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By David Poland

Clarity On Gurus

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56 Responses to “Clarity On Gurus”

  1. SpamDooley says:

    as one of the CHUDDIES posted on Welles’ cesspool- how in the world will you obsessive freaks be able to prognosticate anything since you haven’t seen them. I mean DREAMGIRLS could so easily be PHANTOM as you well know.
    Don’t you have a woman or a man you can take out to dinner and then bang? You’d have less time to worry about who might win what. The truth is, the eventual nominees don’t obsess about this as much as you guys do. They have jobs.
    I am SPAM DOOLEY and I think Welles stinks.

  2. You’d be surprised how many contenders obsess over the Oscar season, spam.

  3. SpamDooley says:

    Actually, you’d be surprised about how many I know and how little they care.
    It is a marketing thing pure and simple.
    I am Spam Dooley and I can Canoe Can you?

  4. David Poland says:

    It’s funny, Spam… the more you write, the more clear your false front is.
    Yes, many people don’t care about the race. And many people don’t care about festivals. And many don’t care about studio politics…etc, etc, etc. Some people don’t care about movies at all. And yet, the industry keeps going and the coverage does too.
    The truth about prognostication is that seeing the movies is only a part of the equation and is, more often than not, given too much emphasis. Of course, many movies are knocked out when seen. But the personal tastes of the prognosticator, it seems to me, leads more opinion astray that anything else.
    Dreamgirls, in fact, cannot be Phantom of the Opera. The only thing that connects them in any way is that they are both musicals. Dreamgirls could dissapoint, true. But the signs continue to be pretty positive. And unlike Phantom, there is no cult of hatred direced towards the show, the author, or the director. So… dumb comparison… which is obviously more about me than about the movies.
    Why the sudden interest in my sex life, Spam? Do I need to be checking for you with some bionoculars outside my window?

  5. SpamDooley says:

    Funny. I ask questions and you ask questions. Difference is I give answers and you make smartass remarks like “Thank you for caring”
    1- I have no false front. I honestly don’t know to what you refer. And you of course will not explain.
    2- Paragraph two is side-step, something that doesn’t work for basic high school debating. People IN The film business care about films and film journalism. People IN The film festival care about the festival. My point is that most people IN the Oscar race don’t give as much of a shit as you lonely people do. Stay on point if you really want to win an argument with Spam.
    3- So your point in paragraph three COULD lead one to conclude that the relative quality of the film is irrelevant to Oscar nominations. I’d agree that the relative quality of the NOMINEES is irrelevant to who wind – hence Halle Berry wins in a garbag film. But a bad film will not make it through the nomination process in a major category.
    4- Paragraph four- stop being so narcissistic -unless that is my answer for why all the on camer shit. It is not all about you and it CAN be Phantom. Phantom is not a bad film. But NOBODY saw it. NOBODY cared. And that could EASILY happen with Dreamgirls. A BLACK film in right wing America? A musical? One that mattered on Broadway over a decade ago? I hear the ywans now.
    5- Finally last paragraph- stop with the syllogisms. My interest in your sex life is an attempt to understand why you have so much time for banality and uselessness. It’s your conscience speaking. You aren’t worthy of a stalker, Narcissus.
    I am Spam Dooley and I Heart New Orleans.

  6. You seem to have equal time to post on message boards…though I’m at the same time straining to find a point in all this bullshit. Jesus, does the internet have a long way to go…

  7. By the way, are we the Hatfields or the McCoys. I’m making T-Shirts so I gotta know. I GOTTA KNOW.

  8. David Poland says:

    1. You go by Spam Dooley. And you claim to know things you do not. How hard is that to grasp?
    2. If people in the race didn’t care substantially more than we did about the race, they wouldn’t be putting clauses in their contracts demanding campaigns for every piece of shit movie they do. They wouldn’t be meeting with HFPA. Etc, etc, etc.
    There are people who genuinely don’t care. But without the Oscar season, there would be no trade magazines anymore.
    3. Yes, bad films die. And some of those are being prognosticated about. However, some of them are also movies that have already been seen and still have “heat.”
    4. Dreamgirls could do slightly better business than Phantom and win Best Picture. The politicsof LA and NY are what matters in the awards race. Did you see Brokeback Mountain?
    5. You aren’t anywhere close to as complex, demanding, smart, kind, or honest as my conscience. If you were my conscience, I would be in sorry shape indeed.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    I’ll bite. Hey Spam, how many Oscar contenders do you personally know well enough to find out how interested they are or aren’t in the process now? No need to name names.

