The Dictator observations thread.

Politics and other such topical creams.
Marky Dread
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 11:51am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 9:16am
One of the books I assigned this year was Tricia Rose's The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop—And Why It Matters. It deals with the problem of white racism and vulgar hip hop's trafficking in misogyny and glorificatio of predatory criminality and violence. That is, the difficulty of criticizing the latter without sitting amongst the former. The more underlying argument is that both white conservatives and vulgar hip hop are actually working in tandem to promote a debased idea of black culture and worth, and that fans are complicit by buying those records. Boiled down, she says be better, be more demanding, and don't make excuses for horrible people. The book is a bit dated now in terms of vulgar hip hop's popularity and media coverage, but the point about being more ethical consumers still stands.
I see (hear) no difference between crap like Skrewdriver and hip hop that goes down the vulgarity route. Both are promoting bad stuff and neither are positive.

It's good to be bad at times and then not.
Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Because we are a bunch of punk fans. Punk is established in it's own sense of wisdom and morals. It's why it makes me feel sad when writers hark on about nihilism and totally miss the positives in destroying a system that is failing in order to attempt to build a better one.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:49pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 11:51am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 9:16am
One of the books I assigned this year was Tricia Rose's The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop—And Why It Matters. It deals with the problem of white racism and vulgar hip hop's trafficking in misogyny and glorificatio of predatory criminality and violence. That is, the difficulty of criticizing the latter without sitting amongst the former. The more underlying argument is that both white conservatives and vulgar hip hop are actually working in tandem to promote a debased idea of black culture and worth, and that fans are complicit by buying those records. Boiled down, she says be better, be more demanding, and don't make excuses for horrible people. The book is a bit dated now in terms of vulgar hip hop's popularity and media coverage, but the point about being more ethical consumers still stands.
I see (hear) no difference between crap like Skrewdriver and hip hop that goes down the vulgarity route. Both are promoting bad stuff and neither are positive.

It's good to be bad at times and then not.
Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Because we are a bunch of punk fans. Punk is established in it's own sense of wisdom and morals. It's why it makes me feel sad when writers hark on about nihilism and totally miss the positives in destroying a system that is failing in order to attempt to build a better one.
Yes, but one of the things about punk is that politeness and manners and all that is regarded with skepticism, that's it's artificial and a way of denying honest communication. Punk legitimates anger and frustration in ways that conventional life demands we bottle up inside. And that often leads to a more snarky, even cynical way of interacting. Transgressive words and conduct is privileged as more honest and authentic. Our rejection of certain elements of hip hop and punk as vulgar and reactionary could be seen as us being phoney mainstream moralizers. *I* don't think that, but I can see how some would interpret it.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by JennyB »

I just want to thank all of you for talking about this wave of antisemitism and standing up against it. It is much appreciated by this Jewess.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Marky Dread »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 2:31pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:49pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 11:51am
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 9:16am
One of the books I assigned this year was Tricia Rose's The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop—And Why It Matters. It deals with the problem of white racism and vulgar hip hop's trafficking in misogyny and glorificatio of predatory criminality and violence. That is, the difficulty of criticizing the latter without sitting amongst the former. The more underlying argument is that both white conservatives and vulgar hip hop are actually working in tandem to promote a debased idea of black culture and worth, and that fans are complicit by buying those records. Boiled down, she says be better, be more demanding, and don't make excuses for horrible people. The book is a bit dated now in terms of vulgar hip hop's popularity and media coverage, but the point about being more ethical consumers still stands.
I see (hear) no difference between crap like Skrewdriver and hip hop that goes down the vulgarity route. Both are promoting bad stuff and neither are positive.

