All I want for Christmas is 14 inches of ….

… the Jackie Evancho collector doll, singing ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’

Jackie Evancho 14 inch Singing Collector Doll - 'When You Wish Upon a Star' -  The Bridge Direct - Toys"R"Us

Remember, the child has been top of the US classical charts for a large chunk of the year.

Here‘s the product description. Honest. I couldn’t make it up.

The little girl with the extraordinary voice, Jackie Evancho won the hearts of millions with her pitch-perfect performances on one of America’s top TV talent shows. With the release of her first full-length album, Dream With Me, Jackie has become a star in her own right. Now you can share in Jackie’s dream with this special Collector’s Edition singing doll. It features a selection of Jackie’s recording of “When You Wish Upon A Star” and an exclusive outfit inspired by her performance wardrobe. 

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  • Hello, Norman.

    For gifts for adults, you can get Evancho’s newest Christmas album, “Heavenly Christmas” and her “classical crossover” album “Dream With Me”. Billboard’s year end Classical Albums chart has Evancho’s albums at #1 (O Holy Night), #2 (Dream With Me) and #4 (Heavenly Christmas). http://www.billboard.com/#/charts-year-end/top-classical-albums?year=2011

    The question is not why Evancho’s albums took three of the four top spots this year (that’s easy: this child’s voice is both thrilling and soothing); the question is why classical art music sells so poorly that one young prodigy can dominate the chart.

    Happy holidays (and buy Evancho’s albums – you won’t be sorry!)
    Sam Silvers,
    NYC

  • Singers generally don’t make much money from their recordings–the labels absorb that, leaving the artist to go on the road, where live performance earns their keep.

    But an 11 year old child whose parents are determined to nurture both her childhood and her art can’t tour that much. She’s now commanding up to US$130 a ticket for appearances, but the appearances aren’t that common.

    Hence collateral products like a singing doll.

    Normally if I knew a performer had a singing doll for sale I’d dismiss him or her as a performer of children’s music, with nothing for adult music lovers.

    But in the case of Jacqueline Marie Evancho, that would be an error. She’s one of those extraordinarily rare artists whose work enchants toddlers who can’t even speak yet–right up through centenarians. And her audience demographics, equally divided between males and females, has substantial representation in each age cohort except for a dip for teenagers, and includes everyone from rock & rollers to those with refined classical music sensibilities..

    Mr. Lebrecht’s wordless horror at the prospect of some sort of Shirley Temple “Good Ship Lollipop”-type tyke singer charming cluelessly declassé Colonial audiences smacks but of shallow wit, however (nod to the Bard there), when the formidable singing prowess of this particular 11 year old girl is listened to. Music professors (American ones at least–is that a disqualifier?) have described the girl as an authentic interpretive genius whose depth of musical understanding exceeds that of most adult singers.

    I’ve played audio recordings of her performances for musically knowledgeable people who’d never heard of nor seen her. They uniformly describe her, when asked to visualize her, as a woman in her 30s, tall and heavyset to support that powerful voice, with a lot of life-experience under her belt, to support the depth of interpretation. Not to mention the most exquisitely beautiful tone of any singer alive.

    So to summarily dismiss her music and her popularity because there’s a “singing doll” being sold by her family, while not normally illogical, in this case would represent a profound loss for anyone who loves music.

    • “an authentic interpretive genius.”

      That is one of the silliest ideas I have read in a long while. There are thousands of authentic opera singers in the world. Jackie Evancho does not interpret better than they do.

      I do not disagree that she is talented. Certainly, she is, significantly. She is simply too young, too untrained and too “produced” as a product. The public relations and marketing effort around her is off-putting. This doll feeds into that whole gaudy circus certainly being run by a behemoth label.

      Then, there are the vocal holes. I was unable to watch her sing through on the Jay Leno show. She nestles and protects everything in the back of her throat, producing an unfortunate strangled sound through her lower-middle range. Not at all efficient, productive or safe.

      • ‘There are thousands of authentic opera singers in the world. Jackie Evancho does not interpret better than they do.”

        lol. Thanks for humoring me. 😀

        My favorite example of an opera singer “interpreting” is Renee Fleming’s OMBC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRaMOka3xzo

        Has anyone every seen or heard such overacting before? Something so forced? All the gesturing & posturing in such a staged manner? The only stunt not done here was someone with a squirt gun leaving a stream of water down Renee’s cheeks.