  10. EDouglas says:

    jeff, of the Oscar contenders I’ve interviewed in the last two weeks, none of them seemed too interested or put too much weight behind it.
    Helen Mirren gave a really funny analogy about it like being a path marked “Oscar” off the main road which looks really appealing and you head off on it without noticing that there’s another sign that says “Beware the Falling Rocks”… I’m paraphrasing a bit but that was the gist of it and probably good enough reason for her to win.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    E, I’m sure you’re right. But I’m hoping to be surprised by Spam and how many he hasn’t just interviewed, but actually _knows_ personally.

  12. Devin Faraci says:

    Ed, they all say that because they know that admitting to really wanting the statue is gauche.

  13. SJRubinstein says:

    I used to work as a reporter and would always interview the Oscar hopefuls this time of year. Uniformly, they all feigned indifference on the record as no one wants to be the next Chill Wills. The answers were always so uniform that you could tell which ones were PMK, which were BWR, etc., from what coy verbiage had been selected to make them seem as blase as possible about the whole thing.

  14. T.H.Ung says:

    There’s an entertainment reporter on KTLA (5/Tribune/CW), Sam Rubin, his wife’s name is Julie.

  15. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Spam in a can. Get real, anyone who continually blows his own horn ‘I AM SPAM’ is probably the real narcissist. Pseudonym et al. I count statue winners as friends and I will say this – they give a fuck about the race. And I would guess everyone who says they don’t and feigns indifference, you can pretty much count that as a major ‘Yes’ from their camp. (Mirren, Allen exceptions etc) It appears you finally showed your true colors Sir Spamalot. Watching E! and listening to actors yawn about the race won’t give you true insight.
    You ‘are’ SPAM DOOLEY… and that’s about it I guess.

  16. SpamDooley says:

    It has little to do with E.
    People are happy to be nominated. I agree.
    They are happy to win. Sure. Of course.
    But the whole thing is a marketing congame started 80 years ago by the moguls themselves. Bob Yari cares about being respected- he doesn’t care about a statue.
    No one MAKES a movie hoping to win awards. You cannot control the result, as Harvey found out.
    I am firmly accurate when I say that the gurus give ten times more thought to this than ANY winner.
    I am Spam Dooley and I do the Curly Shuffle.

  17. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Guru et Brutus?
    I think it’s too simplistic to say its a marketing con Spamocchio – its more akin to the worlds biggest circle jerk. I’ll concede to your guru point… there’s just no way to minimise the banality of the gurus spinning the oscar wheel months ahead of the films/ performances being seen. Actually there is… fighting over whose guru is whose?
    It’s right up there with the Celebrity Death List. What’s next MCN Weather Forecasting?

  18. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “jeff, of the Oscar contenders I’ve interviewed in the last two weeks, none of them seemed too interested or put too much weight behind it.”
    Yeah, they’re the people who in interviews go “Oh, it’s all part of the business. I just do what I love and that’s acting”. Bull, really. Sure, they love acting but they’d also love a statue because it puts more money in the coffers.
    “No one MAKES a movie hoping to win awards. You cannot control the result, as Harvey found out.”
    You obviously aren’t as cynical as me, because I can see a movie desperate for Oscars. Some of them are good and actually warrant an Oscar or two, some of them don’t.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    “No one MAKES a movie hoping to win awards.”
    Yeah, this is about the most naive thing I’ve read lately. Producers, directors, and actors aren’t going to admit to this, but every year there are at least five movies that have awards-winning as their primary reason to exist.

  20. EDouglas says:

    One has to assume that most people who make movies do so hoping first and foremost, that people will go see them, and from a financial standpoint, so that they can make back the money they spent making the movie. It’s pretty obvious that awards attention is a good way to convince people to go and see a movie where the subject might not.
    So for all the critique about having so much Oscar buzz for movies so early, it could make a big difference between movies like Last King of Scotland and The Queen making back their money, because they’re not exactly something you can sell to average American moviegoers on their premise.

  21. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Agreed that Oscar buzz helps films make money. No one is doubting that.
    But you won’t get me to agree that there aren’t some movies made purely to be awards vehicles. Or movies that could’ve been interesting, get twisted around and made “safe” because that will get them Oscars.

  22. EDouglas says:

    I can think of a couple movies that seemed to be made simply for Oscars… Cinderella Man and Seabiscuit… both of them seemed to pull out all of the age-old Oscar cliches…but only one of them pulled it off.

