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Wednesday
Dec072016

THE RED PILL

Featuring: Cassie Jaye, Paul Elam, Warren Farrell, Marc Angelucci, Harry Crouch and Dean Esmay.
Director: Cassie Jaye.

Rating: 1.5/5

The jagged histrionics of documentarian Cassie Jaye’s disjointed pro-Men’s Right advocacy film, The Red Pill, serves two masters well. Her softly-softly proselytizing and spurious arguments serve to sweeten the image of Men’s Rights mouthpieces and the ‘regressive progress’ platform they present. And speaking directly to her own camera as she journeys from feminist to ‘enlightened humanist’ serves Jaye as well, her frowns and tears recalling an acting class show reel.

As she painstakingly overstates, Jaye’s body of work outwardly presents an empathetic view of society – patriarchal rule within dogmatic Christian lives, with specific adherence to pre-marital abstinence (Daddy I Do, 2010); the impact of ‘food insecurity’ on the upper-middle class and those that serve them in Marin County (Faces Overlooked, 2010); and, the struggle of two gay white guys to raise a family as California’s Proposition 8 debate raged (The Right to Love: An American Family, 2008). But even if you include a couple of shorts about women’s issues (Blackeye, 2009; The Story of GoldieBlox, 2012), her oeuvre is one of narrow experience rife with hot button issues and moderate-right conservatism.

Jaye would have her audience believe that she stumbled upon the Men’s Right Movement with a wide-eyed innocence; we get to see her literally type ‘Men’s Rights’ into a search engine. She barely registers vile online misogyny (the kind that has seen MRA advocates labelled ‘rape apologists’) as if it was a dirty limerick. In no time at all, she is in warm conversation with the likes of Paul Elam, President of A Voice for Men, a voice that spoke the now infamous call-to-action quote, “I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month”; Dr. Warren Farrell (pictured, top; with Jaye), author of the MRA diatribe, The Myth of Male Power and spouter of wisdom pearls like, “Women are the only 'oppressed' group that is able to buy $10 billion worth of cosmetics each year,”; and, Harry Crouch and Marc Angelucci, executives from The National Council for Men, MRA heavy-hitters who once lobbied to defund domestic violence programs if men’s rights were not addressed.

So follows a whirlwind of male-perspective theories and twisty statistics eager to convince how work place deaths, suicide rates and financial hardship have impacted men since the Women’s Liberation uprising of the 1960’s (seen as a monochrome montage of screeching girl-power rallies with some laughable hippy-funk backing track). Elam and his brothers are presented as warm, composed, homely types; in one moment of un-ironic inspiration that could have come from a Christopher Guest-penned satire, Farrell (who greets his director with, “I thought you’d be a man! But I’m glad you’re a woman!”) all but serenades his director in his living room ‘man-cave’, striving to convey a portrait of perfect patriarchal stability yet coming off as desperate and smug.

Jaye will claim that non-MR dissenters are giving equal voice in her film. The likes of Feminist Majority Foundation executive director and MS. magazine editor Katherine Spillar and USC academic Dr Michael Messner get air time, but are portrayed as tsk-tsking, head-shaking elitists who simply perpetuate anti-MRA myths about it being a ‘man’s world’ and how the white male paradigm is more powerful than ever. More troubling is the footage chosen of anti-MR rallies, seemingly peopled solely by extremist gay and/or ‘feminazi’ activists bent on some form of pro-feminist anarchy. Or the extreme close-up afforded ‘male genital mutilation’, aka circumcision, used to convey how abhorrent MRA guys find it to have the fate of their body parts dictated by standards and traditions (a view probably shared by pro-choice supporters and those who have had their p***y grabbed by The President-Elect).

An extended mid-section about the lack of balance in the U.S. family court system seems to be from another documentary entirely, legitimately raising issues of gender inequality. But any insightful analysis is muted by the purely outrageous, none more so than the ‘Disposable Male’ theory. It posits that because only men traditionally take on roles such as soldier, fireman, oil rig worker, coal miner, etc., the male of the species is now perceived as disposable. A litany of statistics are presented, indicating the greater mortal sacrifice men have made in the last 100 years of societal formation (the disrespect afforded slain U.S. female soldiers, their deaths reduced to a percentage to drive home how many more men died, is breathtaking).

