KATHERINE THE GREAT
What would have happened if Caesar had never betrayed Xena? What indeed? When freelance writer Katherine Fugate first pitched an epic script idea she had about an alternate timeline for Xena, little did she realise she would create an episode that resonate with viewers across the world. Fans werent just thrown a bone of subtext, they were thrown the whole cow; the love and emotion between the two heroes became so real it was palpable; the villians were in scintillating form and the drama rose to a shattering crescendo. (Literally.) The fans, naturally, couldnt help but notice this gem of an episode. The response has been so great, Fugate is still shaking her head in amazement.
She talks to SHERYL-LEE KERR about When Fates Collide.
WHEN FANS COLLIDE
1. When Fates Collide deals with the life choices people make, in particular, a crossroads Xena was at. Turn left, shes crucified, legs broken, betrayed, morphing into a furious, bitter, hurt, creature whose only serious motivation was to destroy. Turn right, and Caesar does not abandon her, shes turned from a small-town repeller of barbarians with ambitions of greatness, into the famed empress her heart has desired.
Your take on the Xena who turns right appears to be that while she is a brilliant fighter still, shes quite sensitive (her reaction to the play is almost soft). Her goodness certainly shines through. How do you reconcile this portrayal given shes still the woman who turned back a conquering army from Amphipolis, presumably killing many men and losing her beloved brother, to the one on the balcony, taking a clearly sappy play to heart with all the openness of, well, a sweet little playwright from Poteideia?
KATHERINES DISCLAIMER: First of all, all my thoughts and responses are my own and not intended to be representative of anyone at Renaissance Pictures, nor do I even pretend to state that my opinions on WFC are their opinions, too. That said
KF: I believe that although this Xena has evolved from different origins, core elements of who she is will always remain the same. Thus, if in the original timeline Xena, even after the Evil Xena period, is ultimately able to recognize the beauty within the bard Gabrielle, and be drawn to her because of it, Empress Xena (and any Xena) would also. Because at the core, that is who Xena is: Someone who recognizes Gabrielle.
2. Alti She has been the shows manipulator of minds and souls, never before their bodies. She had the rather eerie knack of knowing what a person wanted most and promising it to them. To Xena she promised power, and even slyly gave her a little bed warmer apprentice to sweeten the deal. To Caesar she promised the whole world, including Chin. And she gave him her body. Her power in the past has come not from sexuality but strength, will and danger. She has never before been seen to use her body to get anything (thats more Xenas thang). Why here, why now? She seemed strong enough to mess with Caesars head without resorting to rustling his sheets. Was this to parallel the moment in history when Caesar also once had Xena in his bed? If so, doesnt it seem out of character for her?
KF: "She had the rather eerie knack of knowing what a person wanted most and promising it to them." I think you answered your own question quite well already. Alti wanted Rome and Caesar was Rome. At the time, the Roman Empire represented magnificent power. Alti wisely ensconces herself into the heart of Rome/Caesar by becoming the trusted High Priestess. Before she becomes aware of the real timeline, she only wants to get rid of Xena. But with the new knowledge and with an increase in her powers, Alti realizes she doesnt have to share Rome with Caesar, she can have Rome all to herself. But to best Caesar she must earn his trust then catch him unaware. And like you said, Alti had that "knack."
And by the way, doesnt Claire sizzle in this episode? The best Alti Ive ever seen. Same for Karl. In my opinion, the most focused, controlled Caesar.
3. Joxer. I understand he was a late addition to WFC. Why was he added and whose choice was it? Whats your take on the Joxer character?
KF: I dont know exactly whose idea it was, only that it helped enrich the landscape of WFC by continually showing paths intertwining, regardless of the Fates and their Loom, which again de-emphasizes how much control they really did have. As for Joxer as a character, I (rather strangely) hold onto Joxer saying "Rise and Shine! Rise and Shine!" in Been There, Done That. I often find myself waking people up by dumping buckets of water over their heads and saying "Rise and Shine! Rise and Shine!" the very same way Ted Raimi did. That and singing "Dancing In the Moonlight" with hot go-go boys.
4. On the subject of soul mates: Gabrielle and Xena appear destined to be together in every timeline, and only find happiness when they are with the other. Xenas reactions to Gabrielle seemed to be romantic, especially in the balcony scenes. Is that how you intended it to appear all along, or something the actresses added in themselves with all those lingering, pointed looks at each other?
