185 Comments
Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist, but I ran Cameron's tounges phrase (Oooh ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma baila bail ability) through Google translate and it identified it as the ancient biblical language of B'ullsheeit.

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You had me in the beginning not gonna lie

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Sent message [to Bing AI chat].

Oooh ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma baila bail ability

Received message.

Hello! This is Bing. Are you looking for a song with those lyrics? 😊

Sent message

No, I'm not.

Received message.

Okay. Is there anything else I can help you with? 😊

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Some weird subconscious reference to getting out of jail?

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Hahahaaa 😂

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This reporting is making a world of difference. I'm a victim in a court case and as he and I have name suppression I can't speak about it, but it will be all over the media hopefully by the end of the year. Court cases take forever and not being able to speak is killing me and adding to the trauma. It will be a good day when they are all stopped. And I am trying to do my bit as well.

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Hugs to you Jazmine! ❤️

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Too often the court process is retraumatizing for the victim. In my day job I have supported a number of survivors ewho have found this out through bitter experience. Know that you have a community here that supports you.

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Oh that sounds so stressful - hope you have some support in place, and that you get through the court asap so you can start processing it all x

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Thank you. Yes, it has been massively traumatic to even get this far with it all. I have a huge support system in place, which I am grateful for. There is a large team of people and organizations helping me. I wrote in my victim impact statement the other day of how it is not the type of crime (can't say more) that is possible to recover from, so I'm just going through the road to justice.

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Hugely glad you have people around you. I can't even begin to imagine what this is like to go through. All the aroha your way.

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You're amazing! Fighting for yourself, especially in the face of trauma means you're fighting for others, to prevent further trauma. Kudos to you. I hope you get a satisfactory outcome.

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Tautoko. I am in awe of your strength and glad you have support going through this ❤️

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Extras for anyone curious.

Besides the friend I brought along, I only really talked to one guy at the service - the home pastor at the entrance. I just told the truth: that I was from Northcote Baptist (I didn't say when I was from there, I last attended at least 15 years ago), and that I was a bit out of my comfort zone. I ate a cookie before the service and it wasn't poisoned.

After the service I wrestled with going up and talking to John but I didn't do it for a few reasons. 1. Weirdly he had a bodyguard. Or at least a big guy who followed him around everywhere, kept his eyes open, and didn't participate in the service. 2. He had his family there, including his teenage daughter and I felt a bit bad bringing her into it. 3. I was just gonna get kicked out straight away and I wanted to have a nice evening. Basically I chickened out.

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1. Agree, that's creepy weird. 2. You are kind. And 3, 3 was simply a smart and brave move actually.

You have to pick the places you don't walk away from.

Joan Didion

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author

Covert photos next time please.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by David Farrier

NBC reprizent 🙌

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“A bit outside your comfort zone” 😂 Thank you for the giggle. Love these extra tidbits!

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Morena. Excellent post (as always). I couldn't bring myself to listen to the recording. The yabadabbadoo stuff creeps me out. But in the unlikely event of ever attending one of these shindigs, it is good to know that my moniker would be Rosco P. Coltrane Artichoke. Happy Friday everyone...

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Fudge Potato.

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I give you Claudius the God Cauliflower

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Mine is China Brocolinni 😂😂😂

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Marmalade Aubergine - loving the journalism, loving the comments - always such an interesting, thoughtful and supportive whanau.

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Mine is Mitzi Courgette

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Toes Cabbage (now I want to sign up somewhere with this awful name)

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Tigerlily Rocket... not sure how well that would blend in!

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Midnight Carrot

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Pebbles (as on Flintstone - yaba daba doo - oh the irony ) Kūmera.

And no, you can't call me Sweet potato 🥔 😌

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Teddy Kūmara

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founding

Spice Capsicum - definitely not subtle enough for an undercover persona

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Speaking in tongues no longer cutting it? Time to get into snake handling perhaps.

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Great article Hayden, I mean. Benny.

It's amazing how these common it is to see pastors of these megachurches come back. In the states we had Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, and many others. Now, Carl Lentz is starting to make a come back- he preached at Elevation when used to attend, and I followed this fall in depth. -

What's crazy is that nothing can really stop them from coming back. They can be voted out of a church but can start their own. Or, let's just be honest, money will get them back to the pulpit they led. It's a fucking shame.