It's good to be bad at times and then not.
Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Because we are a bunch of punk fans. Punk is established in it's own sense of wisdom and morals. It's why it makes me feel sad when writers hark on about nihilism and totally miss the positives in destroying a system that is failing in order to attempt to build a better one.
Yes, but one of the things about punk is that politeness and manners and all that is regarded with skepticism, that's it's artificial and a way of denying honest communication. Punk legitimates anger and frustration in ways that conventional life demands we bottle up inside. And that often leads to a more snarky, even cynical way of interacting. Transgressive words and conduct is privileged as more honest and authentic. Our rejection of certain elements of hip hop and punk as vulgar and reactionary could be seen as us being phoney mainstream moralizers. *I* don't think that, but I can see how some would interpret it.
I don't think you tie punk down that simply .
There are punk stances but we all know half of it is just posturing. The human element of the individual is all important as to what we feel regards just how vulgar something is. Songs that have lyrics about the mistreatment of women, homosexuality, race and so on that are aimed to offend from the off without any thought of their target I find the worst. There can be things that are done tongue in cheek which are wrong but are someone's idea of a joke without the intent of causing hurt. Both are wrong more so than ever in this day and age where people are more prone to take offence. It's down to interpretation really as there are those who could easily be offended by "White Riot". There's obviously a huge difference between those who just deem everything immoral like Tipper Gore and the stuff like the famous Penis Landscape poster that the DKs got in trouble for issuing.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 3:49pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 2:31pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:49pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 11:51am


I see (hear) no difference between crap like Skrewdriver and hip hop that goes down the vulgarity route. Both are promoting bad stuff and neither are positive.

It's good to be bad at times and then not.
Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Because we are a bunch of punk fans. Punk is established in it's own sense of wisdom and morals. It's why it makes me feel sad when writers hark on about nihilism and totally miss the positives in destroying a system that is failing in order to attempt to build a better one.
Yes, but one of the things about punk is that politeness and manners and all that is regarded with skepticism, that's it's artificial and a way of denying honest communication. Punk legitimates anger and frustration in ways that conventional life demands we bottle up inside. And that often leads to a more snarky, even cynical way of interacting. Transgressive words and conduct is privileged as more honest and authentic. Our rejection of certain elements of hip hop and punk as vulgar and reactionary could be seen as us being phoney mainstream moralizers. *I* don't think that, but I can see how some would interpret it.
I don't think you tie punk down that simply .
There are punk stances but we all know half of it is just posturing. The human element of the individual is all important as to what we feel regards just how vulgar something is. Songs that have lyrics about the mistreatment of women, homosexuality, race and so on that are aimed to offend from the off without any thought of their target I find the worst. There can be things that are done tongue in cheek which are wrong but are someone's idea of a joke without the intent of causing hurt. Both are wrong more so than ever in this day and age where people are more prone to take offence. It's down to interpretation really as there are those who could easily be offended by "White Riot". There's obviously a huge difference between those who just deem everything immoral like Tipper Gore and the stuff like the famous Penis Landscape poster that the DKs got in trouble for issuing.
The posturing does matter, tho. Yes, the critics focus on the dumbass shock and aggression, but so do a lot of meatheads. This is going to sound elitist but whatever, but the people here aren't so dogmatic about "true punk," with all the nonsense. We are more nuanced and consider consequences. Kind of like the Clash itself. We aren't driven to defend everything as amazing. We're capable of critiquing without ever losing sight that the essence if a distinct good.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Flex »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 2:31pm
Yes, but one of the things about punk is that politeness and manners and all that is regarded with skepticism, that's it's artificial and a way of denying honest communication. Punk legitimates anger and frustration in ways that conventional life demands we bottle up inside. And that often leads to a more snarky, even cynical way of interacting. Transgressive words and conduct is privileged as more honest and authentic. Our rejection of certain elements of hip hop and punk as vulgar and reactionary could be seen as us being phoney mainstream moralizers. *I* don't think that, but I can see how some would interpret it.
A few thoughts:

1. I'm actually not sure that that I agree with the premise that transgressive words and conduct are, or have been, privileged as more honest and authentic. The nihilism of punk, for at least the entirety of my life, is understood to have at least an element of theatricality to it. When I think of bands that I consider truly honest and authentic, Fugazi being the ultimate exemplar, they are decidedly not vulgar reactionaries. They are transgressive, I think, but because they conduct themselves in ways that suggest alternatives to traditional corporate capitalists mode of thinking and behaving.

2. Following on that, is it accurate to say that the anti-semitism expressed by Cube et al represents a transgression against a mainstream moralization? I mean, anti-semites control the entirety of the U.S. government and weird, anti-semitic conspiracies are rife in right-wing popular culture (and, sadly, at least some small portion of the Left). Leaning into this very, very popular and mainstream attitude, but using the word "fuck" when you align with our president's worldview, doesn't strike me as a particularly powerful strike against conventional American life.

