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Chapters 11-20

For discussion of Chapters 11-20. For the benefit of those who would like to discuss their reading as they go along, please avoid posting information beyond Chapter 20, "The Ogre's Castle."
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Re: Chapters 11-20

[ Edited ]
There seems to be a lot that I am perplexed about in terms of Twain's own views.

Here is one from Chapter 11:

In my experience boys are the same in all ages. They don't respect anything, they don't care for anything or anybody. They say "Go up, baldhead" to the prophet going his unoffending way in the gray of antiquity; they sass me in the holy gloom of the Middle Ages; and I had seen them act the same way in Buchanan's administration; I remember, because I was there and helped. The prophet had his bears and settled with his boys; and I wanted to get down and settle with mine, but it wouldn't answer, because I couldn't have got up again. I hate a country without a derrick.

I was wondering about the reference to Buchanan's administration. In what ways, did Twain help? What was he referring to and what was he talking about when he said, "I hate a country without a derrick?"

I have gotten this far but feel that Twain has quite a few strident views that he is trying to expose through his literature and this work. I will start trying to read some interpretations of this work to try to understand the background for these views. Was wondering about the background for this work. Does anyone have any thoughts or information on Twain's background and reasons for writing A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court?

Message Edited by bentley on 11-01-2007 06:22 AM
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Re: Chapters 11-20

Hi Bentley

While browsing the net i came upon the following, maybe you can ckeck it out.
The website is http://www.generationterrorists.com/articles/marktwain.html

I'll quote this paragraph:
“Twain touted science, reason, and logic as antidotes to ignorance, superstition, and humbuggery of every ilk. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the mumbo jumbo of the enchanter Merlin is no match for the "hard unsentimental common sense" of Hank Morgan, an enlightened technocrat pitted against medieval obscurantism. From Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Twain gleaned many facts that found their way into his own writing. Adducing evidence from geology and paleontology, White demolished the Genesis account(s) of creation. The book reinforced Twain's conviction that God doesn't meddle in human affairs. When Dr. Jacques Loeb proposed that life could be created from a mixture of chemical agencies, Twain publicly defended him against widespread skepticism in the scientific community. Historically, Twain noted, the cognoscenti had often scoffed at major breakthroughs. Privately, Twain hailed Robert Ingersoll, an outspoken agnostic, as "an angelic orator and evangel of a new gospel - the gospel of free though."
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Re: Chapters 11-20

[ Edited ]

thinker wrote:
Hi Bentley

While browsing the net i came upon the following, maybe you can ckeck it out.
The website is http://www.generationterrorists.com/articles/marktwain.html

I'll quote this paragraph:
Twain touted science, reason, and logic as antidotes to ignorance, superstition, and humbuggery of every ilk. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the mumbo jumbo of the enchanter Merlin is no match for the "hard unsentimental common sense" of Hank Morgan, an enlightened technocrat pitted against medieval obscurantism. From Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Twain gleaned many facts that found their way into his own writing. Adducing evidence from geology and paleontology, White demolished the Genesis account(s) of creation. The book reinforced Twain's conviction that God doesn't meddle in human affairs. When Dr. Jacques Loeb proposed that life could be created from a mixture of chemical agencies, Twain publicly defended him against widespread skepticism in the scientific community. Historically, Twain noted, the cognoscenti had often scoffed at major breakthroughs. Privately, Twain hailed Robert Ingersoll, an outspoken agnostic, as "an angelic orator and evangel of a new gospel - the gospel of free though."




Thinker,

What you posted explained a lot of Twain's rancor. It is so odd reading this work and thinking how vastly different to the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn days. Those works are gladly read by young people; I dare say that I would think twice about recommending this work to my young nieces or nephews for fear the recommendation might create ire with their parents. It is rather like hidden propaganda wrapped up in a fantasy to reel you in. Odd for Twain and a little darker or a lot darker than his other works. He is such a talented writer and extremely satirical and some of the lines are very funny even if they are very impolite. But what troubles me the most is an underlining meanness and anger, a superior and/or elitist point of view that seems to be running beneath the surface. I sense that Twain is most likely using this work as a springboard or bully pulpit to promote his own philosophy of life and his lack of religious beliefs. I think it is ok for Twain to disseminate these ideas; but it is alright also for the readers to reject them.