Ive always be obsessed with megachurches and cultures and how they run. There is a good book on church scandles called Faith Based Fraud by Warren Cole Smith who has a site called Ministry Watch. It's insane how common this sort of thing is.

Keep it up. This is the type of thing that will help so many people. You guys are doing fantastic work.

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founding
Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Just call me Plague Craig by the way. I’m a bit freaked out by the whole Pope thing

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Modest Craig.

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Noone is more humble.

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Jun 15, 2023·edited Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

This made me smirk, cringe, and want to cry at various points. On the amusing side, now I really wanna know more about Benny Radich's backstory, and what brought him to be there that day! Did he get to talk to anyone about his mission and ministry? Did anyone start to get suspicious? I need more details! Hearing about the prophesying also brought up this memory from my youth: A friend was told that he was receiving the gift of prophesy, but he had to start by practicing with smaller prophesies. One time, he prophesied that another youth group member was going to find chewing gum under his chair. I can't remember if the chair was at youth group or school, but either way I think it was the odds were similar.

Turning to the serious and distressing side of this stuff... "Cameron's still trying to slay people in the spirit, but it feels forced." Ugh. I'm remember the time I was literally forced down because I didn't fall at one of these events. This stuff can be traumatic, and combined with the toxic positivity, it's so damaging. If anyone's new to webworm and hasn't seen this post, I haven't checked the links recently but hopefully there's some stuff that might be a useful starting point if you're struggling: https://www.webworm.co/p/religioustrauma

And this bit? "You can't hold onto hurts or offences if you're in a real move of God." Frankly, that seems blatantly un-biblical! Do these people not study the psalms of lament? Jesus did, and recited them sometimes in his darkest moments. But hey, anger tells us that something is wrong... Anger can energise us to act against injustice. And lament - including expressing our hurt - can be an important part of the healing process... but with healing often come new realisations, like beginning to understand where the responsibility for harm lies. It makes sense that John and preachers of his ilk want their flocks to stay positive. "You can't hold onto hurts or offences..." is victim blaming bullshit, but it's still working for them sometimes.

Jesus wept.

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Random aside for those in Aotearoa who follow Webworm but also believe that encounters with God are not always calibrated and concocted... are there any other Webworms going to the trauma theology conference next week? I'm excited about geeking out about theology and liturgy, but also slightly nervous about exploring hard stuff with mostly people I've never met.

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I’ll be there!

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I will also be there.

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Enjoy - curious to hear, no doubt in future comments under similarly themed newsletters, how it went....

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It isn’t a huge gathering (about 60 people I think). Hopefully will be easy and friendly. I work at the college so will know a few people and will be happy to facilitate introductions!

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Yay! Please come say hi :) I'm a bit socially anxious/awkward and sometimes get mistaken for an introvert but I just have trouble with the getting started part.

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I’ll keep an eye out :) ... and I sometimes quite accurately get taken for an introvert - ha!

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I laughed when I read this, and my kids asked why. After I explained, my 10 year old said "you should just organise a quiet meeting place and then nobody has to be the one who goes up to say hi." How about if we get to the end of the first day and neither of us has made the first move, we come back to this thread and make a plan ;)

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Sounds good :)

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That line from Hayden about “stumbles politely and then regains his footing” brought back a LOT of memories. You used to feel like you were letting them down if you didn’t fall over, but at the same you wanted to let them know you appreciate they were doing their best. Haha

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I got told I had a "spirit of unbelief" for not yeeting myself to the floor with sufficient rapidity when getting prayed for. It's funny how that stuff sticks with you.

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

When i wasn’t falling down, I got told as a 16 yr old that the Holy Spirit was bouncing off me and couldn’t get inside. How affirming.

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Bouncing off what? Skin? Soul? Heart?

Gosh that's an amusing line. Lordy.

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The "all-powerful" wasn't able to? Oh dear.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Same! Stock phrase?

