Shakespeare in an age of Trump is a little disconcerting

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is just one excerpt:

I see Trump as not a ruler but rather akin to the various fools, jesters or, in the case of Lear, the character of Edgar, who appears before the king in disguise and warns him of his enemies. Don’t interpret the word “fool” too literally here. The most common features of these characters is that they speak between the cracks in the action and utter sentiments that no one else dares  to voice. That’s Trump on Twitter. Would the word “covfefe” be so out of place in one of those poetic rants?


And looking forward, what might a study of Shakespeare tell us to watch for in the evolution of the Trump administration? How’s this for a start?:

  • Blood may be thicker than water, but nonetheless power struggles can break family bonds rather easily.
  • Power cannot be given away and still retained.
  • Don’t overweight legitimacy and birth order in determining succession.
  • Love is a wild card.
  • There is no maximum limit to chaos.

Do read the whole thing.


Shakespeare in the age of Trump:

That portrait was painted by Marlowe anyway.

It must be frustrating to realize we would rather have a fool as POTUS than the usual elite member of the "bum of election" club. So far we are out of Paris, Gorsuch is on the SCOTUS, NATO is going to pay up, pipelines are getting built, the market is up and, best of all, Hillary and her disappointed influence buyers are SOL. So sweet! Not bad for a fool!

Interesting, and common, trait among Trump supporters. He just announces that he wants to do something, and his followers believe it has already been done.

Interesting, and common, trait among Hillary supporters. She just announces that she wants to do something, and her followers know it has already been done. Like when she wanted an equal-pay-for-women law, and it was passed in 1963.

So Gorsuch is not on the SCOTUS and Hillary is the POTUS? I feel so humliated! I'll have to stop reading all that fake news in the WSJ and The Econommunist! I need my daily dose from the Huffinpuff Post! :)

Poetic justice - "...humiliated..." :)


Don't get cocky! Your Trump referendum record is 0 and four. That isn't good, steve.

After November 2018, your fascist friends will need to shoot many more Republican Congressmen.

Wait, you mean that Sanders is part of the elite club? Really?

Sanders was not on the ballot. For a fuzzy old commie, he is an ok guy. I can't picture him dealing with Iran or North Korea.

Of course he was a choice - he just lost, unsurprisingly, the Democratic Party nomination. And unlike Trump in 2000, he did not decide on a third party run (which is a bit odd, considering he is actually not a member of the Democratic Party). But then, maybe he was heeding Trump's experience, and just like Trump, decided his best chance was with a mainstream party -

And let us be honest - Hilary is a loser of basically no political interest since last November. Sanders continues to generate much the same sort of political energy (though with different goals) that Trump used to become president. (Why people think Clinton matters to anyone but themselves continues to be mysterious - she is a total has been at this point, something obvious to everyone else.)

Gorsuch would be on the SCOTUS regardless of which "Republican" had ascended to the Presidency. You didn't have to pick this clown. Even Little Marco would have done the job.

As for the rest, have you considered that the everyone in the rest of the world hasn't gone out and tried to be as hostile to Trump as Trump is to them for the simple reason that everyone else is just biding their time and waiting for the Trump administration to pass? It would be rather short-sighted for everyone to burn their bridges with The United States over what they see as a temporary aberration.


Two scoops! Two genders! Two Terms!

Bingo! That's why your dork side loses elections outside DC, Hollywood, Marin County, Martha's Vineyard, Greenwich Village, etc.

Despite eight years of Obama wrecking America, she still is the "shining city on a hill." Everyone in the rest of the World should follow our example.

I almost feel bad about all the GOP election wins.

I'm buying Kleenex stock. .

"Despite eight years of Obama wrecking America, she still is the 'shining city on a hill'.”
The only thing shinning is America's Saudi terrorists' glowing orb.

The pathology is that you actually believe that.

Sorry, I forgot your terrorist friends are above criticism. Lenin may or may not have said capitalists are people who are eager to sell the rope they wil be hanged with. If he didn't say it , the Saudi House can go ahead say it about the Americans at least. At this point, is worshipping the Almighty Dollar any less barbaric than worship Allah?

Adding the digits May June July August
Mean Average Date 20.67741935 21.6 22.5483871 23.48387097

I'm pretty sure Tyler is playing Tyler Durden from Brett Elis Easton.

