William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Stream: Satanism, Child Torture, Mind Control — What Is On Hollywood’s Mind?

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Today’s post is at the Stream: Satanism, Child Torture, Mind Control — What Is On Hollywood’s Mind?

Who’s up for some child torture? No, seriously. Wouldn’t strapping a boy into a chair and frightening him with satanic rituals, then electrocuting him, then doing something worse be loads of fun?

It’s what happens in the new video LA Devotee by Panic! At the Disco, perhaps the most unapologetically evil entry of pop culture today.

The video opens with a girl being abducted by what appears to be a witch. The view switches to a boy being strapped to a chair by more witches. The chair is in a dungeon filled with gruesome images, like a bloody skull, Baphomet-like masks, and so forth. A video camera is shown to be filming the affair. Who is watching? Witches terrorize the boy, and at one point display a large knife before they disappear behind the boy, emerging later with a fresh heart.

The girl who was earlier kidnapped feeds the boy a drink; after drinking the boy goes in and out of a trance. Later, witches strap electrodes to the boy and then—what else?—electrocute him. The boy is shown in great pain.

Now throughout all this are interspersed images of Panic’s singer, who appears on a screen in the dungeon, sometimes with a maniacal look, sometimes with Satanic imagery overlaid on his face. The video closes with the singer, demonically grinning, emerging from the screen while snapping on rubber gloves. The last scene shows the singer lurching towards the boy, clenching his gloved fists.

Except perhaps for the lyric hinting of “the black magic on Mulholland Drive”, the music is utterly incongruous with the video. I urge you not to believe me and, if you can stomach it, watch the video yourself. There is nothing redeeming in it. Nothing. It is pitiless, brutal, boastful. It is immoral.

It is evil.

Panic! is not a fringe group: they are as mainstream as they come. The group…

A well known fragrance company created an advertisement for its new Kenzo World line. The commercial was so appealing that it was written about (among other places) on Britain’s The Guardian

What is plain is that occult symbols, whether based in reality or only imagined, are showing with greater frequency. These are a mixture of the Satanic, of tokens from secret societies like the Illuminati, and of mind-control programs, all of which are mixed together in some black soup, and which are most popular in the music industry.

Mind control? Certainly. There was, dear reader, a genuine conspiracy, and not a theory, centered around our beneficent government’s MKUltra program, which ran experiments on unwitting Americans testing various mind-control techniques, mostly using drugs and forms of torture…

If one wanted to characterize the dark framework around which Hollywood and the rest of the ephemeral industry is coalescing, not necessarily by design, but by merely copying what is popular, it is this…[Go there to discover].

Go to Stream to read the restif you dare!

26 Comments

  1. Not sure where you’ve been for the last 40 years, but this is not new. Starting with the Exorcist and working up from there, this has been a part of Hollywood for decades.

    On television, there was Hannibal, which I finally gave up watching because it was all gore (gore with a purpose is okay, just gore does not appeal to me). There’s now the Exorcist on TV and Lucifer. Many of the shows such as the XFiles were quite graphic. Then there was the whole “stolen by a Satanic cult/planted memories” scandal (which morphed into sexual abuse/recovered memories scandal).

    I’m not sure we are “normalizing” this any more than we ever did. The perfume ad seems pretty typical European advertising. All emotion, little information or facts. (Don’t forget the perfume “Poison” which smelled exactly like Raid insecticide.)

    So, did the Government make us do it or was it free will? Is buying into conspiracy theory a choice? I always thought it was.

    I’m not buying that this is more common—this is exactly what I saw in college in the 70’s. Maybe you’ve come out from under a rock and discovered it, but it’s not new and not really any more frequent.

    The major argument here seems to be that entertainment is “causing” people to behave poorly. Was that the goal? Or is it an argument that people are just more openly evil? I can’t tell. Either way, I don’t see a major increase in said behaviour on the Hollywood screens.

  2. Not sure where you’ve been for the last 40 years, but this is not new. Starting with the Exorcist and working up from there, this has been a part of Hollywood for decades.

