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Some Dumb Chick's Blog
Hey there! I'm Lisa Ngo, 22 years old and a History/Computer Science dual major! This blog will be about whatever has caught my fancy, including parkour, cartoons I like, and other things. If you want me to note anything, please tell me~!
NTS Fallacy?

permutationofninjas:

thedissentingliberal:

ambivalent-feminist:

permutationofninjas:

Now, I’ve read your explanation of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy and I understand how it works and why it totally applies to feminism. But it leads me to wonder, is there ever a time when NTS is actually applicable and not a fallacy? I mean like just feel that there are certain tenets of a group or movement (if it is a legit movement ie. adhering to their set out policies) that really can’t be broken and you really do have to say “No *insert group member here* does that”


Is NTS ever a legitimate point?

I’d say this question is somewhat flawed.  The short answer is “no”.  NTS is never a legitimate point because one of the defining characteristics of NTS is its fallaciousness.  Conveniently, this provides for us a key example of a case where something could look like an NTS fallacy without actually being one: it may seem lik a retroactive redefinition, but it’s always been a core element of what defines the fallacy.

Basically, what makes an NTS fallacy what it is is that it retroactively redefines the premise (definition) to include the conclusion.  Someone says “all X are Y,” is presented with an example of X that is not Y, then says “because it isn’t Y, it’s not really X” even though the original definition of X didn’t include Y as an element.  This causes the argument to become circular, and they basically just hope nobody notices it.

More formally, it’s an ex post facto example of begging the question.

The whole thing becomes really easy to demonstrate when we replace the symbol with the substance.  (See also this.)  The classic argument becomes thus (substituting the definition in for “Scotsman”):

1. All [people from Scotland] do not sugar porridge.
2. Person X is a [person from Scotland] and does put sugar on porridge.
3. Well, then, person X is not really a [person from Scotland].

This makes it pretty easy to see the problem.  What they’ve done is created a new label of “true” Scotsman, with [does not sugar porridge] as part of its definition.  The argument now goes something like this:

1. [people from Scotland who do not put sugar on porridge] do not put sugar on porridge.

Silly, right?  The original argument was intended to imply that you can infer from one characteristic [person is from Scotland] another characteristic [person does not sugar porridge], but in the modification we’ve ended up with a clearly obvious tautology.

The reason I’ve done all this explaining is partly as a review for people not familiar with all this, but also because this shows the direct definition for NTS.  This makes it easy to talk about what you’re thinking of, specifically as it applies to feminism.

The case with feminism involves some implied portions.  (That is, things that are presumed but not stated outright.)  They’ve been marked in italics.

1. (Definition)  All [_______]  are [feminists].
2. All [feminists] are [supporters of equality].
3. Therefore [person X] who is [feminist] is [supporter of equality].
4. (Counterexample) [person X] who is [feminist] is [rampaging bigot].
5. (Rebuttal) therefore, [person X] is not in fact [feminist].

Whether or not this is valid reasoning all depends on the contents of the [______] block up in (1).  [______] is basically our definition of what constitutes a feminist, as it then transitions to the label [feminists].

If our definition is something like [people who call themselves “feminists”], this is NTS because that definition says nothing about their beliefs on bigotry or even sexism.  The worst misogynist in the world could call themselves a “feminist” and by definition be one, meaning that (5) is actually a redefinition of [______] to include the element [supporter of equality].  On the other hand, if the original definition was [people who call themselves feminists and support equality] this is a classic logical membership test.  We ditch (2) and (3) entirely because this information is not being inferred from [feminists], and it looks like this:

1. All [people who call themselves feminists and support equality] are [feminists].
2. Is [person X] who is [calls self feminist] but also [rampaging bigot] a feminist?
3. No, because the characteristics of [person X] do not match the definition of [feminist].