KF: I intended all of the scenes between Xena and Gabrielle to convey instant recognition between soulmates. Lucy and Renee decide how to physically and emotionally portray their characters, and I think they portrayed those emotions beautifully.
5. Another theme you look at is that of redemption living the life one was always meant to live. Xena realises that Caesars betrayal actually led her to a better life in the end with Gabrielle. Do you really believe now she has seen how it was all pieced together and meant to play out, that she can just forgive herself?
KF: I cant speak for Xena. (smile). But it was my intention as the writer, to give Xena a greater understanding of her past through an alternate timeline. With the breathing comparisons of two lives lived in front of her, she can finally accept the validity of her dark past and where she came from and where it eventually took her. Within those boundaries in WFC, Xena choose the life of the Warrior Princess, dark past and all, over the life of the Empress. In that one act, Xena had to forgive herself as she accepted her path in life, or so I would like to believe.
6. Her knowledge that this was always meant to be so she could be with Gabrielle, would probably be of little compensation to those whose lives she destroyed as evil Xena. That being the case, surely shed still be a little reluctant to let go of that guilt even now?
KF: First, I believe there is always more to the story. We dont know what far reaching effects Xenas choices had on others, so we dont fully know what good came from Xenas darker deeds. We only know that for Xena to become the Warrior Princess and fight for the greater good with Gabrielle at her side, she had to live her dark past first. One came because of the other. Xena understood that when she willingly chose to be crucified again.
7. Why didnt Xena free herself from the cross? Judging by her grand entrance in this episode, a handful of Roman guards would be no great shakes for her. It seemed almost intentionaland it had some visual parallels with the way Lao Ma did not fight her death. If her intent was to not fight it, how could she possibly help herself or Gabrielle by dying?
In the jail scene, Xena said she had to get back up on that cross to accept her destinyin her other life as well as this one. only by doing what is right for ourselves, is right one in the world. When Xena fully accepted her destinyshe ignited the string of events that sent Gabrielle to the Loom, which gave them and us the rightful world back. had Xena chosen any other method, they wouldve remained the alternate world and right would never have been restored.
Its a philosophical point. She only knew what she had to do. And she did it. She accepted that her destiny with Caesar is a crucifixion. but thats the beauty of life and how it works. Accept your truth, yourself and doors open for you. Truth creates truth. The truth is the world was meant to be the other way and by Xena doing what was right, the right world returned. No, she was not trying to ignite Gabrielle to do something that is manipulation. Xena was being true to herself.
8. For some viewers, it was hard to understand the ending of your episode. For instance, there is one viewpoint that you cant just destroy The Fates, because you would be destroying (lower-case f) fate in other words, what happened should have been the destruction of all mankind. Take away humanitys fate and what is left? Xena and Gabrielle wandering through a forest? Nooblivion. So how do you respond to the people who are confused that life as we know it didnt just cease pooffff?
KF: The Fates and their Loom do not rule the modern-day world, yet many people believe in the same kind of preordained Fate and a Loom that makes our own lives puppetry with no Free Will. I believe our soul is our Free Will. We have everything inside to guide us in life. Thus, humanitys greater Fate is never destroyed. There is always symmetry to the universe that keeps things in sync. We never wonder about running out of gravity or the sun rising on time. Something greater takes care of that for us. Thus, I believe that something greater has our greater good in mind. The manipulative Fates who "choose" for us, do not. They remove our choice and ask us to be slaves to their whims. Xena already recognized this and knew we had Free Will. When Gabrielle destroyed the Loom, she guaranteed it for all of us.
9. What was running through Gabrielles mind to make her destroy the loom instead of just freeing The Fateswho would doubtlessly fix the loom and right the unjust timeline anyway? Why were you so keen to have The Fates go the way of the Greek gods?
KF: As The Fates said, The Loom was a mass of knots and confusion. It could not be fixed. Caesar and Xenas altered strand was lost to them forever. They would only be able to "cut their losses" and reclaim the Loom from that point on. Why destroy the Loom? It destroyed Gabrielles hope to make things right. As for The Fates - who wants to be a chess piece in life? The mythological Gods saw humans as playthings to be manipulated for their amusement. I choose to believe we are much more than that.