    On television, there was Hannibal, which I finally gave up watching because it was all gore (gore with a purpose is okay, just gore does not appeal to me). There’s now the Exorcist on TV and Lucifer. There was the movie “The Cell” which had very graphic imagery. Many of the shows such as the XFiles were quite graphic. Then there was the whole “stolen by a Satanic cult/planted memories” scandal (which morphed into sexual abuse/recovered memories scandal).

    I’m not sure we are “normalizing” this any more than we ever did. The perfume ad seems pretty typical European advertising. All emotion, little information or facts. (Don’t forget the perfume “Poison” which smelled exactly like Raid insecticide.)

    So, did the Government make us do it or was it free will? Is buying into conspiracy theory a choice? I always thought it was.

    I’m not buying that this is more common—this is exactly what I saw in college in the 70’s. Maybe you’ve come out from under a rock and discovered it, but it’s not new and not really any more frequent.

    The major argument here seems to be that entertainment is “causing” people to behave poorly. Was that the goal? Or is it an argument that people are just more openly evil? I can’t tell. Either way, I don’t see a major increase in said behaviour on the Hollywood screens.

  3. As a fellow refugee of the 70s, I’ll agree with Sheri that this content isn’t new, although the delivery has expanded with digital media. I avoided it then and I avoid it now. But I would disagree that the XFiles was “quite graphic.” Mostly the show built suspense by suggesting a gruesome scene was about to happen, which when it came, was short and usually shrouded with low-lit shadows. Compound that with old blurry 90s tube tv screens that obscured the images and it wasn’t particularly graphic at all. Two episodes from season one are rerunning tonight on one of the cable channels so I’ll see where they fall on the quite graphic scale.

  4. Tentative explanation: These are “things” for millennials who grew up during the boomer-created hysteria of the Satanic Panic of the 80’s and 90’s, and later generations who have heard of it. Since everything is post-modern and authenticity is impossible, it’s just one more set of images to re-present, like hippie culture or mid-century modern or whatever else you can buy.

    1980’s darkness, rituals, industrial music, black metal*, VHS, snuff films, church burning — this has been a hot aesthetic for edgy hipsters for a while, and it has finally spilled into the mainstream.

    *Has a strong conservative contigent though maybe not one everyone is prepared to understand. Cf. Amerika .org.

  5. Gary: Check out “Home” from the fourth season.

    (I still have an old TV with a tube screen and an analog converter.)

  6. To think that Satanism really started as an attempt to point fun at mainstream religion.

    Then again, I guess that is the case for most of the religions out there.

  7. I see my computer has been freelancing and double-posting. 🙂

  8. Sheri, exceptions make the rule. Are you an XFiles fan? A Scully-Mulder ‘shipper, perhaps? What did you think of the reboot this summer?

  9. Gary: Yes, a fan, but not a super fan. The reboot wasn’t bad—better than I expected. It will be interesting to see if there’s more. (Did you notice how Scully-Mulder got so much older? 🙂 )

    Brad: If Satanism was to poke fun at mainstream religions, then scientism must be an attempt to replace religion. At least it seems that way.

  10. Sheri: 20 years is hard to hide even with Hollywood magic. I was disappointed in the reboot. Not enough effort to rekindle the spark, although there were a few pleasing shout-outs and wink-winks. I wanted a mini-arc rather than a random snapshots.

  11. LOL! You should’ve seen the “Black Metal” scene back in the 80’s. Funny stuff! “Venom” had to be the most over-the-top with it. They had this concept album called “At War With Satan,” but by “with Satan” they meant ‘on his side!’ LOL!

    Most all this stuff is just tongue-in-cheek. There arose a Satan-metal scene in Scandinavia that got a little carried away with it, but for the most part this is just funnin’ around.

    Poking fun at religion is a looooong tradition in popular culture. Myself, I think of Ian Gillan’s “No Laughing in Heaven” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1XZO10S-9s – or the pretty heady critique of religion from Jethro Tull’s “Hymn 43” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_LF9NFKPlo. Fun stuff.

    JMJ

  12. Gosh, Halloween is coming up and a cheesy video chock-full of Halloween-style obviously fake imagery that isn’t a bit scary (its that obviously fake) … is portrayed as … gruesome Satanic stuff (and the naughty implications of that, Oh MY!!).