This then becomes something completely separate from a logic problem, because it raises the question of how much of the “feminist” movement are not defined as “feminists” in the eyes of the speaker, and why (if this is the case) they aren’t doing anything about it.  The definition of “feminist” that goes “calls themself a feminist and supports equality” excludes huge portions of the feminist movement today, so by all rights we’d expect anyone who subscribes to it to be on a righteous crusade of movement-purging.  Instead, it only seems to come up when they want to avoid the backlash from the actions of a given person or group calling themselves “feminists”.

The long answer, thus, is “sort of.”  There are indeed circumstances under which you can say “no [group member]” does this, in cases where the definition of [group member] is clear and includes the elements in question.  However, this leaves one vulnerable to hypocrisy if it’s later found that people who did not fit the presented definition of [group member] were allowed to be involved with the group and treated as members.

The No True Scotsman tag is a wonderful thing.

I’ve wondered about this, too. I think I’ve come to a similar conclusion, in that while being a Scotsman is a non-debatable thing (either you’re born in Scotland/hold Scottish citizenship or you don’t), whereas something like feminism is based in ideology, so theoretically, self-avowed feminists could (and do) embrace ideology that contradicts feminism, and therefore not be feminists. I believe the OP hints at that. (Although I’m an enthusiastic movement-purger.) 

That’s a key point, yes: the act of self-labeling as a feminist is entirely independent from adherence to ideology (albeit with considerable correlation), even though both ideology and identification on their own are about as undebateable as someone being born in Scotland.  (More difficult to test, mind you, but that isn’t relevant here.)  This means that depending on what you use to draw the boundaries for the group you label as “feminists” (ideology, identification, some combination or something else entirely) you can get very different results in terms of who’s considered to be within the group and who is excluded from it.

Thinking about the Scotsman example, consider these cases: someone who was born in Scotland and is a Scottish citizen, but is living abroad; someone who was born in Scotland, but has since moved and renounced their Scottish citizenship; someone who has Scottish citizenship, but has never lived in Scotland; someone who has Scottish citizenship and lives in Scotland but was not born there; someone who has Scottish ancestry and a legal claim to Scottish citizenship that they’ve never exercised; someone who has Scottish ancestry but no legal claim to Scottish citizenship; and someone with neither Scottish ancestry nor legal claim to Scottish citizenship, each of which also may or may not label themself as Scottish.  It’s possible to include or exclude particular cases almost at will, simply by altering which criteria are being used and how they’re being weighted.

The case of Scottishness isn’t actually any less complicated than the case of feminism, just more convenient as an example because there happen to be a couple of common cases that are genuinely unambiguous.  (For example, someone who was born in Scotland, lives in Scotland, has Scottish ancestry, is a Scottish citizen and self-identifies as Scottish is very clearly Scottish, but they still may well put sugar on porridge.)  When looking at feminism, the key aspect to consider is the internal consistency of the definitions being claimed and promoted: either the actions of the person you’re talking to (and those of others they identify as “feminists”) reflect the definition of “feminism” they claim to use, or they do not.

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a friendly reminder

beahbeah:

marfmellow:

that calling women of color exotic is

  • fucking racist
  • dehumanizing
  • othering
  • and not a fucking compliment

image

(x)

(via dontneedfeminism)

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Faceless Together

kazerad:

For a while now I’ve been kind of meaning to write a long, in-depth post about 4chan. With the recent controversy between them and some significant feminist figures in the gaming industry, I think it’s important that I finally go ahead and do this. Since, let’s be honest: any time there’s a big controversy on the internet, 4chan is going to be involved. And yet, a lot of people don’t really understand what 4chan is.

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First, I should probably start with some explanation of where I am coming from. When my webcomic first began taking off, I went to great lengths to keep an eye on everyone who discussed it. I like feedback on what I’m doing; the way I see it, the natural progression of an artistic career is that you eventually come to rely on audience feedback rather than individual critics who purport to represent it.

For the most part, this just entailed reading forums and blogs, nothing too complicated. however, there was this one audience segment that continually eluded my sight: 4chan. I could see 4chan links in my referrers, but could never find anything there about me or my work. The threads, with their short, transient lifespans, were always gone by the time I got there.

