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Also, consider that Lewis was very much in touch with the mystic side of Christianity, meaning that he was more than passing familiar with the story of how Asael and the rest of the fallen angels taught men the secrets of metallurgy, chemistry, divination and cosmetology, and in doing so corrupted man. Not because the knowledge itself was corrupt, but because in doing so they revealed heavenly secrets.

Now, that story's told at least three times throughout the Books of Enoch alone, and in each sex and knowledge trade off in taking responsibility for the fall of man, but I don't think it's entirely fair to assume that lipstick + stockings = sex. I've read both The Last Battle several times, and all I see is a young woman who's decided to place greater priority on worldly things and has chosen to ignore her spiritual responsibilities.


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Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ah, okay monkg"”I didn't understand what you meant about her being 18 in the previous post, but I think I do now. I think I was speaking too broadly then. I guess more what I meant was not that she would be condemned for any knowledge of sex itself, but that it seemed like that her interest in lipstick/stockings was being shown as the wrong kind of relationship to sex.

That's interesting about cosmetology being counted among heavenly secrets, Dweller; I didn't know any of that. I'm sure Lewis' meaning was more complex than I understood. I guess I still see those two thing as evocative of female sexuality since they are associated with dating/courtship, but it sounds like they would have had greater resonance for Lewis than I appreciated.

I guess that reading Lewis as a kid, I wasn't really looking at the Narnia books as a set of analogies, so maybe that's why some of the associations that I drew from his work (which where probably wrong in terms of authorial intention), seemed to have more in common with Gaiman's story. Or maybe I'm misreading them both. Smile

That's more what I meant in terms of her not having a choice"”not that God denies her one, but that Lewis the writer seems to. (i.e., the character he makes into his reluctant Christian is a woman who doesn't fit his idea of proper womanhood)
 
Posts: 44 | Registered: February 16, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just to know - initially, cosmetology was thought to have mystical power. It wasn't just a matter of putting on rouge to highlight your cheekbones, it was believed that the substances themselves had the alchemical ability to control minds. In that way, associating it with the other, more arcane arts the fallen angels taught makes a great deal of sense.

And, incidentally, a woman who is vain about her appearance is an unbiblical woman, period. Once could argue that Susan is only adopting the societal norms and not being vain, but that's splitting hairs, really, considering just how vain women (and men) are encouraged to be about their appearance.


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"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
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Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's funny Dweller, your last post reminds me of Britney Spears on stage looking the way she looks on stage and thanking Jesus. Even without being a good Christian that got on my nerves to no end.

I think Iphigenia has a good point. It's not as much Susan's choice not to see Aslan, but more like, Lewis' choice to have a character prefering the material world to the spiritual one and he chose Susan for that because she's always been the "rational" one. This is because he wanted to show what would happen to somebody if they did.

Whether this is purposeful punishment or just the logical result of her choice, it's not the real issue. It's claiming spirituality as a necessary condition not only to happiness, but against doom and loneliness and so on. It's saying that if you don't accept to follow Christ and make him the most important thing in your life, you're condemned.
 
Posts: 341 | Location: Indiana, US | Registered: January 12, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by chimeer:
It's funny Dweller, your last post reminds me of Britney Spears on stage looking the way she looks on stage and thanking Jesus. Even without being a good Christian that got on my nerves to no end.

I think Iphigenia has a good point. It's not as much Susan's choice not to see Aslan, but more like, Lewis' choice to have a character prefering the material world to the spiritual one and he chose Susan for that because she's always been the "rational" one. This is because he wanted to show what would happen to somebody if they did.

Whether this is purposeful punishment or just the logical result of her choice, it's not the real issue. It's claiming spirituality as a necessary condition not only to happiness, but against doom and loneliness and so on. It's saying that if you don't accept to follow Christ and make him the most important thing in your life, you're condemned.