It takes extreme hubris to call someone a fool who solved multiple puzzles you could never. Trump ran a company you could never run. Created a TV show you could never do. Had women who would never want you. Solved a poltical challenge you could never solve. And built a family you could never have.

I used to think you were moderately intelligent but nothing special. Your behavior commentary this election made me realize you're one of the many academic fools. Sad!

You talking about yourself (projection) or TC? TC is more of a man than you'll ever be.

As for Shakespeare, he's only good if he mentions chess. Let me keyword search CHESS here:

[Here PROSPERO discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA] playing at chess]


C'mon Ray, it's possible to like Tyler just fine without going full on fanboy.

But his squishy Bloomberg stuff... it's as much a vehicle for him to stay in the good graces of the establishment as anything else. Maybe I'm naive and that's simply what one must do to retain a Voice, which he has, and he continues to advocate slyly for things that are good, but the whole dance leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

At the end of the day, he's a dumpy little professor with a giant lightning brain who's a little less of a nobody than you or me. When he calls Trump "whiny and pathetic", that's probably worth a dinner invitation, but I can't help but think of a 70 year old man taking down elbow patches with one punch.

I love these moments when Tyler fans say "he can't possibly mean what he just said," because they have so much invested in MR being about something else.

Why do you think he episodically invokes "Straussian" notions? What about Tyrone? If you can't see Tyler's clear signals that he doesn't feel it is prudent or useful to speak in perfectly frank terms, I can't help you. He is navigating an environment, like anybody who has attained a foothold above, say, "Anonymous".

If you are going to use "Straussian" to bend Tyler's words, why not go the other way? His princes are the funding libertarians, and those are the ones he cannot disagree with too directly.

That's the problem with hidden messaging, you lose a fair amount of message control.

Well obviously this whole thing makes it more difficult to understand someone's actual views, so yes, I may well have gotten it wrong here, but I think I understand why someone in Tyler's position is... calculating... with his words, while stunning and brave anonymous internet commentators can afford to let it all hang out, but I don't think that justifies an attitude of "well, rather than read the tea leaves, just take the man at his word" either, which seems to me a classic case of messy reality not staying within the lines of my worldview so I will force it to, and it ignores a long-pattern of Tyler being oblique and cryptic and not completely forthright on purpose as he navigates his tricky environment on a daily basis.

@BD: "Maybe I’m naive and that’s simply what one must do to retain a Voice, which he has, and he continues to advocate slyly for things that are good, but the whole dance leaves a bad taste in my mouth" - you are naïve. Did you even read TC's book "Complacent Class" like I haven't either? You cannot simply say what's on your mind anymore. TC does a good job advocating for a slightly, second-best, better society (hence 'marginal' revolution) than you would or maybe even I would, though that latter is doubtful (patents!). And he's a chess player. There are two kinds of people in this world, those that know how to fly a plane, have fought in the military, or know how to play chess, and those that don't. No wait, that's 3x3 = 9 types of people, if you take combinations of the above.

My guess is that Cowen takes far more satisfaction and meaning from life than Trump does. Trump is one of the saddest and most pathetic men to ever sit in the White House. It is also no great achievement to sleep with and marry escorts, other than the fact that you need a lot of money to do that.

You're projecting,

"My guess is that Cowen takes far more satisfaction and meaning from life than Trump does."

I would not take that bet. That's really subjective.

1471 Krishnadeveraya

How many seconds are there in one year?

31,536,000 seconds in a year. 31,622,400 in a leap year.

31,471,200.00 seconds in one year, if you are one day behind, which is i'm pretty sure what a leap year is.

"Trump is one of the saddest and most pathetic men to ever sit in the White House". At least he's not reduced to shagging his slaves.

He's not???

Trump is one of the saddest and most pathetic men to ever sit in the White House.

He's prospered in several lines of business over a period of four decades and his children are competent. That's not the work of a sad or pathetic individual. Lyndon Johnson, progenitor of policy disasters, popping nitroglycerin pills and dying at 65 has an element of pathos in it. So does Richard Nixon. Asked by his successor in 1974 how he was sleeping, he croaks from his hospital bed 'none of these nights are good'. Have a gander of photographs of Rosalynn Carter taken the night her husband was voted out of office if you'd like a look at pathetic.

