Karen Stetler, Denise Stieglitz, Guillaume Stirn, Bernard Stora, Gérard Stum, Jean-Marc Surcin, Tilda Swinton, Piotrek Szymanek, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Radovan Tadic, Mickael Tanguy, Danis Tanovic, Bertrand Tavernier, André Techiné, Cécile Telerman, Harold Alvarado Tenorio, Marie-Ange Terrier, Alain Terzian, Christian Texier, Jean-Paul Thaens, Valentine Theret, Virginie Thévenet, Pascal Thomas, Jeremy Thomas, Marc Thomas Charley, Cyril Thurston, Giuseppe Tornatore, Serge Toubiana, Daniel Treichler, Nadine Trintignant, Julie Turcas, Mitja Tušek, Tom Tykwer, Alexandre Tylski, Stephen Ujlaki, José Antonio Valdés Peña, Jaques Vallotton, Phil van der Linden, Betrand van Effenterre, Leopold van Genechten, Christophe van Rompaey, Dorna van Rouveroy, Elbert van Strien, Vangelis, Alessio Vannetti, Lucília Verdelho da Costa, Christian Verdu, Jean-Pierre Vergne, Sarah Vermande, Julien Veyret, Francesco Vezzoli, Régine Vial, Vivien Villani, Marc Villemain, Jean-François Villemer, Daria Vinault, Verde Visconti, Alain Vorimore, Thomas Vossart, Gilles Walusinski, Eric Watton, Monika Weibel, Dominique Welinski, Wim Wenders, Andy Whittaker, Anaïse Wittmann, A Wolanin, Margot Wolfs, Peter Woltil, Arnaud Xainte, Steve Yeo, Paule Zajdermann, Christian Zeender, Terry Zwigoff.


have definitely put down they do.

Again, I don't actually agree with critics like Brent Bozwell, who is going to make a LOT of noise over this incident. But I do think that this incident does demonstrate that perhaps he does have a point- that there are a lot of 'Hollywood Elites' who DO have a different conception about morality from the rest of America. They certainly do about Roman Polanski.

Darilian
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SpaceGhost wrote:
You make movies???

Holy shit.


Yeah, I used to work in the industry before I went to law school (AD/editor, with some scriptwork and production work).

FYI: the American industry makes the Canadian system look like a sad, malnourished, retarded stepchild. Honestly, our television and film production industry is a goddamned joke. It's pathetic, and a premium example of how industry lobbyists can pervert regulatory law for their own profit.
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mightygodking wrote:
SpaceGhost wrote:
You make movies???

Holy shit.


Yeah, I used to work in the industry before I went to law school (AD/editor, with some scriptwork and production work).

FYI: the American industry makes the Canadian system look like a sad, malnourished, retarded stepchild. Honestly, our television and film production industry is a goddamned joke. It's pathetic, and a premium example of how industry lobbyists can pervert regulatory law for their own profit.


Worked on anything that we someone who tangentially watches movies/tv would have heard of?
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Darilian wrote:
Instead, lets look at the petition that a lot of 'Hollywood Types' signed.


I'm looking at your list of names and I don't see a lot of "Hollywood types" at all. I see a lot of European filmmakers. (Which shouldn't be surprising given that the petition is French and originates from a French site. Which also shouldn't be surprising, considering that Roman Polanski lived in France for the past thirty years.) Like, nine names out of ten on that list are European. Calling these guys "Hollywood types" because Brett Ratner and David Lynch signed it? Really? That's just sad.
 
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SpaceGhost wrote:
Worked on anything that we someone who tangentially watches movies/tv would have heard of?


A couple of Canadian TV series ("Wonderland" and "Billable Hours"), some freelance filmography and post-production work on some documentary shows for cable channels (including a couple of crew trips to Sydney and Belize). I'm not going to pretend I was anything other than a small fish, which is one of the reasons I went to law school.
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mightygodking wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Instead, lets look at the petition that a lot of 'Hollywood Types' signed.


I'm looking at your list of names and I don't see a lot of "Hollywood types" at all. I see a lot of European filmmakers. (Which shouldn't be surprising given that the petition is French and originates from a French site. Which also shouldn't be surprising, considering that Roman Polanski lived in France for the past thirty years.) Like, nine names out of ten on that list are European. Calling these guys "Hollywood types" because Brett Ratner and David Lynch signed it? Really? That's just sad.