What Cassie Jaye and her all-white male chorus wilfully ignore is that the patriarchal stronghold on modern western life was not dictated by women or gays or lefty academics or any one else at whom Elam or Farrell or Cassie Jaye wag a disingenuous finger. It was determined by those in power i.e. the straight, white men of means who were the very forefathers of the MRA executives, who deemed that men of lesser standing be the ones who fought and died, worked and died. Once, men were viewed as warriors, not whiners, sent to die for the society, however flawed, that their leaders were forming. The best of these bygone men fought and died for the rights of every man and woman in a unified society. Cassie Jaye’s men, and by association the filmmaker herself, are not serving a greater good or inspiring discourse, but instead fuelling a social divide and dishonouring their respective genders.

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (40)

Cassie and her all-white male chorus? You lost me there, I didn't know Erin Pizzey is male (or identify as one), and what about Karen Straughan? Is she male too? Your bias is showing already with this misinformation, mate.

December 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCellar-Door

Thank you for taking the time to read my review and for your response, Cellar-Door. You are correct in your observation that Ms Pizzey and Ms Straughan contribute to Cassie Jaye's narrative; you may also add the brief appearance of the four members of the pro-MR female advocacy group The Honey Badgers to your complaint. In response, I would suggest that their contributions are relatively minor, perhaps accounting for less than five percent of the time Ms Jaye affords Mr Esmay, Mr Elam, Mr Farrell, Mr Angelucci, Mr Crouch and their respective opinions, writings, public appearances and social media content. That said, I take your point entirely and thank you again for your feedback.

December 8, 2016 | Registered CommenterSimon Foster

Paul Elam writes satire with click baity titles to get eyeballs to see the issues. The point of Warren Farrel's is fair is a class who can spend $10 billion a year on cosmetics oppressed? Wouldn't it be equality to support all those who are victims of domestic violence? It is a film about the MRM not feminism, the first and only I might add, so there needn't be any gynocentric views aired in this film at all. The simple fact you are so uncomfortable with the circumcision close up is telling how barbaric it is and should me illegal as is female genital mutilation. Groupie culture should not be conflated with sexual assault. 80% of the homeless are men, 40% of domestic violence victims, 77% of public violence, 93% workplace fatalities and 4 out of 5 suicides are men. Taking these statistics into account who do you think is more valued by society? Men have an out group preference for women, so men in power work to benefit women and women in power seek to benefit women since they are in group focuses. Who will work for men's benefit?

December 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Sneary

This will be quite a long post. Full disclosure, I have not seen the film but I found many parts of your review questionable.

"The jagged histrionics of documentarian Cassie Jaye’s disjointed pro-Men’s Right advocacy film, The Red Pill, serves two masters well."

Are you implying that the drama surrounding the film was entirely manufactured by Cassie Jaye to promote it? That sound quite conspiratorial to me. I mean it's possible I that she tried to discredit her own film's objectivity and got several screenings cancelled, in the same way that it's possible that the moon landing was faked.

"Jaye would have her audience believe that she stumbled upon the Men’s Right Movement with a wide-eyed innocence"

Again, this is sounding conspiratorial. Why do you think Jaye faked the premise of the documentary? And do you have any evidence of this?

"In no time at all, she is in warm conversation with the likes of Paul Elam, President of A Voice for Men, a voice that spoke the now infamous call-to-action quote, “I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month”; Dr. Warren Farrell (pictured, top; with Jaye), author of the MRA diatribe, The Myth of Male Power and spouter of wisdom pearls like, “Women are the only 'oppressed' group that is able to buy $10 billion worth of cosmetics each year,”; and, Harry Crouch and Marc Angelucci, executives from The National Council for Men, MRA heavy-hitters who once lobbied to defund domestic violence programs if men’s rights were not addressed."