"Created a TV show you could never do. Had women who would never want you."
Those are American standards for choosing the leader of the Free World. Sad.

Completely sad and pathetic distractions, yes. But these distractions will have to make do til we find serious ones.

So that is what America has become... a frightened mob in search of a TV star to lead it. It used to be the land of Wshington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Eisenhower.

So that is what America has become... a frightened mob in search of a TV star to lead it. It used to be the land of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Eisenhower.

You're correct, Iago!

HRH Hillary (It was her turn!) promised to give us eight more years of Obama. With that threat, who would have thought she could lose? She spent $1 billion saying Trump is bad and "Vote for me you inbred racists idiots!" She could have made a pile and burned $1 billion.

A blind man, but not the academy and media, might have noticed that during Obama's eight, horror years, the GOP won 62 House seats and 10 Senate seats.

It wasn't Trump's election to win. It was Hillary's to lose. And, lose it she did. She plucked defeat out of the maws of victory.

Now, you're qualified to pass judgment on the "Leader of the Free World", down there in the fever swamps, what say you about our four referenda on "Trump" that the Republicans won - snatching victory from the idiot liberals (redundant).

In conclusion, everything spewing from the academy and media is bull shit.

"what say you about our four referenda on 'Trump' that the Republicans won."
Yep, the "Clinton was bad so Republicans had no option but run a reality show star" always amuses me. It used to be the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower...
"and 10 Senate seats."
Yep, 52 vs 48. Reagan lost eight seats in 1986 so... It used to be Reagan's party, too, before worshipping money became all-important.

He means fool in the sense that he is willing to speak truth to power, not that he is stupid. A court jester.

Or a Greek chorus.

Exactly! Thank you.

Too bad Trump isn't still off achieving those other things, rather than being a sad and crap president.

"It takes extreme hubris to call someone a fool who solved multiple puzzles you could never."


"Trump ran a company you could never run."

He doesn't actually run anything, he sells his name, stiffs suppliers and uses bankruptcy to avoid accountability. You'd learn much more about business studying Warren Buffet than Trump.

"Created a TV show you could never do."

He didn't create the elimination based reality show. It's a tired formula. It works for the same reason Flavor Flav or Gary Busey also 'work' on TV reality shows. They are cheap to make, require little talent and do not need huge ratings in an environment with 1000+ channels.

" Had women who would never want you."

And they want him? Unlikely.

"Solved a poltical challenge you could never solve. And built a family you could never have."

Who would want his family?

He doesn’t actually run anything,

Except for commercial buildings and resorts. The Trump Organization employs 22,000 people and has $9.5 bn in revenue.

Does he? Or does he just own or lease the business? What innovations has he implemented? What has he done with all those resorts and properties or does he let others run them taking the profits & ginning up business by using publicity stunts to keep his name in the media?

Rachael Ray has a line of cooking pots. Did she speak to metallurgists on their design and production or did some company that did all that work get together with her and worked out a contract to pay her for her name? Does he 'run' those companies the way Steve Jobs ran Apple or Bill Gates Microsoft...leaving their mark good and bad?

It takes extreme hubris to call someone a fool who solved multiple puzzles you could never.

Aye, but take away that disposition and contemporary prog-trash politics completely disappears. It's all memes and John Oliver.

Nat Hentoff and George McGovern are dead.

Yeah, Trump had the skill to inherit HUD subsidized houting that puts $5 million in his pockets each year of our tax money and is now protecting his welfare from cuts while the middle class sees big cuts to give him big tax cuts...

...all in the name of being a working class hero creating jobs by killing jobs.

Trump is the king of the free lunch that comes with a big bill after lunch.

That being said, it is unlikely that President Trump will make as many brutally irreparable mistakes as his most analogous forerunners, Eisenhower and Roosevelt. Well Eisenhower was not all that Shakespearean, Roosevelt neither. Maybe Lincoln was - and compared to Lincoln, there is almost no chance President Trump will not be seen in the future as, comparatively, an angel of peace and light, in the long run. (Actually there was nothing Shakespearean about Lincoln. Sad, but true, but I recognize some people disagree and I may be wrong).

