Wednesday, June 14, 2006

52, week 6

Since the NY Times article on May 28, 2006 in which Grant Morrisson presented his 'Great Ten' comic book character concepts to improve diversity in comics, I've been looking forward to today's issue of 52 (week 6) in which these characters will at last be revealed. True to form, today's issue featured Hal Jordan standing before a red-washed group shot of 'The Great Ten', complete with a Communist China, yellow starred theme in the background. I especially love the little grey ticker-tape at the bottom that proclaims "Chinese Heroes!" -- as if we've never seen that before. Oh, wait... we haven't. Considering that these characters were introduced as an example of improved character diversity, I thought it would be interesting to examine their first appearance in the DC Comics Universe. (Forgive my amateurism; I'm nowhere near as good at comic analysis as Ragnell!) *warning, spoilers* On page 3, we are treated to a typical, if rather aesthetically impressive aerial shot of the Green Lantern team-up (Hal Jordan and John Stewart), fighting six of the 'Great Ten' high above China. We know it's China because part of the landscape features a sweeping Great Wall of China separating the diagonals of the two-page panel. It's no coincidence that the Great Wall of China is used as the symbol of China in this image; the 'Great Ten' represent China's "Closed Door" policy as they defend China's airspace from the American intruders. Also, in this shot, American characters (not coincidentally represented by the African American John Stewart and White American Hal Jordan, to underscore the threat of this foreign Yellow Peril to all Americans regardless of colour) are trapped on the side of the Great Wall closest to the reader, meant to represent "us" or "the outside", while the villain the GLs are pursuing (a yellow star) is able to cross easily into Chinese airspace with no quarrel. This further suggests that though Hal Jordan suspects that the "Great Ten" are the good guys, they are of questionable morality, at least to the perspective of our All-American Heroes. We are also shown in this panel how "The Great Ten" are ineffective in comparison to the All-American Heroes; six of China's best heroes are no match to GL-squared. The August General in Iron's spear clangs harmlessly against John Stewart's shield, and what does the Celestial Archer (riding that silly looking surfboard) think he's going to do with arrows against... uhm... the Green Lantern energy? The Shaolin Robot (a laughable character concept, by the way) is in the process of being knocked out by Hal Jordan, and the other "Great Ten" can only look on. Immediately, our first impression of the "Great Ten", from this single panel alone, is that not only are the "Great Ten" possibly evil since they will stop the good guys but let the bad guys pass through China, but they aren't particularly badass, either. Flipping the page, we see that the Great Wall is actually the headquarters of the "Great Ten", again symbolizing that this team exists to enforce the secrecy and closed doors of China. We also see that, aside from this meta-gene buildup, China is also amassing more traditional military forces, including a couple of tanks (shown next to some little men, and reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square massacre of protesting students). In the second panel, one of the Seven Deadly Brothers treats us to some background on the "Great Ten". He says: "The Great Ten were gathered to consolidate superhuman power for the preservation of China..." Again, we receive confirmation that the Great Ten were amassed as part of some sort of international, metahuman Cold War. In the same panel, we see what was possibly the most disturbing sight in the comic: the disgusting character, Mother of Champions, whose character description said that her superpower was to birth an army of "cannon fodder" every three days, is seen being attended to by the Perfect Physician (another Great Ten character) while she lies, on her back with a massive pregnant belly, on a chair with six spider legs. This chair presumably allows the Mother of Champions to move about despite her perpetually pregnant state, but the legs are far too reminiscent of an insect. The Mother of Champions character is basically a queen bee, creating insect-like drones, that are described, by the Ghost Fox Killer, as disposable cannon fodder. Immediately, we