celebrity, Love & Romance, pop culture

WE DON’T HAVE THE YACHT—Luann and Tom are getting divorced

After seven months of marriage, Real Housewives of New York City’s Luann de Lesseps D’Agostino and Tom D’Agostino of the Not-The-Grocery-Store-D’Agostinos have filed for divorce. At least they’ll always have Palm Beach. Or rather, West Palm Beach.

Reality television relationships are one of those bizarre things where I don’t know these people, will never know these people, and yet I still have (and feel as if I have a right to have) opinions and emotions about the breakdown of them.

Luann’s relationship with Tom (and his former relationships with her castmates Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan, the latter of which was a FWB-sitch) were a massive part of RHONY’s last season’s drama. And honestly, it was a large crux of this season’s drama as well. It brought us such golden moments as “Don’t let it be about Tom” and “I came from Palm Beach” and my ULTIMATE FAVORITE “WE GOT THE YACHT.”

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music, pop culture

KESHA IS “PRAYING” FOR YOU

Written whilst listening to Kesha’s “Praying,” over and over again.



“Praying,” Kesha’s first song off her new album Rainbow, is remarkably restrained, given the fact that this marks her first entrance back into music after years of legal conflict with former producer, Dr. Luke, following accusations from Kesha that Dr. Luke physically and emotionally abused her.

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celebrity, pop culture

KYLIE JENNER IS GETTING HER OWN REALITY SHOW

 Header image Source: Cosmopolitan

It’s here!

E! has announced that Kylie Jenner, teen queen, will have an eight-part docuseries centered on her life, airing this summer. Firstly, why the fuck are we calling this a docuseries? It’s a reality show.

The show, Life of Kylie, will focus on Kylie and her friends—Jordyn Woods, the one boy, Stas, others—as they navigate the undulating hills of Los Angeles in their glitzy Mercedes G-Wagons. And if that sounds salty, then I’m not coming across the right way. I am very excited!!

According to the E! Online article, the show “hopes to reveal the real woman behind all the lip kits, fancy cars, mega mansions, glamorous Instagram photos and filtered Snapchat stories.” Someone needs to learn how to edit.

“Kylie’s beauty, business savvy and fashion icon status have made her one of the most famous and successful young women on the planet,” said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President of Programming & Development at E!, according to the article. “Kylie has achieved so much at such a young age and we know the E! audience will be thrilled now that she is ready to share an inside look at her everyday life.”

Kylie is actually the last member of the family—sans Kendall, who’s, like, doing shit and drinking Pepsi—to have her own reality show. Her sisters have had various iterations of (x) and (y) take (z)—your Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, and Kourtney and Khloe Take the Hamptons. Kris had her own short-lived talk show—Kris—and Caitlyn had her own docuseries—I am Cait—centered around her transition. Kylie’s Jenner brothers—Brandon and Brody—had a short-lived reality show called Princes of Malibu, which eventually led to their appearance on The Hills. Even the girls of the Dash store had their own, short-lived series, DASH Dolls.

Actually this is way, way overdue because even Rob Kardashian had a show—Rob & Chyna­—before Kylie. YOU GUYS, THE JAN BRADY OF THE KARDASHIANS HAD A REALITY SHOW BEFORE KYLIE.

According to a Jezebel article, the title comes from the Irish phrase “Life of Riley”, which implies a life of ease or pleasantry. Life of Kylie should’ve been called Life of Ky because—similar to the novel-turned-movie Life of Pi—the main character is trapped indefinitely with a tiger (Tyga) and we’re all like “Don’t stay with that tyga! You’re too young for that tyga, Pi!” Major missed opportunity, Kylie & Co.

Side bar: OMG. If Kylie and Khloe have a spinoff centered around the making of the Koko capsule collection from Kylie Cosmestics, it NEEDS TO BE CALLED “Kylie & Ko”. I’m just spit-balling now, and it’s working.