What do you make of it all?

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 11-01-2007 06:02 PM
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Re: Chapters 11-20 (Chapter 13)

In Chapter 13 (after a chapter devoted to Hank's uncomfortable armor, itching, etc. which was humorous),,we are once again on the road traveling to "wherever".

Twain through his protagonist basically insults even the poor farmers; but points out that these poor folks are much more useful than kings, aristocrats, gentry, etc. Once again, his biases are showing:

My lady put up her scornful lip and withdrew to one side; she said in their hearing that she would as soon think of eating with the other cattle—a remark which embarrassed these poor devils merely because it referred to them, and not because it insulted or offended them, for it didn't. And yet they were not slaves, not chattels. By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen. Seven-tenths of the free population of the country were of just their class and degree: small "independent" farmers, artisans, etc.; which is to say, they were the nation, the actual Nation; they were about all of it that was useful, or worth saving, or really respect-worthy, and to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any rationally constructed world.
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Re: Chapters 11-20 (Chapter 13)

[ Edited ]
Chapter Thirteen is pretty hard hitting:

Here Twain (through Hank) is stating that their were two reigns of terror and everybody is horrified by the French Revolution which lasted months but the one in England (is vastly more terrible) and which lasted a thousand years; had as its outcome ---lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, etc and that the aristocracy and the monarchy should not be blindly allowed to rule over a people forever. Twain was asking why were these people so lacking in spirit that they could not reason this out for themselves? The better question should be why was Twain so bent on getting rid of the monarchy and the aristocracy of Britain? Why would he care? Somehow he had this passion about changing things that were not relative to his existence or life in America. He made Hank the mouthpiece for his viewpoints which he frankly should have kept to himself unless he was a British subject which he was not. I guess I can understand his being critical of Buchanan or something that a President in America would do; but why be so virulent about Britain and the monarchy?

It was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood—one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two "Reigns of Terror," if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the "horrors" of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

These poor ostensible freemen who were sharing their breakfast and their talk with me, were as full of humble reverence for their king and Church and nobility as their worst enemy could desire. There was something pitifully ludicrous about it. I asked them if they supposed a nation of people ever existed, who, with a free vote in every man's hand, would elect that a single family and its descendants should reign over it forever, whether gifted or boobies, to the exclusion of all other families—including the voter's; and would also elect that a certain hundred families should be raised to dizzy summits of rank, and clothed on with offensive transmissible glories and privileges to the exclusion of the rest of the nation's families—including his own.


Message Edited by bentley on 11-01-2007 11:40 PM
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Re: Chapters 11-20 (Chapter 17)

Chapter 17 had some humorous parts especially when the queen wanted to kill one of the band members but after Hank requested and heard the song played one more time relented and suggested that it was indeed so bad that the entire band should be done away with.

Of course, one segment which still bewilders me is Twain's lack of respect and disregard for organized religion. In fact, he believes that those who profess their faith or are particularly religious are more than likely more vicious and in need of spiritual enlightenment than heathens.

Here is a quote which was quite satirical but made Twain's assertions through his mouthpiece Hank Morgan:

However, to my relief she was presently interrupted by the call to prayers. I will say this much for the nobility: that, tyrannical, murderous, rapacious, and morally rotten as they were, they were deeply and enthusiastically religious. Nothing could divert them from the regular and faithful performance of the pieties enjoined by the Church.

More than once I had seen a noble who had gotten his enemy at a disadvantage, stop to pray before cutting his throat; more than once I had seen a noble, after ambushing and despatching his enemy, retire to the nearest wayside shrine and humbly give thanks, without even waiting to rob the body. There was to be nothing finer or sweeter in the life of even Benvenuto Cellini, that rough-hewn saint, ten centuries later.

