A Lesbian Walks into a Muslim Barbershop: The Ultimate Liberal Conundrum

 

Dinesh D’Souza posted something on Facebook about the ultimate liberal conundrum: who would liberals defend if a Muslim barber refused to give a haircut to a lesbian customer on the basis of religious beliefs? Indeed, there was a story in 2012 about a Muslim barber who refused to cut the hair of a woman because his faith forbade him from touching a woman who was not a member of his family. While this story did highlight the rift between two competing rights, adding the LGBT agenda kicks it up a notch, don’t you think?

So, who do you think would garner more support in such a showdown?

When I think about my lib friends—of which there are many—I think, if push came to shove, most would back the lesbian. The liberals that I know believe in freedom of religious expression in the same way that they believe in saying “namaste” at the end of their yoga class; they do it because it’s de rigeur, but they don’t actually hold fast to it as a core belief. If forced, I think many liberals’ dislike of organized religion would outweigh their “it’s not wrong, it’s just different” attitude towards Islam. After all, religion is a choice, but LGBT are born that way, right? If that is the thinking of liberals, perhaps not all is lost, as the threat of jihad far exceeds the threat of a street closure for a pride parade.

There are 83 comments.

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  1. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Vicryl Contessa: When I think about my Lib friends- of which there are many- I think if push came to shove, most would back the lesbian.

    Have you asked them?

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I agree that in the scenario you create they would likely back the lesbian over the Muslim, but let’s make it even harder. What if it’s a black Muslim and a white lesbian? You haven’t really created the ultimate lefty head scratcher until you’ve added race.

    • #2
  3. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    If you change the scenario and make it a nice Christian mother of four instead of a Lesbian (who could also by a NCMo4, I guess, but…) whom would Social Conservatives support and why?

    • #3
  4. carlboraca@gmail.com Inactive
    carlboraca@gmail.com
    @PleatedPantsForever

    VC – your scenario is playing out in different ways in Western Europe now (particularly Amsterdam) and is tilting the opposite of that prediction. Bruce Bawer also wrote an interesting book on what is happening there a few years ago

    • #4
  5. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar,

    I can’t speak for all SoCons, of course, but I go with the barber every time.  Freedom of association and property rights trump offended pride always.

    • #5
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Zafar:If you change the scenario and make it a nice Christian mother of four instead of a Lesbian (who could also by a NCMo4, I guess, but…) whom would Social Conservatives support and why?

    Social conservatives support freedom of association. At least this one does. The nice Christian mother of four could get her hair done elsewhere — and would probably enjoy the experience a lot more.

    I’ve been denied service for being white (in the burbs of Cleveland as a teen). Trust me, I had no desire to force the situation on the McDonald’s cashier, despite the nice black man behind me who said, “she was here first.” I just got the heck out of there.

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Randy Webster:Zafar,

    I can’t speak for all SoCons, of course, but I go with the barber every time. Freedom of association and property rights trump offended pride always.

    I actually passed a Muslim barber shop a few years ago and saw the intriguing sign:

    “No Anti-Christ Haircuts”

    I was not game to go in and inquire.

    Wrt freedom of association, do you see any benefit in people having a right to equal access to publicly sold items?

    For eg, in Australia it is illegal for land lords to discriminate between potential tenants on the basis of race.  I can see both sides of this argument – my house, I can do what I want with it vs racism is incompatible with a society of equals. What do you think?

    • #7
  8. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Pleated Pants Forever:VC – your scenario is playing out in different ways in Western Europe now (particularly Amsterdam) and is tilting the opposite of that prediction. Bruce Bawer also wrote an interesting book on what is happening there a few years ago

    Yes, what’s been happening in the Netherlands, France, and to some extent England is incredibly alarming. I’m not sure, truly, how similar our own response would be in the US. I do worry about the apathy that exists in a large part of our society. Still, the Lib friends that I have I feel pretty certain would stand up against jihadists if it came down to it, because of their dislike of organized religion. I suppose I could do some serious, academic research and pose the question on FB.