This is all poisoning the well. If I made a list of all the bad qualities associated with prominent feminists, that does not de-legitimise the issues of feminism? No, it doesn't. The wage gap doesn't vanish as soon as a feminist drinks from a "male tears" mug or makes some offensive generalisation of men. And I'm sure you wouldn't like someone to discredit Black Lives Matter because of a few bad apples who call for the death of police officers. Additionally, I don't see what your objection is to this part: "...who once lobbied to defund domestic violence programs if men’s rights were not addressed." My rule of thumb is that if the genders were reversed, would I be OK with it? I'd be completely fine for feminists to lobby to defund programs that do not adequately address women's rights. Therefore, I have no issue for men's rights groups to do likewise. What is your issue with this? All they wanted is for men's rights to be addressed.

"So follows a whirlwind of male-perspective theories"

Yes, that is the whole idea... Is there something inherently wrong with the male perspective? I doubt you'd dismiss female-perspective theories so flippantly.

"The likes of Feminist Majority Foundation executive director and MS. magazine editor Katherine Spillar and USC academic Dr Michael Messner get air time, but are portrayed as tsk-tsking, head-shaking elitists who simply perpetuate anti-MRA myths about it being a ‘man’s world’ and how the white male paradigm is more powerful than ever. More troubling is the footage chosen of anti-MR rallies, seemingly peopled solely by extremist gay and/or ‘feminazi’ activists bent on some form of pro-feminist anarchy. Or the extreme close-up afforded ‘male genital mutilation’, aka circumcision, used to convey how abhorrent MRA guys find it to have the fate of their body parts dictated by standards and traditions"

Did you mean anti-MRA "myths". Without the quotations, it's unclear if you're being sarcastic. Unclear only in the grammatical sense since it seemed very sarcastic. Also, the issue of outrage culture is very real. The kinds of protests you described are reported at universities often, with students protesting and trying to ban guest speakers by taking one quote by them, often from many years ago and out of context, and labelling them as hateful. Once you have said something they don't approve of you're blacklisted for life. This has even impacted on feminists of previous generations who may disagree about transgender issues and sex workers (e.g. Germaine Greer).

"An extended mid-section about the lack of balance in the U.S. family court system seems to be from another documentary entirely, legitimately raising issues of gender inequality."

I particularly disliked this part of the review. You had to frame this to be such a backhanded compliment. To me, it just felt like you couldn't really argue with the points made about the family court so you decided to describe it in the most negative way possible.

"But any insightful analysis is muted by the purely outrageous, none more so than the ‘Disposable Male’ theory. It posits that because only men traditionally take on roles such as soldier, fireman, oil rig worker, coal miner, etc., the male of the species is now perceived as disposable. A litany of statistics are presented, indicating the greater mortal sacrifice men have made in the last 100 years of societal formation (the disrespect afforded slain U.S. female soldiers, their deaths reduced to a percentage to drive home how many more men died, is breathtaking)."

You didn't really discredit the disposable male theory. You just said it's "outrageous" and expected the reader to agree with you. Sorry, but I'm not that easily convinced. "Women and children first" suggests male disposability for example. If you had to say which gender is more disposable compared to one another, it would have to be men. Do you disagree?

Also, please explain how statistics can disrespect slain US female soldiers. This is an "All Lives Matter" argument if ever I've seen one. This is your argument: "If you talk about the percentage of black people killed by the police then you're disrespecting the lives of all the white people that were killed!"

"What Cassie Jaye and her all-white male chorus..."

"all-white male chorus" is completely inaccurate. I haven't even seen the film and I know Erin Pizzey and Karen Straughan are featured. Additionally, even if it were only white men this is not an argument. Their external characteristics are irrelevant to the issues! This part is where I realise I am probably wasting my time, since you think it is perfectly fine to dismiss people based on their race and gender but only if they are white and male. I've seen people joke about these kind of statements but I must say I'm saddened to read this.

"It was determined by those in power i.e. the straight, white men of means who were the very forefathers of the MRA executives, who deemed that men of lesser standing be the ones who fought and died, worked and died. Once, men were viewed as warriors, not whiners, sent to die for the society, however flawed, that their leaders were forming. The best of these bygone men fought and died for the rights of every man and woman in a unified society."