All the nobles of Britain, with their families, attended divine service morning and night daily, in their private chapels, and even the worst of them had family worship five or six times a day besides. The credit of this belonged entirely to the Church. Although I was no friend to that Catholic Church, I was obliged to admit this. And often, in spite of me, I found myself saying, "What would this country be without the Church?"
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Re: Chapters 11-20 (Chapter 18)

[ Edited ]
But I did not like it, for it was just the sort of thing to keep people reconciled to an Established Church. We must have a religion—it goes without saying—but my idea is, to have it cut up into forty free sects, so that they will police each other, as had been the case in the United States in my time. Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and and an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition. That wasn't law; it wasn't gospel: it was only an opinion—my opinion, and I was only a man, one man: so it wasn't worth any more than the pope's—or any less, for that matter.

Seems that Twain is attacking the pope and his value, church, organized religion, etc. This is a very different Twain than I am used too..this must be a work at the end of his life when things must not have been going so well for him. This is really a political manuscript with an agenda.

Message Edited by bentley on 11-02-2007 09:56 PM

Message Edited by bentley on 11-02-2007 09:57 PM
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Re: Chapters 11-20

So you checked out the site, hope it was helpful, there were quite a few other sites giving a bit of a history on Twain and reasons for certain of his writings, touching on religious, political, and philosophical ideas, etc.
I used the google search engine. I think i'll take some time and check out a few more.

Thinker






bentley wrote:

thinker wrote:
Hi Bentley

While browsing the net i came upon the following, maybe you can ckeck it out.
The website is http://www.generationterrorists.com/articles/marktwain.html

I'll quote this paragraph:
Twain touted science, reason, and logic as antidotes to ignorance, superstition, and humbuggery of every ilk. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the mumbo jumbo of the enchanter Merlin is no match for the "hard unsentimental common sense" of Hank Morgan, an enlightened technocrat pitted against medieval obscurantism. From Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Twain gleaned many facts that found their way into his own writing. Adducing evidence from geology and paleontology, White demolished the Genesis account(s) of creation. The book reinforced Twain's conviction that God doesn't meddle in human affairs. When Dr. Jacques Loeb proposed that life could be created from a mixture of chemical agencies, Twain publicly defended him against widespread skepticism in the scientific community. Historically, Twain noted, the cognoscenti had often scoffed at major breakthroughs. Privately, Twain hailed Robert Ingersoll, an outspoken agnostic, as "an angelic orator and evangel of a new gospel - the gospel of free though."




Thinker,

What you posted explained a lot of Twain's rancor. It is so odd reading this work and thinking how vastly different to the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn days. Those works are gladly read by young people; I dare say that I would think twice about recommending this work to my young nieces or nephews for fear the recommendation might create ire with their parents. It is rather like hidden propaganda wrapped up in a fantasy to reel you in. Odd for Twain and a little darker or a lot darker than his other works. He is such a talented writer and extremely satirical and some of the lines are very funny even if they are very impolite. But what troubles me the most is an underlining meanness and anger, a superior and/or elitist point of view that seems to be running beneath the surface. I sense that Twain is most likely using this work as a springboard or bully pulpit to promote his own philosophy of life and his lack of religious beliefs. I think it is ok for Twain to disseminate these ideas; but it is alright also for the readers to reject them.

What do you make of it all?

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 11-01-2007 06:02 PM


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Re: Chapters 11-20 (Chapter 13)

So here we see Twain is saying that even though due to class, these artisans may have been regarded with scorn, the Nation was actually nothing without them, I like this quote, "to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any rationally constructed world" it is also closely related to today's political systems, etc. even in a simple office environment persons at higher levels usually forget that without those at the more practical levels many operations would be impossible, or even useless.






bentley wrote:
In Chapter 13 (after a chapter devoted to Hank's uncomfortable armor, itching, etc. which was humorous),,we are once again on the road traveling to "wherever".