I am not a writer, but I do know that not all of them *plan* for what happens to their characters. Can they control it? Sure. But sometimes they see something develop that they didn't realize was going to happen at the start of the story. I don't think we can know exactly why Lewis chose Susan to be the character who decided against belief. And since he doesn't show the rest of her life, I don't think your assertion that he chose Susan to show what would happen to someone who rejected faith is correct. Through Lucy, Edmund, Peter, et al, he *is* showing what he believes happens to those who do choose faith. He gives the ending for them. He doesn't give an ending for Susan. That's where NG's story picks up. It shows a plausible might have been for Susan's character.


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Posts: 1540 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 06, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by chimeer:
It's funny Dweller, your last post reminds me of Britney Spears on stage looking the way she looks on stage and thanking Jesus. Even without being a good Christian that got on my nerves to no end.

I think Iphigenia has a good point. It's not as much Susan's choice not to see Aslan, but more like, Lewis' choice to have a character prefering the material world to the spiritual one and he chose Susan for that because she's always been the "rational" one. This is because he wanted to show what would happen to somebody if they did.

Whether this is purposeful punishment or just the logical result of her choice, it's not the real issue. It's claiming spirituality as a necessary condition not only to happiness, but against doom and loneliness and so on. It's saying that if you don't accept to follow Christ and make him the most important thing in your life, you're condemned.

Gadzooks, you mean C.S. Lewis actually practices his chosen religion and believes in its tenets? My God, man, hand me a torch, you get the pitchfork.

Sorry, I can't get any more offended by Lewis' Christian script gerrymandering than I can by the purposeful mysterious illogic of a Buddhist koan or the philandering of Zeus. Lewis is doing what he does.

If it makes you feel better, put quotes around the word "unbiblical" in "unbiblical woman," but consider this from I Timothy:

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.


So, feel free to be offended by it, but at least it's consistently offensive.


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"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
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Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You're really getting upset about this, I can tell. Just take it easy. It's only a story. And I'm only a self-conceited smarta** who can't keep her opinions to herself and her mouth shut.

Yes, Lewis can write about what he is and the narrow way he sees these things, but I don't have to like it, nor to accept that particular detail in the story as being "the truth" and this is why I'm siding with Neil on this one.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by chimeer:
You're really getting upset about this, I can tell. Just take it easy. It's only a story. And I'm only a self-conceited smarta** who can't keep her opinions to herself and her mouth shut.

Yes, Lewis can write about what he is and the narrow way he sees these things, but I don't have to like it, nor to accept that particular detail in the story as being "the truth" and this is why I'm siding with Neil on this one.


I'm a little confused here. NG didn't give an ending to Susan. He gave a might have been and a very interesting discussion on how fiction we read as children affects us for the rest of our lives. Now I've read other, less interesting might have beens where the character is named Susan Pevensie and Aslan is named specifically, etc., sent to me by fanfic people. Any story can end any way you want, I guess, these days with the whole fanfic explosion. But that's not what NG did. His Professor Hastings is not necessarily Susan and his lion isn't Aslan. So what are you siding with Mr. Gaiman on?


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Posts: 1540 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 06, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ok. You can say that these are not really his characters, that his story is not necessarily related to Narnia, but that's splitting hairs. He mentioned this story in discussions about Narnia several times and it's obvious there is a connection.

I'm siding with him on whatever "problem" he has with Susan's fate at the end of the chronicles that made him write this story. And OMG, this parachute is a backpack and I'm freefalling. It seems that the more I try to explain myself the deeper I dig myself in. I call it quits.
 
Posts: 341 | Location: Indiana, US | Registered: January 12, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by monkgrr:
Now I've read other, less interesting might have beens where the character is named Susan Pevensie and Aslan is named specifically, etc., sent to me by fanfic people. Any story can end any way you want, I guess, these days with the whole fanfic explosion. But that's not what NG did. His Professor Hastings is not necessarily Susan and his lion isn't Aslan. So what are you siding with Mr. Gaiman on?


I'll file that under "likely stories" if that's all right with you.

I've yet to get my hands on a copy of the story, but seriously, what's going on here? Two characters near enough to the White Witch and Aslan for all practical purposes (except the very practical purpose of giving NG enough plausible deniability that the Lewis estate can't ream him a new asshole) having red-hot monkey sex? Almost as bizarre as the not-good-at-schoolwork Susan mysteriously morphing into a professor.