This part puzzled me. It's almost victim-blaming in a sense. Men's issues are their own fault so therefore they can't complain. Is that actually your point? I'm not trying to straw man you here, hence why I said I was puzzled.

"Cassie Jaye’s men, and by association the filmmaker herself, are not serving a greater good or inspiring discourse, but instead fuelling a social divide and dishonouring their respective genders."

OK, please tell me how men's issues could be discussed in a way you approve of. It sounds to me like you think men having any disadvantages in society is, as you say in your review, "purely outrageous." According to you, if any men's rights activist has ever said anything objectionable then the whole movement is null and void. Why did you even see this film if you were so clearly close-minded to men’s issues?

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Your review struck me as completely bigotted against the movie.

You have not disputed here a single problem brought up in the movie itself but instead smeared Cassie and the interviewees. That is as dishonest as you could possibly get, an ad hominem attack instead of facts and arguments.

You clearly are a brainwashed feminist because all the user reviews say the exact opposite of your "review". They all say it's a balanced movie, a heartwarming look at men's issue and an eye-opening film. So my question is, why are you such a bigot?

December 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFeminism is cancer

"portrayed as tsk-tsking, head-shaking elitists"

^ This is literally what they are - their reaction to the film (based only on its subject matter) is proof of this. We didn't need this movie to demonstrate that for us, though, because we see it literally daily. The hilarious irony is you are essentially pulling the "man up" card, and infantilizing women. It's remarkable to me how Patriarchal feminism has become. This is why most women are not feminists.

Your clearly ideological and vitriolic "review" isn't helping to dispel that image. An image you seem to...rightfully...take personally.

December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEdindro

Simon, you're a fucking moron. This is one really incoherent and, quite frankly, godawful review. As a homosexual man, I find it incredibly frustrating to watch heterosexual men continuously jump through logical hoops in a desperate attempt to rationalize their enslavement to women. It's really pathetic, honestly. Are you guys truly so desperate for female companionship that you'll willingly sacrifice your most basic human rights just to keep your girlfriends and wives content? Simon, when are you and the rest of your pathetic, spineless peers finally going to grow a backbone and defend your basic human rights?

>>> "Jaye would have her audience believe that she stumbled upon the Men’s Right Movement with a wide-eyed innocence; we get to see her literally type ‘Men’s Rights’ into a search engine."

What the fuck difference does it make how she discovers the movement? Aren't we more concerned with the actual issues themselves?

>>> "She barely registers vile online misogyny"

Wow, really? You believe we should dismiss the very legitimate concerns of men's rights advocates on the basis that a few, anonymous, internet trolls say mean things?

>>> "Paul Elam...a voice that spoke the now infamous call-to-action quote, 'I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month'"

So, are you gonna criticize any of the arguments he presented in the actual film that you claim to be reviewing? Or are you just gonna use this irrelevant and obviously satirical quote as an excuse to completely dismiss everything Paul Elam said in the documentary?

>>> "So follows a whirlwind of male-perspective theories and twisty statistics eager to convince how work place deaths, suicide rates and financial hardship have impacted men since the Women’s Liberation uprising of the 1960’s"

So, are you gonna provide us with a reason you viewed the statistics presented as "twisty?"

>>> "More troubling is the footage chosen of anti-MR rallies, seemingly peopled solely by extremist gay and/or ‘feminazi’ activists bent on some form of pro-feminist anarchy."

Sorry, but the reason the young, female feminists came across as unpleasant in the film isn't because Cassie Jaye deliberately portrayed them poorly. It's because they were acting like spoiled, whiny, entitled little brats. They pulled a fire alarm in order to interrupt a speaker, rather than actually engage in debate like adults.