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Oh man, yeah once we had a visiting preacher and we were up the front while he went down the line and he starting prophesying about me having no respect for my mother. Who was standing right next to me. Looking very upset that apparently I didn't respect her. And he KNEW I was standing with my Mum ffs.

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Oh yeah, I've gotten that one before. Also someone in my recent ancestry made a pact with a demon or some shit and that contributed to my lack of faith. Bonkers.

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Oh yeah I’d forgotten about generational curses! We had those too, apparently because my Mum’s family had been Freemasons.

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Those Freemasons - always causing intergenerational demon problems. Very pesky. We had to deal with that at a course called Cleansing Streams.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Ok so there was a Cleansing Streams and a Living Waters. The latter is the pray-the-gay-away one.

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Yeah a lot of water based metaphors for these things … Cleansing Streams was a catch all course which culminated in a weekend retreat in which everyone would undergo a series of prayers to cast out/off demons or demonic influence… it covered Freemasons, but also soul ties, lust, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember.

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Oh man, the Freemason rubbish. I won a trophy in intermediate that was sponsored by the Freemasons and I wasn't allowed to bring it home and display it because it would bring a curse on our household. Wild.

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Omg SAME! But it was a generation or two back I think

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Good lord. What a nightmare so many children and young people are forced to try to integrate into their reality as if it’s nothing strange. I can’t imagine witnessing my loved ones and role models breaking out in tongues every week, falling, be proclaimed and yelled at, plus the over stimulation of the manipulative pageantry, the lights, the building soundscape... and all the yelling. It must be so frightening. I’m glad mum just dragged us to a midnight catholic mass once a year out of guilt - I would doze off for the first bit, not say the weird bits of the prayers, and wait for the songs.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I did a lot of falling over and the laughing and the wailing, in my time but I always resisted the preachers who helped the holy spirit by giving you a hard shove.

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That shove was the spirit, not a human hand!

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Yeah. Shows how little faith I had in the physical manifestation through the hand of the man (is it just me, or does that phrase sound wrong?)

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They would definitely press on your head while praying for you 🤣🤣🤣 leeeeaaaaaaaan back

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Oh totally this part got me too - for a people pleaser with high levels of awkwardness awareness!

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Haha that describes me exactly!

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Outside all the horrible stuff, this has gotta be one of the underrated downsides of Pentecostalism. I feel like you can't join as someone who's really sensitive to awkwardness or who hates performing in public. The whole service structure is a tsunami of social anxiety.

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Next undercover mission I want you up there chanting, okay?

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Ooh yeah. Big internal struggle for me as an anxious showpony I gotta say. (Also remembering my Christian school classroom used to have these prayer sessions when I was six!!)

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Far out... yes... thank you for expressing that so well. I had forgotten that feeling, the internal conflict 😳

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I love this. I have always wanted people to be able to hear just how bafflingly bizarre it is to hear an entire church speaking in tongues and now Hayden has spiritually unlocked this miracle. I hope all his tweets blow up and everyone subscribes to his Soundcloud. Also, my son (age 2 and a half) thought Benny Hinn using the Force to knock some poor guy over repeatedly was very funny, which is the most appropriate reaction.

On a slightly more serious note, I'm glad there is (at long last) a publication that is giving these ridiculous "churches" their due. They had an easy ride in the media for a long time, and the worm is finally turning. The more people who see through their cheap tricks and literal smoke and mirrors, the less power they will have. You're doing God's work.

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I think it's just a strange thing to report. Like - if you read this in the Herald as you sip your coffee, it would sort of be like "wtf". You kinda need context and a build up - scene setting. Else it's like you're reporting from something outrageous - like live from The Shire or something. It just wouldn't make sense.

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Oh totally, this specific kind of report would make no sense without you and Hayden having done all that pre work, but I’m still cheesed about how most media elected to run puff pieces on these churches when they could have been doing some productive digging. Drawing a long bow, perhaps, but I think Webworm’s reporting started a snowball of attention on megachurches that isn’t going to stop rolling for a long time. No wonder they’re worried about their seeds not sprouting.

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Thanks Hayden, don’t know how you did it. I would have died from cringe in that room.

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Hear, hear. Taking one for the team, Hayden.