see another allusion to the Yellow Peril, in which China is represented by a sea of terrifying faceless, brainless, insect-like men, and the women exist only to birth these men into existence. How's that for sexism and racism all in one character? In the third panel, we discover that, while the Mother of Champions represents the mother character whose sole purpose is to birth sons (thus rendering her only as important as the children she produces), the Ghost Fox Killer character is the dragon lady stereotype. Coming from a distant land, similar to Wonder Woman's Themyscira, the Ghost Fox Killer demands permission from her male handlers to destroy the GL-squared and add their spirits to some sort of supernatural army. Here we see the sexual threat China poses to America: the belief that Chinese women will dominate American men and subvert them to their feminine ambitions, but under control of their male counterparts. On the next page, we see a series of panels in which Hal Jordan is whumped by Immortal Man in Darkness and Soviet Red Guardsman. The Immortal Man in Darkness is particularly interesting -- he and SRG are dehumanized in their face-concealing armour, but IMD is shown wielding a fluid dark material and attacking Hal Jordan from behind. This suggests that the Yellow Peril represented by the Great Ten lacks in honour and is not to be trusted. On page 8, Hal Jordan is faced with Thundermind, a character who plays off of American fears of the unknown religion. Theundermind is garbed in stereotypical Buddhist ware (as interpreted by non-Buddhist White men) and looks an awful lot like an extremely buffed up Gandhi. His first spoken words are a Buddhist chant, which he describes as giving him connection to powers of the Buddha. Thundermind mentally rapes Hal Jordan and uses his powers to command Jordan to do his bidding. Hal Jordan retaliates to reclaim his virility, and from panel 3 to panel 4, we see a shift of male dominance from Thundermind to Hal. In panel 3, Thundermind stands in profile overtop of Hal Jordan, as Hal screams in pain. Obviously we're meant to sympathize with our all-American hero. In the next panel, Hal Jordan squashes Thundermind like a bug with a giant Green Lantern fist of God -- which suggests a visual superiority of not only America over Asia, but Judeo-Christianity over Buddhism. This isn't helped by the laughable position in which Thundermind is shown in his squashed-up state. Skipping an interlude, page 11 shows a silhouetted picture of the Great Ten in which they are partly in shadow, again suggesting that this superhero team is of questionable morality, further underscored by the issue's alter developments that the Great Ten has in fact sided with the original definition of moral ambiguity: Black Adam. Once Black Adam arrives on the scene, he overshadows the Great Ten, and we hear nothing more useful from them. Overall, I am unimpressed with the Great Ten. In fact, I find it insulting that this group of characters would be introduced as DC's answer to diversity questions. Each of the characters, individually and collectively, represent a series of offensive Asian stereotypes that do little more than further Yellow Peril fears in the subconscious of the comic book reader. Although I still have hopes that perhaps the writers of 52 will be able to convert these characters into something useful, I'm afraid that these characters will ultimately get a racist treatment by an untalented writer, and finally be forgotten in the annals of DC history. Nonetheless, we'll have to see what week 7 has to say about all this: I am totally willing to be wrong on this one. My final thought is this: given the name of the superhero team, there should be ten members of the team (counting the Seven Deadly Brothers as one member, since they seem to be the modern day answer to Collective Man). Looking on the cover, I see nine humanoid characters represented (Immortal Man in Darkness is that little bob behind August General in Iron getting a good whiff of Hal Jordan's ass). That leaves a missing tenth member... or that little Chinese lion between Hal Jordan's legs. Oh God, please don't let the tenth member of the Great Ten be a little Chinese lion named Toto. I don't think I could handle the indignity. [On an unrelated note, the best part of this issue was this panel, which we all know we'll be referring back to for weeks to come.] Cross-posted: Asian Pacific Americans for Progress