>>> "Or the extreme close-up afforded ‘male genital mutilation’, aka circumcision, used to convey how abhorrent MRA guys find it to have the fate of their body parts dictated by standards and traditions"

Every year hundreds of baby boys bleed to death due to this abhorrent, disgusting 'tradition.' Some simply lose their entire penis due to botched circumcisions. Those who have a 'normal' circumcision still have their sex life completely destroyed due to losing virtually all erogenous tissue. I find it disturbing how you carelessly dismiss this horrifically blatant human rights abuse.

>>> "What Cassie Jaye and her all-white male chorus willfully ignore is that the patriarchal stronghold on modern western life was not dictated by women... It was determined by those in power i.e. the straight, white men of means who were the very forefathers of the MRA executives"

The fact that government positions are held by white men is irrelevant when you consider the fact that there are about ~10 million more eligible female voters than male voters, which forces government officials to pander to the female vote.

>>> "Once, men were viewed as warriors, not whiners, sent to die for the society, however flawed, that their leaders were forming. The best of these bygone men fought and died for the rights of every man and woman in a unified society."

Yeah, no -> those men weren't warriors or heroes. They were simply slaves manipulated into experiencing a sense of pride over the fact that they were risking their lives to protect those who offered nothing in return.

Simon, why do you feel the need to apologize for your own existence? Men like you are the reason hundreds of baby boys are being castrated due to botched circumcisions or that male college students across the country are having their lives ruined in kangaroo courts.

January 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Wow, this review is a great demonstration of the problem. Simon is obviously blinded with indignant rage.

January 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Great review and very accurate of the 'the red pill'. If Ms. Jaye had actually done her research she'd be able to counter their lies with facts. Look up the gamesmanship of divorce. See how /some/ men are abusing the system and gaslighting their spouses, all supported tactics by fathers and men's rights activists.


She looks very foolish. I almost feel sorry for her. She was conned.

January 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRenata

I suspect that this film will receive the most viscerally negative reactions from male reviewers.

To quot Esther Vilar:

"However, I had also underestimated men's fear of re-evaluating their position...As absurd as it may sound, today's men need feminism much more than their wives do. Feminists are the last ones who still describe men the way they like to see themselves: as egocentric, power-obsessed, ruthless and without inhibitions when it comes to satisfying their instincts."

January 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Y'know, every valid point I could possibly make with regard to Simon's review of "The Red Pill" has been made by individuals far more cogent and insightful than I could ever be. So instead of making the attempt to stand with my intellectual betters I will instead say that "Simon Foster, you are a virtue-signalling piece of shit, a spineless coward of a castrated man. You pathetically grovel for some leftover shreds of attention from women. Try speaking and treating women as your equal and you may find that respect and dignity will be offered to you rather than the simpering you currently engage in. You do not enrich this world, instead you taint it. Too bad your father wasn't around to make you a better and complete man. Fuck you."

February 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJon

This is a fake review. You attack the content of the movie from an ideological standpoint rather than looking at it as a film critic.
Very dishonest; I would hope your other film reviews are actually written as such.

February 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGLP

The film was preaching to choir so of course user ratings are high. MRAs have of course attacked the reviewer in this comment section for daring critique this whack job film.

February 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDrinking Male Tears

"Cassie Jaye’s men, and by association the filmmaker herself, are not serving a greater good or inspiring discourse, but instead fuelling a social divide and dishonouring their respective genders."

Errrrm, hasn't feminism been doing exactly that for decades?

February 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Preorderd the blueray on amazon based on the review from this author. Show your appreciation for his hard work here. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LTI0BKA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

March 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I came to this review via Rotten Tomatoes. I don't think I've ever read a review of anything that was so obviously written in bad faith. I shudder to contemplate the sort of person who could have written it.

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterWow

Oh well.

At least you don't try to pretend you're unbiased, and you proudly display those biases on your sleeves.


That's... better than what we usually get.

Baby steps, I guess?

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUnsurprised

So you wrote all that just to say "you are wrong and I am right because I say so" and "YOU ARE JUST A F**KING WHITE MALE"?

If Feminists were so non-establishment, we would have seen Feminists featuring prominently in, say, peace movements (not just anti-war since one can be against one war while advocating another)...... but, instead, we got the likes of the White Feather Brigade.

