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Old 10-04-06   #1
JellyBrat
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Manson, Nihilism and Sheep, Oh My!

Hello everyone!

This is my first post on the forum, so please be gentle(ish)!

I’ve only recently joined, but I admire the way that members of DF aren’t afraid to get their teeth into volatile topics….so here goes!

Last night I was watching “The Manson Family” film/documentary with my boyfriend. Having seen it before, he told me that it was food for thought because you could really begin to see the participants’ point of view, and sympathise with them.

Well I sat through it ( with an open mind and knowing nothing much about the Manson murders etc beforehand – this was one of the reasons I wanted to see it) and definitely did not sympathise.

Quick definition: “Sympathy” (in my view) = having emotive and/or intellectual synergy with a person or persons as a consequence of “getting inside their head” or understanding their stance/viewpoint.

The reason I did not have sympathy was because I cannot understand the “sheep-mentality” of certain human beings. I myself have always been an outsider, and I like to think of myself as a free-thinker. Of course, this isn’t to say that I’m not influenced to any degree by anybody or anything – but it does mean that my bottom line is my own personal rationality.

In “The Manson Family”, it seemed to me like all of Manson’s “followers” were exactly that: People who had given up thinking for themselves (or perhaps they never could?) in favour of letting somebody else make huge decisions for them. I’m not denying that Manson was a charismatic figure, or that these people chose him as a leader because he reflected feelings and ideals that they already harboured to some degree. However, what I am saying is that there are the leaders (the people who think independently and are for the most part uninfluenced by current trends or modes) and the followers (those who rely on leaders and who are pretty much defined by current trends or modes). In my view there isn’t really a middle ground – you will ultimately end up in one camp or the other, depending on your actions.

Then my boyfriend got pissy because he thought I was calling him a sheep….

Then he said that woops – it was the philosophy behind the whole thing that he sympathised with, not the people themselves: That is to say, he sympathises with nihilism. Something else to think about! I only did a little nihilism as part of my degree, but from what I can remember it basically advocates that morals are necessarily subjective, and that no objective constructs exist. Well if that’s the case then why on earth did these people treat Manson as an objective moral construct that couldn’t be questioned?! Or is that just tragic human irony creeping in again?


So (if you managed to get through all of those disgustingly convoluted paragraphs) really I’ve got two questions that I’d love some help with!

1) Could the Manson followers be “sympathised” with, or not, and why?

2) How does nihilism fit in, and could you give me some more info on the philosophy behind it generally?




x Jelly
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Old 10-04-06   #2
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First off, the Manson murders were really a result of Charles' failed attempts at music. (It's a theory...one I whole-heartedly agree with). Did the documentary cover that the drummer for the Beach Boys was a family member and tried to get Manson a record deal? It didn't happen...and, as a result, many deaths involved. For example, the Sharon Tate murders...well, Sharon Tate's neighbor was a record producer (or something like that) for the Beach Boys who denied Manson a contract...just so happened, he wasn't home...but Sharon Tate was.

NOW...onto the philosophy.

Could Manson followers be sympathised with? Yes and no. I think it really depends on your philosophical outlook. I being an existentialist (which is pre-nihilistic) would say yes. If murdering was on their agenda, if it encompassed a part of their self, then by all means they should've murdered. But do I agree with their rationale? Again, yes and no. The whole "sheep" people ordeal is something we humans subcomciously see everyday. Some people are wolves, some people are sheep, and some people are...well, farmers, sheep dogs, whatever. And as you said, you're either a leader or a follower in any class. But rather than look at it from a societal point of view (for, in that sense 90% are followers), why not look at it from personal point of view. Do you blindly follow, or openly follow? Or do you lead...or, whatever. But the sheep view...yes, most people are sheep. But that doesn't mean they should be exterminated...(although, some of personal views contradict this).

And Nihilism...??? Well, I'm an existentialist (and nihilism is the bastard child of exitentialism) and part of what you said partaining to morality isn't necessarily a nihilistic thought. It was the existentialists that first considered morals to be nothing more than subjective aspect of humanity's evolution of knowledge. As Nietzsche once said: Moral's only exist to cage the animal within man. Morals help keep us in control and help form tighter societal bonds.