Lewis, for what it's worth, made vaguely comforting noises to those who asked, to the effect that Susan was still alive and well in England and had plenty of time to find her way back to Aslan - and of course the "true" Narnia; only the "Shadowlands" Narnia was destroyed in The Last Battle. But I'm not sure what NG's basic premise is here. That Aslan was a big ol' hypocrite (not to mention meanie), that Narnia was just so much smoke and mirrors, that Susan had grown up and didn't need childish things any more? There's an element of sour grapes creeping in there.

It's worth remarking that, on the testimony of the other female Friends of Narnia, the trouble with Susan isn't simply that she's discovered lipstick, nylons and invitations. She discovered them some years ago, and she is showing every intention of not moving on from that stage in life (I think it's Polly that delivers the excellent line about getting as fast as possible to the silliest time of one's life, and staying there as long as she can). It's the foolish shallowness and not the putting away of childish things that is the stumbling block.

As for predestination: bah. From what I remember of Lewis's writing (and I've read a good deal of it, though not all) he was firmly on the free-will side of it. Say rather that Aslan makes use of foreknowledge, not predestination; that the Pevensies and other train travellers were not "sacrificed", but that they made their own choices and abode the consequences of them, and Aslan put the fate of Peter et. al. to his own good use.

Supposing Susan had been on the train, what then? She dismissed Aslan and Narnia as fairytales. The dwarfs in the stable refused to be "taken in" and condemned themselves to a life of squalor - for who knows how long? - rather than enter into Paradise. What of Susan? Aslan could not make himself known to the dwarfs who denied him. Kinder, surely, for Susan to have been left the chance to find him again in her own time.

Talking of who is named what, a well-meaning amateur author has recently written a piece of fan-fic in which the female character is surnamed "Railly" (pronounced "Rye"), this without knowing about Professor Hastings. Modestly forbids any further mention; besides, this is a Gaimain fan-board, not a Lewis one. Wink

Urendi Maleldil
 
Posts: 14 | Registered: February 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Malacandra:
Lewis, for what it's worth, made vaguely comforting noises to those who asked, to the effect that Susan was still alive and well in England and had plenty of time to find her way back to Aslan - and of course the "true" Narnia; only the "Shadowlands" Narnia was destroyed in The Last Battle. But I'm not sure what NG's basic premise is here. That Aslan was a big ol' hypocrite (not to mention meanie), that Narnia was just so much smoke and mirrors, that Susan had grown up and didn't need childish things any more? There's an element of sour grapes creeping in there.

It's worth remarking that, on the testimony of the other female Friends of Narnia, the trouble with Susan isn't simply that she's discovered lipstick, nylons and invitations. She discovered them some years ago, and she is showing every intention of not moving on from that stage in life (I think it's Polly that delivers the excellent line about getting as fast as possible to the silliest time of one's life, and staying there as long as she can). It's the foolish shallowness and not the putting away of childish things that is the stumbling block.

As for predestination: bah. From what I remember of Lewis's writing (and I've read a good deal of it, though not all) he was firmly on the free-will side of it. Say rather that Aslan makes use of foreknowledge, not predestination; that the Pevensies and other train travellers were not "sacrificed", but that they made their own choices and abode the consequences of them, and Aslan put the fate of Peter et. al. to his own good use.

Supposing Susan had been on the train, what then? She dismissed Aslan and Narnia as fairytales. The dwarfs in the stable refused to be "taken in" and condemned themselves to a life of squalor - for who knows how long? - rather than enter into Paradise. What of Susan? Aslan could not make himself known to the dwarfs who denied him. Kinder, surely, for Susan to have been left the chance to find him again in her own time.


I guess this is what I meant. That line, "Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia" gives me a lot of hope for Susan, that one day she'd find her way back. I'm not sure at the end of the Last Battle that her path has ended.


____________________________________________________________________
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Posts: 2179 | Location: Hiding in the secret compartments of Whittier, CA | Registered: July 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by chimeer:
You're really getting upset about this, I can tell. Just take it easy. It's only a story. And I'm only a self-conceited smarta** who can't keep her opinions to herself and her mouth shut.