The move is not entirely unexpected. Kylie has been noticeably absent from Keeping Up With the Kardashians in recent seasons. She’s been almost entirely absent from the latest season. And on a show that’s going on with its thirteenth season in ten years, it’s reasonable to assume that—to stay relevant—you have to innovate. The show will further investigate the secret life of the—arguably—most alluring and mysterious sister. Among the things we might learn: her thoughts on the discovery of the Trappist-1 planetary system, her goals/psychic visions for 2017, and her opinion about winged eyeliner.

Other titles the show could’ve used: “The Ky Life” or “Ky’s and Dolls”

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pop culture, Review, television, Thinkpiece

“PARIS”—KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS

On March 19, Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired the episode centered around the Oct. 3 Paris robbery and assault of Kim Kardashian. The episode, titled “Paris,” was cut together clips of the Wests’ personal videographer, KUWTK film crew and camerawork done by Kim’s assistant Stephanie Sheppard. The result was 42 minutes (no commercials) of the most powerful reality television I have ever seen.

The episode was so effective because it was drastically different from how the Kardashians usually portray themselves. The blurry, ‘80s-style videography from Kanye’s personal archives is not typically (or ever) utilized in a KUWTK episode. Everyone holding a camera is a friend, rather than a crew member, meaning that Kim is much more open. That closeness between friends, Kim interacting with the camera, translates to the episode feeling much more dynamic and intimate.

The show also made the smart decision of not beginning the season with the Paris incident. In the episode-and-a-half period before the robbery, the show intentionally showcased more of Kim’s personality. She has often remarked that the show portrays her as dumber than she actually is, so this portrayal feels more authentic. We see her smiling, nosing around Khloe’s new relationship, thumbing through racks of clothing, laughing about her bodyguard tackling the butt-grabbing prankster to the ground. So when Kim finally gets robbed, and as the story gets retold through Kim and the people around her, we have become so attached to the bright, funny, sharp side of Kim that the robbery burns even brighter in comparison.

The Kardashians have built their careers on documenting their lives, but as they’ve gotten bigger, they’ve gotten better at hiding their true feelings. They say less, and everything they show is very edited. “Paris” is so raw and real and sad, that it’s antithetical to everything else they’ve ever shown.

Some people will criticize her for showing the robbery aftermath in the same way that people criticized her for documenting her life, claiming that she was the reason she got robbed. The common critique of “She flaunted her wealth” permeated every news title, the beginning of every argument. But in the same way that “she flaunted her body” is not a valid excuse for rape, flaunting anything should not be reason for inviting assault.

The gut reaction to victim-blame stems from this hatred of Kim Kardashian for being confident in her womanhood, particularly in her sexuality. Ask anyone who dislikes Kim, and it all begins with, “She’s famous for a sex tape!” As if she released it herself; as if she promoted it; as if Ray J is the most famous man in the world even though, through that logic, it should’ve promoted his career as well. A sex tape in 2007 does account for being arguably one of the most famous people in the world in 2017.

It’s the fact that Kim refused to be shamed or cowed by her sex tape. She didn’t let it define her. We as a society have such a visceral reaction to the notion of a woman not being shamed into the restrictive box set aside for female sexuality. And I truly believe that Kim refusing to be adhere to social norms led to resentment, and that resentment led to hate, and that hate led to victim-blaming.

Even though the sex tape wasn’t mentioned, it hung over the entire retelling. Because Kim is both a celebrity and a woman, the seriousness of the robbery becomes intersected with the threat of sexual assault. When the robbers came into her room, she was naked but for a robe. She detailed one robber pulling her down to the edge of the bed towards him by her legs.

“He pulled me toward him at the front of the bed and I thought, ‘OK, this is the moment they’re going to rape me,’” she said. “I fully mentally prepped myself—and then he didn’t.”

If this had been a male celebrity, I doubt that we would say that he was responsible for his assault. The notion of “asking for it” is so deeply associated with the feminine—blaming victims of rape for their assault by asking what they were wearing, how much they were drinking, who they were talking to—that anything done to a woman, especially a woman so closely linked with her sexuality, leads to victim-blaming. Because we see her “asking for it” in one sphere, and we transpose that onto another.