Anywho...it's early in the morning, I'm tired, and I'm going to be late for work...so, I don't if anything I said is clear or not...I'll check back later and see if anyone else has anything to add.
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Old 10-04-06   #3
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Old 10-04-06   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyBrat View Post
Hello everyone!

This is my first post on the forum, so please be gentle(ish)!

I’ve only recently joined, but I admire the way that members of DF aren’t afraid to get their teeth into volatile topics….so here goes!

Last night I was watching “The Manson Family” film/documentary with my boyfriend. Having seen it before, he told me that it was food for thought because you could really begin to see the participants’ point of view, and sympathise with them.

Well I sat through it ( with an open mind and knowing nothing much about the Manson murders etc beforehand – this was one of the reasons I wanted to see it) and definitely did not sympathise.

Quick definition: “Sympathy” (in my view) = having emotive and/or intellectual synergy with a person or persons as a consequence of “getting inside their head” or understanding their stance/viewpoint.

The reason I did not have sympathy was because I cannot understand the “sheep-mentality” of certain human beings. I myself have always been an outsider, and I like to think of myself as a free-thinker. Of course, this isn’t to say that I’m not influenced to any degree by anybody or anything – but it does mean that my bottom line is my own personal rationality.

In “The Manson Family”, it seemed to me like all of Manson’s “followers” were exactly that: People who had given up thinking for themselves (or perhaps they never could?) in favour of letting somebody else make huge decisions for them. I’m not denying that Manson was a charismatic figure, or that these people chose him as a leader because he reflected feelings and ideals that they already harboured to some degree. However, what I am saying is that there are the leaders (the people who think independently and are for the most part uninfluenced by current trends or modes) and the followers (those who rely on leaders and who are pretty much defined by current trends or modes). In my view there isn’t really a middle ground – you will ultimately end up in one camp or the other, depending on your actions.

Then my boyfriend got pissy because he thought I was calling him a sheep….

Then he said that woops – it was the philosophy behind the whole thing that he sympathised with, not the people themselves: That is to say, he sympathises with nihilism. Something else to think about! I only did a little nihilism as part of my degree, but from what I can remember it basically advocates that morals are necessarily subjective, and that no objective constructs exist. Well if that’s the case then why on earth did these people treat Manson as an objective moral construct that couldn’t be questioned?! Or is that just tragic human irony creeping in again?


So (if you managed to get through all of those disgustingly convoluted paragraphs) really I’ve got two questions that I’d love some help with!

1) Could the Manson followers be “sympathised” with, or not, and why?

2) How does nihilism fit in, and could you give me some more info on the philosophy behind it generally?




x Jelly
No offense but you should break up with your boyfriend, he sounds like a moron and a simpleton.
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Old 10-04-06   #5
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Thanks for your thoughts and comments Sixx!

That's very interesting about the whole record contract theory: They did show how Manson's music was pretty crappy and thus no deal, but didn't shop that as a reason for the murders. Sounds feasible to me tho - I'm a musician and I know i'd be pissed off! (although possibly not to that extreme!).


Could you point me towards a good book or site that goes into this stuff in more detail? I mistrust film and TV as far as factual clarity goes, and the documentary itself wasn't much more than a mish-mash of artsiness, pseudo-philosophy and gore.


Suppose I'd better read up on my existentialism as well - again, any suggestions?



Quote:
No offense but you should break up with your boyfriend, he sounds like a moron and a simpleton

Wow, Billy - I'm impressed. Did you actually bother to pick up a thesaurus, take fifteen minutes to locate the word STOOPID and pick out those big grown-up words? When you could have just said: "No offense, but you should break up with your boyfriend, he sounds like a Billy the Kidd and a Billy the Kidd."

Hmmmm......but maybe that joke was a bit too over your head. Taunting thick people is a lot like trying to make a whore orgasm - 9 times out of 10 there's just no response.


x Jelly
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Old 10-04-06   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyBrat View Post
Thanks for your thoughts and comments Sixx!

That's very interesting about the whole record contract theory: They did show how Manson's music was pretty crappy and thus no deal, but didn't shop that as a reason for the murders. Sounds feasible to me tho - I'm a musician and I know i'd be pissed off! (although possibly not to that extreme!).


Could you point me towards a good book or site that goes into this stuff in more detail? I mistrust film and TV as far as factual clarity goes, and the documentary itself wasn't much more than a mish-mash of artsiness, pseudo-philosophy and gore.