        Renee fails to get inside the song.

        Not saying Jackie has ever lived the story behind the song, but she does a superb job of getting inside the mood of the song, if only by getting there through the vibs written into the actual music, tempo, tones, dynamics and such. Her heart most certainly is all in.

        Don’t buy into that? Even if diminished to only acting, Jackie surpasses one of the finest of the “… thousands of authentic opera singers in the world….”

        For the record, I am not the one that dragged “thousands of authentic opera singers in the world” into this. Someone that used them to dismiss Jackie is responsible for that.

        • Renee Fleming is unquestionably recognized worldwide as one of the greatest classical interpreters of the last 20 years. Critics and audiences worldwide have agreed on this point. The fact that you insult one of the greatest American sopranos of the 20th and 21st century says all I need to know about you and your friends rambling on this comment section.

          • “Renee Fleming is unquestionably recognized worldwide as one of the greatest classical interpreters of the last 20 years. Critics and audiences worldwide have agreed on this point.”

            No doubt Renee is phenomenal. Certainly one of the greatest. I couldn’t diminish who she is, or what she has accomplished. I wouldn’t want to.

            I simply compared an aria, an emotional aria, that both Jackie and one of the greatest/Renee both performed, as so a fair comparison could be made.

            I accurrately crituqued Renee’s effort. I’m shocked anyone could think differently. Renee is human and not perfect. The video is the putting.

            Actually you’re the one that implied a comparision of sorts be made, or Renee would never have popped to mind. It would have been Jackie standing alone otherwise.

            The intended interpretation on this aria goes to Jackie. The tears on the faces of her audience prove this. No squirt gun required.

            Enough “rambling” by me for now.

      • Janey (Alledged classical vocal expert

        Upload your video so we can see your proof of the proper vocal technique and that you are a classically trained singer ! (Pls do not use sheet music when performing)

        Your assertions that Jackie uses terrible technique is invalid unless your provide proof ! Also you do not have superior credentials that Jackie professionals :

        Yvie Burnett (Former Opera Teacher)
        Lorraine Nubar(Julliard Vocal Instructor)
        Danielle Siena(Italian diction coach)
        David Forster (16 time Grammy producer & classically trained at age 5)

        Game over !
        Snob!

        • My point is not about pronunciation. David Foster is not a classical musician. I saw Yvie Burnett mentioned in previous discussions here about Jackie Evancho and did some quick research. She is not a classical performer, does not train classical musicians, and as far as I could tell previously, has not one regular student. She is on the payroll of Simon Cowell and does his bidding. Nothing more, nothing less.

          Ms Nubar’s name also was brought up here previously, causing Juilliard to go to the unusual extreme of issuing a statement flatly denying that Ms. Nubar is associated with Jackie Evancho. Not a huge endorsement, I would say. Instead, rather like running in the opposite direction as far away from the circus surrounding Evancho as they could.

          Again, this child is extremely talented. It simply is unfortunate that this talent is being exploited.

          • Ms. Janey

            Correction Many current pop/rock producers and singers were classically trained

            Mr David Foster stated from age 5-13 he was classically trained see link
            http://www.knpr.org/son/archive/detail2.cfm?SegmentID=8424&ProgramID=2386

            Also Pat Benatar, Mariah Carey, Amy Lee (Evarance) Tarja (Nightwish), Trent Renzor (Nine Inch Nails) and Julie Andrews were trained classically trained. Not all classically trained artist
            pursue Opera, but using that experience when they delve into other genres.

            Yvie Burnett trained as an operatic mezzosoprano, and sung professionally with the Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North, De Nederlandse Opera and Opera De Nantes.
            Performing and a Opera House requires that you are classically trained correct??

            What Opera House did you perform at?

            Janey (The Jealous Snob)!

          • Gabriel.

            Please reread my post. I said nothing about whether Foster, Burnett, et al were classically trained. Please read carefully.

            Quoting myself:
            “David Foster is not a classical musician.” This is true. I am aware he trained as a pianist.

            Yvie Burnett: “She is not a classical performer, does not train classical musicians, and as far as I could tell previously, has not one regular student. She is on the payroll of Simon Cowell and does his bidding. Nothing more, nothing less.”