The Paris robbery has always turned into blaming Kim; blaming her robbery on her flaunting her wealth and life on Snapchat. But it needs to turn into a conversation on how we view women. How we shame and condemn women for owning their womanness; how we get angry about it. How we think, maybe in the darkest recesses of our inhumanity, that she had this coming.

Kim Kardashian did not have this coming. No amount of flaunting ever necessitates robbery or assault. She did nothing to deserve this. And as painful as I’m sure this reliving was for Kim, it was valuable. This is a woman who has an unparalleled platform and access. And instead of shying away from it, she used it for the broader good. She’s (hopefully) changing the way we talk about survivors of assault. Not with victim-blaming but with empathy and understanding.

“I took a tragic, horrific experience and did not let it diminish me,” said Kim on Twitter after the episode had aired. “Rather grew and evolved and allowed the experience to teach me.”

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celebrity, pop culture

THE PATHOS OF ROB KARDASHIAN

I might be in a twelve-person minority, but I’ve been watching Rob & Chyna. I don’t know why, I think I hate it. I don’t know what’s the worst: the blurred/pop art-y effect on transitions or the fact that it’s Rob. It might be the latter. Maybe if the show was just Chyna. It would be better. Or, best option: you drop both, and it’s just a sitcom with King Cairo and Nanny Joy. And occasional appearances from that hot guy who always hangs out with Chyna (is he, like, her trainer?) and Chyna’s mother, Tokyo Toni. Omg, I just realized that it’s “Chyna” and “Tokyo.” Appropriation?

As a long time KUWTK­ watcher, I’ve witnessed the evolution of Rob. Remember when he was a model? Remember when he was dating a Cheetah girl? Remember when he had a better ass than Kim?

We saw his steady decline into depression as he gained more and more weight, until he became a recluse in Khloe’s house for the last three years. Then, through the grapevine, we hear that he started dating Blac Chyna, and he slowly-slowly-slowly starts making appearances on KUWTK.

I really wanted to like Rob, but he’s become such a reprehensible, two-dimensional character that it’s almost impossible. I try to rationalize it as depression-based, but I feel like I’m allowed to say this: Being depressed is not an excuse for being a shitty guy. I have depression and anxiety, but you just buck up. It sucks and it’s hard, but Rob’s actions should not be excused by his illnesses.

I’m talking about, of course, his most recent actions: leaking Kylie’s private phone number on Twitter. He hasn’t taken it down, and she’s probably since changed her number, but the ugliness is burned into the brain of pop culture.

The incident: Apparently Rob was pissed that his sisters were throwing two separate baby showers—he and Chyna apparently haven’t spoken in months—and they didn’t invite Chyna to his shower. Btw, she knew about the separate showers and thus probably knew that she wasn’t going to his. But Rob, the kween of overreacting, decided to go ahead and publish Kylie’s phone number.

In a weird way, it’s a perverse parallel of Kim exposing Taylor via SnapChat. Both come after perceived wrongdoing, both were attempts at exposure and humiliation. But Kim’s retaliation was supported by a backbone of righteous retribution: Taylor was lying, and it was affecting Kim’s husband and her own reputation. Rob’s reeks of pettiness, in a way that the Kardashian-Jenners never show publicly. Maybe they are petty, but their images are so carefully cultivated that that slips through.

On Rob & Chyna, Rob plays so flatly, a depressed guy so clearly uncomfortable in his skin, so unenthused with having a child, so unenthused with everything. He’s so obviously putting on this act, dropping his cut-glass Calabasas accent and talking like he didn’t graduate high school. Rob, you might not have gone to college, but you’re from Hidden Hills, California—stop talking like that. Use proper grammar. He just wants to fit in, and it makes me want to hit him.

In literature, there’s this device that’s employed called “pathos.” It’s the word from which “pathetic” is derived. Pathos invokes a strong emotion, usually sympathy. And that’s what Rob is to me—pathetic. He pulls this twisted emotion out of me, revulsion coiled around aching sympathy, strung through with lip-sneering annoyance. He’s pathetic, and I want to be empathetic, but what he’s doing is so shady and petty and small that it’s nearly impossible.