  23. EDouglas says:

    Oh, wait.. I guess I’m agreeing with you… you threw me off with your double negative. 🙂

  24. David Poland says:

    Yes, Spam, your credentials for assessing the amount of effort involved in various activities remain unvalidated.
    The idea that you can separate the statue from the respect it generates is, at best, inaccurate.
    Yes, the Oscars started as a marketing tool, same as the MTV Video Awards. But even though I often disagree strongly with the choices made by the group being designated as BEST anything, they are what they are. And they market territory for a lot of people and companies almost as well as cash. Almost.
    JBD – You may not care, but there are tens of millions of dollars spent in pursuit of Oscars. It is a significant slice of the industry. Out Gurus pieces are specifically marked as early (summer), pre-Toronto, and post-Toronto. These are the moments when budgets and strategies are being conceived and reconceived. We will not have a new Gurus chart again until November because there is no need until then, when all but a couple of the films will have been seen and the heat of marketing and critics awards are in full swing. That’s how it works.
    As with many things in this business, GoG is a tool. It’s not the only thing or even a central thing in the work of MCN or any of the participants. I would estimate that each person puts the 20 -30 minutes into it that seems appropriate. Like much of what I do at MCN and on this blog, folks are already in the mode of considering these things. It’s not like there is new research to do.
    I completely understand the urge to dismiss the race and the discussion of the race. But as I have often found on the web, obsession is usually in the eyes and the mind of the beholder. Even in this week, there has been more space and effort in covering this weekend’s mediocre box office than Oscars. So….

  25. SpamDooley says:

    For fuck’s sake man why is it so hard to answer the damn question? You answer a different question from the one put to you EVERY SINGLE TIME.
    IF the OSCARS are primarily a marketing tool (which they are) and IF the possible nominees don’t really care (and they don’t) that much then WHY would you and the GURUS spend all this time promoting something over which YOU have no control? This isn’t a sporting event. You probably don’t even KNOW 50 out of the 5000 members. TO WHAT END do you do this?
    I am Spam Dooley and I do Hokey Pokey Jokey!

  26. David Poland says:

    No one asked a question, Spam. Are you having a hard time understanding puctuation(question mark)
    This is a sporting event, Luncheon Meat. Players, egos, stadiums, TV deals, money. Get it now (question mark)
    Once again, you misestimate the facts in a haze of preening ignorance.
    My guess is you know more than 50 Academy members from your work. But changing bedpans at the Motion Picture Home doesn’t make you an expert on anything except shit, which you seem to enjoy spreading.
    Stealing bandwith from the infirm is just cruel, Spam. But I am happy to give you something to do now that you have been cut off from your regular chats with Jim McGreevey.
    I am David Poland and I am happy to ease Spammy’s pain!

  27. SpamDooley says:

    Wow HOMOPHOBIA from lonelydave49.
    I never thought that would be coming from somebody who does such a faggy videoblog.
    Don’t bother editing the post I’ve screengrabbed it.
    I never said I even knew ONE Academy member.
    I never said I gave a shit about the Oscars. I asked why you did, and you made a homophobic joke.
    I am Spam Dooley and I like Fire Island.

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    *Sits back, pops open a can of Monster Low-Carb, takes a swig, checjs out the action*
    Great floor show, you guys.

  29. Crow T Robot says:

    *Lazes back in the dropship next to Ripley and Newt as planet Hot Blog explodes in the distance*
    Think I’m gonna order pizza, Joe. You want anything?

  30. David Poland says:

    Homophobic? What the hell are you talking about now, Spammy?
    You make shit up… you offer untrue accusations… you make demands you have no right to… and you constantly obfuscate when you get caught in a lie or misleading statement. And now this?
    You are Spam Dooley and you are melting down into a puddle of tears.

  31. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Dave – I know why they spend so much time and money on the statues.. just wondered why you do? For kicks?
    >>>”I would estimate that each person puts the 20 -30 minutes into it that seems appropriate” < Then why do you spend thousands of words following up that 20 minutes from now til December? Kudos for the bedpan line though. Nice Uppercut.

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Crow: Chicken kickers, of course.

  33. SpamDooley says:

    right- you comment was ” But I am happy to give you something to do now that you have been cut off from your regular chats with Jim McGreevey.”
    we all know what that means
    you say it is not homophobic
    please tell every one what it means
    I am Spam Dooley and I am Strong and Invincible!