            I searched in vain previously for any roles played by Ms. Burnett. I found none. Did she walk across the stage on these opera houses you mentioned? Please provide the roles played, when and in whose productions, if that is your contention. Mind you, a superior singing teacher does not need to be a superior singer themselves. Some of the best were not. Still, teachers have students they can point to as having been successful. They have testimonials. She has no performance record and no testimonials. What she has is a job with Simon Cowell.

            What difference does it make if Pat Benatar trained classically? Are you suggesting Jackie Evancho hire her as a coach? The topic, on which we should endeavor to stay, is training and oversight for this talented, beautiful child. The more information you provide, the more dubious the atmosphere surrounding her appears.

          • Actually Juilliard acknowledged Nubar has seen Jackie, and they didn’t state the amount of visits. I’m not sure why the portrayal of that press release here inferred differently.

          • Here is the statement, which Juilliard unusually asked Norman to post:

            “Lorraine Nubar, who is on Juilliard’s Pre-College faculty, had a meeting with Jackie Evancho – and did hear her sing, but Ms. Evancho will not be attending Juilliard’s Pre-College Division in the fall.”

            They “had A meeting and DID hear her sing.” It cannot be more clear that it was one time and not an ongoing relationship. Lorraine Nubar herself has kept quiet and I doubt she appreciates her name being brought up again. It must have been seriously problematic originally for Juilliard to release a statement.

          • I’m glad you provided the quote as it supports what I said 100%, and contradicts your previous statement. Also, I’m not sure why you embellished on Juilliards intent in two different comments you made about them. Are you a Juilliard spokesperson?

        • Gabriel – I am usually just lurking and staying away from most discussions. I do think think Jackie is extremely talented. But what I find ridiculous is comments like “show us how you can sing”. Should we all call the Kardashians show a “masterpiece of movie-making” because we cannot produce a tv show ourselves? How about books – shall we call every book a literary treasure because we are not writers?

          I also seriously doubt that you yourself is never ever criticize anything you don’t like including any singer or any dancer. Can you tell us that you only criticize performers/professionals for work you yourself can do better? If you cannot honestly tell us that yet require it from others what does it make you? Wouldn’t demanding that others do what you yourself don’t be the definition of hypocrisy?

          Another reason why “you have you do it better yourself to criticize” comment is so ridiculous is because this would prevent most teachers from teaching: most of the best teachers weren’t great performers themselves as these are different talents, and some of the greatest performers don’t often make great teachers. Yet even the best performers accept criticism from teacher who have never been as great as they are.

          “Yvie Burnett trained as an operatic mezzosoprano, and sung professionally with the Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North, De Nederlandse Opera and Opera De Nantes.”
          Yet she is a complete unknown in opera world. So yes, she may have sung in a chorus of these opera theaters or if she had performed roles there it may have been “A supper is ready” type of roles. Nothing wrong with it, someone has to sing these roles, but this doesn’t really tell anything about her qualifications as a teacher. Actually, even if she had been better known it still wouldn’t tell anything about her qualifications as a teacher – good or bad – as someone who is a good performer isn’t necessarily a good teacher or vice versa. But what we do know about Yvie Burnett is that all of her students are pop singers and that she only sees Jackie every now and then. This isn’t the same as having a regular voice teacher.

          • Ms. Kitty

            I am glad you join our debate, I do admit that I am not classically trained,musician or a vocalist.

            The reason I asked Janey’s credentials, because it is needed to validate her assertions about
            Jackie (Per Janey: She nestles and protects everything in the back of her throat, producing an unfortunate strangled sound through her lower-middle range. Not at all efficient, productive or safe.)

            Janey diminishes Yvie Burnett and David Foster as non “classical musicians” but fails to mention
            that Jackie performs Classical Crossover.

            Has Janey stated that she is a classical trained musician or vocalist?

            BTW are you related to Janey or are you her sister!

            Stop lurking in the shadows and join the fun!

            Here Kitty-Kitty!

  • Ehkzu,

    I get the exact same description from people as well. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I live for the jaw drop, when I turn on the video. To watch the face disbelieve the eyes, makes it even better. I tell people who don’t like shopping at WalMart to order it on the WalMart site, and have it shipped direct for less than a buck. Then they don’t have to go to WalMart at all.