Well, needless to say, I eventually did catch a Prequel thread, and then more, and gradually over the next few years I learned a lot about 4chan - as well as a lot of other sites, major and minor (this one included). Of them all, though, 4chan stands out to me as having the most interesting culture - as well as being one of the most confusing, misunderstood, and outright scary entities to outsiders. I can understand why they are such a prevalent and relatively powerful force online, and I think it’s important for everyone to understand exactly what 4chan is.

I’m going to be sharing my personal observations and conclusions regarding 4chan. So, buckle up and put on your ethnologist hats, kids, because we’re gonna talk comparative internet cultures!

Anonymity

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The first thing that always trips people up about 4chan is this idea of an “anon culture”. Like, we all understand the idea of anonymous comments on a site, or accepting anonymous asks on Tumblr, and probably understand that such anonymous submissions are often used to attack someone without suffering any social ramifications or backlash for doing so. But what happens when you bring hundreds of thousands of people together who idolize the idea of anonymity and the freedom it brings?

Well, you get something kind of cool, in my opinion. What you end up with is this concept of a fluid identity. Not only do people on 4chan have no social ramifications for being rude, but they face no social ramifications for being inconsistent with themselves. On 4chan you have no obligation to stick to or defend your past beliefs or opinions, because no one knows they were your past beliefs, nor do you have any incentive to display beliefs that will make you look good - since no one will ever even know it was you.

It’s like… imagine being an invisible person in a room with a bunch of other invisible people. You, as well as each of them, are wearing an (also invisible) random voice-changing mask. From the seemingly empty room, one voice calls out: “so, what webcomics do you guys read?”

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If you were in a public place, you’d pick the answer that makes you look good. It’ll be something pretentious (if you’re around pretentious people), or something relatively normal and acceptable (if you’re around normal people), and you’ll choose the answer that doesn’t ostracize you otherwise negatively affect you socially.

In the room of invisible people, that pressure does not exist. You are speaking to the equivalent of an empty room. You can say the most embarrassing shit you can think of - let them know about that horrible, poorly-drawn DeviantArt comic series you are super into. If they laugh at you for it and you regret your choice to bring it up, then all you have to do is step a few feet to the left and say you like something else. All of a sudden, you and are effectively a different person. Alternatively, you could just own up to your love of this awesome DeviantArt comic. Why not? You can unassociate yourself from these claims at any time.

Or, imagine someone else in the room says they like some poorly-written little ComicGenesis comic, and you decide to rail on them about how horrible it is. Suddenly, they come back at you with this amazing explanation about its hidden nuances, and you realize that you misjudged this little comic and it is in fact the epitome of perfection. If you want, you can just instantly pretend you are a different person who liked the comic all along. You don’t have to feel any shame for wrongly disliking it at first, or any obligation to remain consistent with your earlier beliefs. You just do what you feel like. It can’t hurt you. You are just you.

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Of course, the consequence of this is that 4chan is completely depraved by normal societal standards. Without the pressure to conform, it turns out people are naturally pretty weird. But, you know, they live it. It’s a culture where nobody is really shamed or hurt for the things they enjoy. Someone can try to shame them, but it’s not going to have any effect and it’s usually more of a joke.

The other consequence of this - and the one that probably scares the most visitors away - is that people can’t really be shamed for being what we would consider horrible people. Someone can be flagrantly racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or whatever, and you can’t really harm them. All you can do is talk to them. Things that would garner death threats on Tumblr or Twitter tend to be short, comparatively nonconfrontational exchanges on 4chan. With many people from Tumblr or Twitter, that does not sit well.

The Anon

Sort of separate from this idea of “anon culture” is this idea of “the Anon” as an individual.

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When we get an anonymous hate comment on Tumblr or something, we know that person has an actual identity they are hiding. It becomes a guessing game as we speculate who they “really are”,

With 4chan, however, there is this idea of anonymity as an identity. By posting an anonymous message, you are not “hiding” your identity, you are an Anon. In their art, you typically see the Anon represented as a thin, green-skinned man or woman with a suit and no facial features other than a mouth. It’s an intentionally race- and class-neutral representation of a human - the Anon can be anybody. They celebrate this idea that they are indistinguishable - coming across as one single, undefined individual with a lot of conflicting tastes and perspectives.