Blogger Ragnell said...

That's a pretty damned good analysis...

And now I'm getting worried, but it could get better. Morrison is capable of turning the symbolism around in the end.


6/15/2006 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Now, I'll be honest and say that I haven't picked this issue up yet, but something struck me as interesting. You're offended that China's greatest superteam is not match for the GL Corp. Well, despite China's population, it's status as a world power, what have you, they're still NEW to the hero game. It's not like they had some longstanding heroes that just finally banded together because it made more sense. China's team, hinted at in Checkmate, which I DID pick up, is the response to international discomfort following the events of the crisis and whatnot. To assume that they're going to rock straight out of the gate is unrealistic, especially against an intergalactic police force that's been in operation FAR longer. Plus, I think it means more to see them grow as a team than to come out supreme in some contrived deus ex machina tactic. For all intents and purposes at this point, The Great Ten are the super equivalent of the Jamaican Bobsled Team. You've still got 46 more weeks for them to make you proud...

6/15/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger 100LittleDolls said...

I'm absolutely shuddering at these stereotypes--so much of it reminds me of the political cartoons we would analyze in my Modern Asian History class.

It's as though no progress has been made.

6/15/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Jay said...

For all intents and purposes at this point, The Great Ten are the super equivalent of the Jamaican Bobsled Team. You've still got 46 more weeks for them to make you proud...

But let's say it wasn't the GL corps fighting them, instead a rookie American hero team. The majority of the fanbase is in America. The writers are American. How do you think it will turn out? Add that patriotism effect to two more effects: veteran fanboy effect and anti-other, especially other race (a large amount of comic book fans have only a very rudimentary understanding of race) and what result do you get?

I think "winning" is small part of the bigger problem here. It's about depictions that "otherize" Chinese/Asian Americans in the eyes of non-Asian Americans (because most people don't make the distinction between them) and assign them malicious qualities (think of Fu Manchu and all the other Yellow Peril material that came out in the 50s) in order to make the audience unsympathetic. Jenn has already talked about how this is done.

By the way, the title "China Syndrome" has nothing to do with China. It's a US-centric notion that radioactive material will burrow through the core and back out to China (because people are stupid and burrowing through the earth would get you to China and make you upside down and such.)

6/15/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Amazing analysis, especially on the overblown artwork, where Hal and John, literally American world policemen, chase a yellow star into Chinese airspace and are then impeded by the Great Ten, operating from the Great Wall. I'd caution against interpreting a giant emerald hand as the Hand of God in Judeo-Christian terms, though.

Also, the reader's first interaction with the Great Ten, while in a questionable fight scene, occurs with the major superhero protagonist present - Green Lantern Hal Jordan - asserting that the metas he and John are fighting are "the good guys", as you noted. The Great Ten are totally racist stereotypes, on levels unheard of since the decent of Fu Manchu into comic obscurity.

Still, the writers paint the Great Ten as superheroes; they only protect their national borders in this comic, hardly the stuff of comic villainy. Even the Chinese participation in the Freedom of Power Treaty was presented by Black Adam as a defensive measure to prevent American superheroes from treating every country the world over as their own personal battlefields.

That being said, what the hell was Mother of Champions? A literal birthing chamber for the Yellow Peril overpopulation hordes all by herself? The fuck? Where are the guys from Asian Media Watch or any of those Abercrombie and Fitch protests when they are really needed?

52's introduction to the Great Ten overflowed with racist and xenophobic commentary, but I think it's important to be as specific as possible concerning what's what. The characters, the dialogue, the artwork, the writing - all served to construct the Great Ten as anti-American antiheroes, with the GL's virtues lost in translation. Still, I think the idea of other nation's superheroes pursuing their own national interests for their own people's welfare is interesting enough to deserve further reading, so I'm still going to keep up with 52. But damn, Mother of Champions was fucked up; I couldn't have written a character that racist.

And where was your commentary on the continued racism of the 1970's senpai/ kōhai relationship between Hal Jordan and John Stewart? That "Whitey leads, Darkie follows" power dynamic was played out with the movie Rising Sun; you'd think that with John's increased public profile, thanks to his animated adventures, writers wouldn't always force that brother to play second fiddle to any White man with a ring. Just a thought.

6/15/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I think the writers chose to ignore Stewart to play up the contrast between the "good guys" (re: White America) and the "bad guys" (re: China). It's racist and messed up, and you're right that I should have mentioned John's invisibility in this comic as yet another blow to diversity in comic-dom.

James, I disagree with the idea that the Great Ten were not of questionable morality in this comic book, treading the line between hero and villain for the reader. Although the Great Ten's motives are logical and more righteous than GL-squared's, the reader is not only used to reading GL as the "good guy" (therefore immediately pre-supposing the Great Ten, a new group of metas, to be bad guys) but we are first exposed to the Great Ten in a fight scene, in which most readers will immediately choose sides. And even in this shot, despite the fact that the Great Ten are "defending their borders", they are shown actively attacking the GL... specifically John Stewart who manifests a shield to repel them.