    Russ

  • How ridiculous. This doll looks like a standard doll from head to toe, and all they did was slap a name and a recording onto it because that’s all it takes with the fans she has. If this doesn’t scream “grab some quick cash”, nothing does. Mommy and Daddy must want a new boat or something.

    • Cash Cow

      Do you normally ‘MILK COWS” for money?????

      If this doesn’t scream “grab some quick cash”, nothing does. Mommy and Daddy must want a new boat or something.

      If not , Please explain how to become a ‘CASH COW”!!!!!!

      SAD!

    • Actually, the original design was rejected by the Evancho’s, because it didn’t look anything like Jackie at all. It had to be redesigned. I do think you’ve lost some of your sense of values though, because you should already realize that no one is going to be buying a Boat, from the residuals of a $23.99 Novelty Doll.

      Your characterization of the fans she has is so off the mark, it’s Pathetic.. It’s us Jackie’s fans, the millions of us, who benefit the most from her beautiful music. We are the lucky ones! The relatively few who get to see her perform live, even luckier.

      Jackie is scheduled to return to Japan to participate in the reopening of the the 17,000 seat Bunkamura Orchard Concert Hall and to give two concerts.on January 12th & 13th. The Japanese people Adore her. Jackie’s adored virtually everywhere she performs. She performed at “A Night at the Opera, With Jackie Evancho and The Young Stars of the Met, in Boca, Rattan, and the Young Stars adored her, so it’s not the real Opera fans, only people like you, that can’t see the beauty in this child’s voice. I wouldn’t even mind if you said you didn’t like her voice, and left it at that, but you always have to say something demeaning about Jackie, Her Family and her fans.

      The last time Jackie was on these pages, someone here “Questioned her Wholesomeness as a Child!” Norman let this happen, in spite of the fact that he was mad at Billboard Magazine who Moved Classical Crossover to the Classical Charts. He had no real beef with Jackie at all, yet he allowed his disgusting fans, to rip Jackie and her family to pieces. He’s a Coward for doing that because he didn’t stop it! And if that didn’t lack class, how about running the blog against Jackie at the same time WCNY Syracuse PBS, the Station he works at, was showing Jackie’s Live Sarasota Concert. He attacked an 11 year old Child to feed his own Ego.. Please bear in mind that the Dream With Me Great Performances video that was supposed to run for a month, ran on various PBS stations across the country for 3 1/2 months, until Mid September, because of the demand. It was the biggest moneymaker in PBS History, by a wide margin. Oh, the money grubbing Evancho’s, and that Greedy Producer David Foster, Donated their time, and Sony Donated the production costs of around $1,000,000. That’s called Class, and you have none!

  • Sounds like some jealousy here. Let’s be honest: Wouldn’t we all want a doll of ourselves if we could get one?
    Pavarotti has a perfume: http://compare.ebay.com/like/260892377594?_lwgsi=y&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar
    And a figurine: http://negociosdelsur.com/la9rockeria/popup_image.php?pID=391
    And posters, coasters and lots of other merchandise. The merchandise and the albums, as well as appearances, work together to promote the artist.

    Sure, the Evancho doll is a “standard” doll – probably the doll body was designed for a previous doll. So what? What’s wrong with merchandising? The doll’s look is consistent with promoting a little girl who happens to be a platinum-selling singer. I think the doll is hilarious, and lots of singers have dolls. See this:
    http://www.billboard.com/charts/billboard-200#/photogalleries/pop-dolls-20-musicians-immortalized-in-plastic-1005544572.story

  • Readers might find it instructive to see what Dr. Clark Rosen, Director of the Voice Center at the University of Pittsburgh Hospital, has to say about Jackie’s genius. This is from a segment on the American television newsmagazine 20/20, which did a show on supertalented people. Jackie was one of the fuve people discussed. Dr. Rosen’s analysis may be found 4 minutes into the 7 minute segment::

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnGWmv1Kj0c

    You can see the whole show here:

    http://abc.go.com/watch/2020/SH559026/VD55136532/2020-722-special-powers-super-humans

    I should add that much confusion has been caused by bandying about the term “opera singer” in connection to Jackie.

