• Written, directed, and performed by Deke Weaver with Jennifer Allen [excerpt from the full performance]. MONKEY is included in the anthology, Animal Acts: Performing Species Now, edited by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes and published by University of Michigan Press. Performances staged at the University of Michigan's Duderstadt Media Center, March 21-23, 2013.

Transcript

  • WEBVTT

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    Grizzled aloof monkey.

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    [SOUND OF ROOSTERS AND OTHER ANIMALS] [BELL DINGS]

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    [NOISE] Hello.

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    Welcome to the second day of Animal Acts.

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    [NOISE] Even silenced phones will
    disrupt our audio equipment so

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    please turn your cell
    phones completely off now.

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    [SOUND] We're about to see an excerpt

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    of Deke Weaver's Monkey,
    thank you for coming.

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    Go.

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    [SOUND]
    >> Good day.

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    This afternoon we're gonna hear some
    stories that are all a little bit

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    different.

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    But they're all a little bit the same.

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    I guess you could say they're related.

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    Let's start with some pictures.

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    The mouse lemur from Madagascar,
    possibly the smallest of the primates,

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    fits in the palm of your hand.

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    Human being, homo sapiens.
    This one's 5'11", 185 pounds.

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    We don't know when he'll die but
    on average he'll live to be about 75.

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    The gorilla. This one weighs 900 pounds,

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    and as you can see it
    takes 21 men to carry him.

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    The howler monkey.
    Almost entirely arboreal.

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    The howler is the loudest
    animal in the new world.

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    Hanuman.
    Hanuman is an incarnation of Shiva,

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    a magic monkey able to transform himself,
    make himself smaller than the mouse lemur,

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    and thousands of times larger and
    stronger than the biggest gorilla.

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    The Monkey King. Born out of rock,
    trapped under a mountain for 500 years.

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    Able to transform himself
    into 72 different creatures.

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    Travelled with a monk, a pig and
    a sea monster in to the west.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> Many primates learn by watching and

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    imitating.

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    Monkey see, monkey do.

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    A network of tiny electrodes was implanted
    into the motor cortex of a monkey's brain.

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    With the monkey's own arms restrained,
    he was able to control a robotic arm and

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    feed himself.

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    Monkey think, monkey do.

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    Tools can be thought of as extensions
    of the body. Tools make you stronger.

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    Tools make you faster.

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    Early humans used complex tools,
    made of stone, bone, antler, and ivory.

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    They wore personal ornaments. They buried
    their dead with rituals. they played bird

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    boned flutes. They were avid hunters, able
    to take down large and dangerous game.

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    Sometimes, humans used monkeys as tools.

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    During the Southern Song Dynasty in
    the battle between the rebels and

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    the Chinese Imperial Army, monkeys
    were clothed in straw, dipped in oil,

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    set on fire, and
    released into the enemy camp.

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    The panicked monkeys,
    burning alive, set tents ablaze and

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    drove the camp into chaos.

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    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

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    The three wise monkeys were Mizaru,
    who sees no evil, Kikazaru,

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    who hears no evil, and
    Iwazaru, who speaks no evil.

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    Sometimes a fourth monkey was depicted,
    Shizaru, does no evil.

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    He was shown covering his crotch.

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    >> [LAUGH]
    >> In the era of the great warships,

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    the days of sails,
    cannons, and scurvy, they

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    had to find a way to stack the cannonballs
    so they wouldn't roll overboard.

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    A device known as a monkey was invented.

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    The monkey was a flat square tray made
    of brass set directly into the deck of

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    the ship. Indentations held the balls,
    which were stacked in a pyramid.

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    At times, naval strategy required
    the ships to sail through Arctic waters.

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    At 40, 50, 60 below zero,
    the world changes.

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    Trees steam,
    spit freezes before it hits the ground.

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    Everything is white, and metal contracts.

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    Some metals more than others.

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    The brass of the monkey would
    contract more than the cannonballs.

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    The balls would roll overboard and
    all the sailors would say to each other,

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    arr, shiver me timbers.

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    It's cold enough to freeze
    the balls off a brass monkey.

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    >> [LAUGH]

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    >> How about another story.

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    Here's a story about traps.

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    There's all kinds of traps.

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    Booby traps, deadfall traps, mouse traps,
    speed traps, sand traps, welfare traps.

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    Sometimes you don't even
    know you're in a trap, and

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    then if you finally figure it out,
    well it's probably too late.

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    How about a monkey trap?

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    Here's the basic idea.

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    A hunter digs a hole.