10. Another confusion among fans is some have an expectation based on myriad TV shows, like Star Trek, that when any timeline is altered and then later corrected, the people restored to normal have no recollection of what transpired in the other timeline. It simply returns things to how they were. Case in point, Xenas Remember Nothing. Gabrielle had no memory of being a bitter slave girl.
You have changed this expectation and it threw a lot of people. Why did you decide not to adhere to the usual convention here?
KF: I dont think along the lines of how it has been done, but how to best illustrate themes that are important to me. I wanted to make the point that Free Will is now ours for eternity, which required a different choice. To simply have everything traditionally "fixed" and "go back" didnt appeal to me. The ending was a very important culmination of events that was best served by an unpredictable ending one that made you think and one, I hope, you didnt see coming.
11. Gabrielle and Xena appeared to be quite cavalier about what happened in that final scene. It was almost a laidback, "hey, wassup?" I understand this was supposed to be shock. It came off to some fans as more like indifference. Saved the world again, you know how it is, so whats for dinner Based on this and the above two points, do you think, if you could do your time over, you would write the ending even slightly differently, in any way? Or is it fine?
KF: No I would not change a thing. I absolutely prefer the ending this way. Shock is not a joyous encounter. It is a flat, raw, processing one. I also do not think Lucy or Renee played the ending with indifference or a laidback style. I think their performances were spot on.
12. It was interesting seeing this final version of Xena and comparing her with the emotionally freer spirit she was in the alternate timeline. That restrained stiff upperlip shes been hauling around for six seasons really hits you in the chops when you see it again. Her reply about Gabrielles play "it was all right" seemed sooo like early Xena tall, silent type responses so people never guess exactly just how much they care. Was this whammy deliberate to show how much the Xena we see today is a product of what happened in her past? Or is this still apparently a "shock" response?
KF: Again, our interpretations differ. I think Xena was processing. When a traumatic event happens, thats how you speak. That despite it all, Gabrielle would ask Xena about her play, to me is also deadly accurate. We say the most interesting things when caught unawares. I remember noticing my sisters haircut after the Northridge earthquake. "Are you still alive?" "Hey, I like your haircut." And her flatly saying, "Thanks, you dont think its too short?"
13. Of WFCs ending you mention Xena and Gabrielle finished up knowing "everything about everything" when the Fates were destroyed. Writer Anais Nin once wrote: "There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic." You have just downloaded the life, truth and the universe into their minds. Is it possible to cope with such heady, frightening knowledge? How could they possibly survive such truths? Could you?
KF: I think we all know the truth. Its inside us and it will come out, when we are ready. I prefer the constant contemplation of life, that works for me. I do believe events deaths, births, love can provide those moments of instant illumination that change us irrevocably and forever. It is a powerful light that is hard to keep lit in the every day world. But its possible to do. So, I keep trying. And when I stumble and fall, I get up again.
14. Your episode really touched a lot of people it seems universally loved by fans. But have you heard of any adverse reactions? And what were the reasons for them, if so?
KF: Having a website (Eds note: www.katherinefugate.com) has allowed me the grace of hearing folks reactions to WFC. Without it, I doubt I would have had any idea what anyone thought. After all, who sits down and writes, then mails a letter to a writer of a television show? Yes, I have heard some negativity, but I tend to embrace those comments as success as well. It means I pushed buttons, I made folks react and think. I touched something in them. To effect change in the world you have to push buttons and get reactions. Being middle-of-the-road serves no one. So I feel joyful about it all.
THE WRITE STUFF
1. I understand you stuck your paw up to write for Xena. Why Xena of all the shows in this great cosmos? Were you a fan beforehand perhaps? And had you already had the idea of WFC before approaching the Xenabods, or did that come later?
KF: For me, Xena boiled down to the idea of "the greater good" be it for humanity or for another person. On a personal level, my grandmother was dying of lung cancer. When the darkness seemed devoid of light the symbolism of Xena reminded me that I could delve deeper inside to find the strength I needed to get through another day. Thus, it was a great honor for me to meet Rob Tapert and R.J. Stewart for they were the true mythmakers to me. I did have specific themes I wanted to explore and a method (the alternative timeline) to explore them in. I was blessed we were all on the same page and could collaborate together to create what became When Fates Collide.
