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that thread is filled with some of the slimiest shit i've ever read. Seriously, if you are having a good day, just don't go there, it'll ruin it. Worse than the comments on the Atlantic article itself.

 

Everyone in this thread should read Adam Jackson's response to the Atlantic article, "Do Articles About 'Alternative Debate' Reinforce White Privilege?"

I want to post two comments from the LBS article to discuss:

 

From "Cn12Duke": “White people have no right to inject themselves into this discourse and narrate our history. The white left’s failure to adhere to the fidelity of our political struggle in collegiate debate is both disingenuous and underhanded.â€

 

If this is the case, how can white debaters engage in these “debates†and question the narrative, discourse, and personal stories of black debaters? It is a lose-lose situation. It’s a rigged game. Black debaters can make every debate, Aff or Neg, about racial issues unrelated to the policy topic, making it nearly impossible for white debaters to challenge.

 

A good question, and Anthony Adams (a PCS Joslin debater I respect who I believe posts here as MarekIntan? I may be confusing his C-X.com name with his partner) responds:

 

I disagree with CN12Duke. I’ve run into a few debates that involve racial narratives, and it’s possible to turn the arguments. If you can win the existence of a defaul framework to convince the judge to go with a policymaker or gameplayer paradigm, you should be okay. If you combat the assumptions themselves with another inclusiveness argument in terms of a concrete counterplan to expand UDLs across the nation, you should win. Or you just beat them at their own game and turn it into just arguments against “privilege,†rather than “what privilege.â€

 

Though I am black, I’ve run into “whiteness†affs and negs critiquing our use of spreading. I tend to respond with excerpts from Scott Harris’ “This Ballot†(the willing ballot in last year’s NDT)and go with the argument that dogmatically K-ing all things debate that even remotely smell of tradition as “too white†closes the debate home, and isn’t going to foster equality. THEN I go with a CP for expanded UDLs if I’m neg, or argue the discussion in and of itself doesnt resolve the issue, but educates, which turns it for aff because our discourse condemning dogmatism makes the judges think about their relation to debate, which has outside-of-round effects.

 

Though my school could never afford national circuit tournaments, I feel like I’m pretty decent, being the Chicago nominee for Urban Debater of the Year. Most tournaments have SOMETHING like that lying around, so we’re used to it. It’s a matter of distinguishing between winning the argument and winning the round. (Of course, I really don’t care about winning those rounds unless they’re break rounds. I usually break anyway, and those discussions are pretty darned useful.)

 

The problem is that this strategy, while it works in high school, is increasingly not working in college (and is, frankly, more accessible to a black student arguing framework than a white student). The whole point of the fight, after all, is that framework teams are (1) losing and (2) tired of debating framework every Neg round. Framework still holds with most CDL judges, especially below the RCC division, because they're mostly not college debaters. Adult teachers and volunteers are a lot more inclined to vote on framework, especially a well presented framework. They also are less likely to accept the anti-logical critical responses to the logical inclusiveness arguments Anthony describes; those responses succeed at the college level.

 

I expect the way the anti-performance teams have to change to succeed is to creatively appeal to substance rather than fairness. Squirreloid and I are trying to figure out how to best do that for our team; the result is something like the Maquiladoras case neg he wrote (and some other unusual anti-critical epistemology Ks I'm trying to develop). And that'll work at the high school level, but I'm not entirely sure how well it will work at the college level where judge preference issues have turned insanely contentious.

 

Also, that CP shouldn't be winning because it's easily permed :)

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I expect the way the anti-performance teams have to change to succeed is to creatively appeal to substance rather than fairness. Squirreloid and I are trying to figure out how to best do that for our team; the result is something like the Maquiladoras case neg he wrote (and some other unusual anti-critical epistemology Ks I'm trying to develop). And that'll work at the high school level, but I'm not entirely sure how well it will work at the college level where judge preference issues have turned insanely contentious.

 

The problem, of course, with strategies like my Maquiladoras neg is that it requires specific research on the affirmative case.  When the affirmative case isn't topical, outside an environment which requires previewing cases, how do you prepare for it?  Why should you be expected to?  