Also, love is not a wild card, according to Shakespeare. "Love is a fixed mark..."

Well in Cowen's defense he hasn't actually ever read a Shakespeare play.

For a supposedly literate person it's interesting how Cowen never makes allusions to works and rarely seems to recognzie allusions when made by others. Maybe it is all those other languages he speaks blocking out the allusions (chorttle).

I'm curious - what were some of either Roosevelt's or Eisenhower's 'brutally irreparable mistakes'? The Nazis and Soviets remain firmly planted in history's ash heap, and the U.S. is still pre-eminent in a way that those who grew up under Roosevelt or Eisenhower would recognize.

The Nazi and Soviet statists are hardly in history's ash heap. New configurations of these monsters with different names are operating openly.

Well, North Korea might still inherit the global threat of the Soviets, but I wouldn't bet on it.

As for the Nazis, they are actually pretty hard to find anywhere these days. (Fascists might be a bit more common, admittedly - without getting into a deep discussion of the distinctions between the two.)

'New configurations of these monsters with different names are operating openly.'

Apart from North Korea, where else? Just out of curiosity, it is not really that important to discuss. The Soviets and Nazis both had distinctive features that do not seem much in evidence these days. No question that totalitarians of various models exist today, but they would not seem to be either Nazi or Soviet distinctively. Take former KGB member Putin - he appears to be a committed Russian nationalist, not a global ideology supporting figure, continuing to use the same tools that have a long history in Russia, pre-dating the Soviets by centuries.

Roosevelt - leadership role in WWII was personally brave on the part of a dying man, but he did not listen to the right generals on the later conduct of the war, arguably leading, without proportional necessity, to (a) an environmentally destructive and very dangerous nuclear arms race and (b) the repercussions of the Yalta agreement. Two fairly big disasters!
Eisenhower - he did not help a new generation of moral and talented politicians to rise in the Republican party; he did his job honorably and well, with several caveats that most people would agree on (but would not really blame him for - he was busy), but a world in which Eisenhower had chosen better in who to help to positions of, unfortunately, awesome power, would quite possibly be much more human than the world we live in, to a degree that nobody under the age of 50 or so can reasonably be expected to be able to imagine. One cannot help but resent living in a world in which power is so accrued as it has been to American presidents since Roosevelt's day, but, living in such a world, it would be nice if Eisenhower had taken his responsibilities to the future a little more seriously (same thing for Roosevelt picking Truman....) So, because he was a lazy old man (not that there is anything wrong with that, particularly in retired old generals), we got Nixon v Kennedy, Goldwater v Johnson, Nixon v Humphrey, Nixon v McGovern. I sort of admire Nixon and Goldwater but they were, to put it as kindly as possible, morally and intellectually deficient in comparison to quite a few other people who could have qualified for the job. (I could be wrong of course - Nixon said a few dumb things but anyone of us would likely have said as many dumb things, and he was there for most of his friends when they needed him, which is not something that the better qualified people I am thinking of would necessarily have been....) (By the way if there were a few run-on sentences in the Eisenhower paragraph, sorry, I was pastiching one of his speechwriters...)

"I see Obama as not a ruler but rather akin to the various fools, jesters or, in the case of Lear, the character of Edgar, who appears before the king in disguise and warns him of his enemies."

I don't think Obama was ignorant, I think he consciously chose to reject all of America's most cherished and long-held values. Likewise, I think Lois Lerner knew exactly what she was doing when she tried to weaponize the IRS.

Turkey is not bird-brained!

Don't forget Obama's other major accomplishments - he gave birth to ISIS and enabled Iran!

What a great man, and he is not even a fool!

"he gave birth to ISIS"

ISIS is the successor organization of al Qaeda in Iraq, which has been around since 2005.

They were about 4 guys who lived in their mother's basements until Obama left Iraq and created the power vacuum.

Most recent additions to Obama's legacy: Congresswoman Handel from GA Sixth District. The Norkers killed Otto Warmbier.

They are holding more Americans. Two more seized since The Leaders ascension.

They didn't dare murder until Drumpf was prez

Yep, Obama invaded Iraq, then made all Sunni military men unemployed, so they would use the second amendment solution to hit back at America for making Obama president since 2001!