6/15/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Hey, I hate to be the guy to point out the tokenism here, but all I can say is "It's a start". It sounds defeatest and it sucks, but the Chinese, just like other minorities, have a long road ahead of them in comics. General example, Luke Cage. We spent 20 years dealing with him looking like a tiara-wearing dance instructor from Soho, yelling "Sweet Christmas!" Then, we spent 10 years with him as a cookie-cutter John Singleton caricature. He finally became "respectable" when he found an alcoholic White chick, hit it from the back, and married her. God bless the "American Dream", as Marvel sees it. And Marvel's the company that's been GOOD about minorities. The Great Ten don't live up to their name, but maybe with the right amount of time, and the right writer, things might get better.

I'd also, however, like to throw out the bomb of "who is to blame?" I mean, sure, it's a predominantly white-run industry, but I don't see anyone stepping up to the plate. Why did Jim Lee include next to no Asians in the Wildstorm Universe? Sure, you've got Grunge from Gen13, but with how he's drawn, I'll bet most of y'all didn't even know that. Why does Pat Lee spend most of his time drawing Transformers? What about the Lunas? Not that they HAVE to do it because they're Asian, but I'm sure they care a lot more than Dan Didio or Quesada...

When blacks lacked major roles in comics, a group of guys got together to start Milestone Media. It didn't last, but it made an impact. Static Shock, one of the highest-rated Saturday morning cartoons, is from that venture, and he is no merged into the mainstream DC universe. It takes someone who respects these characters and cultures in order to make them successes. My question is who is going to step up to the plate?

6/15/2006 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger kalinara said...

I admit, I didn't think much about the racial stereotypes while reading. I thought a lot of them were interesting, original takes on superheroes at least compared to the fare we usually see.

But yeah, looking at in analytically is...disturbing.

But like Ragnell says, it *is* Morrison, and Morrison often starts with something that in appearance plays very much into the standard offensive stereotypes but then turns a rapid one-eighty for a deeper portrayal. (Bulleteer is the example that comes to mind immediately, for me.)

Here's hoping, because otherwise...egads.

6/16/2006 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

And, actually, just about everything about Thundermind is specifically linked to TIBETAN Buddhism, not Chinese... I went into that a bit at this week...

6/16/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Thanks Douglas, I didn't specifically refer to Thundermind as being a representation of Chinese Buddhism, but I appreciate the clarification.

6/16/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

william, I disagree with your premise. The fact is that the whole Asian-American identity as a cohesive unit didn't really start to form until fairly recently. This is probably why artists like Jim Lee declined to produce Asian-American characters, and you also have to take into account that while Lee owned Wildstorms, it was under Image and he was the only Asian-American owner, which is different from the situation with Milestone.

I think this aspect is changing, Asian-Americans were relegated to the drawing aspect in the past, not the creation aspect (Larry Hama and Jim Lee were exceptions). Nowadays, creators like Greg Pak (who often have to fight their parents to get into creative industries in the first place) seem to be willing to put Asian-American characters in their comics. But a lot of the best AsAm creators are still indie or indie-style (Kazu Kibuishi comes to mind). There's also a tendency to place Asian-American comic creators under the "manga" fold whether it's warranted or not (Stan Sakai).

6/16/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Ah...Jay, step into my parlour. First of all, Jim was born in Korea, raised in Missouri. Well, another Image founder, Whilce Portacio, is also of Asian decent, hailing from the Phillipines. That's 2 of the 7 Image founders, and Wildstorm was Jim's own imprint. You might say that the other 5 might have tried to squash it, but the company's development plan outlined that creators would not interfere in the development of each others' corners of the company. Sure, Wildstorm was under Image, but the sole reason they created that company was for more creative freedom and control than the Big 2 offered. Your argument seems to be, "Well, Jim was one guy." Not to be cliche, but one man could've made a difference. I can live with the answer of, "Well, maybe he didn't feel like it." That's his prerogative. But to say that he COULDN'T have done it sounds hard to believe. Maybe he can't NOW, since Wildstorm is now under the DC umbrella, but back in the day, he was his own boss. Plus, more diversity of any kind would've lessened the extent to which WildCATS was a thinly-veiled "reinterpretation" of the X-titles.