From a literature sense, the “character” of Rob is deeply fascinating. The only boy; the heir. More sensitive than all his sisters, and falling susceptible to the fame. Trying to claw his way back to that golden place, the elusive upper echelon where his sisters reside. Getting a warped version of what he wanted: notoriety instead of fame, money instead of happiness. Lashing out in a cry for attention. Helpless. Hopeless.

And if this were literature, I would hope for a redemption arc. I would hope that Rob is salvageable, that this anger that seems to be burning a hole through his skin can be quelled. Because otherwise, he’ll blow up like a social media supernova.

Depression can’t be cured by any amount of money. It takes time and sympathy and therapy and work. But as Tokyo Toni pointed out in the Fourth of July episode of Rob & Chyna, they don’t have some of the issues that most people struggle with. They have plenty of money; they are in stable homes. They [Rob and Chyna] have issues that are possible to overcome.

At a certain point, to get better, you have to make the active choice to seek it out. And if that moment won’t be rapidly arriving with the birth of their baby, I don’t know what will.

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pop culture, Review, television

Review of REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK FINALE: THE UNRAVELING OF LUANN

Grade: A (but not an A+ because it’s still disgusting and sad)

There are a few episodes of reality television where the “reality” and reality blur together uncomfortably and you realize that these people are, like, really fucking messed up. The episode of Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami where Scott smashes a mirror is one. And the finale of this season’s Real Housewives of New York City is another. The drama was so close, so hideous, and so tangible that it almost felt scripted. But it was real in the ugliest way.

We open up back in Miami, where the producers cattle-prodded the Housewives into going because Mohegan Sun sucked and Bethenny was bleeding too profusely to go to Mexico (I never thought I would be angry at vaginas for having their own storylines in RHONY and having those storylines impede my promise at a dramatic vacay). Bethenny, whose jawline is really cute now, has just told Luann that she has a photo of Tom and some woman making out. AT THE REGENCY. WHICH I’M ASSUMING IS A BAR.

Side “bar” (ha?): These women and the inhabitants of their social spheres inhabit only, like, three places in Manhattan: Boutique the club, The Regency Bar, and Sonja’s vagina. The last one has late checkout, so it’s particularly popular for the late-risers.

Anywayanywayanyway, Luann refuses to believe Bethenny and oscillates rapidly between swooning onto the ground like a Southern Belle, fake-vomiting, and shouting, “TOM’S MADLY IN LOVE WITH ME.” Reminder: they have been dating for four weeks and engaged for one. Luann says that she “knows” he’s the one. FOUR WEEKS.

For her part, Bethenny does truly seem remorseful, which is a little too late. The entire season, Bethenny has been a raging psychopath (not a diss, just a fact) and so mean to Jules, so I find it a little weird that this is the thing that she’s in literal tears about. After she tells Lu, the camera shows her sitting in bed, lying in bed, and drinking straight from the Skinnygirl bottle. Great sutured advertising, btw Bravo!!

The entire time (all four weeks) that Luann and Tom have been together, the women have said that Luann is in love with being in love, and in love with the hype. And when she whispers to Bethenny, haggard and old and tired, “Don’t do this to me,” it’s almost as if she’s asking Bethenny, “Don’t do this to me. Don’t ruin my storyline.” I know that’s harsh, but I think it’s also true. Luann is an honestly awful person. I don’t want her to be unhappy, but I also think that this is a natural progression of her storyline.

This episode was, for the first thirty minutes, too close and ugly and weird and not-good drama. Luann’s in a tizzy, Bethenny’s inconsolable, Ramona is getting very close to people’s faces and screaming, “I FOUND OUT THAT MARIO WAS CHEATING FROM PAGE SIX.” It’s a lot.

And then, when Luann is in the bathroom after the bomb has been dropped and she’s been talking with Tom, you see the wildness recoil and something more calculated take its place. Reality TV “reality.”