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Someone has done the left-wing hierarchy of victim groups before. Can’t remember exactly the order, but I’m pretty sure the guy willing to kill you for disagreeing with him gets top spot. As I recall, blacks are pretty low in the hierarchy because they’re so wholly owned by liberals — they can be taken for granted.

    It’s all about moral vanity though. They might say they’d support the lesbian for the reasons you mentioned, but that’s because there’s no actual consequence imposed for holding their positions. Put them in the room with the Muslim barber and the lesbian and make them the decider in front of the interested parties’ faces. That gets more interesting still.

    I think they’d tell the lesbian to find a different barber.

    • #9
  10. carlboraca@gmail.com Inactive
    carlboraca@gmail.com
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Pleated Pants Forever:VC – your scenario is playing out in different ways in Western Europe now (particularly Amsterdam) and is tilting the opposite of that prediction. Bruce Bawer also wrote an interesting book on what is happening there a few years ago

    Yes, what’s been happening in the Netherlands, France, and to some extent England is incredibly alarming. I’m not sure, truly, how similar our own response would be in the US. I do worry about the apathy that exists in a large part of our society. Still, the Lib friends that I have I feel pretty certain would stand up against jihadists if it came down to it, because of their dislike of organized religion. I suppose I could do some serious, academic research and pose the question on FB.

    One thing might be stated in the anonymity of FB and another end up happening. I think you are spot regarding intentions and statements of our friends of a different philosophical persuasion. However, if the reality of threats and intimidation happens (God forbid), things seem to break the opposite way.

    • #10
  11. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Randy Webster:Zafar,

    I can’t speak for all SoCons, of course, but I go with the barber every time. Freedom of association and property rights trump offended pride always.

    This.

    • #11
  12. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar:

    Randy Webster:Zafar,

    I can’t speak for all SoCons, of course, but I go with the barber every time. Freedom of association and property rights trump offended pride always.

    I actually passed a Muslim barber shop a few years ago and saw the intriguing sign:

    “No Anti-Christ Haircuts”

    I was not game to go in and inquire.

    Wrt freedom of association, do you see any benefit in people having a right to equal access to publicly sold items?

    For eg, in Australia it is illegal for land lords to discriminate between potential tenants on the basis of race. I can see both sides of this argument – my house, I can do what I want with it vs racism is incompatible with a society of equals. What do you think?

    My libertarianism is strong enough that I’ll go with my original statement.  If a person wants to limit his market, that is his business, not the government’s.

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Zafar:

    Randy Webster:Zafar,

    I can’t speak for all SoCons, of course, but I go with the barber every time. Freedom of association and property rights trump offended pride always.

    I actually passed a Muslim barber shop a few years ago and saw the intriguing sign:

    “No Anti-Christ Haircuts”

    I was not game to go in and inquire.

    Wrt freedom of association, do you see any benefit in people having a right to equal access to publicly sold items?

    For eg, in Australia it is illegal for land lords to discriminate between potential tenants on the basis of race. I can see both sides of this argument – my house, I can do what I want with it vs racism is incompatible with a society of equals. What do you think?

    I think we have no business forcing people to associate with one another. There was a case not long ago of an elderly Christian couple being sued because they didn’t want to rent out their basement apartment to a gay couple. At some point, you have to wonder why the gay couple wanted to live there, assuming (which I think we can do safely) they had other options.

    • #13
  14. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Pleated Pants Forever:VC – your scenario is playing out in different ways in Western Europe now (particularly Amsterdam) and is tilting the opposite of that prediction. Bruce Bawer also wrote an interesting book on what is happening there a few years ago

    Yes, what’s been happening in the Netherlands, France, and to some extent England is incredibly alarming. I’m not sure, truly, how similar our own response would be in the US. I do worry about the apathy that exists in a large part of our society. Still, the Lib friends that I have I feel pretty certain would stand up against jihadists if it came down to it, because of their dislike of organized religion. I suppose I could do some serious, academic research and pose the question on FB.