    I’d put THAT comparison right on par with:
    – Toy Lego guns being cause to arrest a grade school child;
    – Normal reactions to other’s opinions as “microagressions”;
    – etc.

    If there really were a “Satan” I seriously doubt s/he/it would be going around looking all psycho & grisly gruesome — attired in garb that repulses rather than seduces … more like something wholesome & trustworthy (camouflage, in other words, the God-given tactics of so many of nature’s predators).

    Think about it. Evil email (for phishing, for infecting with malware, etc.) doesn’t show up all mean & nasty looking but rather sugar & spice nice, or at least routine. Ghostbusters got this right with the “Destroyer” being formed like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. A lot of creepy movies convey the same sinister effect where the trappings of goodness & innocence are made to be their opposite — with a recurring theme being the sound of small children (the sound of pure innocence) in a situation known to be evil.

    So seeing so-called “Satanic” motifs, and particularly cheesy ones at that, around Halloween no less, is corny, not ominous.

    Truly wicked evil consistently manifests as its opposite.

    If the so-called “Satanic” video had the kid enticed by faked kindness and then seduced by a priest (where the symbols of wholesomeness are used to enable evil action) … well then, THAT would have been creepily Satanic.

  13. Hark Ken, arbiter of all things evil.
    I didn’t look at the video because I’ve seen and heard enough evil for a lifetime.
    Children are not all innocent. We have reached a stage where it must be something involving a child in order to shock and disgust.

    If evil is done to a ninety year old it is as shocking and abhorrent to me as if it is done to a person of any age. A helpless person deserves evil no less or more than a non helpless person. Why is this not obvious? Nobody deserves evil done to them, nobody.
    Ken just because it’s unrealistic in your judgement doesn’t make a jot of difference. I am not impressed by your sophisticated taste in what is true depiction and what is not. Since you don’t believe in satan anyway you don’t believe in goodness either and really your point is made without justification. Your argument is not logical. Your best bet is to refer to criminal law. There can be no morals without ultimate good which cannot exist without ultimate evil.

  14. Briggs is right, sort of, that “Satanic” symbolism has been proliferating…one might argue about proliferating, or not, overall … but one type of such symbolism that has clearly advanced out of Hollywood is the vampire, with sometimes multiple TV series and movies all occurring simultaneously!

    In this statistical blog, what better time & place to bring of the famous (“infamous”?) study about vampires available at https://eudml.org/doc/104821 — this was one of the studies formally addressed at the Seventh Conference of Probability Theory, Aug 29 – Sept 4, 1982, Brasov, Romania:

    The Transylvanian Problem of Renewable Resources, by R. Hartl & A. Hehlmann.

    It doesn’t get much better than that — an objective analysis of vampire consumption based on Hollywood portrayals (at least up to that date). Turns out, there’s a fundamental problem there…for those not inclined to do the math (calculus included), here’s the punchline: http://monstrumathenaeum.org/arithmetic-key-to-unraveling-vampire-world-says-researchers/

    Or, maybe not: http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume19/v19i1/Co-Existence-of-Vampires.pdf

    Clearly, further research & analysis are needed to sort this out — if there’s a problem out there, even if just Hollywood’s portrayal(s) is(are) a bit off (or wildly nonsensical), we have a right to know the truth…or whatever….

  15. Briggs

    October 27, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    All,

    Have to ask, given the curious comments, has anybody actually watched the main video in question?

  16. yes Briggs. Bad music and even worse video. The only thing worse is christian rock. Ignore it.

  17. Here are the lyrics. Doesn’t seem to be a Satanic homage but instead more a comment on the LA in-crowd night life who, like vampires, only come out at night. On the other hand, maybe there are secret messages in the words. The images in the video don’t quite match the words IMO. That’s the influence of MTV for ya.

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/panicatthedisco/ladevotee.html

    Here’s another one about the joys and paybacks of LA party life. Even mixes in riffs from the B52’s Rock Lobster. (which is a fake lobster mind you).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYzZ3fPCqFg

    Music is so-so. Reminds me of Oingo-Boingo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iypUpv9xelg

    Despite the OB song having a funeral wake at its center, in the context of the album, its a lament about not quite fitting in and feeling like having the part of the dead man at the wake.