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    Hunter puts something delicious in the
    hole, something the monkey can't resist.

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    The monkey smells the delicious thing,

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    finds the hole, puts his hand
    in the hole and grabs the treat.

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    But here's the deal.

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    When the monkey tries to pull his
    fist out of the hole, he can't.

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    The hole is too small.

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    His fist is too big.

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    So the monkey has to make a choice.

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    Now wherever you have monkeys, you have
    this sort of trap, all over the world.

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    You've got the South Indian Monkey Trap,
    the Malaysian Monkey Trap,

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    you've got monkey traps in the Congo
    River, monkey traps in the Amazon River.

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    The treat in the trap?

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    Well it might be sweet rice,
    fruit, a nut, something shiny.

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    The trap itself might be a hole
    in the ground or a gourd,

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    maybe it's a wooden box.

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    The monkey could be a howler monkey or
    a spider monkey or a macaque.

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    That's just monkeys, right?

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    I mean sure as far as animals
    go they're pretty smart.

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    They got opposable thumbs,
    some have prehensile tails.

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    Kids hang out with the mom for
    a long time, but they're not apes.

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    Now you see apes, apes are smart.

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    With apes you got gorillas, orangutans,
    bonobos, chimpanzees, you and I,

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    us humans, you heard this yesterday.

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    We know this.

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    We share 99% of our genetic
    material with chimps.

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    Apes can learn language,
    apes can use tools.

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    Apes are really smart compared to monkeys,
    apes are super monkeys, and

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    humans are super apes.

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    And gods are super human.

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    Now I like to think that most of us aspire
    to the super human end of the scale

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    but come on.

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    Everybody's got their monkey moments.

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    And that's why the monkey trap metaphor
    is used by all kinds of folks.

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    Priests, shrinks, military analysts,
    investment bankers.

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    And the moral of this story,
    this story told all over the world.

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    This story with its interchangeable but
    basically similar components.

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    The moral of the story is this,
    don't be greedy.

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    Open your hand, let go of the treasure.

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    You can't have it all.

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    [MUSIC]

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    >> Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom is
    presented by the company with coverage for

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    everyone.

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    The greatest name in

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    health insurance,

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    Mutual of Omaha.

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    [MUSIC]

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    >> Hello,
    welcome to Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

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    The ways of the wild may seem strange to
    us, because we've never seen them before.

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    Or because we don't understand them.

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    Or because they're so
    odd that we can scarcely believe them.

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    Now would you believe for example,

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    that a chimpanzee such as Mr Moke,

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    star performer of
    the Chimpanzee show here at the St.

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    Louis Zoo is ticklish and
    will laugh out loud.

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    >> [NOISE]

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    [SOUND]

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    [SOUND]

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    [SOUND]

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    [SOUND]

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    [MUSIC]

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    [SOUND]
    [SOUND]

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    [SOUND]

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    >> Once upon a time,

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    there was an army of monkeys.

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    They were known as the Barbary apes but
    in truth they were macaques,

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    a type of monkey.

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    Their faces are pink, their fur is brown.

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    They live to the age of 22.

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    They make their home in Morocco, the
    Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Gibraltar.

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    Like Gibraltar these monkeys
    exist between worlds,

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    balanced on the cusp of the east,
    the west, and Africa.

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    Legend has it that as long as the Barbary
    apes roamed the Rock of Gibraltar,

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    the territory will remain
    safely under British rule.

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    In 1944, with British morale
    battered by the war, and

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    the rock's monkey population dwindling,
    Churchill took no chances.

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    He ordered a shipment of
    Barbary apes from Morocco,

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    a short hop across the straight.

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    60 years later, in 2003,
    Britain, the United States,

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    and a coalition of nations
    were poised to invade Iraq.

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    The kingdom of Morocco allegedly
    supported the coalition by

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    offering 2,000 Barbary apes
    trained to defuse landmines.

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    These fearless monkeys
    dwelling between night and

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    day at the edge of the world,
    the stuff of prophecy,

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    an elite army of magic monkeys.

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    And magic they must be.

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    Only 2,000 Barbary apes
    remain on our planet,

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    yet every single one of them volunteered
    to serve in this primate army.

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    Where does their power come from?

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    Who is their leader?

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    [MUSIC]

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    >> [APPLAUSE]

MONKEY [excerpt]

From Animal Acts: Performing Species Today by Edited by Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes

Info

Creator
Contributors
Subjects
  • Literary Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Theatre and Performance
Date
  • March 22, 2013
Related Section
Keywords
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