*LOL*
Thats all you got?

Dude, it took me THREE MINUTES to at least come up with some links and evidence to back up my general point. Another four to write the post.

For a rebuttal, that one is pretty lame.

Given that you didn't address my point One, I'll take it that you grant it. As for your 'other' point, if you actually looked at the source (which would have taken you only a few minutes) you would have realized that this was a petition signed by people actually AT the Zurich Festival. So having nine powerful people, including Woody Allen, is actually pretty good.

Though, I bet we have more Hollywood Types here at Austin City Limits this weekend....

Therefore, since my opponent has failed to address point one, and point two still carries, my entire case pulls accross. I move that my opponent be given a noogie while DW Tripp and I drink scotch and sodas....

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DCAnderson wrote:

travistdale wrote:
I don't put much if any societal value on retribution. I think we would be a lot better off we could rid our culture of its obsession with retribution and desert.


=/=
travistdale wrote:
Though personally I would like to see those who drug and rape women of any age tortured and castrated,


I tried to make it clear for you. Hope it helps.

travistdale wrote:
The Polanski defenders make me sick. In a just world, they wouldn't be able to show their faces in police society.


The point of the last quote is that I deplore the culture that makes it acceptable for cultural elites to make these arguments in public.

Have you read some of these defenses? They don't just defend him or argue for forgiveness for an admittedly heinous crime, but many seek to minimize the original crime (such as Whoopi's offensive notion of "rape-rape") or even, worse, outright attack the victim.

I even cringe on this thread when I see the rape referred to as "had sex with" or worse, "seduced".
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DCAnderson wrote:
Darilian wrote:
including Woody Allen,


Well to be fair, I think Woody Allen has a slight personal bias when it comes to people nailing underage girls.


Now....

THAT is you do it in the RSP.

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Darilian wrote:
Dude, it took me THREE MINUTES to at least come up with some links and evidence to back up my general point. Another four to write the post.

For a rebuttal, that one is pretty lame.


You wasted seven minutes of your time, then.

Quote:
Given that you didn't address my point One, I'll take it that you grant it.


I think I've been pretty clear both here and elsewhere that I think Polanski is guilty, that his arrest was justified, and he deserves to do time. I'm only arguing your "Hollywood types" bit, which is dumb.

Quote:
As for your 'other' point, if you actually looked at the source (which would have taken you only a few minutes) you would have realized that this was a petition signed by people actually AT the Zurich Festival. So having nine powerful people, including Woody Allen, is actually pretty good.


Not really, considering that Allen lives in Paris and has been basically exiled from the US film industry for reasons that are fairly obvious. Lynch isn't really "powerful" by any means; he's an indie filmmaker that studios will gamble on regularly, but he's hardly a mover or shaker. So you've got Brett Ratner. Wooooooo.

And nine American film workers (counting Woody Allen, which is a stretch) isn't really impressive for a film festival in Europe that's exhibiting two dozen American films. Sorry, but it isn't.
 
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Does anyone remember the old SNL skit with a mom coming up to Roman Polanski and telling him that he should put her daughter in films? "She's 13 but looks 18". Roman then said, "Do you have any daughters that are 18 but look 13."
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I wonder how France would feel had we captured the folks that blew up the Rainbow Warrior but decided that we didn't feel like extraditing them.
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I may be a bit biased in this case cause I actually *really* like Polanski's movies - but here is my take on the subject:

I do not feel that justice should be either rehabilitative or retributive - I believe that it should be restitutory.

Polanski did wrong to the Miss Geimer. Role of state in this matter is *only* to help Miss Geimer redress this wrong. If she still wanted him prosecuted I would whole heartedly say - go for it, nail him to the wall.

However, she clearly feels that passage of time and whatever settlement she received from him were sufficient to redress her injury. At this point, in my opinion, state has no longer any business meddling in this affair. If Miss Geimer were still a minor, state could conceivably put itself in-loco-parentis for her and act on her behalf whether she wants it or not, however she is a capable adult and perfectly able to decide whether she wants further revenge exacted on Polanski. If she says "let it go" so should state, otherwise it is insulting that state considers injury done to itself to be greater or more important then the injury done to Miss Geimer.

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