This is a somewhat foreign idea on other internet cultures like Tumblr, where individuality is greatly valued. Look at anyone’s Tumblr page - we go to great lengths to define what is us. We often wear a banner declaring our race, gender, and sexual orientation. We list our interests and phobias. We even choose a picture to represent ourselves - mine is a little blue butterfly drawn by me and colored by a friend. Our identity gains strength and influence as we do things that please people, and weakens as we do things that they disapprove of. After posting this, my influence will probably reach 1,100 people, and I’ll do a little dance in celebration of this milestone. But, posting in a random 4chan thread, I would still just be an anon like everyone else.

The World To 4chan

Looking at it from this perspective, you can hopefully start to understand the political angles that someone who regularly participates in 4chan is inclined to take.

image

In their own weird way, 4chan is a sort of utopia. They circumvent a lot of the harassment problems that places like Tumblr and Twitter have. You probably aren’t going to see someone on 4chan depressed over harassment they got on 4chan. They also circumvent most peer pressure problems - nobody on 4chan is going to agree with anyone else there just to look good. You are also going to have very few people who hide things, since there’s very little incentive to do so. If you feel a little gay that day and want some hot beefcake, say it, nobody will care and you’ll be happy.

Imagine how the rest of the internet looks to someone who is used to that as their background, though. It causes the person to develop a certain distrust. If someone publicly supports a position and a large group praises and rewards them for it, you wonder if they really believe what they profess. When someone publicly attacks and uses social leverage against a person who disagrees with them, you wonder if the attacker really has a decent argument that could stand on its own. The world becomes a vicious and uncivilized place full of powerful, violent people who might be lying or keeping secret agendas, and you want to look into it. You want to knock people off pedestals, jam their weapons, air their secrets, and leave nothing but a depraved and equal Anon behind.

And you see that in what 4chan does. When a controversial figure declares they were hacked or bullied, 4chan are the ones compiling evidence of whether or not it was faked. When someone tries to defend a position with their social standing or identity, 4chan is the first to stand against them, confronting them as an equal. And when someone preaches what others should be doing, 4chan is the first to get on their case if they don’t do it themselves. They are not a unified group so much as a group of people who share a common mindset - that inequality and its associated social pressures are the root cause of problems. They tend to confront people as equals - and if that doesn’t work, they try to knock them down to their level.

4chan To The World

Equally important to understanding 4chan, I think, is looking at the way 4chan is seen and portrayed by others - especially those who actively oppose its ideals.

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It’s no secret that 4chan is often viewed as this hive of racism, homophobia and misogyny. They’re this chaotic force that harasses feminists, hacks websites, and spreads the personal information of any good people who try to stand up for justice. It’s this vague, faceless force, and it fits the common perception of “evil mooks” we are fed in movies.

I find it kind of a shame that, for all that 4chan’s culture does to maintain the Anon’s gender, race, and class neutrality, the common assumption is that they consist entirely of middle-class, straight, white males. You see this whenever there’s some clash between 4chan and Tumblr - 4chan is the oppressor; some angry, privelaged mass that wants to make life difficult for minorities.

The nature of an anon culture makes it difficult to get actual statistics on 4chan - these are people who are not only anonymous, but often revel in the nature of anonymity. Race is almost impossible to analyze, since someone will only bring it up if it’s relevant to what they’re saying. Gender is easier though - according to 4chan’s advertising page, the userbase is 30% female - if you don’t believe their self-report, the third-party analytics site Alexa.com claims it to be over 50%. I have a few friends who frequent the site’s (often extremely risque) My Little Pony board - they once ran a lingerie selfie contest there, and exactly 50% of the entrants were female.