    I think you are taking this too literally.

  18. Briggs

    October 27, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    DAV, All,

    From the article, “Except perhaps for the lyric hinting of ‘the black magic on Mulholland Drive,’ the music is utterly incongruous with the video.” So that point has already been made.

    Put it this way: describe, if you can, any redeeming portions of the video.

  19. RE: “…has anybody actually watched the main video in question?”

    Yes. The imagery is not at all compelling from a truly Satanic perspective. The props & costumes are spotlessly clean (the red paint poured over the obviously fake skull doesn’t look a bit like the blood its meant to symbolize). The kid strapped to a clean, well-oiled, wood chair is singing thru-out (almost entirely); the bit where he’s supposedly being electrocuted looks almost playful. The other odds & ends flashed in are hardly disconcerting. Overall, not much different than kids goofing off before trick or treating. But imagery is only part of the message, which depends on the lyrics (the music is tertiary, if its even a factor at all).

    CONSIDER the lyrics — symbolic meaning that really isn’t bad at all, maybe even wholesome it its way. Who knows what the artist precisely meant, here’s a typical interpretation:

    The message, if one looks at all, is clear enough: Someone is ‘devoted’ to Los Angeles a bit too much, to their detriment; someone is trying to save them, or warn them about sacrificing themselves to live the LA lifestyle (ref lyrics, “I couldn’t change ya, oh oh; Couldn’t ever try to make you see, no”).

    The video imagery, with that background, augments the warning — the singer is the person being warned, and, is the person doing the warning — about sacrificing them-self to something bad (the superficial LA lifestyle) out of misplaced value that having an image (seen by outsiders) is material … rather than having real substance and character. LA especially is notorious for such superficiality:

    The slang used to be/still is in some areas, “stylin” or “styling” — being “cool” or “fashionable” … immature emphasis on one’s image over one’s true identity. Where being part of the “scene” consists entirely of cultivating one’s image, being with the “right” crowd, seen in the “right” bars, etc. — the old yuppie stereotype (by whatever slang applies today).

    Corona, in the mid-80s, in & around Santa Barbara, at least, for example, took this to a bit of an extreme in a radio ad in which such a acclimated transplant to California [a guy totally into the California yuppie scene] was advising his friend just arrived from somewhere out East about which were the right bars, using the right slang, etc. … and which was the “right” beer THIS WEEK [i.e., the proper “cool” “in crowd” beer brand changed that fast]. Of course, the Eastern visitor made up his own mind instead of going with the flow and chose Corona. California superficiality was and is noteworthy enough to inspire such ads.

    The LA Devotee is about someone like that yuppie guy who has so wrapped up his identity in trendy imagery [decided by others] that he was in reality losing his identity/his sense of self. That guy is the guy in the chair and the song/video is symbolism both warning about being drawn into this uncritically (ref lyrics, “The neon coast was your sign; And the Midwest wind with Pisces rising”). “Neon coast” is imagery, no substance; “Pisces rising” is, in astrology, “going with the flow” — passively, mindlessly going along with a superficial lifestyle founded on image.

    At the outset of the video it appears the person, innocent & unawares, is captured by brute force, but as the camera moves away we see the person voluntarily walked into the crop circle–an evil lair only within which evil could take control — the victim was not really a random innocent victim at all, but rather culpable for getting them-self into a dangerous situation they couldn’t get out of. The song tells us they got there by their passivity and inattentiveness (like mindlessly following the flow of traffic, missing a key exit, and getting into a crash after driving into heavy fog — inattentiveness to visible recognizable risks does not absolve one from at least some culpability of adverse consequences that result).

    The lyrics, “I couldn’t change ya, oh oh; Couldn’t ever try to make you see, no” is the narrator expressing regret and/or the victim addressing himself about ignored and failed attempts to warn someone else, or listen to their inner voice, their own conscience that was aware of the risks this lifestyle choice entailed (the lyrics present merging of two distinct identities into one, or, one identity into two separate — this is an impressionistic artistic technique where one/they is/are addressing both them-self and the external audience in a succinct manner).