Suppose I'd better read up on my existentialism as well - again, any suggestions?






Wow, Billy - I'm impressed. Did you actually bother to pick up a thesaurus, take fifteen minutes to locate the word STOOPID and pick out those big grown-up words? When you could have just said: "No offense, but you should break up with your boyfriend, he sounds like a Billy the Kidd and a Billy the Kidd."

Hmmmm......but maybe that joke was a bit too over your head. Taunting thick people is a lot like trying to make a whore orgasm - 9 times out of 10 there's just no response.


x Jelly
A bit defensive, I assume you agree with my assessment.
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Old 10-04-06   #7
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A bit defensive, I assume you agree with my assessment.
Not at all - I just can't stand you. I've seen the way you treat people on this forum who simply have a differing opinion to you, but what offends me most about you is that you struggle to string a logical train of thought together 90% of the time. So if you don't have anything intelligent to say regarding the questions I asked (which I severly doubt) then I suggest you fuck off.
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Old 10-04-06   #8
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Originally Posted by Billy the Kidd View Post
A bit defensive, I assume you agree with my assessment.
Everyone have jokes like you??
*yams*

I really like humor...
lool
Oh well...
Nice to meet you
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Old 10-04-06   #9
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Not at all - I just can't stand you. I've seen the way you treat people on this forum who simply have a differing opinion to you, but what offends me most about you is that you struggle to string a logical train of thought together 90% of the time. So if you don't have anything intelligent to say regarding the questions I asked (which I severly doubt) then I suggest you fuck off.
Hahaha... I love you uppity Brit bitches who can use more words than like and Duh like most American women... I look forward to making you cry eventually
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Old 10-04-06   #10
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Stupid

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I look forward to making you cry eventually


Cry with mocking laughter perhaps


Shit you're boring
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Old 10-04-06   #11
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ah sheep hmmm

first on the subject of sympathy as it pertains to these individuals: you could be sympathetic to there plite in hundreds of diffrent ways. You as an indivdual made the choice to not be sympathtic because your value system puts a high regard on "free thinking" (something that is a joke at best but ill save that for now)

now too sheep:

How are these people sheep? The herd follows a moral compass dominated by a primary principle of thou shall not kill another herd member. Does not the act of killing another person demonstrate "free thinking", going against the herd, leading in a direction not typicaly representative of the herd?

For the sake of discussion: your inablity to sympatize with them demonstrates a lack of "free thinking" on your part. You are demonstrating an inabailty to comprehend individuals going against the herd
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Old 10-04-06   #12
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Cry with mocking laughter perhaps


Shit you're boring
I will hand it to your, you are slighter sharper than most "alternative, freethinking, gothic" bitches, but that still doesnt make you original babes.
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Old 10-04-06   #13
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Originally Posted by JellyBrat View Post
Hello everyone!

This is my first post on the forum, so please be gentle(ish)!

I’ve only recently joined, but I admire the way that members of DF aren’t afraid to get their teeth into volatile topics….so here goes!

Last night I was watching “The Manson Family” film/documentary with my boyfriend. Having seen it before, he told me that it was food for thought because you could really begin to see the participants’ point of view, and sympathise with them.

Well I sat through it ( with an open mind and knowing nothing much about the Manson murders etc beforehand – this was one of the reasons I wanted to see it) and definitely did not sympathise.

Quick definition: “Sympathy” (in my view) = having emotive and/or intellectual synergy with a person or persons as a consequence of “getting inside their head” or understanding their stance/viewpoint.

The reason I did not have sympathy was because I cannot understand the “sheep-mentality” of certain human beings. I myself have always been an outsider, and I like to think of myself as a free-thinker. Of course, this isn’t to say that I’m not influenced to any degree by anybody or anything – but it does mean that my bottom line is my own personal rationality.

In “The Manson Family”, it seemed to me like all of Manson’s “followers” were exactly that: People who had given up thinking for themselves (or perhaps they never could?) in favour of letting somebody else make huge decisions for them. I’m not denying that Manson was a charismatic figure, or that these people chose him as a leader because he reflected feelings and ideals that they already harboured to some degree. However, what I am saying is that there are the leaders (the people who think independently and are for the most part uninfluenced by current trends or modes) and the followers (those who rely on leaders and who are pretty much defined by current trends or modes). In my view there isn’t really a middle ground – you will ultimately end up in one camp or the other, depending on your actions.

