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Best Quiet Paper Shredder of 2021

Paper shredders can be noisy–sometimes producing well in excess of 80 decibels of noise. Here are 10 much quieter paper shredders. Every one of them produces under 70 decibels of noise, which is what you can expect from your shower or dishwasher. Many of them make less than 60 decibels of noise–the sound of normal conversation. And not only are they quiet, they are efficient and thorough.

 

Top 6 Best Quietest Paper ShreddersWhy It's BestRating
Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 18-Sheet CapacityVery quiet 56 decibels. 18 sheet capacity. 100% jamb proof. Safety sensor. Lifetime cutter warranty.★★★★★
bonsaii C149-C Cross Cut Paper ShredderQuiet 62 decibel operation. 18 sheet capacity. 60 minute run time. 5 year cutter and motor warranty.★★★★★
HSM Shredstar X17 Cross-Cut ShredderVery quiet 57 decibel operation. 17 sheet capacity. Anti jamb technology. 5 year cutter head warranty.★★★★★
Wolverine SD9101 Ultra Quiet Paper ShredderUltra quiet 54 decibel operation. P5 security rating. Small, light, inexpensive. 2 year warranty.★★★★★
Aurora AU1580MA Professional Grade ShredderQuiet 65 decibel operation. 15 sheet micro cut capacity. 60 minute continuous run time. 5 year cutter warranty.★★★★★
Bonsen S3103 Cross Cut Paper ShredderQuiet 65 decibel operation. 12 sheet capacity. Overheat & overload protection. 1 year warranty.★★★★★

 

 

10 Best Quiet Paper Shredders

Although many of the following manufacturers like Fellowes, Bonsaii, and HSM make multiple types and sizes of shredders, I have chosen some of their quietest and most conveniently sized products for this list. The list is made up of reasonably priced, high quality, quiet home sized, or small office sized, shredders. If you are searching for company-sized, or department-sized shredders–many costing thousands of dollars–their corporate websites will prove very helpful.

 

1) Fellowes Powershred 99 Ci Paper Shredder

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 18-Sheet Capacity, 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

The Fellowes Powershred 99 Ci Paper Shredder is ideal for small office settings or for your home office. It is ideal for 1 – 3 users. This cross-cut shredder will shred up to 18 sheets at one time into 5/32 x 1 1/2 inch particles (Security Level P4) at a speed of 10 FPM (Feet Per Minute), and deposit them into a pull out 9 gallon bin. It has no problem with staples, paper clips, CDs/DVDs, credit cards, or junk mail. For people who save up shredding jobs, it will run continuously for 30 minutes, with a 40 minute off (to cool down) time. Otherwise, it has an auto-on/auto-off system for intermittent use.

The 100% jamb proof system saves having to clear unshredded paper from the machine. It reverses out jambs, then powers through the job. Safe Sense Technology turns off the machine if hands touch the paper opening. (Note: Also works for pet paws.) The Energy Savings System provides optimal energy efficiency–when in use or not in use. The 99 Ci weighs just over 44 lbs. and sits on 4 double swivel castors.

Fellowes began operation in 1917 as The Box Company, began manufacturing commercial shredders in 1982, and unveiled the first personal shredder in 1990. This innovative company is known for quiet, efficient shredders. The 99 Ci only produces 56 decibels of sound when operating–about the sound of rainfall or light traffic with the window closed.

 

The Good

  • Very quiet at 56 decibels of sound when operating (sound of rainfall–a little quieter than normal conversation)
  • Cross cut Security Level P4
  • 18 sheet shredding at one time
  • 100% jamb proof
  • Safety Sensor turns off when hands detected on paper feed
  • 2 year warranty on complete machine, lifetime warranty on cutter

 

The Not so Good

  • Couple of complaints about collection box being made of cardboard. False

 

2) Bonsaii EverShred C149-C Paper Shredder

bonsaii Paper Shredder, 18-Sheet 60-Minutes Paper Shredder for Office Heavy Duty Cross-Cut Shredder with 6 Gallon Pullout Basket & 4 Casters, Anti-Jam High Security Mail Shredder for Home Use(C149-C)

The Bonsaii EverShred C149-C Paper Shredder produces only 62 decibels of noise while shredding up to 18 sheets of letter sized paper on each pass at a speed of 5.3 feet per minute (FPM). It will run continuously for up to 60 minutes and due to Bonsaii’s patented cooling system, only requires 10 minutes to cool down. The C149-C also easily shreds credit cards, DVDs/CDs, staples, and paper clips–all to 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ particles (P3 Security Level).