Mean-spirited crap. The NYT/academic crowd will approve. Eat anywhere good lately, Tyler?

I should elaborate. Remember when MRU did videos about the crippling growth of bureaucracy and regulation?

Now there's a guy willing to wield the knife, and all we get is acceptance of the easy and popular premise that Trump is a flailing buffoon.

Will Trump generally be efficacious and for the better? I don't know. But the game has just begun and already here come the white flags and wails of regret.

'acceptance of the easy and popular premise that Trump is a flailing buffoon'

This is much like accepting the easy and popular premise that the Earth is round, even if a few people still seemingly consider such a premise incorrect.

I didn't vote for the guy, but the establishment's enthusiasm, and indeed rooting, for his failure...this is a thing to behold. Did you hear advisor B has a real beef with family member C? The papers in total have become Page Six.

Whatever the man's actual mix of positive/negative attributes, Tyler calculates a higher than normal chance of some sort of catastrophe, and can't tie his flag to that.

Fortune favors the brave. Good luck to Trump & co, at least until he does something to prove surely that he is an asshole. I haven't seen it.

'but the establishment’s enthusiasm, and indeed rooting, for his failure'

If you say so. From the outside, and in the opinions of just about anyone with an opinion of Trump in Germany (this also includes Australians, a Scot, an Englishwoman, and a South African) he is already a total failure. Generally matched with a bit of pity for the fact that Americans will need to put up with him as president, and a bit of schadenfreude that they don't have to.

Let us use America's special relationship with the UK, where Trump has a standing invitation to visit as an example of 'We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning' -

'Donald Trump has told Theresa May in a phone call he does not want to go ahead with a state visit to Britain until the British public supports him coming.

The US president said he did not want to come if there were large-scale protests and his remarks in effect put the visit on hold for some time.

The call was made in recent weeks, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room. The statement surprised May, according to those present.

The conversation in part explains why there has been little public discussion about a visit.

May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House. She told a joint press conference she had extended an invitation from the Queen to Trump and his wife Melania to make a state visit later in the year and was “delighted that the president has accepted that invitation”.

Many senior diplomats, including Lord Ricketts, the former national security adviser, said the invitation was premature, but impossible to rescind once made.'

'at least until he does something to prove surely that he is an asshole. I haven’t seen it.'

Well, maybe you haven't seen this then -

Five months into a disaster presidency and the best you got is "Grab her by the pussy" from pre-election?

I expect "Out, damned spot" with a gender bent twist to make an appearance.

Snowflakes, keep reading below fool and you'll get to this:

"The king or leader cannot play victim for very long, and is obliged, one way or another, to find a way to climb out of that role."

Jews have been successful at playing the victim role while also being the most successful ethic group in America, so I'm not so sure that quote is true.

Jews are another story.

Trump as a victim is a new persona on display. The rest of his life his public face was closer the guy who shaved Vince McMahon on Wrestlemania 23.

That was a good line. Of course the danger is that folks right of center, to save their ego, decide this is what they wanted. A non-leader for a new non-government.

Qatar is a small teaching exercise in how that can go wrong, Lord save us from bigger lessons.

Neither "Falstaff" nor "Alazon" are mentioned in this thread.

Trump is a teetotaller, so Falstaff is out.

“Has anyone told Donald Trump that he runs the government?”
" To be, or not to be- that is the question:
The insolence of office,------------"

Of course there's a chaos maximum... but it's a ways off yet, no matter what Trump does.

Tyler makes some interesting points, but they don't really provide any actionable insight.

Actionable is Mueller's job.

And that could turn out weirder than we believe.

What if, just to put one out there, Russians were found to have funded Trump's campaign?

'Russians were found to have funded Trump’s campaign?'

It means that Goldman Sachs finally has competition again? Along with Putin being content that it could not happen to a nicer group of capitalists.

Hedging their bets after funneling millions to Hillary?

I cant say that after reading this article i have any additional insight into either Trump or Shakespeare.

Tyler clearly made the point of omitting the killing of an Obama-like Caesar in the same play five years ago. That would make Trump thin skinned and petty for objecting to the same fake he advocated a year ago in a "second amendment solution".