Twain through his protagonist basically insults even the poor farmers; but points out that these poor folks are much more useful than kings, aristocrats, gentry, etc. Once again, his biases are showing:

My lady put up her scornful lip and withdrew to one side; she said in their hearing that she would as soon think of eating with the other cattle—a remark which embarrassed these poor devils merely because it referred to them, and not because it insulted or offended them, for it didn't. And yet they were not slaves, not chattels. By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen. Seven-tenths of the free population of the country were of just their class and degree: small "independent" farmers, artisans, etc.; which is to say, they were the nation, the actual Nation; they were about all of it that was useful, or worth saving, or really respect-worthy, and to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any rationally constructed world.


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bentley
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Re: Chapters 11-20



thinker wrote:
So you checked out the site, hope it was helpful, there were quite a few other sites giving a bit of a history on Twain and reasons for certain of his writings, touching on religious, political, and philosophical ideas, etc.
I used the google search engine. I think i'll take some time and check out a few more.

Thinker






bentley wrote:

thinker wrote:
Hi Bentley

While browsing the net i came upon the following, maybe you can ckeck it out.
The website is http://www.generationterrorists.com/articles/marktwain.html

I'll quote this paragraph:
Twain touted science, reason, and logic as antidotes to ignorance, superstition, and humbuggery of every ilk. In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the mumbo jumbo of the enchanter Merlin is no match for the "hard unsentimental common sense" of Hank Morgan, an enlightened technocrat pitted against medieval obscurantism. From Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Twain gleaned many facts that found their way into his own writing. Adducing evidence from geology and paleontology, White demolished the Genesis account(s) of creation. The book reinforced Twain's conviction that God doesn't meddle in human affairs. When Dr. Jacques Loeb proposed that life could be created from a mixture of chemical agencies, Twain publicly defended him against widespread skepticism in the scientific community. Historically, Twain noted, the cognoscenti had often scoffed at major breakthroughs. Privately, Twain hailed Robert Ingersoll, an outspoken agnostic, as "an angelic orator and evangel of a new gospel - the gospel of free though."




Thinker,

What you posted explained a lot of Twain's rancor. It is so odd reading this work and thinking how vastly different to the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn days. Those works are gladly read by young people; I dare say that I would think twice about recommending this work to my young nieces or nephews for fear the recommendation might create ire with their parents. It is rather like hidden propaganda wrapped up in a fantasy to reel you in. Odd for Twain and a little darker or a lot darker than his other works. He is such a talented writer and extremely satirical and some of the lines are very funny even if they are very impolite. But what troubles me the most is an underlining meanness and anger, a superior and/or elitist point of view that seems to be running beneath the surface. I sense that Twain is most likely using this work as a springboard or bully pulpit to promote his own philosophy of life and his lack of religious beliefs. I think it is ok for Twain to disseminate these ideas; but it is alright also for the readers to reject them.

What do you make of it all?

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 11-01-2007 06:02 PM







Thanks Thinker..let me know what you turn up. I think that Twain more than likely was an agnostic at the very least considering the viewpoints cited in ACYIKAC.
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Re: Chapters 11-20 (Chapter 13)

[ Edited ]

thinker wrote:
So here we see Twain is saying that even though due to class, these artisans may have been regarded with scorn, the Nation was actually nothing without them, I like this quote, "to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any rationally constructed world" it is also closely related to today's political systems, etc. even in a simple office environment persons at higher levels usually forget that without those at the more practical levels many operations would be impossible, or even useless.






bentley wrote:
In Chapter 13 (after a chapter devoted to Hank's uncomfortable armor, itching, etc. which was humorous),,we are once again on the road traveling to "wherever".

Twain through his protagonist basically insults even the poor farmers; but points out that these poor folks are much more useful than kings, aristocrats, gentry, etc. Once again, his biases are showing:

My lady put up her scornful lip and withdrew to one side; she said in their hearing that she would as soon think of eating with the other cattle—a remark which embarrassed these poor devils merely because it referred to them, and not because it insulted or offended them, for it didn't. And yet they were not slaves, not chattels. By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen. Seven-tenths of the free population of the country were of just their class and degree: small "independent" farmers, artisans, etc.; which is to say, they were the nation, the actual Nation; they were about all of it that was useful, or worth saving, or really respect-worthy, and to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any rationally constructed world.







