Thursday, March 7, 2013

Passing

I just watched a film about a young Jewish woman who "passes" in occupied France during the Second World War. It reminded me of a time that I was helping two elderly Holocaust survivors fill out forms for restitution funds. I had been instructed that the Germans are great record keepers and very wary of fraud. I had been warned of people being denied their benefits because of very small inconsistencies in documentation, e.g. spring 1941 vs. March 1941. With that in mind, I tried to be as precise as I could with dates. The man's papers seemed to be more or less in order, and he had the identifying tattoo to match. The woman's papers were more confusing. She had dates from a previous claim, but they didn't really make sense with the story she told me. She was in and out of camps, according to her paperwork, and there were other documents that contradicted both what she told me and what her previous forms said. I didn't really know what to do, so I told her I would ask for help. She panicked, grabbed my arm, sat me back down. Pointing to the form with the dates, she said "this isn't me." She told me in her stilted English about how with her blonde hair and blue eyes, no one suspected her of being Jewish. She was able to "pass" for the duration of the war, working as a seamstress. The documents corroborating her time spent in camps she had gotten from another young woman who had died shortly after liberation.

Of course I felt no moral compunction about filling out the forms as necessary for her benefits (i.e. lying). I did wonder, though, was she lucky to have come to me rather than most any other member of the general populace? I'd like to think that anybody else would have done the same as me, but it's hard to know. Arguing in her favor, she must have suffered during the war, if not in the same ways, for the same reasons as those the restitution was meant to help. She probably lived in constant fear of being discovered. Who knows who she had to bribe or befriend to maintain her freedom -- being able to "pass" is not really a passive endeavor. Arguing against her, we don't want to help people who seem to be able to help themselves. We are disgusted with those who seem to game the system, accepting government help rather than seeking employment, being opportunistic about social safety nets, etc. We may even consider her less noble for taking her God given gifts of aryan beauty and making the most of them. But luckily for her, "we" only despise those things when we are unavoidably confronted with them, when we have our faces rubbed in the ugliness of reality, taking away with us the scent of our hypocrisy. As long as she continues to "pass," we may forget she and her kind ever existed, which is all anyone can ever really ask for from society.

88 comments:

  1. have to be honest...you dont really sound like a sociopath from this post. Yes, you had no problem breaking the "rules" to help this woman profit, but you also rationalized how she must have suffered in her own way. I think some socios would have looked at this as an opportunity to have power over whether or not someone profits, and chose not to do so, just to be difficult.

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  2. Pandora, you think this story is real?

    Really, think about it. Think hard.

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  3. i think this is just one more example of how, no matter how much we might wish it were otherwise, the real world is rarely divided neatly into right and wrong. part of the appeal of things like racism, totalitarianism, and fundamentalism is the way they apply rigid standards, forcing black and white rules on a world of gray. nagvigating that world of gray requires so much more of people than most seem able to give sometimes.
    -Laine

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  4. Really? I thought this was an example of petty fraud--a Jew exploiting the plight of her race to steal government money. She was walking free on the streets while her friends were being tortured and killed. Now she's pretending to be one of those unfortunate bastards to collect a payday. Grey area? I think not.

    It's very clear cut, and the metaphor is excellent.

    Kudos to the author.

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    1. I'd have taken tremendous pleasure (altruistic punishment) in exposing the lying Jewess for the scheming fraudster she was. I'd do it if only to cast doubt on the whole reparations-for-Jew-victims racket. As if Jews are the only people that suffered in the last world war.

      It has always been my sense that the Germans didn't get a fair shake. The Jews won the war and got to write the history. The Germans have paid and paid and paid as a result.

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    2. It has always been my sense that the Germans didn't get a fair shake.

      The world is neither fair nor unfair. It's utterly indifferent. Aint it grand?

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    3. It has always been my sense that the Germans didn't get a fair shake.

      Why?

      Because they didn't rally against the idiots in charge?

      -Because they got brainwashed, seduced, and followed orders?

      Because they caught the disease of hate all too well?

      Because they were w e a k ?

      Please. Feel free to add to this list.

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    4. And you lump ALL GERMANS together. As if.

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    5. ^ that was also Baited ^

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  5. to aspie...
    who is dan? is dan someone i should like to be?

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  6. Really? I thought this was an example of petty fraud--a Jew exploiting the plight of her race to steal government money. She was walking free on the streets while her friends were being tortured and killed. Now she's pretending to be one of those unfortunate bastards to collect a payday. Grey area? I think not.

    Agreed

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  7. I'm curious as to why you helped the woman. I guess "why not" would be an acceptable answer, but because this was technically fraud, i.e. something which is probably punishable in some way, was there no risk of getting in trouble yourself?