3. I know that you're not arguing for the position you outlined, necessarily, but if one were to would that make Skrewdriver the exemplar of punk rock transgression?
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Marky Dread »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 5:51pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 3:49pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 2:31pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:49pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 12:21pm


Man, for a bunch of punk fans, we all sure seem churchy. :shifty:
Because we are a bunch of punk fans. Punk is established in it's own sense of wisdom and morals. It's why it makes me feel sad when writers hark on about nihilism and totally miss the positives in destroying a system that is failing in order to attempt to build a better one.
Yes, but one of the things about punk is that politeness and manners and all that is regarded with skepticism, that's it's artificial and a way of denying honest communication. Punk legitimates anger and frustration in ways that conventional life demands we bottle up inside. And that often leads to a more snarky, even cynical way of interacting. Transgressive words and conduct is privileged as more honest and authentic. Our rejection of certain elements of hip hop and punk as vulgar and reactionary could be seen as us being phoney mainstream moralizers. *I* don't think that, but I can see how some would interpret it.
I don't think you tie punk down that simply .
There are punk stances but we all know half of it is just posturing. The human element of the individual is all important as to what we feel regards just how vulgar something is. Songs that have lyrics about the mistreatment of women, homosexuality, race and so on that are aimed to offend from the off without any thought of their target I find the worst. There can be things that are done tongue in cheek which are wrong but are someone's idea of a joke without the intent of causing hurt. Both are wrong more so than ever in this day and age where people are more prone to take offence. It's down to interpretation really as there are those who could easily be offended by "White Riot". There's obviously a huge difference between those who just deem everything immoral like Tipper Gore and the stuff like the famous Penis Landscape poster that the DKs got in trouble for issuing.
The posturing does matter, tho. Yes, the critics focus on the dumbass shock and aggression, but so do a lot of meatheads. This is going to sound elitist but whatever, but the people here aren't so dogmatic about "true punk," with all the nonsense. We are more nuanced and consider consequences. Kind of like the Clash itself. We aren't driven to defend everything as amazing. We're capable of critiquing without ever losing sight that the essence if a distinct good.
It doesn't sound elitist to me. Punk is about not being taken for a ride and about reading between the lines. Deciphering the bullshit and deciding what is right for you. It's about understanding the individual but also keeping an eye on your surroundings and remembering that everyone matters.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Flex wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:11pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 2:31pm
Yes, but one of the things about punk is that politeness and manners and all that is regarded with skepticism, that's it's artificial and a way of denying honest communication. Punk legitimates anger and frustration in ways that conventional life demands we bottle up inside. And that often leads to a more snarky, even cynical way of interacting. Transgressive words and conduct is privileged as more honest and authentic. Our rejection of certain elements of hip hop and punk as vulgar and reactionary could be seen as us being phoney mainstream moralizers. *I* don't think that, but I can see how some would interpret it.
A few thoughts:

1. I'm actually not sure that that I agree with the premise that transgressive words and conduct are, or have been, privileged as more honest and authentic. The nihilism of punk, for at least the entirety of my life, is understood to have at least an element of theatricality to it. When I think of bands that I consider truly honest and authentic, Fugazi being the ultimate exemplar, they are decidedly not vulgar reactionaries. They are transgressive, I think, but because they conduct themselves in ways that suggest alternatives to traditional corporate capitalists mode of thinking and behaving.

2. Following on that, is it accurate to say that the anti-semitism expressed by Cube et al represents a transgression against a mainstream moralization? I mean, anti-semites control the entirety of the U.S. government and weird, anti-semitic conspiracies are rife in right-wing popular culture (and, sadly, at least some small portion of the Left). Leaning into this very, very popular and mainstream attitude, but using the word "fuck" when you align with our president's worldview, doesn't strike me as a particularly powerful strike against conventional American life.