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Dave, this is a pretty good example of what we were discussing the other day: responding just makes you look like what you said you didn’t want to look like. Spam has baited you and you have fallen for it hook, line, and so on.
    Spam, towards the beginning of the blog on the subject of Oscar contenders, you said:
    “Actually, you’d be surprised about how many I know and how little they care.”
    I think we’d all like you to elaborate.

  35. T.H.Ung says:

    There you go again mcm.
    I’d love to see Spam act out on Risky Biz next time Anne does an Oscar piece, just so I can see if she rips into him.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    There I go again what?

  37. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Joe! Crow! Where the beer at?
    “I never said I even knew ONE Academy member.”
    LOL, yes you did.

  38. Sam says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to try to say something serious in this thread. Spam’s posts don’t warrant it, but the issue itself probably does.
    Oscar prognostication, especially for those not directly involved in the business of the movies, is a lot like a great many things in life. Some people have a natural passion for it, and others don’t. You can dismiss just about anything with the right rhetoric: What’s the big deal about horses racing around the track? What’s the big deal about fixing up antique motor scooters? What’s the big deal about stamp collecting? I’m not interested in any one of these things, but I think that’s *my* loss. There are people in all three of those sample fields that find the joy in them and their lives are enriched by investing in them.
    The Oscars are as easy to slap down as stamps, which are just sticky pieces of paper, right? But like stamp collecting, if you don’t get it, at least respect that others do, and find some kind of entertainment to be mined from the whole deal. I have a friend who said it this way: it’s his version of the Superbowl. Frankly, I don’t get the Superbowl at all. Some guys run around on a field with a ball. Big freaking deal. But clearly a lot of people are passionate about being involved, even if only as a spectator or a prognosticator. I let them have that joy.
    I see two primary attractions to the Oscar race. One, I love movies, and I love competition, and I love having something I actually care about to root for or against. I’m not so starry-eyed that I think the Oscars are all about being the best. I know they’re as political as not. Nonetheless, however flawed, watching the Oscars is like watching movie history happen. People still talk about “Wings” and “The Broadway Melody” from 1927 and 1929, and how many people would even remember these movies if they weren’t the first two Best Picture winners? True, they’re not the best movies from their time, but they’re representative of their times, and their awards make for an intriguing snapshot of the popular culture of the time.
    Two, the act of prognostication is a fun competitive challenge. Virtually all of us love competitions of one sort or another — if not one (I’m not into football) then another, and usually concerning those things we’re normally passionate about (movies, for me). I, like many others, host a competitive Oscar predictions game. There are no prizes except for the satisfaction of winning. I love trying to predict something that’s impossible to *perfectly* guess, but for which there are so many tips and clues you can uncover and consider. I love keeping track of my personal scores and seeing how I perform over time.
    So do a lot of people, Spam. That’s why people read and write about the Oscars. If that isn’t your thing, fine. Nobody said it had to be. But come on, show a little respect. The world is not enriched by your whining about how other people are interested in things you personally are not. Especially when your rebuttals aren’t even true. Not ONE winner cares as much about the Oscars as the prognosticators do? LOL

  39. SpamDooley says:

    So we ignore the homophobia until next time?
    We claim I said something (not one?) I did not say?
    We still avoid a simple question?
    For the next few months David and dozens of smarter people, and dummies like Wells, will all “guess” what will win Oscar. And in most cases be wrong, because they are not tuned to the inner circle.
    My question was what is the point?
    I guess the answer is the same as the IKLIPZ one- there is no point. No point at all.
    And some fools here claim that SPAM is the one with too much time on his hands?
    I am Spam Dooley and I Can’t stop thinking about tomorrow!

  40. Sam says:

    Of course you’re the one with too much time on your hands. You’ve invested more time in this thread than anybody, and you’re the one that claims *not* to care. I *wish* I had so much time as to be able to invest time in things I don’t care about.
    As for Lunch With Dave, the skits are entertaining. No further purpose needed.
    But tell me this: what’s the point of your posts here?

  41. palmtree says:

    The point: Mr. Poland’s readers care about the Oscars. As a journalist, it’s his job.

  42. SpamDooley says:

    The purpose is to try to understand and be more knowledgable about film. This is one of the best websites there are on that subject. So when retarded things like the vblogs show up I fear I am missing their ultimate purpose. If they are REALLY just to entertain, well they aren’t.
    I am Spam Dooley and I can do it working overtime.