    One thing might be stated in the anonymity of FB and another end up happening. I think you are spot regarding intentions and statements of our friends of a different philosophical persuasion. However, if the reality of threats and intimidation happens (God forbid), things seem to break the opposite way.

    So it really comes down to who’s carrying the biggest stick? I see your point. Of course, what one does under duress is often different from what one does when not threatened. If things got really bad here in the US, I hope people would have enough memory of 9/11, Charlie Habdo, the Madrid train bombing, and the London bus bombings to spur them to action. Maybe this is Pollyannaish of me, but that’s what I hope.

    • #14
  15. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Western Chauvinist:

    I think we have no business forcing people to associate with one another. There was a case not long ago of an elderly Christian couple being sued because they didn’t want to rent out their basement apartment to a gay couple. At some point, you have to wonder why the gay couple wanted to live there, assuming (which I think we can do safely) they had other options.

    From a practical point of view I would agree wrt haircuts.

    When it comes to rental accommodation it isn’t always that clear cut.  In Sydney, right now, there’s a housing shortage.  The competition for housing is real, it’s a renters’ market.

    And access to housing has big flow on effects wrt access to transport, access to jobs, access to decent public schools for your children – exactly the things that members of a disadvantaged minority need to improve their lot (which would be good for them, but also good for everybody else).

    It’s not just a matter of pride or principle – either decision results in damage to society. It’s important to acknowledge that as a real cost, not just a notional one, when deciding which principle has legal primacy.

    • #15
  16. carlboraca@gmail.com Inactive
    carlboraca@gmail.com
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    So it really comes down to who’s carrying the biggest stick? I see your point. Of course, what one does under duress is often different from what one does when not threatened. If things got really bad here in the US, I hope people would have enough memory of 9/11, Charlie Habdo, the Madrid train bombing, and the London bus bombings to spur them to action. Maybe this is Pollyannaish of me, but that’s what I hope.

    I don’t think you are being a Pollyanna, my extreme old age (as has been documented :) ) might jade me a bit more, but I agree with your general thoughts. Unfortunately, in the soft West you and I have inherited, I am concerned duress is defined as a single strongly worded email these days. But, the real world will eventually catch up with the nonsense. I just hope that it does not take dozens of more tragedies for that to happen (though I fear it might). In the meantime, we at least have your native Jack Daniels (a fine product, but I do generally prefer Bourbon, probably my weird French/Illinois ancestry). I hope that when future generations curse our stupidity they will know some of us objected, thank you for being part of that objection.

    • #16
  17. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    How exactly does the Anti-Christ wear his hair?

    in a Beelze-bob?

    • #17
  18. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Pencilvania:How exactly does the Anti-Christ wear his hair?

    in a Beelze-bob?

    That’s so bad, it’s funny. Dime would be jealous of such a pun, Pency.

    • #18
  19. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar:It’s not just a matter of pride or principle – either decision results in damage to society. It’s important to acknowledge that as a real cost, not just a notional one, when deciding which principle has legal primacy.

    Fortunately, we have a document that lays out the relative rights, though it’s honored in the breach more than in the observance.

    • #19
  20. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Zafar:Wrt freedom of association, do you see any benefit in people having a right to equal access to publicly sold items?

    I think that freedom of association is very important but I am OK with a few narrow exceptions. Gas stations, for instance.  If someone pulls into the only gas station in a small town they may not have enough gas to make it to the next town, so the station owner shouldn’t have the option to refuse service because he hates people of a certain race.  If you have a private hospital with an emergency room, you don’t get to discriminate.  But people don’t need emergency haircuts or wedding cakes.

    If it were legal to do so and someone opened up a whites-only restaurant, I would not give them my business.  If any friends considered going there, I would try to discourage them.  But I’d support the right of the business owner to make the call, even though I very much disagree with their policy.