3. I know that you're not arguing for the position you outlined, necessarily, but if one were to would that make Skrewdriver the exemplar of punk rock transgression?
Regards Skrewdriver I would argue heavily that racists punks are not punk at all. To my way of thinking punk is about being able to accept all walks of life. The fact that Skrewdriver chose to use punk music to get there ugly message across only shows me what a cowardly group they are/were. This is the great con that gave rise to racist skinheads. Using tough street music to match the tough image as a means to violence. You see the sad pathetic wealthy wankers who ran the NF who look like bank managers. They needed the muscle and recruited mixed up kids looking for a ruck.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Flex »

Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:24pm
Regards Skrewdriver I would argue heavily that racists punks are not punk at all. To my way of thinking punk is about being able to accept all walks of life. The fact that Skrewdriver chose to use punk music to get there ugly message across only shows me what a cowardly group they are/were. This is the great con that gave rise to racist skinheads. Using tough street music to match the tough image as a means to violence. You see the sad pathetic wealthy wankers who ran the NF who look like bank managers. They needed the muscle and recruited mixed up kids looking for a ruck.
Right - it's telling that they themselves discarded the punk and oi labels and created their own bullshit music genre - RAC - to better illustrate what they were about.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Flex wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:25pm
Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:24pm
Regards Skrewdriver I would argue heavily that racists punks are not punk at all. To my way of thinking punk is about being able to accept all walks of life. The fact that Skrewdriver chose to use punk music to get there ugly message across only shows me what a cowardly group they are/were. This is the great con that gave rise to racist skinheads. Using tough street music to match the tough image as a means to violence. You see the sad pathetic wealthy wankers who ran the NF who look like bank managers. They needed the muscle and recruited mixed up kids looking for a ruck.
Right - it's telling that they themselves discarded the punk and oi labels and created their own bullshit music genre - RAC - to better illustrate what they were about.
Yes that is spot on.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

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Flex wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:11pm
1. I'm actually not sure that that I agree with the premise that transgressive words and conduct are, or have been, privileged as more honest and authentic. The nihilism of punk, for at least the entirety of my life, is understood to have at least an element of theatricality to it. When I think of bands that I consider truly honest and authentic, Fugazi being the ultimate exemplar, they are decidedly not vulgar reactionaries. They are transgressive, I think, but because they conduct themselves in ways that suggest alternatives to traditional corporate capitalists mode of thinking and behaving.
Trangression takes many forms, and depending on where you sit ideologically, some are more valid than others. There are some who think yelling a slur is transgressive—that is, meaningfully so—and some who regard that as, in fact, reactionary or, as you say, theatrical. Fugazi (pretty much always the ideal that all others are measured against) transgress in ways quieter and more significant. Yelling fuck or some slur just isn't that shocking, but asserting themselves not for sale is. But that's a significant level above what most people think about in terms of rebellion.
2. Following on that, is it accurate to say that the anti-semitism expressed by Cube et al represents a transgression against a mainstream moralization? I mean, anti-semites control the entirety of the U.S. government and weird, anti-semitic conspiracies are rife in right-wing popular culture (and, sadly, at least some small portion of the Left). Leaning into this very, very popular and mainstream attitude, but using the word "fuck" when you align with our president's worldview, doesn't strike me as a particularly powerful strike against conventional American life.
Yes, I'd say it's transgressive against the liberal norm—if the right has won the economic argument over the last five decades, the liberal-left has (mostly) won the cultural—but in support of the reactionary side. Trumpists et al aren't wrong when they see themselves as besieged on the cultural front. The normalization of mixed race and same sex couples in popular media suggests to me that the Culture Wars has been a losing proposition for the right, save as a political tactic. The whining about political correctness and cancel culture is an admission that in terms of cultural norms the right is fighting a defensive war. So reactionary transgression via antisemitism makes a lot of sense to me.
3. I know that you're not arguing for the position you outlined, necessarily, but if one were to would that make Skrewdriver the exemplar of punk rock transgression?
Entirely! One of the scholarly questions I've had for a long time about punk is how an anarchist/socialist impulse can sit with a Nazi one. More so, how do we know that that anarchist/socialist one represents "real" punk? Why are the Nazi assholes the heretics? Is it just about numerical inferiority? The fascist impulse in punk—anti-intellectualism, aggression, righteous oppositionality—is that element that those of us on the "left" (or something like it) have to acknowledge. I just don't see it as a mutant deviancy, but that ugliness that haunts a punk perspective. The wiser figures within hardcore—MacKaye, Biafra—saw in the violence, even if it was therapeutic and performative, as something seriously problematic. But without that aggression, is it still punk? That's the conundrum for me in terms of taking punk as a philosophical outlook.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Marky Dread »