2. What was the brief from The Powers That Be for the episode?
KF: Brief? As opposed to boxers? Both Rob and RJ seem like boxer types to me but I havent a clue. Their wives could help you there. But if you mean, what is their mandate? That I love the show and write from my heart, which I did.
3. What departures were there from your finished script, in the final screened version of WFC? Anything your heart and soul were sold on? Was the finished production of WFC how you imagined it?
KF: The first draft had a much larger palate, more backstory, examples of the world in chaos, fuller scenes, etc. The scope seemed limitless and we played with a lot of ideas with various characters within the XWP world, but realized we couldnt pay homage to them all. Ultimately, we had time restraints that forced us to scale down and scale down to fit the 44 minute time frame and stay true to the A storyline between Xena and Gabrielle. But we never lost of our themes. Overall, I think we still managed to present an epic episode for a stand alone in an alternate time frame.
4. Your background is a mix of film scripts of all genres, and some cartoon writing work too. Essentially youve written it all at some point. What type of scenes do you find most difficult to write?
KF: Technically, writing for the all-CGI animated series Max Steel was by far the most on-the-page difficult work I have done. Emotionally though, scenes that deal with areas in my life that I am personally still reconciling/working on are always hard. Writing for a character close to you is like looking at yourself in the mirror every day, forcing yourself to find love rather than simply imperfection in your own reflection.
5. What is your First Commandment as a writer? As a person?
6. Worst advice young writers should always avoid?
KF: "Do it like I say/the book says." (Instead, do it, write it, like your heart tells you.)
SHORT & SWEET
1. Middle name?
3. Place of birth?
This life: Southern California.
4. Place of current residence?
Los Angeles, California, with alternate existences in Heaven and in Hell, depending on my state of mind.
5. Size of your family then and now?
I am the oldest child. Divine of that what you will. I have three sisters and one brother. Now meaning do I have children? No children, though my cat and my younger sister Pamela both come close.
6. Name of cat?
Metropolitan Cat. Metro to his friends.
7. What you wanted to be when you were 10?
A newscaster. I used to practice the "voice."
8. What you wanted to be when you were 20?
9. Things youd like to change about yourself?
It would be nice to be taller, but chunky clunky heels have helped that. But more importantly, Id like to be a bit more amused by myself and stop judging myself so harshly.
10. Greatest script/story never told in Hollywood?
The truth about the Universe. No one has a clue, me included. But I like all the stories.
11. Where do you do your best thinking?
Driving. Late at night.
12. List your favourite five Xena episodes.
I cannot include my own. I have no perspective. So:
Ides of March
The Bitter Suite
One Against An Army
13. Alti: Mad or bad?
Both -- and freaking awesome. The first time I saw Alti, I literally backed away from the TV set. She scared me. She made me react, which, as we know, is always good. So I wanted her in WFC.
14. Caesar, always historys loser?
The actual Caesar I admire very much. He was a visionary. He was actually well loved by the people, which led to jealousy among the Senate and his eventual assassination. This Caesar, well, hes fictional, now isnt he?
15. Xena, ever the tragic hero? Where to from here?
Xena is a hero, period. Is she tragic? Not in my book. She is flawed as we all are, but she struggles and perseveres. That is heroic.
16. Where to from here for Gabrielle? Is she content with her path at last?
Gabrielle, too, is a hero. She knows her path and shes on it. I identify with Gabrielle quite a bit she is a seeker and shes inner-directed first.
17. You have been told to axe one character in the next script. Who ya gonna cull? And how? And why him/her?
I cannot answer that.
18. You have been told you can bring back anyone from the past of Xena, living or dead for a guest role. Whos it gonna be? Why?
That Callisto was mighty impressive. (Good Callisto, however, without evil Xena to burn down her village, wouldve served no real purpose in WFC.) I was also drawn to Lao Mas serenity and knowledge, so I enjoyed the irony of giving her deserved full credit as the ruler of Chin, the Kingdom of Lao Ma.
19. Xenas daughter, Eve, how would you have written the character?
I cannot answer that. I didnt conceive her Callisto did. Sort of.
20. Pacifist bard or fighter? Which do you like most?
I liked all of Gabrielles incarnations because they provided a believable, intriguing story arc for her character journey. But, to be helpful, I like short-haired Gabrielle better.