I agree with you. Most American companies have forgotten about the worth of the industrious worker and our political system is fraught with folks who forget that the reason that they are there is that a lot of little people voted for them. I think too that the person who can do something or creates something was much more valuable to Twain than someone who existed solely through the labors or creations of somebody else. He simply despised the nobility and saw them as "do nothings" or parasites.

Message Edited by bentley on 11-06-2007 04:15 AM
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Re: Chapters 11-20



bentley wrote:
I dare say that I would think twice about recommending this work to my young nieces or nephews for fear the recommendation might create ire with their parents. It is rather like hidden propaganda wrapped up in a fantasy to reel you in. Odd for Twain and a little darker or a lot darker than his other works.

I agree with this assessment. My overall view is that Twain really cares very little for the story; he throws out such absurdities and doesn't blink an eye at them (and this the author who castigated Cooper for unrealistic writing!). My overall impression so far is that he is trying to stuff in a whole bunch of not very well put together or integrted political and philosophical viewpoints and the story is just a not very well shaped Christmas tree to hang this odd assortment of disparate ornaments on.
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Re: Chapters 11-20



Everyman wrote:


bentley wrote:
I dare say that I would think twice about recommending this work to my young nieces or nephews for fear the recommendation might create ire with their parents. It is rather like hidden propaganda wrapped up in a fantasy to reel you in. Odd for Twain and a little darker or a lot darker than his other works.

I agree with this assessment. My overall view is that Twain really cares very little for the story; he throws out such absurdities and doesn't blink an eye at them (and this the author who castigated Cooper for unrealistic writing!). My overall impression so far is that he is trying to stuff in a whole bunch of not very well put together or integrted political and philosophical viewpoints and the story is just a not very well shaped Christmas tree to hang this odd assortment of disparate ornaments on.




I am glad that I am not the only person to feel that Twain (Clemens) is losing it a little with some "very unrealistic writing". Some of the chapters later on are the old Twain (he must have been having a good day when he wrote them). It is an odd novel; it is almost like he sat down and wrote and didn't know himself where he was going with the novel and why; he seemed like he was just completing some cathartic undertaking.
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Re: Chapters 11-20

After reading these chapters, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Does this remind anyone else of a Monty Python skit? Hank's problems with armor, Sandy's nonstop/nonsensical chatter, axe wielding queen, tooth brush salesman, and pigs believed to be enchanted royalty??? There are, of course, more serious things woven amongst the humor.
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Re: Chapters 11-20

I can't say I know Monty Python's sources for material, but why not? :smileywink: SPAMALOT meets CONNECTICUT YANKEE--great stuff! Ha!

~ConnieK



KristyR wrote:
After reading these chapters, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Does this remind anyone else of a Monty Python skit? Hank's problems with armor, Sandy's nonstop/nonsensical chatter, axe wielding queen, tooth brush salesman, and pigs believed to be enchanted royalty??? There are, of course, more serious things woven amongst the humor.


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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Re: Chapters 11-20

Monte Python, the Connecticut Connection!

KristyR wrote:
After reading these chapters, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Does this remind anyone else of a Monty Python skit? Hank's problems with armor, Sandy's nonstop/nonsensical chatter, axe wielding queen, tooth brush salesman, and pigs believed to be enchanted royalty??? There are, of course, more serious things woven amongst the humor.


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Chapters 11-20



KristyR wrote:
After reading these chapters, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Does this remind anyone else of a Monty Python skit? Hank's problems with armor, Sandy's nonstop/nonsensical chatter, axe wielding queen, tooth brush salesman, and pigs believed to be enchanted royalty??? There are, of course, more serious things woven amongst the humor.


I think maybe comparisons are being made between past and present
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Re: Chapters 11-20



thinker wrote:


KristyR wrote:
After reading these chapters, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Does this remind anyone else of a Monty Python skit? Hank's problems with armor, Sandy's nonstop/nonsensical chatter, axe wielding queen, tooth brush salesman, and pigs believed to be enchanted royalty??? There are, of course, more serious things woven amongst the humor.


I think maybe comparisons are being made between past and present




I agree with you thinker.
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