    Let’s turn this around a little.  Let’s say you’ve got a catering company and someone wants you to cater their banquet.  You may think that the catering company should not be entitled to turn down a job catering a banquet for an LGBT group.  But what if the local chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood or some other white supremacist group was having an annual banquet?  Do you want the law telling you that you must make cakes that say “Heil Hitler” on them or go to jail?

    • #20
  21. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    I think the idea of being so upset over a refusal of service as to sue is ridiculous, and just shows the litigious, thin-skinned culture of society. If someone denied you and hurt your little feelings, you get pissed, storm out of the store, and write a bad review on Yelp. That’s it! For example, both times I’ve been to the Louvre, I’ve been yelled at by employees there for no reason. As a result, the Louvre will not be getting my money ever again, and I take every applicable opportunity to tell people about what jackasses they are. But I would never think of suing them because they were mean to me because I’m American.

    • #21
  22. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Randy Weivoda:

    Zafar:Wrt freedom of association, do you see any benefit in people having a right to equal access to publicly sold items?

    I think that freedom of association is very important but I am OK with a few narrow exceptions. Gas stations, for instance. If someone pulls into the only gas station in a small town they may not have enough gas to make it to the next town, so the station owner shouldn’t have the option to refuse service because he hates people of a certain race. If you have a private hospital with an emergency room, you don’t get to discriminate. But people don’t need emergency haircuts or wedding cakes.

    If it were legal to do so and someone opened up a whites-only restaurant, I would not give them my business. If any friends considered going there, I would try to discourage them. But I’d support the right of the business owner to make the call, even though I very much disagree with their policy.

    Let’s turn this around a little. Let’s say you’ve got a catering company and someone wants you to cater their banquet. You may think that the catering company should not be entitled to turn down a job catering a banquet for an LGBT group. But what if the local chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood or some other white supremacist group was having an annual banquet? Do you want the law telling you that you must make cakes that say “Heil Hitler” on them or go to jail?

    Very well stated. If people thought about the consequences of government enforcing nondiscrimination mandates for groups they disagree with- KKK, Westboro Baptist- they would probably say “now, wait a minute…” Very “do as I say, not as I do.”

    • #22
  23. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Vicryl Contessa:I think the idea of being so upset over a refusal of service as to sue is ridiculous, and just shows the litigious, thin-skinned culture of society. If someone denied you and hurt your little feelings, you get pissed, storm out of the store, and write a bad review on Yelp. That’s it! For example, both times I’ve been to the Louvre, I’ve been yelled at by employees there for no reason. As a result, the Louvre will not be getting my money ever again, and I take every applicable opportunity to tell people about what jackasses they are. But I would never think of suing them because they were mean to me because I’m American.

    That settles it.  I’m not going to the Louvre, either.

    • #23
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Randy Weivoda:

    people don’t need emergency haircuts

    Some people do. No really.  Have you seen my icon? Show some compassion.

    Wrt haircut vs emergency room, okay, I follow your reasoning.

    What about rental accommodation?

    Real life situation:

    1. Sydney has a very tight rental market.  It is not a situation of unlimited supply.
    2. Where people live has a big impact on access to transport and work and quality of schools.
    3. Australian real estate agencies have this ‘black list’ system which tracks bad tenants based on what they’ve done – ie their actions. It’s purpose is to protect land lords from tenants with a bad record.

    Given these three facts, should discrimination based on identity (not actions) be legal when it comes to renting out premises?

    • #24
  25. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Zafar:

    Randy Weivoda:

    people don’t need emergency haircuts

    Some people do. No really. Have you seen my icon? Show some compassion.

    Wrt haircut vs emergency room, okay, I follow your reasoning.

    What about rental accommodation?