  43. Cadavra says:

    Sam is absolutely right. Guessing the Oscars is no different than trying to pick winners at the track. We do it ’cause it’s fun, and that’s all it is–just that simple. It’s a waste of time trying to make more out of it than it actually is.
    I am Cadavra and I live to be frivolous!

  44. jeffmcm says:

    “I fear I am missing their ultimate purpose”
    Now that you know that you were not missing out on the deeper levels os sophistication, will you please give it a rest?

  45. palmtree says:

    The vlog gives the site a personal touch…it allowed us loyal readers to finally put a face and voice to the name. And yes, watching Mr. Poland’s gift of gab is entertaining for what it is.
    Sigh, can we move on now?

  46. Crow T Robot says:

    Gotta say, I’m with Spam… picking Oscars before all eligible films and performances have been tallied up is so pointless it’s borderline obnoxious. As I’ve said before, it’s akin to predicting the weather in Hawaii six months before the honeymoon.
    Beyond even that, art as competition is a straight up fallacy. Deep down we’ve always known it. But about ten years ago, the studios lost sight of that once a year joke and began making the season an extension of their big dicks. And sadly now the journalists, the folks we go to for prespective on this bullshit, are following suit.
    Enter The Gurus…

  47. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Lets end with this okay.
    Many have said
    “Guessing the Oscars is no different than trying to pick winners at the track.”
    Oh really… so you go to the track and imagine what horses will even be in the freaking race do you?
    Doh !

  48. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Ext. At the track.
    Geek: So who’s going to win today?
    GURU: Probably LONELYDAVE, SIREGO, WELLSBIATCH 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
    Geek: Are they even in this race?
    GURU: umm i don’t know. they should be.
    Geek: oh… i think I’ll wait to see the list and scratchings.
    THE END.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    JBD, your analogy would hold up better if it wasn’t for the fact that the race is already underway. The Oscar nominations are the finals but we’ve been in the preliminaries for quite some time. Think of it more like March Madness.

  50. palmtree says:

    To elaborate on Jeff’s statement, isn’t the race a two-parter? One is the race to get nominated. One is to turn the nomination into a statue. And it is news because post-Toronto there are new opinions based on new info.

  51. Crow T Robot says:

    My point is, much like the old “chicken crossing the road” question, the Oscars only make sense as a big joke. Bringing a Raymond Babbitt level of analysis to the joke will simply lead to madness.
    This is why comedians are the only ones allowed to host the thing.

  52. Sam says:

    “Beyond even that, art as competition is a straight up fallacy.” Yes, but I’m not sure that statement supports your point. The Oscars can be legitimately enjoyed as a competition separate and distinct from the artistry of the entrants. Honestly, I don’t think anybody really mistakes the Oscars for being about a declaration of artistic value. Mostly I think people are just afraid everybody *else* will make that mistake. But my opinion is that that doesn’t tend to happen. People like what they like, however the Oscars turn out, or have turned out in the past. Winning an Oscar is certainly a badge of honor, but it’s not very authoritative at all about how history will judge. The art and the competition should be separate, and mostly they are. There’s no fallacy in enjoying one, the other, both, or neither.

  53. David Poland says:

    Do you watch ’em, Crow? I’m sure not… or that would make you a hypocrite, right?
    And this idea that there is no structure to the race is false. The list of potentials is less than 35 films long and has been 85% the same since mid-summer. There is real money (tens of millions) and effort and planning and publicity and all of that being expended since last April or so. If you don’t care, so be it. But to dismiss its existence is silly.
    MCN has actually cut back on its coverage over the years. The urge to print every single scrap of info was too much. But the same reason the LAT and NYT and EW and USA Today, etc ad infinitum are chasing this rabbit (they are newer to it than we are) is why we do. It is one of the few stand-out events that draw eyeballs and passion.

  54. Crow T Robot says:

    How does watching the Oscar telecast make me a hypocrite? I thought we were talking about you and “the sin of Oscar obesssion,” which, given what you said on friday’s Iklipz thing, would make it seem like you’re the hypocrite here.
    Gosh darn it, Poland, you trapped me into a discussion I don’t really even care about! Atone motherfucker! Atone!
    I am Crow Robot and I kick the ball.

  55. I am Kris Tapley, and there is no spoon.

  56. EDouglas says:

    You know, David… I really hate it when you’re right… and I hate even more having to admit when you’re right. So I won’t say any more and let you figure out what I’m talking about on your own. 🙂
    (How’s that for cryptic?)

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

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