Then you tell poorly. I'm not upset at all, really.
quote:
Yes, Lewis can write about what he is and the narrow way he sees these things, but I don't have to like it, nor to accept that particular detail in the story as being "the truth" and this is why I'm siding with Neil on this one.

Fine enough. You certainly don't have to accept it as the Truth, but I hope it's clear that, so far as the story and its world goes, it is that world's truth.


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"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
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Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Malacandra:

I'll file that under "likely stories" if that's all right with you.

I've yet to get my hands on a copy of the story, but seriously, what's going on here?

Urendi Maleldil


I can only respond that perhaps you should read the story before making comments on it. That's just common sense. I can't discuss something you haven't read; that would be a waste of your time. But if you get the chance to read NG's story, I think you would find it interesting. You might be able to see something I missed. But you can't do that if you haven't read the work in question.


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According to all the research I did for a presentaton at the Lewis Con at Belmont Univ back in November, the "vaguely comforting noises" amount to one pretty cold blooded letter to a child that maybe Susan would come around in time, but she is the type of character who could persuade herself that it was all a lie (of course, when the third volume of letters comes out, perhaps more will be found regarding this topic). I'm a Lewis lover, but I don't think he really thought this through. A character who has lost her entire family doesn't usually stay exactly the same as she was before the accident.


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(Addressing your other reply first. I'd willingly read the story before commenting on it, but I haven't got my hands on a copy yet. Meanwhile there are some fairly solid rumours floating around on the internet, some of them attributed to Gaiman at first hand, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to up and answer my questions about them rather than giving me the standard "go and read the story" fob-off. I'll make the judgment as to whether it's a waste of my time; I suspect your concern is that it would be a waste of yours. Apologies if this sounds like I'm coming on too strong, that's just my normal manner. Rest assured that if I get the chance to read TPoS, I will - if only to gain the proper perspective for my righteous indignation Cool )

quote:
Originally posted by monkgrr:
According to all the research I did for a presentaton at the Lewis Con at Belmont Univ back in November, the "vaguely comforting noises" amount to one pretty cold blooded letter to a child that maybe Susan would come around in time, but she is the type of character who could persuade herself that it was all a lie (of course, when the third volume of letters comes out, perhaps more will be found regarding this topic). I'm a Lewis lover, but I don't think he really thought this through. A character who has lost her entire family doesn't usually stay exactly the same as she was before the accident.


Heh. Well, a similar "vaguely worded reply" was responsible for getting the numbering order of the series changed from the original publishing order to the chronological order, marginally for the worse in my opinion, so let's not underestimate the power of a vaguely worded reply. Lewis's other works, such as The Great Divorce for a start, would suggest that where there's life there's hope.

I would be surprised if Susan did stay exactly the same as she was before the accident; but she could flip in one of two ways - letting the horrible experience draw her attention to the things she really did value more than lipstick, nylons and invitations, or raging futilely against Aslan for the rest of her life. The story I alluded to above represents my cogitations on the matter; but it certainly doesn't take the "Susan is justified and Aslan is an @-hole" line.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Malacandra:
(Addressing your other reply first. I'd willingly read the story before commenting on it, but I haven't got my hands on a copy yet. Meanwhile there are some fairly solid rumours floating around on the internet, some of them attributed to Gaiman at first hand, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to up and answer my questions about them rather than giving me the standard "go and read the story" fob-off. I'll make the judgment as to whether it's a waste of my time; I suspect your concern is that it would be a waste of yours. Apologies if this sounds like I'm coming on too strong, that's just my normal manner. Rest assured that if I get the chance to read TPoS, I will - if only to gain the proper perspective for my righteous indignation Cool )

I'm sorry, what were your questions? The only questions in your post seemed to be rhetorical, and, in rhetorical fashion, were then answered by you in the next sentence. I didn't perceive any sincere questions about the Gaiman story, but that may be a failing on my part by not recognizing a sincere question. I don't consider it a "fob-off"; I consider it, as I stated before, common sense. How can I possibly discuss something you haven't read yourself in anyway that would *not* be a waste of your time? That would be like describing a movie you've read reviews about but haven't seen. What would be the point? It couldn't possibly be a waste of mine because I love the story and love talking about it. If anything, I regreat that I don't have *more* time to discuss it. So, since I missed them the first time around, what did you ask specifically? I will answer questions if I can, and if I can't, I will tell you I can't (only a fool would presume to know all there is to know about either CSL or Gaiman's works).