The irony is the failure of the right to kill Obama led to the radical authoritarian being elected, contrary to they play'some lesson that it's the killing of the aledged authoritarian leader that leads to the actual authoritarian leadership for decades to come. Killing Trump would certainly be of great benefit to the right in the Republican party, just as killing Obama would have benefited Democrats and ensured Biden an easy win for reelection, just as JFK was a boon for LBJ.

In any case, it's clear Trump and his supporters see Trump as the victim, killed every single day, waking up ground hog day to be killed again and again.

Every performance of the play is exactly how Trump sees his everyday life. The victim.

I can agree broadly with this essay. I might put emphasis in different places, but I admit it is all pretty true. The odd thing then is to cross-read with polls, or even rebellious comments above.

Despite implicit failure in this administration, there is a surprising lack of explicit acknowledgement right of center. When pressed, partisans will tell stubborn but protective lies, like "Trump has accomplished more than any President in the first 100 days, look it up!" (told to a reporter down in GA).

Now the optimist in me would say that this can't hold, that everyone will get tired of lying, including to themselves. I hope so, because the dark side is that facts continue to count even less, and social [media] truths substitute.

"Trump did a great job managing Qatar, look it up!"

A lot of salty leftist clearly discombobulated by the Ossoff humiliation.

Chins up little guys there is always 2024.

As a moderate independent I'm disappointed. And confused. I think .. no that's not right, I don't think of Nancy Pelosi much at all. I don't see her as a source of policy. She is a facilitator, off my radar policy-wise. And yet we are told in early morning hot takes that she is the reason Ossoff lost. That is just weird to me, unless it is a measure of "tribalism."

If you say "Pelosi" and someone becomes protective or angry, you've found a partisan?

Now I will admit readily that both parties have bad images. The poling bears that out:

Democrats are only slightly less disliked than Republicans, which isn't a way to win solid majorities.

Why did you change your handle, anon? Tired of getting flamed?

I usually like my comments to stand alone by content. In this case it's about Pelosi and the poll results, and not about me. I say usually because sometimes I am tempted to say "I told you so." Changing my handles reduces both bad effects. It becomes more about content, and reduces my tendency to say that I told you it would be bad (even if not this bad).

But anyone who frequents this blog can spot your posts from a mile away so it's not achieving the desired goal.

So my posts are loosely tethered to an identity. That is fine.

BTW, as an old man and Louis L'amour reader, "salty" means the last man standing in an injun fight.

2024, the start of the second Winfrey/Newsom term.

Newsom the slick-suit f*cker of his best friend's wife? And why Winfrey, and not Zucky?

Our current prez and Clinton and many others have proven that who you f*ck doesn't matter. The alt right should love him for cuckolding his friend. And he's only gonna be veep until he wins the presidency in 2028. Winfrey is black and female and famous for far longer than Zuck, and not a creepy young tech nerd. It's President Oprah in 2020 you'll see.

Oprah's too liberal for me, but at least she'd be the first competent person the democrat's have run since Gore.

Tyler is mistaken. Trump is playing no Shakespeare role. He is playing the role of Folly. See: 'In Praise of Folly" written by Erasmus.

The play isn't about Caesar, but about the aftermath. Killing Trump, or Obama as "the play" did five years ago, would lead to bad consequences.

The last thing liberal would want is Trump killed because the radical right would benefit. If Obama had been killed, Biden would be president in a walk today, with Democrats in control of Congress. Killing JFK led to LBJ and everything the right feared most from Democrats, collusion between the liberals in both parties to pass social justice laws that treated everyone equally, forcing the right to now punish white people to punish non-white people.

To impoverish non-white people, the right has been forced to impoverish white people. Thus white working class are faced with the same future blacks have faced for centuries in the US, and angry at liberals for equality for all, instead of equality for all white men in being superior to everyone else not white men.

Ultimately, killing JFK did end badly for the WASPS who talked of a second amendment solution in the early 60s. As a teen in the 60s in Indiana, I was surprised to hear classmates speak out against JFK because he was Catholic. JFK was not a real American, to many there in part of the Bible belt. So, today, Catholics dominate the Supreme Court. Killing JFK as a Catholic has eliminated all Protestants from the Supreme Court.

In addition to "Coriolanus", Bannon was also executive producer of Julie Traynor's "Titus": /

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