    Jackie would be the first to tell you that she is not now nor ever has been an opera singer. She’s a Classical Crossover singer–a genre which is quite popular in the UK.

    So no, she isn’t about to try out for the role of, say, Thais in Massenet’s eponymous opera. What she might do, though, is sing an aria from this opera as a concert piece.

    Singing opera arias as concert pieces is a very different situation from performing the same aria inside an opera. Within the opera the piece has to be sung in character, and it must advance the plotline–it must seem integral to whole thing (though famous arias–particularly from bel canto operas–are often perforemed as setpieces, followed by long applause, right in the middle of an opera).

    Most opera singers do opera arias in concert the same way they’d do it in the opera–in character. For those familiar with the opera this can work, but for others–such as Slats above–an aria works better if you change your treatment to suit the very different context of a concert.

    This concert treatment is what Jackie excels at. So when you see her doing, say,m “Nessun dorma,” she isn’t trying to channel Prince Calaf longing for his psychopathic sweetheart. You see a song about powerful longing in general, and powerful will to achieve the object of that longing.

    Thus Jackie recontextualizes the aria into a concert setting so that it makes sense as a standalone piece. And she does this better than most opera singers do–in a concert setting.

    I agree with Slats about Renee Fleming massacring O Mio Babbino Caro in concert. Yet I just saw her in the opera Thais and she was great. Each singer has their bailiwick, their turf. Jackie’s is the concert hall, not the opera theater. Not today at least.

    • Well, I think that Janey is entitled to his/her opinion, and I don’t see any reason for anyone here to be disrespectful to anyone else. And I have nothing against well-trained opera singers; I have been singing opera and musical theatre for over 30 years. But I think that Jackie Evancho has special talents. I disagree with Janey about Jackie’s lower register, although I do think that her most recent Tonight show performance was comparatively disappointing. She seemed to be tired and/or worried (same with the American Giving Awards the same or next day). In general, and as heard on Jackie’s albums and other appearances, I think her lower and middle ranges have an appealing warmth, and her intonation is gorgeous. Her ability to sing seamlessly from the lower register to her effortless upper register would also be envied by many mature opera singers. But, let’s face it, what’s so unusual about Jackie is her thrilling, silvery upper register, which affects the central nervous system of her listeners. The ethereal sound that she makes at the top of the staff is what consistently arouses emotion in her audiences.

      Is Jackie a genius interpreter of text? Of course not. Her genius is a natural, smooth vocal production and control. She naturally moves to the important part of each phrase, and her shaping of phrases is extraordinary. When I hear Jackie sing a phrase, I am amazed. Why didn’t I think of taking that phrase that way? Why didn’t any of my teachers? It is something innate to Jackie. That is why she is a legitimate prodigy. As David Foster says, Jackie simply understands how to sing with the music. She is driven by the melody and accompaniment to make the most of each phrase in a way that either you cannot teach, or it is very difficult to teach it. She is possessed of an exquisite natural musicianship. She doesn’t know why – she just knows how to do it.

      In any case, I would recommend that anyone who is skeptical of Jackie’s technique should listen to the album that she made with David Foster, “Dream With Me” and then comment.

      All the best, and happy holidays to all!
      Sam

      • Finally! A reasonable comment from a Jackie Evancho fan here. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoy her music. She is personally not my cup of tea, but she obviously is others. I do hope she doesn’t burn out, with the singing and the marketing, promoting, and the like. As I’ve said, I wish her the best, however, and she certainly has a great talent.

        I appreciate you not trying to convert me.

        • Ms. Janey

          Don’t worry I do not need to convert to a fan of Jackie Evancho!

          It;’s great to have civil debate without getting to heated.

          BTW you seem to comment on every blog of Mr. Lebrecht,
          unless YOU ARE (Norman Lebrect)!

          It’s very difficult to convert “OPERA SNOB!”

  • As for Julliard, the pre-college simply does not accept children younger than 13 in any vocal program. I do not know the exact circumstances under which Jackie sang for Ms. Nubar, but I believe that the school’s statement has been misinterpreted. I agree that Jackie has not studied with Nubar. But I don’t think that Jackie applied for admission, and there could not have been any possibility that she would have been admitted at age 11. In any case, I am skeptical that the Evanchos ever approached the school for that purpose. They had stated earlier and have stated since that they did not intend that Jackie should begin any intensive vocal training until after puberty.