    I reckon you can always appeal to ignorance or oversight. And then, of course, there is the temptation to 'stick it to the man'. On the other hand you could've taken the prize for nailing an imposter. Tough call, tough call.

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  8. Peter Pan
    No, I doubt the story is real. But I do think its intriguing how an S would assist someone in profiting if there's nothing in it for them.
    Aspie
    I think I know who Dan is after happening on other posts. I'm not Dan, I assume Dan is a he, and I am a she :)

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  9. Hi PandorasBox .... sorry, I wasn't referring to you, but to me... that is like who's on first lol... I mean the blogger, based on another post and the Germany reference.

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  10. i think we're only upset about people 'gaming the system' when we believe the system to be somewhat fair to start with. aren't we absolutely thrilled when someone gets one over on The Man (whoever we consider that Man to be)?

    -Laine

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  11. True or not true doesn't matter, it's about 'passing' and it's about 'gaming' the system by of course not aryan looking jews but by other misfits :P

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  12. Yes, this is one of ME's better post precisely because it's unlikely to be true.

    Aligning S with the oppressed minority who has to 'pass' living withing a hostile majority is not too subtle -- but the blog post itself is an attempt to "pass": if you engage people on an ethical matter they naturally treat you as if you've got ethics.

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  13. yeah, this probably is all one big manipulation... a series of topics and conversations all tweaked for....

    i think in a way i don't like losing... i can't do the impossible

    i love that frank sinatra song

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  14. perhaps that is unfair

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  15. see aspie, i must not be nearly as smart as i thought i was! are we really supposed to equate a jewish woman surviving nazi germany with an Ss dilemma of passing/hiding? could an S really claim oppression?

    oh! yes, pity is what manipulators like to use. i just read that on some other site about sociopathy. i will declare for myself that that pity ploy failed on me.

    i'm not naturally assuming the author has ethics so much as i'm curious how he (and other socios) would behave in a given situation. if he was looking for insight into an empath's thinking, then it's obvious from the two posters who disagreed so heartily with me on the issue, that there is no 'one' answer.

    i feel like i missed something.
    -Laine

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  16. what do you feel like you missed?

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  17. "god given gifts of aryan beauty"-- who wrote this?

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  18. appears to be an original arrangement

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  19. but luckily for her, "we" only despise those things when we are unavoidably confronted with them, when we have our faces rubbed in the ugliness of reality, taking away with us the scent of our hypocrisy. as long as she continues to "pass," we may forget she and her kind ever existed, which is all anyone can ever really ask for from society.

    that's nicely put M.E.

    but isn’t it those who persist in rubbing faces in the ugliness of reality who ultimately force a change? those who demand rather than ask.

    i wonder what sort of society it would be that openly accepts a sociopathic perspective? presumably in such a society individuals would be held equally responsible for their actions regardless of the possession of a conscience, and crimes of passion that are followed by remorse would be weighed equally against those that aren’t.

    or maybe not? those with sociopathic awareness can choose to act rather than react, and so maybe should be held more accountable for their actions? the empaths after all can’t always help themselves.

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  20. anyone with awareness can choose to react or not

    the thing with S and why it is feared, is, with the n person who kills his lover because he found her in bed with another man and then feels remorse, although a terrible crime, this person's killing is specific, it has a reason, it possibly would never happen again except in this circumstance and the remorse indicates that even in this circumstance the person regrets it and would be open to see it is as a possibly unproductive behavior

    the S's behavior is often not understood, the person may just do as they wish

    a few weeks ago there was a law and order episode on that was about a young sociopath/psychopath (10 years old?) who I think killed his neighbor, another little boy. The boy he killed was the son of a psychiatrist (played by kyle mcglaclin). The psychiatrist and police at first believe the S's bs story but then see he did it after catching him in lies. The S and his mom then present the idea that the S was abused in a camp he had stayed in prior, but after more investigation, it's discovered the S was terrorizing all the kids, threatening them with death, bullying. The psychiatrist, who initially had sympathy for the kid who murdered his son, realizes the kid is a sociopath, and calls it by its name. He then waits for the kid i believe in court and shoots him in the face dead. He is then on trial for killing the S, and makes the case that he lost control of his emotions due to the trauma of losing his son etc. The police don't buy it, and believe he knew what he was doing, but he is able to convince the jury. At the end, the psychiatrist tells the police in a private moment that they were right. He says, the difference between me and him was that I will kill just this one time and never again. That boy would have just kept on killing.

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  21. actually, i think the psychiatrist confronts the kid in the court building and calls him a sociopath and the kid gives him a little smile... and then the psychiatrist shoots him. So it looks like he is traumatized but in reality he knew what he was doing the moment he found out the kid was S.

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  22. I should say, anyone with awareness can choose to act, react or do nothing.

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  23. i agree. i wonder if an empath can be as aware as a sociopath? awareness requires the ability to separate from one's feelings, and empaths don't seem to be able to do that.