Then my boyfriend got pissy because he thought I was calling him a sheep….

Then he said that woops – it was the philosophy behind the whole thing that he sympathised with, not the people themselves: That is to say, he sympathises with nihilism. Something else to think about! I only did a little nihilism as part of my degree, but from what I can remember it basically advocates that morals are necessarily subjective, and that no objective constructs exist. Well if that’s the case then why on earth did these people treat Manson as an objective moral construct that couldn’t be questioned?! Or is that just tragic human irony creeping in again?


So (if you managed to get through all of those disgustingly convoluted paragraphs) really I’ve got two questions that I’d love some help with!

1) Could the Manson followers be “sympathised” with, or not, and why?

2) How does nihilism fit in, and could you give me some more info on the philosophy behind it generally?




x Jelly
well, i think you answer your first question yourself: you say that to sympathi(se)(ze) with someone you have to be able to get into their head, and admit you can't understand the sheep mentality. so it's obvious that you can't sympathi(se)(ze) but those who hypothetically can understand the sheep mentality have that ability. i guess then the real question is whether anyone worth counting can understand the sheep mentality. i, for one, like to think i can sympathi(se)(ze) with them, but perhaps it's not real sympathy, in the sense that i do hold myself above them. you see i think to symoathi(se)(ze) with somoeone you have to be at most their equal. otherwise it's pity, not sympathy. it's really a question of connotation.

i'm not really sure what nihilism is all about, i have a vague idea but 666 definitely answered that question better than i can hope to.

and as far as billy the kidd goes, i would like to recommend you look past the abrasive, offensive and ass-holish image he throws up and reali(se)(ze) that he's only saying what lots of us are thinking. he's attacked me in the past, and probably everyone, but i've come to respect his candor. i'll admit it's tempting to want to kick him in the pills, but then again it does say something when you feel the need to argue with him about something he obviously can't really know better than you. i'll be honest with you, i think billy might be on to something once again: from the one episode, taken out of context, i wouldn't compare your boyfriend to, say, descartes (depends on whether you like descartes or not, i guess). my point is that if you know you're boyfriend's not a moron, don't waste time defending him and don't even listen to billy. unless you were getting defensive because deep down you do agree with billy, but then, it's realyl none of my business.

btw i like the thread topic. post often! i love fresh ideas (or at least freshly rehashed) ideas in the philosophy forum as often as i can get them.
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Old 10-04-06   #14
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Okay, no more Billy vs' everyone stuff please. Let's move on.

To speak more on the "sheep mentality." I don't know much about Manson's philosophical approach, but if it encorporated a sense of nihilism, then I can possibly explain it through a more existential approach. As I stated earlier, I don't know much about nihilism other than it's birthing from existentialist and absurdists (to an extent).

Anywho...the main discussion amongst existentialist, indeed its very philosophical outlook, is concerning the individual to the upmost extreme. Who am I compared to you? And vice versa. Now, through all the babble, one is bound to come across the idea that: being that there are no 100% gaurantees with life, one must evaluate the aspects of life. I have no proof that I exist a full 100%, but if I had to evaluate the probability of my existence, I'd say it's about 99.9999999999999999999%. But what does that tell me about you? Well, I think you (JellyBrat) probably exist as well. But, I don't know if you're a person or an intelligent animal or alien or a computer...I don't know if you're really male or female...or any of that other jive. So, if I had to evaluate the probability of your existence (for indeed, I know you exist in some manner), I'd have to give it a 99.977777777%. An evalutation of a 99.98888888888% would be reservered for individuals such as those you are "close with" (i.e. family, lovers, friends). There's a good chance they exist, but there's no gaurantee. And even as such, do you really know your boyfriend? No, for you are not your boyfriend.

So, how does that correlate to the "sheep mentality?" From an existential approach, one is left to look at all its subjects in relation to its objective sense of worth. For example: I am a male, I am 25, I am an American, I live in Ohio, I have two parents who aren't divorced, I smoke, I drink, I love metal music, I play instruments, I write splatterpunk, I like chinese food, I prefer cats over dogs, and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All those tiny little things we rarely think about make up who we are. But even then, who are we? The man I'll be 20 years from now isn't that man I am today...so, who am I?

