Bad News for McEnroe - Bill Scanlon

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Rabbit, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I read this book over the Christmas holdiays. I really liked this one. It went through the whole of Scanlon's career. Scanlon pulled no punches when giving his opinioin on other players, especially his nemisis John McEnroe.

    He has an entire chapter devoted to equipment, both new and old. The most interesting factoid that I garnered from this is that a wood racket usually lasted the pros about 3 to 5 weeks.

    Also of great interest to me was Scanlon's take on the frame he used. He used the Jack Kramer Auto, ProStaff, and one other variant. He said that all 3 frames were exactly the same and that he thought he couldn't pass a blindfold test with them. He said he played with all 3 during his career. I found this of particular interest in light of the things that are posted on these boards. I posted long ago that we "overthink" our equipment at our level and it appears that I may have actually gotten one thing right. :)

    Scanlon explains the WCT versus the ITF battle in great and interesting detail. He goes through the war that raged between the powers that ran tennis and how the ATP finally became a player in the running of the sport. He doesn't arrive at this conclusion, but I find it very interesting that once the ATP gained control of the sport and began to run it "right", interest from the fans began to wane and the tennis boom began to taper off.

    Scanlon talks about the driving force behind the tour, which is money. It's the same story for pros. It ain't about the money IF you have the money. Scanlon talks about the decisions he had to make regarding tournament play, how he was basically at the whim of his agents.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who played tennis in the 70s or has an interest in the dawn of the professional game as we know it today. This book was a really good read.
     
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  2. Voltron

    Voltron Hall of Fame

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    Cool, is the name of the book "bad news for McEnroe" or something else. I'd really like to read it.
     
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  3. Voltron

    Voltron Hall of Fame

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    I didn't play tennis in the 70s though, does that really make or break the book?
     
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  4. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Copy that until the advent of frames of the "Profile" ilk. Very, very, different. I hadn't met a frame prior that I sensed such difficulty in keeping the ball in the same zip code in which I was playing. When I first experimented with that frame I felt I needed a shower though I never broke a sweat with it.

    Legend has it that a ball one of my hitting partners struck with that frame was found in the stomach of a Great White shark during a post mortem of a specimen caught off Montauk Point approximately 8 months later.

    Thanks for the review. I'm there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2007
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  5. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, that is the name. Scanlon explains the title of the book inside.

    Nope. If you like the history of tennis, or hearing war stories, you'll like this one. He talks about all of the guys from back then.

    Ditto on the Profile. Too heavy....too thick...too powerful.....

    My next tennis book is one about Bobby Riggs that I got for Christmas from TW. I'll post my thoughts on it when I get through.
     
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  6. spt

    spt Rookie

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    Rabbit,

    It has been several months since I have read the book. I like his stories from the tour. I had a problem with the chapter on equipment. Did you remember some of the facts differently than he describes?
     
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  7. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    Who the hell told Scanlon he ought to write a book? LOL.

    Anything negative a career turd like Scanlon says about the all-time greats can only be a monumental case of sour grapes, and ought to be disregarded out of hand. This guy was irrelevant in his heyday -- wtf is he doing resurfacing now? Shame on the publisher for foisting this upon the readership of the world.
     
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  8. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I did too. He references wood frames as 85 square inches more than once. He also said that Nastase used a Kramer Auto painted like an Adidas Haillet when I think it was really a Dunlop frame. To my knowledge, Nastase never used a Wilson frame. There was some other stuff, I'll have to go back and reread for cite specific examples.

    Maybe you should read the book before making such an ignorant statement. Who said all Scanlon said was negative? Maybe you should write a book on negative turds, it could be autobiographical.
     
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  9. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    Perhaps if you read the book before dismissing it you might have a more tolerant view. His views on the players he played with or against are as valid as anyones. If an all time jerk like McEnroe gets to write a book, then why not this guy? Anyone who hates the Super Brat can't be all bad.
     
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  10. Ash Doyle

    Ash Doyle Professional

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    I don't have much to add to what Rabbit said, but I too have read the book and very much enjoyed it. This book along with "BreakPoint" by Vince Spadea are my two favorite books written by pros about the tour.
     
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  11. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    I havent read the book, but <seem to> remember Scanlon wasnt well liked by the public nor his fellow pros back then. he was far from a household name and was pretty much a non factor out there..hardly book material IMO. I think he won a handful of lesser titles in his career, but didnt he also record a Golden Set once? If he didnt use Mac's name in the title of the book he would have sold maybe 4 copies of the book.
     
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  12. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    I hope you aren't implying that only famous popular players should be able to write books. Let the marketplace dictate who get's read or not.
     
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  13. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    no. of course i'm not. i would think that would go w.o saying
     
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  14. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    Then my mistake for confusing your intent...
     
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  15. SC in MA

    SC in MA Semi-Pro

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    I saw Scanlon win a tournament in Maui back in late 70's I think it was. I was surprised how talented he was. He was a very smooth player who made the game look extremely easy. He had a very fluid, smooth serve with an easy motion that produced rockets with his Jack Kramer wood racket. I thought he would become a Top 10 player for sure. What happened ?
     