Overall, you’re looking at this very diverse community that has its minorities effectively erased by its opposition so it can make a better enemy. 4chan knows this, and you can see it leading back into that aforementioned concept of them seeing their detractors as hypocritical and barbaric. You’re not likely to get any big moment where 4chan’s minorities band together and say “hey, we exist!” because so much of 4chan values their anonymity. Gaining social leverage by declaring what you are is the sort of thing they generally stand against.

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Equally interesting is the way 4chan responds to hatred against them. Though it may not be readily apparent from the outside, they stick by their ideals at least as strenuously as Tumblr does. With the recent controversy in feminist gaming, for example, a number of people from 4chan have been watching Twitter and boycotting any company that claims the attack on The Fine Young Capitalists was justified. There’s been a lot of disappointment any time a loved developer comes to the attack’s defense. 

Similarly, there’s a lot of disappointment every time a creator directly speaks out against 4chan. I remember a time a few months back when the author of the comic Paranatural tweeted about how nobody should ever go to 4chan. Over on 4chan, there was a rather touching post where an anon described how it hurt them to have a figure they admire speak out against a community they loved. I actually emailed the Paranatural guy about that, though I never got a reply. I like to pretend it’s because he got a million other emails about it, but it’s probably not.

Open Door

I think the one last thing that is most misunderstood about 4chan is that if you are a horrible person, it can be a tool.

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4chan has no barriers to entry. There’s not even a signup process; anyone who wants to can go there and instantly become a part of their community. If you want to do something bad and hide that it was you, you can go to 4chan, make posts about it, and have it look like 4chan is to blame. You will suffer no ramifications for doing so - like any action on 4chan, it is effectively done by “the anon”.

Nothing keeps someone from setting 4chan up as a scapegoat. Heck , you could even go there and pose as multiple people, organizing entire attacks on someone. Even yourself, if you want. This is not a hard thing to do.

The question is why you would do it. Like, 4chan is fundamentally not a bad place. Its one property is that people there interact anonymously - for better or for worse, that ideal of fearlessly being the person you want to be is viciously preserved. It has a very interesting and generally nonconfrontational culture that can still bring ridiculous change or over-the-top revenges when them or their ideals are attacked directly. Between the social equality, lack of fear, and ability to drive action, it sometimes feels like everything Tumblr wants to be. 

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I guess what I’m saying is: be informed. It’s easy to use 4chan as a scapegoat, or construe it as an unstoppable force of evil, but if you really look into it it’s one of the more interesting cultural designs to come out of the internet. It’s worth lurking and understanding where they are coming from on things before dismissing them enemies.

This is a really interesting read, and one that’s quite spot on! I have quite a few thoughts regarding 4chan and its inherent chaotic neutrality/anon culture myself, as a regular, but….

Wow. Thank you.

By the way, do you go on any boards aside from /co/? The different “cultures” and assumptions of different boards have always intrigued me. Despite being an anon, we still often self-identify or are identified by the board we originally came from, if no other info is provided. This includes that board’s stereotypes. So we might not technically be completely “equal”…

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Anonymous said —
❝ Anita faked her threats. Also writers that have spoken against this "gaming feminism" have ACTUALLY received threats (the ones making the threats, their twitter pages are actually real people). You should honestly be ashamed for pushing your false narrative and dishonesty. ❞

goblinhorde:

cuzthereaintnohollabackgurl:

goblinhorde:

cannonbarrage:

comicsalliance:

Go fuck yourself.

…it’s not often that a fairly large comics blog puts things so plainly but man.

The persistent claim that the threats are faked is repulsive. Just how far up your ass does your head have to be to be so completely out of touch with the world?

uhh, because it’s been done twice? once with wizardchan and one recently?

image

just sayin’. 

Ah, yes, of course. Two unrelated (and as far as I can tell, still debatable) incidents involving someone else should *TOTALLY* throw automatic doubt on similar claims made by others. Because why would we want to err on the side of safety and compassion by taking a serious allegation seriously until the danger is eliminated or proven to be nonexistent? That’s just silly. Inaction, knee-jerk dismissals, and mockery make MUCH more sense.