    I thought this was a discussion about the doll and whether it was appropriate. I vote yea, and if I had a child who was interested in singing, I would unhesitatingly get a Jackie doll for the holidays.

  • A Jackie doll, O-my! On her website they are even sell clothing, coffee mugs, posters, photos, tote bags, Christmas Ornaments and yes, music, O-my. Sounds like capitalism to me, O-my. Like most successful musicians, she does not rely on begging at the doors of benefactors and the tax payer. No, she sells her music, performs concerts, sells merchandise, employs a team of people to manage and promote her and does a large amount of charity work, O-my.

    • Bravo Michael,

      I think you might have left this out of your post. Her Music makes people feel better about themselves, and the world around them, becomes a better place because of it! O-my.

  • Janey

    I am glad we are having fun!!!

    First of all Ms Evancho stated on another forum that Ms. Lorainne Nubar checks with Jackie periodically (outside consultation.)

    Sony records has sufficient resources to retain the best music professionals in the industry, Janey send your resume and forward you website so we can verify that you are a classical trained vocalist.
    There are alot of young kids that want to pursue classical music because of Jackie, maybe you can trained them properly.

    Contact the Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North, De Nederlandse Opera and Opera De Nantes to verify want roles that Ms Yvie Burnett performed. No Opera House worth there salt is going to allow
    a performer that is not properly trained and educated in the classical field.

    The reason I brought up Pat Benatar and Mariah Carey because they were trained by their mothers who happen to be former Opera Singers. Both these ladies had successful careers performing genres such as
    (rock, pop, R&B), Even Deana Durbin as a teenager was trained by a former NY Met Opera singer.
    The fact that Jackie is coached by Yvie Burnett (Fmr Opera singer) and the continuing education will benefit
    her immensely . Also the great Cecilla Bartoli’s, her parents, Silvana Bazzoni and Pietro Angelo Bartoli, were both professional singers and gave her her first music lessons. Her first public performance was at age eight .

    Questioning the credentials of Yvie Burnett and David Foster is a losing proposition, especially from a
    person such as you (Janey) that is unwilling to disclose evidence of your credentials.

  • Nobody connected with the Evanchos has ever claimed that Jackie was studying at Julliard, or had applied to Julliard, or been accepted at Julliard, or was even auditing classes at Julliard. Some overenthusiastic fans may have said something like that, but I doubt any reasonable person would hold any performer to account for what fans may say.

    What the Evanchos did say was that they consulted with the head of Julliard’s young talent program to make sure that Jackie wasn’t doing anything that would damage her voice–nothing else. As others have said, it doesn’t make sense to train singers (apart from voice protection) before they go through puberty. The Evanchos certainly believe that. Jackie has also gotten some coaching–not voice training per se–on how to handle pre-performance jitters and the like–stagecraft, if you will. That’s about it.

    It is certainly true that some parents have exploited their talented children. It is equally true that many others in this situation have not. In fact, many, many parents make great personal sacrifices–including putting their own careers and lives on hold–to support a talented child.

    However, you will never read a supermarket tabloid headline saying “Johnnie Smith had great parents, great upbringing, had his talent nurtured, and now leads a happy life.”

    As they say in the newspaper industry “if it bleeds it leads–if it thinks it stinks.” and “Good news is no news.”

    Jackie is having a wonderful life, with great family and friends, performing in front of ever-growing, enthusiastic crowds, doing what she loves best. Mostly her parents prevent her from performing as much as she wants to, and from singing beyond a limited subset of her true range and vocal power, in order to protect her voice.

    The assumption that parents are exploiting their children unless proven otherwise reflects foibles in the human psyche, like the belief in all those satanic child abuse cults that later turned out not to exist, and all the horrors inflicted by some people on other people because they believed invidious and unfounded rumors. We almost had polio licked in Africa when a few Imams took it upon themselves to state that polio vaccine was a White Man’s Plot to sterilize the Black Man. They were believed long enough for Polio to get loose once again.

    It’s unrealistic to be a Pollyanna about people–but it’s equally unrealistic to routinely assume the worst of others, time after time. Surely we can do better.

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