 

It's not like there's a very small number of hot-button issues: it isn't just "racism" and "feminism", and not all "racism" and "feminism" cases are the same, and can necessitate very different responses.  All these potential non-topical areas have their own specialized literature, and potential alternative solutions to having a debate are going to require specific solvency evidence.  The Maquiladoras case neg has a CP which is specific to Mexico.  IIRC, only one piece of solvency evidence is universally generalizable for any sort of feminist position, and it still only applies to ending sexualized violence.  

 

So when the general field looks something like quareism, racism, sexism, ableism, speciesism (and there's probably more), and each of those have relevant subdivisions (Wilderson black pessimism is going to be a lot different from latin@ crit theory), and each of those subdivisions is going to have specific applications, at what point is it inappropriate to expect teams to prepare against all of these?

 

The ultimate impact is sacrificing specificity and detail-oriented argumentation in favor of highly general arguments that link to everything.  It's a race to the bottom that destroys the educational benefits of debate, and we're witnessing it right now - because these anti-topical affirmatives make equally good K negatives that link to pretty much everything.  When you only have to research one position, and you get rewarded for it on the ballot over and over again, why bother doing detailed research about specific subjects or try to understand the depth and breadth of the resolution?  And once you've done the work one year, you can just re-use it over and over again.  Oh sure, you might cut a different interpretation of it, but that's a lot less work than diving into a totally different literature base.

 

The time component here is critical to why the success of this kind of debate is excluding traditional policy teams.  Its not just that they're tired of arguing framework (and they are - it's not why they do debate), it's that they want to learn about the topic in depth and provide detailed and specific arguments.  The anti-topical team holds their ability to do the activity they want to do hostage, because they get to reframe the entire debate on an area not covered by the resolution, which makes all the hard work that goes into research moot.  And when a traditional team hits an anti-topical team, its always the anti-topical team who gets to decide what they talk about.  The traditional team has no power over the direction of the round, and that becomes even more true as judges become unwilling to listen to framework, because framework is the only power the traditional team has to argue that the rules exist for a reason and we should abide by them.

 

So yes, given a full preview of the affirmative case and sufficient time, I can write a specific response to something like the Maquiladoras case (which is at least within the realm of the topic, even if not topical itself).  But without the preview, I can't do that.  And, in this particular case, topical versions of that affirmative could exist, so there's no reason for them to have written a non-topical version except that doing so brings strategic advantages (like not having to talk about real solvency, or defend US action, or really commit to anything at all).  These advantages are abusive - in this particular case its literally 6 minutes of harms and 2 minutes of critical theory good.  Harms are not a reason to vote affirmative.  Yes, bad things happen.  It's abusive to run a case where the only substantive negative ground is 'rape is good'.  Nor does it even particularly matter if critical theory is good, because that's still not a reason to vote affirmative.  Like a lot of anti-topical cases, the case structure is 'Here's something that everyone agrees is bad, and we used critical theory so we're awesome, vote for us'.  Should the negative breathe a word about presumption, I'm signing my ballot Neg right then.  Seriously, the emperor is wearing no clothes! (The fact that I voted for the Maquiladoras case in the only round I heard it suggests either that high school debaters are all drinking this kool-aid, or they aren't paying enough attention to what their opponents are actually arguing).

 

I'm certainly not going to waste my time trying to predict every anti-topical case that anyone could possibly write.

 

This doesn't even get into the problem of having debaters act as both advocates and witnesses, which bothers me quite a bit and has unfortunate consequences.

Edited by Squirrelloid

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What would happen if someone read nihilism (like Baudrillard - struggle against the system only reinforces it) against an aff like this?

 

An aff like what? The one OU read? They'd probably impact turn it and read disads to passivity. I'm not sure what you mean by "nihilism" beyond that Baudrillard shadowboxing argument but if the argument is that suffering is inevitable or doesn't matter they'll probably (and probably rightly) call it racist.

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(The fact that I voted for the Maquiladoras case in the only round I heard it suggests either that high school debaters are all drinking this kool-aid, or they aren't paying enough attention to what their opponents are actually arguing).