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    1. Why do you say awareness requires the ability to separate from ones feelings? Surely it doesn't. Awareness simply "requires" that one be aware of what is present and what is there. If feelings are present, then they are. It is a part of what is there. Do sociopaths have a special abiltiy to seperate from their feelings? What kind of feelings do they have in the first place and how if at all are they different than "empaths"? I disagree fundamentally. Awareness is simply seeing what is. Not judging what is. Sociopaths are at core judges of what is, and manipulators of what is, aren't they? They talk a good game, but in the end, they are in it for the con. They have nothing in common with the many disciplines that deal with the "present" and awareness.

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    2. i would say awareness is not necessarily separating from ones feelings in order to see what is really there without them or without their clouding factor if that is how one looks at them, but seeing feelings and also seeing the big picture and how the feelings play into it, affect it, their importance to the given individual within the whole sheme, it is not a separation in my view, but an encompassing, compassionate view, feelings are just as valid and real as whatever else for those that have them, doesn't mean that one can't be reasonable and logical and come to good informed realistic decisions

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    3. here we are not talking about this 3 years later... interesting seeing all these old posts.

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    4. i should have said we are talking about this 3 years later... geesh

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  24. another repeat?

    ME... you okay, girl?

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  25. How did you people find out M.E. was a girl?

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    Replies
    1. M.E. DOESNT HAVE A GENDER!!!!!

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    2. ME has published a book that is coming out soon. In many of the book reviews ME's gender is mentioned. For example:

      The first memoir of its kind, Confessions of a Sociopath is an engrossing, highly captivating narrative of the author's life as a diagnosed sociopath.

      She is a charismatic charmer, an ambitious self-promoter, and a cunning and calculating liar. She can induce you to invest in her financial schemes, vote for her causes, and even join her in bed. Like a real-life Lisbeth Salander, she has her own system of ethics, and like Dexter, she thrives on bending and occasionally breaking the rules. She is a diagnosed, high-functioning, noncriminal sociopath, and this is her world from her point of view.

      Drawn from the author's own experiences; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and scientific literature, Confessions of a Sociopath is part confessional memoir, part primer for the curious. Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils for the very first time these people who are hiding in plain sight. The book confirms suspicions and debunks myths about sociopathy, providing a road map for dealing with the sociopath in your life.

      http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15841837-confessions-of-a-sociopath

      Some people seem to sense this much earlier. But who knows for sure what's what.

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    3. apparently she is a mormon too

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    4. hmmmm interesting. thanks for the proper link :-)

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    5. hi zoe, no problem

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  26. ZoeMarch 20, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    i agree. i wonder if an empath can be as aware as a sociopath? awareness requires the ability to separate from one's feelings, and empaths don't seem to be able to do that.


    Brilliant!
    I wish I knew how to use bold ~

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    1. i'm an empath and can separate from my feelings. but it's like i really really really don't want to. i just make myself do it.

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    2. what's wrong with feelings?

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    3. why do you do that zoe?

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    4. because if i want to achieve a goal i won't always feel like it from one moment to the next. part of me will, but other parts might not. if i follow my feelings i will never achieve it. i manage my feelings, try to recognize where they come from. without knowing where they come from how do you know if they are valid?

      there is nothing wrong with feelings, but they're not magic or oracles. we're expected to have some control over our thoughts, why not feelings?

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    5. do you manage your feelings aspie? or do they rule you?

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    6. i dont't get it... you follow your feelings? i hear a lot of extremity in your words...who cares if they are "valid" ..what is valid anyway... can you tell me that one?

      it's not about magic or oracles, but just what is.... who expects us to have all of this control anyway? i don't mangage them, i am learning that fighting what is , is 99% of my problems... it is the fight that is the issue.. you know?

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    7. i don't mean stop feeling. if i feel like crap and i'm at home i will curl up and sleep, but if i have to go out i will suck it up, put on a smile, and not follow how i feel.

      by valid i mean that the feeling isn't important, core. it's not a deep feeling. it's just a mood. i don't want it to rule my plans.

      my father can't do anything unless he's in the perfect mood for it. it's always tomorrow. it's impossible to rely on him, but even worse that he can't rely on himself.

      but it's impossible to explain it to people who go by their mood. i mean to them why would you do something if you don't feel like doing it? the difference to me is in the depth of the feeling. slave to simple pleasures isn't someone who feels deeply.

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  27. Up From The SofaMarch 7, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    I am sick all the time. My stomach aches. It calls me, as a bird singing. It wants to tell me the reason behind it's song, but I won't listen. It is a comfort, even though it hurts.

    Today, I woke with my usual stomach ache which I have to ignore 24/7, if I am to do anything, even of a simple nature, I thought that maybe I could look at it, straight in the face.