However, before we get into the whole problematic of it all, I just have one moment that is perfect. Luann, this entire time while she’s been spinning out, has been texting Tom via voice call. Meaning, she speaks into Siri and Siri types out a text message. TO REMIND US THAT THESE WOMEN ARE ELDERLY.

Luann, in her text to Tom: “How could you do this to me. Question mark.” BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO VERBALIZE PUNCTUATION. A moment of levity.

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Source: Bravo TV// “How could you do this to me. Question mark.”

After she’s freaked out, Luann does the classic horrible move of getting back together with Tom and shooting up Bethenny like a trussed-up turkey on Thanksgiving. Why is Bethenny so involved with Luann’s business? Why is she gunning for Tom? Why did she fact-check?

The last one makes me actually annoyed. Bethenny rigorously fact-checked and made sure that her information was solid before coming to Luann. LUANN SEES THAT AS SHADY. LUANN, YOUR FIANCE IS PLAYING TONSIL-HOCKEY WITH A COUGAR AT THE REGENCY. GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT.

Luann’s darkest moment, when you glimpse the depths of her denial and delusion, comes when she tries to believe her own lies. She says they had a fight, he went to the Regency, and met up with a girl whom he had not seen in a while. She was, according to Luann, “of course ready, willing, and able to be there for him. And, you know, Tom fell into her clutches.”

And right there, more than any other moment in the episode, is when I decided that I hate Luann. Because someone who blames other women for the cheating of her fiance, who forgives the man but slut-shames the other women, is so beyond anti-feminist that it’s disgusting. Women like Luann are so willing to believe their own narratives, that men are gullible and fall into the traps of women, that they take back cheaters time and time again because “that’s just their nature.” Tom can’t help it. UM TOM COULD HELP IT. AND HE’LL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. Luann will keep making excuses for him because to not make excuses would be to give up the fantasy and the narrative of “Happy wife, happy life.” And that makes me so sad, that people are willing to sacrifice so much for the facade of a good life.

Luann does a bunch of shitty other stuff, but all in the haze of acting for the storyline. She’s gone and cracked, and it shows. During Bethenny’s Mexican fiesta party, appropriation to the max, the women are discussing the $10K pinata (I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN) that Bethenny got them, when Luann marches up, taps on Bethenny’s shoulder and says, “STOP TALKING ABOUT ME AND TOM.” She obviously believes in the reality tv formula that a group of women talking must be gossiping. It’s so obviously her trying to start drama and her blind belief that these women really care that I had to laugh. I didn’t want to. I HAD to.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 6.52.39 PM.png

Source: Bravo TV// What’s sadder: Jules’ belief her marriage will succeed or her denim lewk?

This finale was one of the darkest I’ve ever seen, from the glimpses of turbulent pain in Jules’ eyes as she says that she hopes hers and Michael’s eighth anniversary will be lucky for their marriage, knowing full well that in the time of the testimonial filming, her relationship has already headed for divorce. The blind faith of Dorinda. The magic eyes of Ramona. Sonja looked amazing, but she always does. The upcoming knowledge of what Carole will wear to the Reunion. All SUPER dark stuff, you guys.

And at the center of the tornado, in a circle of belying calm, are Bethenny and Luann. Their friendship in tatters, and Bethenny’s utter disbelief that Luann could attack her for Bethenny’s probably first, and last, attempt at benevolent, no-strings-attached do-gooding. Luann will choose her LuMan every time, and the rest of the girls are just collateral damage.

I typed this all on my new LAPTOP, so I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet, but I wanted to put up content. Also my BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW #TWENTYFUN. Ugh I hate myself for that hashtag, but I won’t delete it. I need to learn from my shame.

Favorite Moments:

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  • Bethenny screaming at a waiter to never serve vegetarian ceviche in her presence again.
  • Luann: “Me and Tom are doing our own therapy. People tell us to go to a therapist, I say, Why?”
  • Everyone loving Adam’s new haircut. It’s cute. It’s not that cute.
  • Sonja being confused by food and reminding us, yet again, that she and Tom were lovers and that her current boyfriend gets his rocks off to antique napkins.
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Humor, Life, Love & Romance

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TRY TO BE HIP

In the Splash Zone.