A little of 1 and a lot of 2, I think. The sloppiness of current evidence cutting makes it very difficult to answer a confusingly cut Aff on the fly. Many cases (including AMLs, Maquiladoras, and NAFTA Formal Labor) featured evidence that, when you went to look at the original source, just didn't fit the argument or was plainly used out of context. It's very hard to catch that in-round in any case, and impossible where you have to go back to the original article to see it.

 

The fact that all 4 semi-finalists at NAUDL were some flavor of performance team also suggests that high schoolers are drinking the kool-aid. I think Northside ended up being the top policy team there this year.

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An aff like what? The one OU read? They'd probably impact turn it and read disads to passivity. I'm not sure what you mean by "nihilism" beyond that Baudrillard shadowboxing argument but if the argument is that suffering is inevitable or doesn't matter they'll probably (and probably rightly) call it racist.

Not about suffering inevitable. More of a turn argument-an institution will collapse on it's own. Radical opposition/criticism only lets it carry on longer, we have to let it die.

 

Edit: never hit anything like this (traditional circuit) so looking for what kind of strats work since it appears framework is a wash.

Edited by SnarkosaurusRex

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Not about suffering inevitable. More of a turn argument-an institution will collapse on it's own. Radical opposition/criticism only lets it carry on longer, we have to let it die.

 

Edit: never hit anything like this (traditional circuit) so looking for what kind of strats work since it appears framework is a wash.

 

Framework is not a wash. Teams win on framework, a lot. Teams win on next-level framework, like counter-advocacies that promote tactical engagement of the state (ala the cards I posted recently for someone else, I can reproduce them here if you'd like), do even better at this. Framework stills wins, I just think it shouldn't.

 

Shadowboxing sounds like defense at best. Also sounds like a simply false argument - why would white supremacy collapse on itself?

 

I mean, there's a plethora of competitive critical arguments you can read against kritikal and performative affs.

 

Just this year I've developed a Badiou K of ethics affirmatives (like Fasching or Derrida ones), a "Conditional Ethics" case turn against Derridean Unconditional Hospitality affs, a Negarestani K of "strategic openness" against Bataille and Baudrillard affs, a ballot-commodification kritik, afro-pessimist K stuff against race affirmatives, a Lat-Crit K against afro-pessimist affs (this one's actually from Open Evidence), Trans-Queer Abolitionism against critical Guantanamo affs, a Baudrillard "Whitewashing" CP against critical embargo affs (also from Open Evidence), a Queer Anarchism file against feminist and anti-blackness affirmatives, a Spinozist Affect K (draws from Hardt & Negri as well as Deleuze and Beasley-Murray) against all policy affs and identity-politics affs, and honestly I'm probably missing some more.

 

Against OU CL? I'm not sure what I'd read because it seems like a very good aff, and I'm not an incredibly good debater. The K that Towson won with was extremely good, though - I'm not sure if it's the same "afro-optimism" that authors like Fred Moten talk about, but that's the name I'd give to it. I think that epistemological and historical indicts of Wilderson & afro-pessimistic affirmatives are good starting-points from which to launch an alternative methodology, in particular maybe cap K or a "reformism good" counter advocacy. 

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I'd check out David Marriott's "On Black Men" and other work (Towson seemed to have a strong strategy with an indictment of black Suffering as killing black political imagination), Kevin Quashie's "The Sovereignty of Quiet" & Catherine Hundleby's "The Epistemological Evaluation of Oppositional Secrets", intersectionality (black feminism, quare studies, ableism), Neoliberalism and Capitalism critiques, ballot commodification (authors like Shannon Sullivan, Regis Marlene, and Marriott can be coupled to make the argument that performance commodifies black bodies for white bodies), Eve Yang and K.W. Tuck wrote a great chapter in a book about refusing research that highlights suffering/pain, as mentioned above Harney and Moten's book "The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study", separately attacking the use of the educational space for activism, and should be supplemented by case defense like 'the state isn't racist', 'debate isn't racist', and 'wilderson's theory is wrong'. 

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Bad sports analogy! Silly generalization! POORLY FORMATTED ALL CAPS STATEMENT!