21. Comedy or drama, which rocks best on Xena?
I wrote a drama because I prefer, if given only one shot at an episode, to be moved, to cry, and to think, first. Though this can be achieved in comedy or drama, for me, it works especially well in drama. I think though that Lucy and Renee are amazingly gifted at both styles of acting, and thats a rarity.
22. The final scene of the final episode of Xena gets handed to you to write. What will we get to see as those last credits roll?
When I wrote When Fates Collide I tried to write everything I wanted to see.
23. Favourite drink?
KF: Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs Vanilla Ice Blended. Followed by chickory coffee at Café Du Monde in New Orleans.
24. Most detested food, that youd rather starve than eat?
Meat. I am a vegetarian who doesnt like bopping animals on the head, then eating them. But I do eat sushi. Wheres the logic in that? I am a mystery, even unto myself.
25. What would you run back into your burning house to retrieve after people and pets are accounted for?
During the Los Angeles riots, with fires raging across the street burning down my beloved Baskin and Robbins, I was surprised to discover that after my cat, I grabbed an antique framed sepia toned picture of a Renaissance style Mary surrounded by angels off my wall. I found it at a flea market. I had no idea it was so valuable to me until then.
26. Greatest lesson mankind should always remember?
Life is fleeting. Live while youre alive.
27. First important lesson youd want to pass on to your children (if you had any)?
Be yourself. No one can do it better.
28. Death by what would be your idea of the worst way to exit the planet?
Dying without knowing exactly who I am. Beats any real method I can think of.
29. Thing that makes you gladdest to be alive?
Surprises. The unexpected hello from a stranger. Understanding a new thought, belief. A dream come true. The smell of brewing coffee. Love given, love returned. Moments of utter clarity. More Surprises.
30. Biggest revelation on the set of Xena?
I asked for something I wanted (to write for the show) and I got it.
31. Nicest thing about the set of Xena?
The warmth, the inclusion by everyone. Breaking for tea and dessert in the afternoon. Plucking my own strand from the Loom of Life and taking it home, trying to convince my friends the twisted piece of bronze metal is actually a valuable prop.
32. Why do you like driving so much? Are you really repressing your secret identity as a truckie?
I learned to drive when I was 13. I find it soothing and I love the aural sound of music inside the car. The repetitive motion enables my creative brain to process information. I long to take a cross-country trip from L.A. to NY. just to brood and think.
33. What would you like to be doing in 10 years time?
Writing stories that move people to think, act and dream.
34. What is the one thing in life you most desire?
To stay in my light. To finally understand all the recesses of my mind and soul.
35. Was it cool having I Dream of Jeannies Barbara Eden as an aunt? Did that have any effect on your Hollywood career choices?
Barbara is a mother figure to me, so my feelings for her are marked with warmth and goodness. I know I can always count on her to advise, love and support me and thats such a gift in this world. Knowing her has affected my perception of celebrities as not "superhumans" but "people with jobs." Some are nice people with jobs, some are not so nice people with jobs. But she did not have any bearing on my Hollywood career choices. Hollywood did. I live in Los Angeles and I had a degree in Theatre. At the time, I did not want to move to New York, so I chose to write scripts rather than plays.
36. You do know marketing Krispy Kreme doughnuts as a cure for writers block is false advertising? *g* Seriously, how does one keep a waistline with such a weakness?
Krispy Kreme is only allowed as a reward. The completion of a draft, etc. It is not an everyday occurrence. But I love the Willy Wonka Doughnut Factory assembly line. My other great love are beignets from New Orleans, the food of my daddys people. Hot dough deep fried in grease and smothered in sugar. Whats not to love?
37. Have you ever scuba dived, parachuted or bungy jumped? If no, any plans?
No, no and no. I didnt get that gene. A horrid memory I have is riding Buffalo Bills roller coaster at the State Line near Vegas. I surely thought I was parachuting, bungy jumping and dying all at once. And then Claire Stansfield got me up in that helicopter in New Zealand, which I did enjoy, actually, but I had no urge to jump out of it.
IN THE DEEP END
1. On the subject of soul mates, in past interviews you seem to have a reluctance to buy into the concept yourself. You say: "It is something we all dream about, but it can be a destructive dream if we lose sight of out lives as we seek it." I understand the single tortured writers complex (*g*), but why this reluctance? What bothers you about the idea? Do you say this from experience? And if you dont believe there is someone special for everyone, why write about it in Xena?