Dr. Medulla wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:58pm
Flex wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 6:11pm
1. I'm actually not sure that that I agree with the premise that transgressive words and conduct are, or have been, privileged as more honest and authentic. The nihilism of punk, for at least the entirety of my life, is understood to have at least an element of theatricality to it. When I think of bands that I consider truly honest and authentic, Fugazi being the ultimate exemplar, they are decidedly not vulgar reactionaries. They are transgressive, I think, but because they conduct themselves in ways that suggest alternatives to traditional corporate capitalists mode of thinking and behaving.
Trangression takes many forms, and depending on where you sit ideologically, some are more valid than others. There are some who think yelling a slur is transgressive—that is, meaningfully so—and some who regard that as, in fact, reactionary or, as you say, theatrical. Fugazi (pretty much always the ideal that all others are measured against) transgress in ways quieter and more significant. Yelling fuck or some slur just isn't that shocking, but asserting themselves not for sale is. But that's a significant level above what most people think about in terms of rebellion.
2. Following on that, is it accurate to say that the anti-semitism expressed by Cube et al represents a transgression against a mainstream moralization? I mean, anti-semites control the entirety of the U.S. government and weird, anti-semitic conspiracies are rife in right-wing popular culture (and, sadly, at least some small portion of the Left). Leaning into this very, very popular and mainstream attitude, but using the word "fuck" when you align with our president's worldview, doesn't strike me as a particularly powerful strike against conventional American life.
Yes, I'd say it's transgressive against the liberal norm—if the right has won the economic argument over the last five decades, the liberal-left has (mostly) won the cultural—but in support of the reactionary side. Trumpists et al aren't wrong when they see themselves as besieged on the cultural front. The normalization of mixed race and same sex couples in popular media suggests to me that the Culture Wars has been a losing proposition for the right, save as a political tactic. The whining about political correctness and cancel culture is an admission that in terms of cultural norms the right is fighting a defensive war. So reactionary transgression via antisemitism makes a lot of sense to me.
3. I know that you're not arguing for the position you outlined, necessarily, but if one were to would that make Skrewdriver the exemplar of punk rock transgression?
Entirely! One of the scholarly questions I've had for a long time about punk is how an anarchist/socialist impulse can sit with a Nazi one. More so, how do we know that that anarchist/socialist one represents "real" punk? Why are the Nazi assholes the heretics? Is it just about numerical inferiority? The fascist impulse in punk—anti-intellectualism, aggression, righteous oppositionality—is that element that those of us on the "left" (or something like it) have to acknowledge. I just don't see it as a mutant deviancy, but that ugliness that haunts a punk perspective. The wiser figures within hardcore—MacKaye, Biafra—saw in the violence, even if it was therapeutic and performative, as something seriously problematic. But without that aggression, is it still punk? That's the conundrum for me in terms of taking punk as a philosophical outlook.
Yes 100% it is. Punk isn't about aggression or violence those are by products. Punk doesn't have to be played hard and fast or even on an electric guitar. Go listen to Patrik Fitzgerald.

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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by revbob »

Words. Ratty would be proud.

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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Dr. Medulla »

Marky Dread wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 7:32pm
Yes 100% it is. Punk isn't about aggression or violence those are by products. Punk doesn't have to be played hard and fast or even on an electric guitar. Go listen to Patrik Fitzgerald.

And yet you can't deny that the punk aesthetic has been predominantly loud, fast, and hard. Hardcore's premise was on purifying that aesthetic to (at least to my ears) absurd degrees. It's the ones that sound more conventional—more commercial—that have to justify their punk values and intent because the aesthetic of something non-commercial is baked in. I agree that it should be a big tent, but those who fall outside a familiar "punk sound" have to justify their claim. I mean, I think you're arguing that punk is in the heart and mind—and I mostly agree—but there is an aesthetic that goes along with most of it that we can recognize. The Exploited are unambiguously punk; Billy Bragg is someone to argue about. I don't think we can get too clever to dismiss aesthetics altogether.
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Re: The Dictator observations thread.

Post by Dr. Medulla »

revbob wrote:
17 Jul 2020, 7:54pm
Words. Ratty would be proud.
In honour of his recent birthday. :approve:
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