Edited by Snarf
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sooo...

If we don't want to read framework, we should cut an entire case-specific kritik for every single aff?

 

No? That's the opposite of what I was trying to convey. I used the plural "affs" for a reason - those criticisms relate to several affirmatives and possible affirmatives that I expected to hit in my circuit. The Spinozist Affect K links to any kind of identity politics. Negarestani links to literally anything, and the Queer Theory arguments link to several areas of the topic. The point is that you can do effective critical research that engages deeply with a moderately broad area of possible critical or performative affirmatives at a time.

 

I accidentally deleted a short paragraph about the generic K strategies that friends of mine developed, such as Anthro Ks, Neoliberalism, Feminist Separatism, and Queer Theory. My Affect file is one such generic K strategy that is a "last ditch" effort against K affirmatives I didn't see coming. I also forgot to mention the OOO file I wrote at the beginning of the year that ended up working against an Agamben K I saw at the UT Tournament, but that I would have ran against any aff with discursive focus or solvency. (Also I had Edmund Zagorin's Tsianos K of visas affs, never got to fully deploy that though.)

 

I should mention something about myself. My partner and I are the only policy debaters at our school, though there are two other progressive LDers that understand high-level policylike argumentation, and our coach doesn't work with us as far as argument-writing goes because she's not a fan of progressive debate styles (spreading, kritiks ... counterplans even) - this isn't to say she's not extremely appreciated as a sponsor and the enabler of our entire debate program, just that as far as prep goes, we're on our own. And then, my partner does almost exclusively 2A work, so I did almost all of our neg work, which itself was almost entirely kritik and topicality arguments.

 

One person did all of the above work in about a two or three month timespan with pressures from 5 AP classes, two dual-enrollment classes, and a healthy social life, on his own. It's not hard, it just takes time and dedication to the activity. If you're good at research and argument preparation, it shouldn't be difficult at all.

 

I should also note that good K arguments don't come from having the best or most cards - research is barely a factor in your wins; it's about coming up with a good argument, finding literature to expound on it, and delivering a good argument built from the ground-up on your own that relies almost equally on arguments from Google Scholar as it does from arguments you yourself come up with as an extension of what the burgeoning literature bases give you. Creativity is key, and a useful, portable skill that is unique in quantity and quality to the kind of creativity required for writing politics disads and XO counterplans (or any DA/CP argument).

 

I'm also going to make a uniqueness argument here. How is this level of effort different in kind from the effort you undertake against policy affirmatives, even new ones? Do you read generics every single round, and is that the kind of debating you always want to be doing? Or do you take time to do case-specific research for solvency arguments, for disad links, for counterplan ground? If you're OK with that, why not also look for K links while you're at it, or critical case turns? Like, I've not heard a model for what "prepared" looks like to you, but it almost sounds lazy if you're unwilling to do case-specific research - that if you don't get a generic way to win every single round, it's unfair (which is itself already untrue, given the success of generic K arguments against non-traditional affirmatives, such as Anthro, Cap, and Affect / Identification criticisms). Being a 2N is hard, but doing the research to be a good 2N really isn't.

 

I could go on but I shouldn't.

 

also I think feldsy talked about "next-Gen" framework not actually covering stuff like role playing.

edit: thinking about this also made me realize this: so you think not only traditional framework is bad, but that teams shouldn't say "state activism is better than non-state activism"?

 

I'm not sure why the next level of framework arguments couldn't incorporate arguments like "tactical role playing is good" as an infiltration strategy against the bad parts of policymaking.

 

I think I tried to explicitly say that teams should say that state activism is better than non-state activism, but in a non-procedural manner. A counter-advocacy has solvency to claim, and probably with a better capacity to do so than non-state solutions. Framework doesn't is by definition a tool of exclusion - the argument is literally "a voting issue" because it establishes rules to the game of debate and then declares the affirmative in violation of them - that's what a procedural argument is. The reasons that it can be good to learn about and emulate state action don't need to be set in the terms of a framework argument - that's what I'm saying. Refer to that thread about how it can be a good idea to read framework on case - I'm talking about making methodology arguments that directly compete with the strategy of the 1AC, but on its terms, not on a separate plane of "fairness and education" instead of "efficacy of activism."