    If all one did is ‘watch the main video in question’ — rather take in the totality of the message — something like an endorsement or glorification of Satanism might be the conclusion reached. But that’s like someone who can’t read looking at a sign and concluding there’s a hostile image via pareidolia — ignoring the significance the actual words, their meaning beyond mere lines & curves, conveys.

    But this is art — words are crafted to convey particular themes, augmented by imagery, all combining together to convey a particular message — a warning: Don’t get seduced (in the LA lifestyle & all its superficiality), or you may end up sacrificing yourself (losing one’s identity). The Satanic imagery illustrates visually the song’s concepts for just how severe sacrificing oneself for superficial conformity can be — there can be a point of no return. But the main message is from the words, the imagery is not the main subject by any stretch serving as a visual adjective to the concepts presented.

    The artist actually presents common message we’ve all doubtless seen/heard in a variety of forums — e.g., in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, before going into a maze for the final competition its presented as a double entendre, “You could just lose yourselves along the way,” — superficially meaning they could get lost (navigation), but the real meaning was they could (one did) lose their self-identity in the pursuit of the win.

    Bob Seger, in his song, “The Ring,” touches on a variation of the theme — two teenagers get caught up in things and one, later as an adult, is full of regret for similarly having “gone with the flow” and in so doing rues having sacrificed a very different life path (see: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobseger/thering.html )

    In the 70s movie, The Lords of Flatbush, about a 50s era group of “greasers,” the same warning is presented in the context in which one character actually heeds it: The viewer is presented with one of the gang members as he contemplates his future and is pondering a more mature, non-“greaser,” lifestyle more suitable for marriage — the character, played by Sylvestor Stallone, briefly presents a surprisingly profound scene in which the viewer actually witnesses the child begin to “put away childish things” while another isn’t [at least yet] anywhere near as mature.

    In short, the song LA Devotee is presenting one artist’s rendition of a basic message that is perhaps as old has civilization and carved in the Greek temple of Delphi, “Know Thyself.” La Devotee presents it as a warning of what might happen to you if you don’t [know thyself … and choose — it is a choice — to get seduced into a superficial empty lifestyle].

    If you’re one who has difficulty with symbolism/metaphor, the above will remain opaque.

  20. Briggs

    October 27, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    “…the bit where he’s supposedly being electrocuted looks almost playful.”

    I think we’ll let that be the final word.

    Update Second thoughts. I’ll give the last word to the song’s writer.

    “LA Devotee” is a love letter to Los Angeles. I’ve lived here now for just over seven years, coming up on eight years, and it’s my new home. I’m from here to Vegas quite a bit, but I found a new, deeper appreciation for the city. The things I sing about in that song, the black magic of Mulholland Drive, swimming pools under desert skies, it’s all the things I picture about LA that I really fell in love with that took me time to appreciate, and that was really what I wanted to talk about.”

    Some love letter.

    Of course, the alternate interpretations which go “The plain images we’re seeing aren’t really the plain images we’re seeing, and the rubber gloves are a metaphor for the cleanliness one feels after taking narcotics, or whatever” are plausible, too.

  21. What you get if you take LA night life is like being a vampire to the extreme. Not the best video work I agree. There may be no redeeming qualities but there are no damning ones either if you see the metaphor.

    black magic on Mulholland Drive

    Likely means drugs. Ever hear the Eagle’s song, Witchy Woman? Has a line in it “crazy laughter in another room and she drove herself to madness
    with a silver spoon” — wild sex and cocaine use implied. There is really nothing new here.

  22. “…the bit where he’s supposedly being electrocuted looks almost playful”

    Also likely a drug metaphor. I had heroin once. The initial rush could be described as such. There’s a lot of quivering. After that, it’s quite pleasant to say the least. Easy to see how some are drawn to it.

  23. Yes, it’s near Halloween. Yes, Satanic imagery (lyrics, movies, etc.) is “nothing new.” It has to be admitted that the pace has picked up, and in the best case, it could an example of the pendulum swing, and in the not-too-distant future we can look forward to a surge in sales of long-sleeved, high-necked blouses and Lawrence Welk LPs.