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  16. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

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    Scanlon reached 14 tour finals winning six.

    He reached a career high of #9 in 1984.
     
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  17. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    According to Scanlon, there were a couple of things. First, he was very promising and as such was sought out by agents. Agents then try to seal deals. One of the deals was with Fila. Fila was going to be an all inclusive deal like Lendl had with Adidas and later Mizuno. Scanlon would play with Fila rackets. They tried over an extended period of time to get him a frame he liked, but it never worked out. This, according to Scanlon hurt him some.

    The biggest dent in his game was the fact that he came along right when wood was going to graphite. He never could adjust to the newer frames and consequently was kind of left behind by the game ala Jimmy Arias.

    Scanlon is very honest about his career. He says that he was promsing, but something got lost in the shuffle. Whereas Spadea is still on the hunt, thinking (as he has to) that he can win it all, Scanlon has the perspective of more than a few years away from the tour to assess his real status. I think he does a good job.

    Scanlon was friendly with Lendl on tour, along with Nastase, Gerualaits, and a few others. He explains the rift with McEnroe, and it sounds plausible to me given the other things I've read about McEnroe. No big deal and Scanlon is up front about giving anyone kudos on their careers when they deserve it. I think he even goes so far as to say McEnroe was the better player.

    Anyway, it's a great read for a tennis fan.
     
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  18. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Rabbit,
    Scanlon's take on the equipment sounds interesting. In Peter Bodo's 1978 book, 'Inside Tennis: a year on the pro tour' Scanlon speaks at length about his problems on tour and with the Fila racquet (Fila rep Matrin Mulligan also weighs in with his opinion) and you're left with the feeling that he is a guy who struggles with the slightest change to his universe - even if it is only cosmetic. He also seems to be someone who is, slightly, out of step with the rest of the pro tour (wide-eyed, intelligent but not necessarily smart) although he does seem to be widely liked, if not understood, by the bulk of the players.

    Is that pretty much how he comes off in his book?
     
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  19. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yep. He tells the story of how he finally decided to go to graphite. He was going to make the switch at a tournament and wound up warming up with none other than Rod Laver. Laver was warming him up and Scanlon couldn't put two balls in the court. Laver was commenting on this and making Scanlon more and more of a head case in the process. Scanlon digresses to mention that Laver left his Dunlops for a while to play with Chemhold with disastrous results. Scanlon says he literally ran from the court, back to his room, got his Kramers and played his first round match at the tournament.

    The first round match was against a little known Brazilian player named Hocevar. Scanlon won 6-2, 6-0. The 6-0 set was also tennis history, it was a Golden Set. Scanlon's fate with wood was sealed.
     
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  20. Zets147

    Zets147 Banned

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    Awesome! Has the Golden Set been achieved only once in all of tennis history?
     
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  21. alwaysatnet

    alwaysatnet Semi-Pro

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    For that alone (Golden Set) Scanlon is not the nonentity some would claim. I remember him as being talented and feisty and not someone to put up with crap from McEnroe.
     
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  22. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Well I was born in 1980 and have heard of Bill Scanlon many times, so he couldn't be that irrelevant.
     
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  23. Esatsan

    Esatsan New User

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    "He also said that Nastase used a Kramer Auto painted like an Adidas Haillet when I think it was really a Dunlop frame. To my knowledge, Nastase never used a Wilson frame."

    Correct.
    Nastase - according to his autobiography painted his Dunlop Maxply to look like an adidas, I never saw a reference to Wilson in his book. He complains that Adidas could never get the racquet right, never as good as his beloved Dunlop.
     
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  24. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I pretty much remember Nastase going from the Fort to a the Haillet (Fort painted to look like a Haillet) and then a succession of frames. I bought a Haillet new back when they made them and still have it. They later changed the name to the Nastase Master. I also have the follow on aluminum frame that Nastase used, the ADS 550. This was a nice frame and Adidas' answer to the Red Head or Head Master (the Professional was the blue one, right?). Anyway, I have it as well.
     
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  25. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I was a proud user of the Profile 2.7 OS for 10 years - I strung it with Problend at 78 lbs, and I could still serve over 120 with ease. It was the best serve and volley frame in history, bar none. And flat laser 2hbs could be hit with pinpoint accuracy due to its stiffness. Unfortunately, It's not spin-friendly enough to permit dippers and short angles.
     
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  26. Nuke

    Nuke Hall of Fame

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    I took a look at that book and read the "equipment" chapter. Something that jumped out at me a couple of times was the "Dunlop Maxfli" racquet. The Maxfli is a golf ball; the racquet was the Maxply. Odd mistake to make from someone who played in the wood era. And there seemed to be lots of stories about matches where Scanlon was not present. But there were coauthors involved, and maybe a tennis-illiterate copyeditor, so who knows how involved Scanlon really was in the writing of this book.
     