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Thanks for continuing to expose this abuse and BS. The story triggered me to a time when I was in a meeting in Auckland many years ago and one of the leaders (Peter Mortlock) tried to push me over. I’m pretty big for a woman so was able to stand my ground. Sometimes people can be overwhelmed by the presence of Holy Spirit. I’ve experienced that too. But Holy Spirit doesn’t like to be a sideshow for these narcissistic men.

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THE HOLY SPIRIT DOESN'T LIKE TO BE A SIDE SHOW FOR NARCISSISTIC MEN

You killed me with this! I'm laughing because it rings so true. Thank you, Sue! You have a great day 😁

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Thanks you too 😊

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Fuckin' Mortlock. Gross. Kudos on standing your ground from that botoxed former real estate agent!

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Jun 15, 2023·edited Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

I remember hanging with a friend at Royal Rangers (Assembly of God youth group) and walking into the back of the amphitheatre church when everyone started talking in tongues holding their hands up in the air with closed eyes. I was totally blown away, not in awe, it was definatly a kind of 'holy fk' moment. I thought (and I was about 12 at the time) these people have all lost their minds. It could be compared to meditative 'ohm' in a buddhist group, or a crowd singing the same song at a rock gig with the band, but of course those things are condemned in the church (there are no Christian 'rock' groups apparently they are all evil). Also prophetising is correct if from god except if its from a witch or a seer or a shaman... its gotta be a prophet right? They really dislike competition. The hypocrisy is of the frickn chain.

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Great work, Hayden.

Growing up adjacent to much of this and having had the unfortunate experience of being around people having group language delusions and "falling out in the spirit" doesn't make reading about these types of events any less absofuckinglutely bizarre.

The transcription is brilliant 😂

As I understand it, the speaking in gibberish thing is not a Biblically accurate representation of the gift of tongues, but I suppose that's par for the course for Pentecostals.

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

Yeah Biblically it's meant to be real intelligible languages. It's been a while since I've heard tongues but once they start up it rapidly becomes hard to see how anyone takes the services seriously. They're just so clearly not real and there's a kind of almost racist element of it where people are doing bad impersonations of non-English languages. There was one funny/tense bit where someone did an incredibly exaggerated rolled R into the microphone and I can't find it in the recording.

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Maybe it *was* the voice of an angel, and so the recording didn't pick it up....

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I always thought it was ‘odd’ that so many people in these churches are given the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues but so few are given the gift of translating the message. 1 Corinthians 12 is about all of these spiritual gifts and interpretation of the gift is mentioned straight after speaking.

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Jun 15, 2023Liked by David Farrier

shamalamalamalama GARMENTS

Excellent reporting Hayden.

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I decided to do AI to this. I have a client for Whisper, one of the most powerful open-source AI transcription models, sitting on my computer, so I put it to good use on the Soundcloud snippet.

Important note: Opinions on speaking in tongues vary. The outbreak described in Acts is actually xenolalia, the ability to spontaneously speak another, actual language. Glossolalia, on the other hand, is the ability to speak an, uh, *unknown* language, and that's what we seem to be dealing with in this snippet. If it's an another real language, AI should definitely be able to help. If it's a mystical language... maybe not. Here's how the first attempt went:

We're all here, we're all leaders, we all know how to pray.

So what I want us to do is just wherever you're standing, let's just begin to call upon the

name of the Lord and speak in tongues.

Let's begin to speak in tongues.

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

(crowd chattering)

(crowd applauding)

[APPLAUSE]

Okay. So that... didn't work all that well. But of course, I should have known better to use an *English* language model. I downloaded a 3gb model that's trained on a huge number of languages. Maybe it will do better with "Yaba baba ba ba ba ba ba."

We're all here, we're all leaders, we all know how to pray.

So what I want us to do is just wherever you're standing, let's just begin to call upon the

name of the Lord and we speak in tongues.

Let's begin to speak in tongues.

[CHANTING]

[chanting]

[chanting]

(crowd chanting)

Well. We're not there yet, but there's a new challenge for the AI boffins: get a grip on the Language of Angels.

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Did you try Shazam-ing it, Josh?

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