KF: Its a double-edged sword for me. I want to believe in an epic love that transcends time and spatial boundaries, yet I think that rather idealistic belief makes it hard to live a day-to-day existence with another flawed human being. It tends to lead to disappointment and the reluctance to dig deeper to new levels once the luminescent new love giddiness fades. True soulmate love requires us to reveal all of who we are and see all that they are. I have seen it, so I know it exists. The idea doesnt "bother" me, it thrills me and terrifies me at the same time. The destructiveness aspect comes when Ive witnessed others try to make every potential partner they meet "fit" the soulmate ideal rather than living their own lives fully while alone, trusting a soulmate kind of love will come along and it wont need to be forced.
2. Xena stood at the crossroads when she was crucified by Caesar and it changed her life in momentous ways. Have you ever stood at such a crossroads presumably not one with such grim and grand choices, but at least a decision you have always wondered how your life would have been had you taken the other road? And I dont just mean career wise
KF: Of course, we all have, whether weve known it or not. The most obvious is when I majored in criminal law my first year in college. Had I not changed majors to theatre (to my familys horror), I certainly wouldnt be talking to you about writing a Xena episode. Or would I? Who knows what was meant to be and what was not? But it wouldve been a far more circuitous route from a courtroom.
3. You write on your website to an aspiring writer: "I once told a friend we are defined by what finally makes us take a stand. What we believe in becomes who we are." What do you believe in this much? What is it that makes you take a stand?
KF: My biggest irritant is discrimination and judgment on how others should live their lives. Although I know its fear-based, its also hurtful and arrogant to think you know better or your "way" is right. I cry at injustice. At those who deliberately use hurtful words to tear down someone. I think words are very powerful. So I try to speak up whenever I can.
4. You seem intrigued by people living their lives to the fullest. I am reminded of a scene from The Fight Club where a character (played by Brad Pitt) puts a gun to a trembling shop attendants head and threatens to kill him if he doesnt immediately alter his life and start on the path towards doing the thing that he wanted to do as a young man when he still had dreamsto live the life that would make him happy. And if he is not on his way to his new life in six weeks, Pitts character threatens to return and kill him. When Pitt is asked why he would terrorise the poor man in such a fashion, he replies he is actually giving him a gift that the next morning that mans breakfast would never taste so sweet. He would be alive and truly know it. Theres an excitement that comes from that sort of determination to live true to ones self and dreams. Are you one of those people? Does your breakfast taste sweeter, metaphorically speaking?
KF: Great analogy. (I did not see Fight Club.) I experienced several tragic instances and deaths when I was very young. That taught me the carpe diem mentality. The idea of impermanence speaks to me. Today is not only what you want it to be, it is also all you know for certain that you have.
5. If you were the above shop attendant, would you have to make some changes in that fictitious six week period yourself?
KF: Certainly. I battle with myself every day. Im also discovering some battles I am not meant to win.
6. You have only a day left to live, what regrets do you have, if any? How would you spend the day?
KF: I would sit in the corner with my phone and call everyone who has ever touched my life. I would thank them for all theyve given to me for they have also made my journey here what it is. I dont have any regrets, which usually implies to me "words left unsaid." I try to always say what is in my heart, even if it comes out wrong or is not returned. But it is never from the quietness of my voice.
7. Why do you write as a career instead of a hobby, when it has to be one of the hardest professions in life both financially and personally?
KF: There was a time when it was hard for me to say, "Im a writer," as if it should be a hobby, not a career. Then I realized, "Other people make a living at writing, why shouldnt I?" Words are very powerful, and when I was able to claim definitively, "I am a WRITER!" The money and opportunities came.
8. Who/what do you miss most from five years ago?
KF: My grandmother. Her southern accent. Her early morning calls. Her love for me. I keep her alive every day.
9. Do you think the world will ever find peace? And you?
KF: I think we cannot achieve perfect peace. A utopian peace, that is. Light and dark co-exist. As do joy and sorrow. It is the way of this world, Im afraid. I think the best we can do is achieve our own peace. If we all attempted that, the world would find itself in much better hands.
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