    Real life situation:

    1. Sydney has a very tight rental market. It is not a situation of unlimited supply.
    1. Where people live has a big impact on access to transport and work and quality of schools.
    1. Australian real estate agencies have this ‘black list’ system which tracks bad tenants based on what they’ve done – ie their actions. It’s purpose is to protect land lords from tenants with a bad record.

    Given these three facts, should discrimination based on identity (not actions) be legal when it comes to renting out premises?

    If we turn it around…? Let’s say you, Zafar, have a home and you’re trying to rent out the mother-in-law suite. A gay-hating, white supremacist wants to rent it from you, but he has a pristine rental and credit history. Would you feel comfortable having such a person in your house, even though his beliefs are anathema to your own?

    And if the haircut bothers you, you could always change your avatar to…

    256

    • #25
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Vicryl Contessa:

    If we turn it around…? Let’s say you, Zafar, have a home and you’re trying to rent out the mother-in-law suite. A gay-hating, white supremacist wants to rent it from you, but he has a pristine rental and credit history. Would you feel comfortable having such a person in your house, even though his beliefs are anathema to your own?

    Sadly the icon is merely accurate, so it isn’t the avatar that is the problem.  But thank you for your kind suggestion.

    Wrt the GHWS – how would I know his or her political beliefs unless I asked in the rental application?  (Which might be illegal.) Without that there’s no way I would know.

    About 17 years ago I bought my first (tiny) flat.  I couldn’t afford to live there immediately, so I continued to live in a share house and rented the flat out for some years.  After a couple of ‘experiences’ I rented it out through an agent because I decided that it was worth the money to have access to their professional services – ie their experience, their dealing with whatever needed to be dealt with, and last but not least their access to the black list of dubious tenants.

    Over time I slowly moved to larger or nicer flats, each time doing the same rent-it-out-till-you-can-afford-to-live there thing. (In Australia this is tax efficient, if anybody is wondering.)  I used agents each time, and as a consequence:

    1. The rent was paid on time;
    2. The flats were regularly inspected and kept well – I had no dramatic repairs to deal with; and
    3. I had no idea what the tenants’ political beliefs were, what their social or sexual inclinations were or (beyond a guess based on the name on the rental agreement) what their ethnicity or religion was.

    .

    You know what?  The first two of these were vitally important to me. The last was really none of my business.

    I may have rented to a GHWS – I really don’t know.  If I did, they still paid their rent on time and were good tenants.  I don’t see how it would help society, or gay men (ie myself), if GHWS were marginalised and pushed into poverty by being denied housing for their political beliefs.  In fact I think that would be bad for society and bad for me because it would radicalise them. jmho.

    • #26
  27. kaekrem@aol.com Thatcher
    kaekrem@aol.com
    @VicrylContessa

    Zafar:

    Vicryl Contessa:

    If we turn it around…? Let’s say you, Zafar, have a home and you’re trying to rent out the mother-in-law suite. A gay-hating, white supremacist wants to rent it from you, but he has a pristine rental and credit history. Would you feel comfortable having such a person in your house, even though his beliefs are anathema to your own?

    Sadly the icon is merely accurate, so it isn’t the avatar that is the problem. But thank you for your kind suggestion.

    Wrt the GHWS – how would I know his or her political beliefs unless I asked in the rental application? (Which might be illegal.) Without that there’s no way I would know.

    About 17 years ago I bought my first (tiny) flat. I couldn’t afford to live there immediately, so I continued to live in a share house and rented the flat out for some years. After a couple of ‘experiences’ I rented it out through an agent because I decided that it was worth the money to have access to their professional services – ie their experience, their dealing with whatever needed to be dealt with, and last but not least their access to the black list of dubious tenants.

    Over time I slowly moved to larger or nicer flats, each time doing the same rent-it-out-till-you-can-afford-to-live there thing. (In Australia this is tax efficient, if anybody is wondering.) I used agents each time, and as a consequence:

    1. The rent was paid on time;
    2. The flats were regularly inspected and kept well – I had no dramatic repairs to deal with; and
    3. I had no idea what the tenants’ political beliefs were, what their social or sexual inclinations were or (beyond a guess based on the name on the rental agreement) what their ethnicity or religion was.