Just saying…


ah, found the wizardchan stuff.

the incidents were to show that she has lied about stuff like this before. look, zoe has been proven to already lie a lot(also manipulate and gaslight, if the pictures from thezoepost are to be believed.—i’ll just link to this person. )

i mean, should we err on the side of caution for this stuff? yes, but not if the evidence has been deliberately obfuscated as with the thing i just showed you. or if there’s none at all. for instance, i could claim right now, that because of this argument you secretly doxxed me, called my house, and then called me a “n-word f-word”. you obviously didn’t, and i would have an interest in discrediting you so people wouldn’t listen to your arguments. should we err on the side of safety and compassion for me, or should we honestly investigate to see if these allegations were true or not?

i could otherwise still believe her, but i’ve been following the #gamergate thread intently and have never seen any attempts at an organized harassment campaign, either on reddit, or 4chan. they are certainly assholes when they talk about her; caustic, rude, mean and crass, but we have moved past her to try and oust actually shit people like Anthony Burch and Leigh Alexander. up until the whole irc stuff, the reaction to her was a mix of “Literally, who?” and “gtfo zoe/shill/fish”

4chan isn’t exactly an easy place to hide secrets. if someone wanted to raid her and posted it on 4chan, then we would have seen it. you would be able to see it. kazzykins just wrote on it actually. i was reading it just before i saw your response. it even has its own shit archive. if you want to look for any real evidence from the past, you can look over there. all threads on this have been archived. the original post that she referenced in this tweet is there too, so you can check yourself if i’m lying or not. 

if you want to see how “against” 4chan is to raiding at this very moment, zoe just go on there. pretend to shill for her. say “ermerger zoe is a terrible bitch, we should doxx her and kill her dog” or something like that. see what happens. really. don’t just listen to me—i get that you don’t trust me. that’s completely fine, i just ask that you look at the pieces of evidence from both sides and make the decision for yourself before forming your own opinion. 

she has a vested interest in getting the movement shut down, as it would mean the end of her indie dev clique. and she can do it by getting everyone on her side. it worked with wizardchan. 

also. if she would be nice enough to point the usernames or emails of these people out and calls them out, then we will certainly do our best to shut them down and tell them to stop. we can’t see her personal tweets unfortunately. #gamergate is currently self-policing itself to avoid harassment or personal attacks, unlike anti-gamergate’rs who are, among other death threats and insults, calling those in the #notyourshield hashtag (conveniently not covered by most anti-gamergate articles) “fake”and “weaponized minorities” (protip: that’s actually really fucking bigoted, only thinking we ~deserve~ a voice when we fit their narrative as poor, oppressed men and women)

this was a ramble, but since i absolutely know that there’s nothing to hide…well do what you’d like with that info, i’m not you. in the meanwhile, i’ll post another screencap of people rejecting an attempt to raid “literallywho” 

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9-6
Anonymous said —
❝ Anita faked her threats. Also writers that have spoken against this "gaming feminism" have ACTUALLY received threats (the ones making the threats, their twitter pages are actually real people). You should honestly be ashamed for pushing your false narrative and dishonesty. ❞

goblinhorde:

cannonbarrage:

comicsalliance:

Go fuck yourself.

…it’s not often that a fairly large comics blog puts things so plainly but man.

The persistent claim that the threats are faked is repulsive. Just how far up your ass does your head have to be to be so completely out of touch with the world?

uhh, because it’s been done twice? once with wizardchan and one recently?

just sayin’. 

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9-5
❝ There’s like a million different ways to say “I love you,”
“put your seat belt on,”
“watch your step,”
“get some rest,” …you’ve just got to listen. ❞

—Unknown  (via psych-facts)

40952
8-15

aegontargaryen:

actual disney princess

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8-15
aimikamis said —
❝ i've had hollaback girl stuck in my head for the past like week and your url doesnt help ❞

;)

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❝ ((cAN I GET THE LINK TO THE VALICE FANFIC YOU WROTE BECAUSE FANFIC AND OTP AND AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH)) ❞

ah, whoops!!! :o

it’s here!

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(Source: edglueskin)

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