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and I don't normally advocate music I love, but go see www.myspace.com/umbrellatree and thank me later!
 
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Mal, would you be kind enough to point me toward the "fairly solid rumours floating around on the internet"? (Also, I will be lesser than and decline to discuss the amateur author story you alluded to, because I haven't read it and I don't discuss things I haven't read because I don't know how.)


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and I don't normally advocate music I love, but go see www.myspace.com/umbrellatree and thank me later!
 
Posts: 1540 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 06, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by monkgrr:
Mal, would you be kind enough to point me toward the "fairly solid rumours floating around on the internet"? (Also, I will be lesser than and decline to discuss the amateur author story you alluded to, because I haven't read it and I don't discuss things I haven't read because I don't know how.)


Well, I'd call the New York Times "fairly solid" (and quite well-aired judging by the number of places it seems to be cited):

quote:
Then there's the unfortunate business with Susan, the second-oldest of the Pevensies, who near the end of the last volume is denied salvation merely because of her fondness for nylons and lipstick - because she has reached puberty, in other words, and has become sexualized. This passage in particular has set off Pullman and other critics (and has caused the fantasy writer Neil Gaiman to publish a kind of payback scenario, in which Susan has grown up to be a distinguished professor, not unlike Lewis, and in which for good measure Aslan performs earth-shaking oral sex on the witch).


- at least, solid enough for me to ask "What's all this about a professor? What's all this about oral sex between Aslan and the Witch?" Them's my questions. There may be more depending on what the answers are.

And if you check out the Onion interview with Neil Gaiman, in which he says

quote:
Nobody's sued me. Some of it was trying to figure out how to craft the story so that C.S. Lewis' estate lawyer would say "I probably couldn't get an injunction against this. This is borderline, but you could probably get away with it." And I think that I probably did.


you'll see what I mean about "plausible deniability" too.

I'm here for some honest debate, insofar as that is possible without my having the source text available at present. I haven't read enough Gaiman to qualify as a fan - only "Good Omens" and a comic or two. In fact, only yesterday I stumbled across one of his titles in my local library - something about a 100,000-year-old angel called Angela, and unfortunately I've forgotten the name of the demon in the story, which is mighty embarrassing as it looked like the angel story was a spin-off from the regular arc; it was no more blameworthy than any other superhero comic, I found. So on the whole I have no axe to grind against him.

Everyone and his brother's got a point of view about Susan <-- naked hyperbole. And I'd be interested to know more about Gaiman's take on it - and whether my vague suspicion (that in order to demonstrate that Susan is justified and Aslan is horrid, NG has been just a tad revisionist over Narnia) has any basis in fact. In the absence of an actual copy of the story to hand, this seems like a very good place to ask.

(Edited by Malacandra. Reason: Bloody quote syntax!! What's going on here? I can't fix it! Why not?)

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(fixed the quote syntax)


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AJGraeme
"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
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- G.K. Chesterton

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Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mr. Dweller Moderator Sir, I am sick at the moment and feeling even more stupid than normal, and I need your help. What is the proper board etiquette for quoting Mr. Gaiman's own works in a post (some pretty decently long sentences, not just words and bits of phrases)?

Many thanks,
grace

(Mal, depending on Dweller's answer, I will be getting to your post as soon as I can form coherent thoughts and quit coughing. Edit: Mal, did you read the entire Onion interview you linked to? That will answer some of your questions. I promise.)

This message has been edited. Last edited by: the madness of queen monk,


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"this whole blonde doctor situation has me mortified"
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and I don't normally advocate music I love, but go see www.myspace.com/umbrellatree and thank me later!
 
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