Edited by dancon25
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I want to post two comments from the LBS article to discuss:

 

From "Cn12Duke": “White people have no right to inject themselves into this discourse and narrate our history. The white left’s failure to adhere to the fidelity of our political struggle in collegiate debate is both disingenuous and underhanded.â€

 

If this is the case, how can white debaters engage in these “debates†and question the narrative, discourse, and personal stories of black debaters? It is a lose-lose situation. It’s a rigged game. Black debaters can make every debate, Aff or Neg, about racial issues unrelated to the policy topic, making it nearly impossible for white debaters to challenge.

 

A good question, and Anthony Adams (a PCS Joslin debater I respect who I believe posts here as MarekIntan? I may be confusing his C-X.com name with his partner) responds:

 

I disagree with CN12Duke. I’ve run into a few debates that involve racial narratives, and it’s possible to turn the arguments. If you can win the existence of a defaul framework to convince the judge to go with a policymaker or gameplayer paradigm, you should be okay. If you combat the assumptions themselves with another inclusiveness argument in terms of a concrete counterplan to expand UDLs across the nation, you should win. Or you just beat them at their own game and turn it into just arguments against “privilege,†rather than “what privilege.â€

 

Though I am black, I’ve run into “whiteness†affs and negs critiquing our use of spreading. I tend to respond with excerpts from Scott Harris’ “This Ballot†(the willing ballot in last year’s NDT)and go with the argument that dogmatically K-ing all things debate that even remotely smell of tradition as “too white†closes the debate home, and isn’t going to foster equality. THEN I go with a CP for expanded UDLs if I’m neg, or argue the discussion in and of itself doesnt resolve the issue, but educates, which turns it for aff because our discourse condemning dogmatism makes the judges think about their relation to debate, which has outside-of-round effects.

 

Though my school could never afford national circuit tournaments, I feel like I’m pretty decent, being the Chicago nominee for Urban Debater of the Year. Most tournaments have SOMETHING like that lying around, so we’re used to it. It’s a matter of distinguishing between winning the argument and winning the round. (Of course, I really don’t care about winning those rounds unless they’re break rounds. I usually break anyway, and those discussions are pretty darned useful.)

 

The problem is that this strategy, while it works in high school, is increasingly not working in college (and is, frankly, more accessible to a black student arguing framework than a white student). The whole point of the fight, after all, is that framework teams are (1) losing and (2) tired of debating framework every Neg round. Framework still holds with most CDL judges, especially below the RCC division, because they're mostly not college debaters. Adult teachers and volunteers are a lot more inclined to vote on framework, especially a well presented framework. They also are less likely to accept the anti-logical critical responses to the logical inclusiveness arguments Anthony describes; those responses succeed at the college level.

 

I expect the way the anti-performance teams have to change to succeed is to creatively appeal to substance rather than fairness. Squirreloid and I are trying to figure out how to best do that for our team; the result is something like the Maquiladoras case neg he wrote (and some other unusual anti-critical epistemology Ks I'm trying to develop). And that'll work at the high school level, but I'm not entirely sure how well it will work at the college level where judge preference issues have turned insanely contentious.

 

Also, that CP shouldn't be winning because it's easily permed :)

(Hey! I didn't think anyone'd notice that post. Movin' up in the debate world!)

 

Anyway, I understand how difficult it is to get people to buy the arg. Of course, my statement is biased, Pretty much anyone who's seen me in a round as aff knows that I really don't give a damn about T. Therefore, my natural response to this thing is right to theory, or coming up with a policy decision built through the traditional debate mechanisms that can expand debate, then responding to perms that it still violates a debate K because you're arguing that the very institution of debate as it is is exclusive and should be rejected. To take a perm would be to kill your own alternative.