    I found that I carry my mother with me. She makes me sick and she heals me. Most importantly, I never let her go.

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  28. Replies
    1. Event Series:
      Monica and Zoe Fight Over M.E

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  29. There's a world of difference between a Jewish woman in WWII trying to hide her Jewishness to avoid persecution and a psychopath trying to disguise her evil nature so she can continue to feed off unsuspecting victims. Next you'll be making a case for the tapeworm whose host decided to take castor oil! Boo hoo.

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  30. Very subtle.

    Well played.

    There's a lot to be gathered from this fine example.

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  31. There's a world of difference...

    The only place that 'world of difference' exists is in your mind.

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    1. lol.madness without confusion indeed...

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    2. You could argue the only place my car exists is in my mind as well. Must be weird having no brain cells as well as no conscience :)

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    3. You could argue the only place my car exists is in my mind as well.

      Yeah you could that Anonymouse, if you are arguing from solipsism. But that’s a philosophical and practical dead end. So, in a sense, is moralizing, which your original comment was chock full of.

      Let me say this slowly, since it sounds like your critical thinking skills are impaired: Morals. Do. Not. Objectively. Exist. In. Nature. (Google the words Hume, is and ought.) They do however exist in human minds. Then again, so do unicorns, the Good Ship Lollipop and god. That doesn’t make them objectively real. Ergo, the so called “world of difference” you pointed out can be said to exist in your mind and perhaps not anywhere else.

      See? That wasn’t so hard was it? :)

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    4. And what about love? Does that feature in the limited Birddick repertoire, or is it also on the list of things that. do. not. exist?

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    5. Thank you for conceding the point Anonymouse.

      And what about perspectival, complex thinking? Does that feature in your limited Anonymousean repertoire?

      Besides, in the immortal words of Tina Turner, what’s love got to do with it? :)

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    6. Nothing has been conceded Birddick. Maybe you should change your name to Birdbrain. I'll go with John Lennon, All You Need is Love. :)

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    7. For all practical purposes, you conceded the point when you changed the subject by introducing the concept of love. It’s called a red herring. And moving immediately to ad hominem is also a sure sign that on some level, you know that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Sometimes love just aint enough. At least according to Patty Smyth. And the landlord. And the mortgage lender. And the boss. And the auto mechanic. And the physicist. And the math teacher. And… I think you get the point. :)

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    8. As I said, I conceded nothing. I just couldn't be bothered getting into it with someone whose mind is clearly closed. It's been a long day. You have a fixed world view and I have nothing to gain from shining light on the cobwebs of your mind.

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    9. If you completely believed that Anonymuddle, you wouldn't have bothered engaging me at all. Yet engage me you did. The only person you’re fooling here is you.

      Meanwhile, you did not address any of my points. At all.

      One of several dangers of moralizing is this: it has the power to turn your mind into mush, which in turn forces you to resort to extremely obvious rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies, like red herrings, ad hominems and finally baseless assertions of intellectual superiority.

      Now go, young grasshopper. Read up on Hume’s is-ought problem, then logical fallacies. Oh and you might want to Google psychological projections to, just for shits and giggles. ;)

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    10. Thanks for the dummies guide to philosophy, we'll continue the discussion when you get past junior fresh. ;)

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    11. Your passive aggressive insults are boring me now.

      Say something interesting. Or go home and read your bible stories.

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    12. Shut the fuck up.

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    13. Birdick, do you still think that the man should always be the first one in a relationship to say the words "I love you"

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    14. Daniel said...
      Let me say this slowly, since it sounds like your critical thinking skills are impaired: Morals. Do. Not. Objectively. Exist. In. Nature.


      a car doesn't objectively exist in nature either. it exists separately but the mind defines it only in terms of its relationship with it.

      the "carness" of the object exists only in the mind. you could go further and say that the separateness of the object exists only in the mind too, but that's flirting with the neverland of solipsism.

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    15. the only difference between unicorns and cars is one comes from the imagination and the other from actual experience. but both can exist with equal force in the mind, which may be a source of confusion to some.

      you can replace unicorns with love and same thing. :-)

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  32. I just want to understand how sociopaths convince people to do things. The one I know can make anyone fall in love with her and have sex with her no matter how religious or married they are. How? Is there a simple explanation? It seems like magic to me.

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  33. M.E. didn't write this. If memory serves, this has been floating around the internet for a while. I recall seeing it four, five... maybe six years ago.

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  34. This is like listening to a bunch of pedophiles whinging about not being invited to a child's birthday party.

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  35. AnonymousMarch 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    The Jews won the war and got to write the history.

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    Replies
    1. Fake Funny Bit above. Who laughs at this, I have a reputation to protect. I choose truth to be funny. This statement is not true.

      Delete

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