I mean, your false compassion is just embarrassing to read......

March 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterD.Y.

Yeah, dude. this virtue signalling and dishonest hit piece isn't going to get you laid, homie. You might make, what 10.50 from the rageclicks, though. So there's that.

March 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJo Moughma

I suggest readers of this review, which I found fair and objective, check out the men interviewed and quoted. Some have been made their life work to insult and demean women - feminist or not. Yes men have higher suicide, work related and violent deaths than women but don't blame us. Blame a system that has socialized, even insisted, that men be strong, brave, not cry hide their feelings.
Women are not the enemy. You are our fathers, brothers, sons. We care about you; we recognize that there are some injustices to men in this world. We want a better world for everybody.
I think the degree of hatred toward women reflected in the above comments is frightening.

March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJR

Opening quote from the review:

"The jagged histrionics of documentarian Cassie Jaye’s disjointed pro-Men’s Right advocacy film, The Red Pill, serves two masters well. Her softly-softly proselytizing and spurious arguments serve to sweeten the image of Men’s Rights mouthpieces and the ‘regressive progress’ platform they present. And speaking directly to her own camera as she journeys from feminist to ‘enlightened humanist’ serves Jaye as well, her frowns and tears recalling an acting class show reel."

Question:

What kind of person would find a review using the language above to be "fair and objective"?

"I suggest readers of this review, which I found fair and objective, check out the men interviewed and quoted. Some have been made their life work to insult and demean women - feminist or not. "

Which ones? References?

I'd say that most if not all of the men interviewed above have made it their life's work to get the word out that men have issues too.
And they've met a lot of resistance for simply trying to tell their truth.

"Yes men have higher suicide, work related and violent deaths than women but don't blame us."

Actually we don't blame women for this. All we want to do is be heard. Women have been heard loud and clear for decades about the wage gap and a host of other issues. And yet when men try to talk about men's issues, they're so often met with hostility, shaming and silencing tactics just for having the audacity to try to talk about their issues.

"Blame a system that has socialized, even insisted, that men be strong, brave, not cry hide their feelings."

That system must surely include feminists, as feminists have been the most militant opposition to getting the message out. If you look at the trailer to the movie, you can see the kind of violent, hateful and ignorant opposition these men face. They are falsely labeled as misogynists, sexists, homophobic racists, when all they're trying to do is raise awareness of the specific issues that men face.

Women are not the enemy.

I agree, and a lot of women are among the strongest supporters of the men's rights movements. Once you see the truth and realize that men's rights are about trying to deal with men's issues, help suicidal men or battered men, about equal rights for men - as incongruous as that may seem to you - you might begin to question why you ever thought men's rights were anti-female.

On another point, wouldn't it be fair to say to feminists that men are not the enemy? Isn't it true that there a number of feminists who treat men as the enemy?

"You are our fathers, brothers, sons. We care about you; we recognize that there are some injustices to men in this world. We want a better world for everybody."

Then there is hope. We care about you too. You are our mothers, sisters and daughters. We love you.

You must admit, unless you really don't want to see it, that often when men try to speak about their issues in public, feminists organize demonstrations to shut them down. If you do care about men, these are the people you should oppose.

"I think the degree of hatred toward women reflected in the above comments is frightening."

I just had a bit of a look at the comments above before responding to this.

I was looking for hateful comments, at the same time I have things to do, so I can't spend to long. Most of the comments seem critical of the original article, but not hateful to women per se. I won't say that there aren't any, but if so, they seem to be in the minority.

If you have quote some examples, I'll make comment on them.

Yes, the men's movement contains some people who genuinely do hate women. Just as the feminist movement contains genuine man-haters. I do not hate women myself, far from it, I love women and could not imagine a world without them. I only wish for a fair go - for men's issues to be heard just as women's voices are heard.

March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPa

You can now see it on Vimeo and judge for yourself.

March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPa

You can now see it on Vimeo and judge for yourself.

March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPa

You can now see it on Vimeo and judge for yourself.

March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPa

You can now see it on Vimeo and judge for yourself.

March 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPa

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