In order to better grasp this ordeal, we often seek out individuals who share similiar subjects. Cliques, lovers, friends, etc. All those who don't fit within this mold...well, they're sense of worth (to my objective approach) is obviously less. For example, what the fuck do I care about people living in Greenland?

This is why Nietzsche (perhaps the greatest philosopher ever, and indeed the most important of existential thinkers) was used and abused by the Nazi party. (FYI, Nietzsche died in 1899 I do believe...so, obviously he wasn't a Nazi...however, some Nietzsche's earlier works did objectify the awesomeness that was the German people...but his rationale was like I stated above...Germans are great because he is a German, and not English, or Japanese...like with like).

Anywho...as we have no gaurantee that anyone exists, but the probability that someone else exists is lower in percentage; and being that the subjects are what define us and we seek to find those of similarity....what sense of worth do others have? Obviously, less.
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Old 10-04-06   #15
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You all type alot, so here is my two cents:

1. Manson was not a nihilist. Here: "Nihilism is a philosophical position which argues that the world, and especially human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. Nihilists generally assert some or all of the following: there is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator, a "true morality" is unknown, and secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has no truth, and no action is known to be preferable to any other." As you can see, Manson is in no way a Nihilist since he believed that he was god/Jesus and that the Beatles were his angels.

2. So a person who follows a "leader" is a sheep? What would you call all forms of religious people then? All of them follow some variety of a "leader", from a priest/pope, to an unconfirmable "god". At least they were following a man who they could see and speak directly to. Even if the man was not what he said. Also, you gotta take into consideration the time that this whole thing took place. Back then people were a lot more open minded, and a lot more trusting, and were takin' a load of drugs. Some people say Manson kept the family high out of their gourds most of the time to make them more complacent. Who knows, I wasn't there.
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Old 10-05-06   #16
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You are demonstrating an inabailty to comprehend individuals going against the herd
Interesting conclusion theBurningBush, but I think you've missed my point a little. I wasn't talking about "The Herd" in a general, macroscopic sense, but to this case in particular, whereby it seemed to me (from this documentary where they showed interview clips, at least) that the indiviuduals involved had not properly thought through their own value systems, their garbled reasoning made no sense and they seemed to be being "lead by the nose" by Manson. If they had, IMO, thought through everything properly as individuals with good reasoning for their actions, even if that meant deciding to kill, then no - I honestly wouldn't have had a problem with that.


Thanks for the pep talk Apostate87 (and encouragment on posting)! You're right my first instinct was to ignore Billy but then i thought fuck it, might as well make my first thread a flamey one! I'll ignore him in the future: he's probably just trying to push a bad-attitude persona online because he's really timid in real life or something. Love and chocolate to you, Billy!


Cheers for more info on existentialism Sixx - it reminds me a bit of Idealism actually, except extrapolated a bit to include other minds or beings and their moral worth. Very cool! Thanks for tying it in with Manson too - I can at least see where he was coming from more clearly now.

Quote:
"Nihilism is a philosophical position which argues that the world, and especially human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. Nihilists generally assert some or all of the following: there is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator, a "true morality" is unknown, and secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has no truth, and no action is known to be preferable to any other."

Thanks for that Tainted Jesus - I agree with you people were easily influenced back then due to less cynicism, more drugs etc, but that doesn't mean that its not happening today as well: religion being an obvious form of that, as you pointed out. I do believe that people who follow any sort of belief system are sheep to a degree: but what really counts is where they stop relying on outside influences and start using their own instincts, to make their own custom-version belief system (which is essentially what i do).


x Jelly
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Old 10-05-06   #17
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Ooohhh wait, I can be a pmpous alternative fuck too who discussion ridiculous cliche topics! Watch I wrote a poem for you:

Damn this tortured nihlistic life experience, black blood dribbles from my lips. A vampyre kissed by the moon, fuck the sheep, for I am goth, nevermore.... nevermore.

~Superhunkantiprepgothboy.
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Old 10-05-06   #18
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Billy, try contributing something to the discussion please.
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Old 10-05-06   #19
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Originally Posted by sixxx(sic)six View Post
Billy, try contributing something to the discussion please.
Nah
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Old 10-05-06   #20
apostate87
kinda a douche
 
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in all fairness, 666, come on. billy contribute? do you ask it to stop raining so you don't get wet?
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