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  27. Azzurri

    Azzurri Legend

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    You said it Grimjack! Scanlon is a buffoon. His opinion means little.
     
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  28. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Bad News for McEnroe on Google Books

    I was Googling something today and stumbled across "Bad News for McEnroe". a preview of which is available via Google books...

    http://books.google.com/books?id=7s...#v=onepage&q=Bill Scanlon MAc and Me&f=false

    According to the web site the preview allows a certain number of pages to be viewed and then access is cut off, but I've scanned a few pages and haven't hit the limit yet.

    Thought some of you might like to have a peek.
     
    #28
  29. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    I know they didn't like each other but why is he still picking on JP Mcenroe ??
     
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  30. muddlehead

    muddlehead Rookie

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    wood to k six one

    54 yrs old. just said yesterday to a friend as he saw the kramer woodie on my garage wall that all wood rackets were the same. feeling smart now. have used only 5 rackets my whole life. kramer, ashe competition, black aluminum prince pro, wilson profile widebody 110 till 9 months ago. currently and for next 20 years wilson k six one 95.
     
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  31. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ No Pro Staff 6.0 in there. Too bad.

    (I feel sorry for anyone who never knew the joys of that great old racquet. But I'm sure they don't mind, and would resent my sympathy.)
     
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  32. jyjyj

    jyjyj New User

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    That's awesome. Thanks for the link. I just got sucked into reading a couple chapters instead of working. (Don't tell my boss!) But I noticed a couple things that seemed factually inaccurate in the "equipment" chapter.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but he repeatedly refers to Rod Laver's Dunlop racquet as the "Maxfli" model. I thought it was was the "Maxply." Then later, he refers to "John McEnroe's Pro Staff." I always thought McEnroe played a Jack Kramer Pro Staff, and that the only "McEnroe edition" racquet was after he switched to Dunlop. (Maybe I'm being picky about the way it's written, and that he's simply referring to the Pro Staff that McEnroe used...)

    Anyway, still an interesting read.
     
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  33. jyjyj

    jyjyj New User

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    Wow. I totally missed someone a few posts earlier. I didn't mean to double-up! My apologies. (I'd delete mine, but I don't have the ability to edit posts yet...)

    Sorry Nuke!
     
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  34. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    It is the Dunlop Maxply Fort.
     
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  35. Chopin

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    He gets stuff wrong as far as equipment goes. I would take much of what he says with a grain of salt.
     
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  36. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I wouldn't. He played on the tour so his insights have value.
     
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  37. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    There's a Lendl story in there that's really great. Revealing w/o being salacious.

    Scanlon's a good man. Very nice game, too, even now in his 50s.
     
    #37
  38. jyjyj

    jyjyj New User

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    I think Scanlon's obviously a good and knowledgable source. I bet any errors in the book are the fault of a sloppy editor.
     
    #38
  39. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Getting the exact model of racquet right means nothing. It's the insights and first hand accounts that are interesting
     
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  40. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    Err, but he literally gets basic racquet facts wrong (who was using what). Also, he's not exactly the most objective guy out there--I mean come on, his book is named "Bad News for McEnroe."
     
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  41. Karlovic's Sunglasses

    Karlovic's Sunglasses Banned

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    Sounds like something I'll be buying soon.
     
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  42. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Maybe becuase Mac is a jerk and again who cares about the exact models of frames.
     
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  43. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    It's not the exact models--it's claiming that other plays used certain racquets and just generally having an agenda.

    Others have also pointed out the amount of stories Scanlon tells in which he was not literally present. I personally would not put too much weight on his discussion of equipment, but that's just me.
     
    #43
  44. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    That's because "My thoughts on tennis by Bill Scanlon" wouldn't sell except to a few tennis buffs. But put Mac's name on the cover and people might actually care and buy the book. Kind of funny due to their past that Bill has to use Mac's name to sell his book.
     
    #44
  45. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    When he was at Trinity, he and the team would always beat Rice, which irritated me. Later, he kept beating McEnroe, who I liked watching most of all. That irritated me too. Still, I did like watching him play.
     
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  46. film1

    film1 Semi-Pro

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    I do not know if this is a fact but it was my understanding the Kramer Autograph was slightly stiffer than the Prostaff.
    I wanted the Kramer Autograph more but most top players seemed to use the prostaff.
     
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  47. film1

    film1 Semi-Pro

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    I think the Wilson Prostaff and the Wilson advantage were identical but the wood on the neck of kramer autograph was not rounded off where it met the laminate on the neck perhaps making it slightly more stiff.

    What did he say about Mac?
     
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  48. film1

    film1 Semi-Pro

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    Donnie, you,re out of your element.
     
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  49. DNShade

    DNShade Professional

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    Wal, a wiser fella than m'self once said, sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, wal, he eats you
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
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  50. Borgforever

    Borgforever Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^ The chinaman is not the issue here, Dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT... Also, Dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.
     
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