    .

    You know what? The first two of these were vitally important to me. The last was really none of my business.

    I may have rented to a GHWS – I really don’t know. If I did, they still paid their rent on time and were good tenants. I don’t see how it would help society, or gay men (ie myself), if GHWS were marginalised and pushed into poverty by being denied housing for their political beliefs. In fact I think that would be bad for society and bad for me because it would radicalise them. jmho.

    You certainly did the smart thing by getting an agent. However…there are a lot of people that can’t afford an agent or don’t get one for whatever reason, so they put up a sign in their lawn or on the flyer board at the grocery store advertising an apartment for rent. And let’s say said prospective tenant walked in with a swastika and lots of ‘I hate x,y, and z’ tattoos on his arms and neck. Without the anonymity of going through an agent and not living in the same space as the person, would you rent to them. I totally get that in a one bedroom flat, if you’re renting it out and living elsewhere, it’s not a big deal, but there are a lot of people who have an upstairs or basement apartment in their house that they’re renting out to bring in some cash. If you had to interact with said GHWS in your house, could you? And as a property owner, do you believe you have the right to say ‘no’?

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    I get your point wrt sharing my home with someone. Renting out an extra bedroom completely requires that you get on with the person, which means you get to be as subjective as you want.  The share house I lived in was advertised as ‘elegant gay home in Darlinghurst’ – and was a menagerie presided over by the eccentric owner.  But – I had to pass an interview to get the room (“now tell me, dear, what do your parents do…”) because it was his home.

    With the basement flat/upstairs flat, it would probably depend on whether it had a separate entrance (in which case it’s not ‘my home’) or not (in which case it is).

    And yes – if I was renting it out myself I would check out their references and credit history and go from there.  If I don’t want to be discriminated against as a gay person – well, charity begins at home, doesn’t it? And yes, I think it probably should be illegal to out and out discriminate if I’m offering something on the open market.

    However – the way it works here is you get a bunch of applications – get a short list and then pick the one you like.  The basis on which you make that final choice is – basically subjective. If it was a choice between two identically qualified people then – ??  Some degree of subjectivity is unavoidable, and it’s best to be honest about that, but when it’s a matter of the market place that should be minimised.

    • #28
  29. robertm7575@gmail.com Inactive
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Vicryl Contessa:I think the idea of being so upset over a refusal of service as to sue is ridiculous, and just shows the litigious, thin-skinned culture of society. If someone denied you and hurt your little feelings, you get pissed, storm out of the store, and write a bad review on Yelp. That’s it! For example, both times I’ve been to the Louvre, I’ve been yelled at by employees there for no reason. As a result, the Louvre will not be getting my money ever again, and I take every applicable opportunity to tell people about what jackasses they are. But I would never think of suing them because they were mean to me because I’m American.

    It is ridiculous, which is why I always look at cases where a service is denied and the offended sue as a set up.  Let’s look at your question:  A) Does the Lesbian know that the barber is Muslim?  B) If so, then why choose to go in there?  It has to be assumed that as a Muslim, a Lesbian will be treated differently at the very least.  Your scenario depicts the Lesbian being denied service.  So it must be assumed that this is the exact reaction she wanted in order to make the complaint.  Same thing with Christian photographers and Christian bakers.  That is how the litigious society works:  seek and destroy in the courts.

    As to the Leftist conflict in your scenario, my guess would be that there would be none.  Because the Left controls the apparatus through which these stories are presented to the world, this story would never see the light of day and the Lesbian would be encouraged not to seek legal avenues against the barber by the LGBT community.  No one would ever know.

    • #29
  30. Julia PA Member
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    Vicryl Contessa: I suppose I could do some serious, academic research and pose the question on FB.

    it’s early in the morning, but this statement made me laugh.

    • #30

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