Now, we get get into semantics, but I didn't say "Asian-American". I said "Asian". Yes, there is a difference, and in the vein of the topic at hand, i.e. The Great Ten, I'm not isolating this to the identification of "Asian-Americans". This is Asian representation as a whole to which I'm referring. And no, I'm not saying it's all the same. I'm pointing out that there are many different viewpoints and experiences which can be gleaned from this.

Miletone was different in the sense that they had a distribution deal with DC, but that was it. For all intents and purposes, they were the Black Image. The difference being they set out to create a comic universe filled with the positive Black role models which were lacking in comics. Image, having no real cultural mission other than to give creators more rights, concentrated on who had the biggest guns, biggest breasts, or how Rob Liefeld could avoid drawing feet for another month.

I think the climate is changing behind the scenes. There is much more Asian representation in the creation phase, but that has yet to positively translate to the on-page portrayal of the Asian diaspora. Hama is one of the greats, and there'd be no modern G.I. Joe without him. He's not just a "great Asian writer". That would be insulting. He's a "Great Writer" period.

My point, though, is perhaps it will take an Asian creator to be sensitive to the culture and viewpoints in order to give Asian characters a more stable and positive base in comics. I throw this out there, because I know that eventually, if things progress the way that they have started in 52 #6, the argument will change from, "Why are there no positive Asian comic role models?" to "How dare this British guy insult my culture about which he knows nothing?" As far as the "They have to fight against their parents" reference, it's not much of a stretch to believe that no parent is really jumping at the idea of their kids going into comics except for maybe Joe Kubert...

6/16/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Actually, Whilce withdrew from the Image group early in the process, and was never a full partner anyway (he didn't own a full studio, he worked under Jim Lee's). I think it's a legitimate criticism to say that Jim Lee didn't try to create any Asian-American characters, on the other hand I'm not sure it would have garnered enough support. Of course, this is a willful choice he was making (an economic and creative one most likely.). So was reselling Wildstorm back to D.C.

As to why Jim Lee decided not to represent? Possibly because he felt there wasn't a cohesive enough niche. There wasn't a pan-Asian-American movement in the 90s like there is in the 2000s, and there was also large amounts of immigration just before that, which meant that the Asian-American identity wasn't well-formed then (it isn't really all that well-formed now, but it's better than it was 10 years ago.) You could try and sell back to Asia but you'd be competing with a very well-established industry without lots of muscle to back it up.

I don't think the change is just behind the scenes (though there's a lot of that going on). There are a lot of changes in the Asian-American identity in the past 10 or so years which resulted in more support for Asian-American created works. As for "fighting with their parents", I don't mean for comics in particular, I mean in general where Asian parents tend to push their kids towards monetarily practical pursuits even when they're not well suited. Off hand I can't name any in drawing type jobs, but a lot of Asian-American actors came from business or technical backgrounds (Daniel Dae Kim of Lost fame was considering investment banking before going as a full time actor).

6/17/2006 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Touche, Jay. I like you. You know your shit. I went all "Comic Book Store Guy" on you, and you never missed a beat. I'd love to have an in-depth comic discussion with you anytime. OK, enough gushing from me...

6/17/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Evan Waters said...

One comment on Mother of Champions.

Maybe this has changed in recent years, but what America has heard about China is that it is a particularly sexist culture, male children are heavily favored over female children (that is, moreso than in the US), and that this, combined with the "one child" policy, has resulted in a growing gender disparity.

Maybe this has been greatly exaggerated. It's hard to tell since the Chinese government puts out so much spin. But I think Mother of Champions is intended to reflect that, not misogyny on the part of the creators.

I might also point out that it's at least possible the criticism is aimed more at China as a nation than the Chinese people. Hence, basically decent heroes serving a morally dubious cause.