 

I really do enjoy debate, so it kinda stings when someone runs that sort of argument and implies that debate in and of itself has to be rejected. I do think debate has a lot of room to grow. I don't think it would be easy to win that it does not. (It's impossible, IMO.) But I would wholeheartedly reject the notion that bringing up the flaws that we all must know of by now awards an instant win for a particular team. I think the arguments should then shift to who comes up with the best solution to the problem. If you can force them to pick between a solution and their K, I don't think it should be an issue. Getting the judge to agree, however, is a different story.

 

(As for the CP: Perms aren't big things in lower conferences, hah. I think we all know THAT. And yes, MarekIntan is my partner.)

Edited by Temporal

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that thread is filled with some of the slimiest shit i've ever read. Seriously, if you are having a good day, just don't go there, it'll ruin it. Worse than the comments on the Atlantic article itself.

 

Everyone in this thread should read Adam Jackson's response to the Atlantic article, "Do Articles About 'Alternative Debate' Reinforce White Privilege?"

 I just skimmed down the thread and dancon, I'm so sorry man. You fought so hard in that thread

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Dude. You at least helped one person. Take pride in that you made the internet a tad bit less stupid. I was amazed by how you actually managed to summarize the round so easily and in a way most could understand. But there are some lost causes. I tried, but I give up. Props to Dancon for the absolute balls to take on the worst kind of idiocy. I wonder if any of them actually went back to watch the debate.

Edited by Temporal
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also I think feldsy talked about "next-Gen" framework not actually covering stuff like role playing.

edit: thinking about this also made me realize this: so you think not only traditional framework is bad, but that teams shouldn't say "state activism is better than non-state activism"?

So because I was mentioned, and I actually have run this sort of stuff a couple times, I'm going to give a little spiel on next gen FW/policy counteradvoacies.

 

First, David McClean's article The Cultural Left and the Limit's of Social Hope.  It's a common FW card and very applicable for this style of argument, and he highlights the thesis of what you should be doing.

 

So broadly there are two kind of policy counter advocacies.  The First is essentially a Cede the political DA with an engage the state alt.  This is nice because it is very generic and doesn't require spending hours doing tons of case-specific research on an essentially unlimited amount of cases.  The problem is that the alt is kinda vague, which is what a lot of your authors are criticizing.  "Engaging the state" is a bit nebulous and not exactly the pragmatic strategies your authors are looking for.

 

The Second type is a policy proposal that attempts to solve the 1ac harms.  LIke for a critical drug violence aff (like the one Bishop Guertin DI runs), a policy Counterplan could be "legalize drugs X, Y, and Z" or "end the war on drugs."  Cede the political is always a net benefit to these kinds of Advocacies on some level.  This is a lot better than the first type of advocacy but takes a lot more reasearch especially since one CP is unlikely to work for more than one or two affs (and there are a lot of K affs out there)

 

I think i was somewhat wrong when i said this strat doesn't involve roleplyaing good args, though it certainly won't have them to the same degree tradtional FW does.  Evidence that talks about how pragmatic policy proposals are comparatively better than strategies like "endorse our struggle against whiteness" or ev that talks about students knowing nitty-gritty political details is the sort you wanna use (McClean is great on this).  that means stuff like Coverstone and Esberg n Sagan won't be as applicable, unless used to answer arguments like roleplaying =passivity (Kappeler) which honestly doesn't link that much.  Also evidence like Derrida that uses picking and choosing when to use the state is a better method to de-legitimize sovereignty than outright rejection would be good

 

A couple problems with this strat I've found.  A) Doesn't really work against affs where they talk about personal experience. Let's take the ruralism aff that was talked about in the video Dancon and I are referencing.  They're not really rejecting the state, they're talking about their problems in debate.  What's my CP gonna be, build a road from Nevada Union to the closes tournament? this leads to the second problem B) answering the perm.  Some affs are pretty anti-statist, so the perm doesn't make sense.  But, like with the ruralism aff, he's probably fine with the USFG building a road.  He just wants to have other discussions as well.  This is where it becomes advantageous to also run T (not FW, but maybe in this context "invest" T) so you can also attack that from that angle.  Just my two cents.

 

I Second the props to Dancon.  Tangling through the underbelly of Reddit is never an easy task at the best of times, and this was certainly not then.

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