    It also must be admitted that in the past there was more of a collective societal effort to “protect the children.” If there was a movie unfit for children, many parents would make sure that their wards did see that movie. If there was a song that parents didn’t want children to hear and reflect on, they could change the station or turn off the TV. The parental will, in the modern age, has folded like a cheap camera, and there is nothing—not even sex ed—that isn’t promoted as good for little britches. And if you don’t agree, well, then, there is something wrong with you.

    To be fair, parents are fighting the battles on all sides, and it just isn’t a matter the child having his own television or phone (!) in his or her room. For the weary parent, children can carry the culture in their pocket and have constant access to music/film/videos that would have parents of an earlier generation running for their sledgehammer.

    I was recently shown a comic book that was created by an elementary school age girl who attends Catholic school as a school project. The storyline was of a “battle of the bands” between rival singing groups. The art was lovely, and the girl clearly has talent, not only in drawing but managing a coherent story arc. That said, the comic was dripping with the upside-down five-pointed stars and other images that are associated with, well, Satan. I’m sure the motives of the girl were completely innocent, but she is engaged with the culture, and absorbing it at an alarming rate, and any protection that could be offered by her parents or the nuns has been gravely compromised.

  24. What seems to be missed by the protagonists for popularised perversity is that, even though perversity is no stranger to humanity, the “softening up” or creating the market for such has never been as easy or widespread as it is now with the media being as pervasive as it is.

    There is the ghastly phenomenon of all kinds of sexual perverts and predators “grooming” their intended victims with lollies and praise in physical fact or internet “proxy”.

    How much easier is it for a pervert to capture a victim if that victim is already “groomed” in Primary School “sex-education” and the popular media.

    I suggest that the maxim “If anyone should scandalise these little ones it would be better for him to have a millstone tied to his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” should apply to the “artists” who scandalise everyone except their own perversity; not only the “little ones”.

  25. Ken: “If there really were a “Satan” I seriously doubt s/he/it would be going around looking all psycho & grisly gruesome — attired in garb that repulses rather than seduces … more like something wholesome & trustworthy (camouflage, in other words, the God-given tactics of so many of nature’s predators).” You make an excellent point.

    Briggs is not referring to just Satan, but rather the fact that torture was “wrong” at Gitmo and “right” in movies and other venues. It’s situational ethics that are being questioned. I know the movies are not real, but that distinction is being lost rapidly. How many gangbangers run around holding guns sideways? No real shooter ever did that. It came from movies. As did running around with one’s finger on the trigger (thankfully, Hollywood pretty much stopped that). Kids watch far more movies, play more videos games and watch more TV than they interact with this part-time parents. So they get their ethics from what they watch. (As Anon and Oldavid have pointed out in his comment.)

    As to taking the totality of the message, if I see a sign that says “Dead end, bridge out” should I stop, or look for the total message? Sometimes a sign is just what it says.

    Joy: I don’t think involving a child even produces shock and disgust. A woman recently was accused of renting her daughter out for sex, then helping kill and cut up the girl (daughter was in her teens). I doubt many people were shocked. Most saw this coming a long time ago. With all the beheadings and rape and torture from our friend in the Middle east, etc, people don’t even blink at torture and murder unless a Republican is involved.

    Briggs: Have you listened to rap? We have: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ruckaruckaali/12daysofchristmas.html

    I couldn’t find rap that I would link to—all very graphic.

    Then there’s these lyrics http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-oath-lyrics-mercyful-fate.html An ode to Satan.

    These are out there everywhere. Such songs are not new at all.

  26. In re the second video, does anyone else think that some of the woman’s movements are intended as some sort of bizarre mockery of Indian dance? Or is it supposed to be an epileptic fit? The all-seeing eye is also Cao-dai-ist, which makes me think the directors intended some vaguely eastern feel to the whole thing; but then I am not privy to their secrets.

    With regard to the fellow who supposed that Satanism began as a mockery of organised religion, unless he is hundreds of years older than I think, in which case I respectfully defer to his first-hand knowledge, I would have to disagree. Satanism and black masses have been going on for a long time, for the simple purpose one associates with the name. What was, I think, driven by antagonism to religion, and mainstream culture in general, was the popularity of Satanism in the past fifty years or so.
    Someone mentioned the “Exorcist”; surely this is anti-satanist insofar as it has a point at all?

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