“Okay, so take a candid photo of me looking away, but I want to be laughing, and I want to look thin,” I say, punching the emphasis on the last clause, hoping to impress the very dire nature of having a Thinstagram (making that happen?) onto JR, who is not exactly up to the onerous task but is the only person who is sitting across from me, thus giving him the ability to angle the camera in a flattering way.

In the swampy air of the bar, sitting on a reclaimed church pew and in a $10 Uniqlo shirt, I swivel towards Loren, because in this “candid” photo, she’s the one I’m “laughing” with. Sweaty fingers curl around the sweating glass, and as I turn and dive into the first “pose”, the cup slips out of my fingers. The G&T contents douse my left leg but most goes directly into Loren’s crotch as the cup bounces off her thighs and rolls into the nether regions of the Brooklyn bar floor.

JR was kind enough to capture my immediate shock and mortification, so here is that photo.

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Source: Danny McCarthy

After mopping up the church pew and Loren’s vagina, we sat back down and listened to a sixty-five-year-old man backed up by a black woman in Casual Friday realness and a drummer in a Los Pollos Hermanos t-shirt and wedding ring.

Do you remember in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Aberforth Dumbledore was introduced and you were like “Oh wow, there’s someone who’s an even bigger old hippie than Albus Dumbledore?” This lead singer was the Aberforth to Bernie Sanders’s Albus.

Thirty minutes previous.

Sandwiched between Loren and JR and heavily aware that I’m blocking Cool Black Girl in Red Braids and Snapback from seeing the band we came to see, I’m staring at Hot Lead Singer. He’s lean in the way that all indie singers are, with large capable hands and artistic veins tracing up his smooth forearms. He croons into the microphone, the bulb of which nuzzles his hooked nose. The way he sings feels authentic enough, but it’s like watching a TV show of what an indie band should look like. The low, gravelly voice, the scrunched eyes, the intensity. The overlarge Hawaiian shirt open over a sharp-clavicled chest and clashing printed shorts.

As the sweat pools in my lower back, I realize that this could be my future. Dark, swampy Brooklyn bars, JR and Loren, making eye contact with cute boys in polo shirts. Sweating glasses of amoretto sours and clinking bottles of Blue Moon. The wreathing aroma of someone’s last blunt, the ember of which is probably scattered on the front stoop. For the first time, after the initial awkwardness fades, this feels like it could become something grounded in our reality.

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Source: Danny McCarthy// Be honest, is this an Instagram or a THINstagram??

I’m graduating in less than a year. In less than a year, I’ll have to be figuring out my plan for the next few months. If I stay in New York, manage to get a job, and eventually scrape enough money together to move out, I could make this—standing in bars, listening to alt bands, black tees and light-wash denim, gin and tonics splashing onto my shoes—into a life.

Back at Splashgate.

But this is what I get for trying to be a hip Brooklynite: drinkless and sitting next to someone whose vagina is wet because of me (yes, I hear it too. It’s a hilarious joke, but focus on Splashgate).

And when I think I’m all cool and hip, I remember that I ate a Frosty in the car on the way over, and that I still can’t properly pronounce “February.” And these are things—I’m imagining—real adults can do. Not the Frosty part; everyone loves a good fucking Frosty.

Trying to plan for the future feels a little premature when I still feel like such a kid. I mean, all around me, people are growing up, but I think it’s a mark of still being in school—and in that school mindset—that I see myself as a kid. I work with seven-year-olds, and really, their frame of mind is not that different than mine. I have a slighter firmer grasp on economics and a better appreciation for logic, but other than that, we’re the same.

*****

Anywayanywayanyway, this post has been sitting in my “Minimized” folder for almost a week, and I didn’t plan ahead for a blog today—spoiler, I write them ahead of time—so I figured I would just publish this one. Also I’m gonna do a quickie bonus post either today or some other time, of an article I thought was funny, but a little sparse. Kind of like a bald comedian—eyoooooo.

Literally what was I talking about?

BYE.

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