6/19/2006 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

... wow, evan... are you blaming china for mother of champions? I hardly think that's a fair assessment. no people deserve the kind of dehumanizing imagery that is associated with the mother of champions characters. we are talking about a character that parallels our reproductiveness with those of insects.

mother of champions makes a weak commentary on "gender disparities" associated with the one child policy because she reproduces so often with so many sons. No, it's obvious to me she is to represent the overwhelming numbers of the chinese population and how we are a faceless hoarde that outnumber our enemies by sheer numbers. that is not a political assessment of the national government -- it is a racist stereotype by a foreign culture.

6/19/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Evan Waters said...

But she produces sons, which is the issue. It reflects the perceived sexism of Chinese culture- the woman kept in a breeder role. Does the nation deserve it, perhaps not. But that is what we have heard.

I still think it's a bit of a stretch to peg Morrison as a horrible racist based on extrapolation from one issue.

6/19/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

No one has painted Grant Morrison as "a horrible racist bastard". Still, Mother of Champions is a horrible racist character.

It's disgusting to me that DC Comics would produce comics with a character that repugnant, especially since that stereotype is so against what American readers could possibly find heroic in any sense. Again, all we know about the Great Ten is that they are China's national superhero team; Hal Jordan himself refers the Ten as "the good guys".

But American comic readers roughly thirty years after feminism shouldn't find Mother of Champions useful. It's just terrible: a character that single-handedly overwhelms China's enemies with human superhero waves, the Yellow Peril myth distilled into one character.

I don't see how anyone could find that permissible in comics intended for all ages, or any age. Grant Morrison should be ashamed of himself for that one.

6/19/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Hey Jenn,
I kinda told James about this the other day, but I thought you'd be interested in this article about the upcoming "rematch", so to speak. Since this will take place about a year after the events in 52 #6, they're supposed to be a more accomplished team in this showing, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

6/22/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cap'n History said...

I am glad I found this blog posting. As a white American comic reader, I felt uncomfortable with the Great Ten's initial appearance, and I wondered how a comic fan of Asian descent felt. All of your opinions have been thought provoking. The conversation about Asian and Asian-American creators really intrigues me. For several years artists and writers of Asian descent have been making greater and greater contributions to American super-hero comics to the degree that even I (a comic book fans who therefore had only a very rudimentary understanding of race)was intrigued by where this may lead. I would very much like to see the kinds of Asian characters Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, or Greg Pak would create to be THE Asian superhero. However I think there remains a major obstacle no one has mentioned here yet. Beyond the ham fisted creators, the editors to willing to trumpet their strives toward diversity, and even beyond us ignorant white comic readers an issue of context exists. Mainstream comics in the U.S. have been almost exclusively white for so long, that it may be hard to find a place for a proper Asian character. The context of American superhero comics is such that it's hard to fit a charcter from a truly new perspective into such an antiquated framework. Consider that the only way to introduce a new supercharacter is to put them into a relationship with an existing (and almost certainly white) character. Given the conflict centered storylines superhero comics are fueled by, the easist way to define this relationship is through conflict with said established super-cracker. So even when you're starting with characters like the Great Ten, who are meant to be heroes and therefore esentially positive, creators still put them at odds with all the old fan favorites out of either a misunderstanding or an honest conflict of interests. Remember characters like Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch are still a big part of Marvel comics and they all got their start in the racist, quasi-propoganda comics of WWII. When superheroes who were created to FIGHT cruel charicatures of the JAPANESE people in four colors are the foundation of an industry, can you really expect the industry to be open and understanding without major internal changes?

6/22/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Vasu said...

Other people have said it, but it bears repeating that the racist/sexist subtext is entirely intentional. Morrison knows his subtext. A good rule of thumb when reading his work is that when something is disturbing, it's meant to be disturbing. It's easy to lose the distinction between racism/sexism and commentary on such, but given the writer's history, I'm inclined to lean towards the latter.

6/24/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

that's definitely some faith in morrison. forgive me if i'm going to remain skeptical until i see it.

also, grant morrison will not continue to write the Great Ten ad infinitum. consider how great characters like cassandra cain can get fundamentally destroyed by a bad writer. even if morrison does know what he's doing, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone else will.

6/24/2006 01:17:00 PM  
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