This is another very good shredder that will easily handle the needs of a small office or home office with a 6 gallon pull out waste basket that can hold up to 400 sheets of shredded paper. It sits on 4 lockable castors the allow you to easily change locations and keep it from moving around. Comes c/w overload and overheat protection to protect the machine from damage. And the waste bucket must be installed properly for it to turn on. The auto start and auto reverse function reduces the frustration of paper jambs.

Bonsaii is part of a Chinese/German company that has been manufacturing high quality shredders since 2005.

 

The Good

  • Quiet operation – 62 decibels (just a little louder than normal conversation)
  • Auto start and auto reverse
  • Overheat and overload protection
  • Cross cut P3 security level
  • Up to 18 sheet shredding at one time
  • 60 minute run time – 10 minute cool down
  • 2 year parts and labor warranty, 5 year warranty on blades and motor

 

The Not so Good

  • Warranty information a little confusing. I have seen 1 year, 18 month, 2 year on the machine but all have 5 years on cutter

 

3) HSM Shredstar X17 Paper Shredder

HSM shredstar X17 Cross-Cut Shredder; Shreds Up to 17 Sheets; 6.9-Gallon Capacity Shredder, White

The HSM Shredstar X17 Paper Shredder is capable of handling the paper waste of 1 – 5 people, making it ideal for home office or small office use. Capable of shredding 17 sheets of paper at one time into a 6.9 gallon waste container, it will also take care of CDs/DVDs, credit cards, staples, paper clips, and junk mail. Shredded CD/DVD and credit cards are inserted in a separate slot and the waste is collected in a separate container. 

Producing only 57 decibels of sound while running, the X17 will shred for 15 minutes straight, then needs a 30 minute cool down period. Shreds up to 86 sheets of paper per minute at a speed of 9 feet per minute (FPM) into 407 cross cut/confetti cut particles per page giving it a Security Rating of P4. Overload protection, anti jam technology, and auto start/stop makes the machine easy to use, convenient, and economical. It is also easy to move on its 4 swivel castors.

 

The Good

  • Very quiet shredder produces only 57 decibels of noise (less than normal conversation)
  • Auto start/stop
  • Overload protection
  • Anti jam technology
  • Cross cut P4 security level
  • Up to 17 sheet shredding at one time 
  • 15 minute run time – 30 minute cool down
  • 2 year manufacturers warranty, lifetime warranty on cutter heads

 

The Not so Good

  • May not shred credit cards well enough to be unreadable

 

4) Wolverine SD9101 Paper Shredder

WOLVERINE 8-Sheet Super Micro Cut High Security Level P-5 Ultra Quiet Paper/Credit Card Home Office Shredder with 4.5 gallons Pullout Waste Bin SD9101 (White)…

The Wolverine SD 9101 Paper Shredder operates at an ultra quiet 54 decibels of sound (a little less than the sound or a refrigerator). This small light shredder provides a Super Micro Cut Security Level of P5. It has a 10 minute continuous working time that will shred up to 500 sheets of paper per cycle working at 6.6 feet per minute (FPM). It will also shred credit cards, staples, and paper clips. 

Because of the small particles produced, the 4.5 gallon waste bin can hold more than many larger shredders. Dual thermal protection guards against machine damage. It is very light at 17 lbs. and easy to move to new locations on swivel castors.

This is a small, inexpensive machine without some of the extras other shredders come with. But for a home office, or to provide peace of mind for your family, the P5 security rating makes the SD9102 well worth considering.

 

The Good

  • Ultra quiet 54 decibels of noise (less than sound of a refrigerator)
  • Auto start/stop
  • Dual thermal protection for machine safety
  • P5 security level shredding
  • Small, light, inexpensive
  • 2 year warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • Lacks a few of the extras of more expensive machines – made up for with higher security rating 

 

5) Aurora AU1580MA Paper Shredder

Aurora AU1580MA Professional Grade High Security 15-Sheet Micro-Cut Paper/ CD and Credit Card Shredder, 60 Minutes Continuous Run time

The Aurora AU1580MA Paper Shredder is a bit of a beast at over 43 lbs. making a person thankful for the easy roll castors when moving it around. This ultra quiet 15 sheet micro cut shredder features a Security Rating of P4 leaving cut particles a miniscule 5/32″ x 15/32″ in size. It will run 60 minutes continuously and also shred CDs/DVDs, staples, paper clips, and credit cards. The small cut size allows for 500 sheets of waste to accumulate in the 8.5 gallon bin before it requires emptying. Shredding speed is 6.6 feet per minute (FPM).

The AU1580MA comes c/w anti jamb auto reverse and overload protection auto reverse to prevent paper jambs from happening, along with auto power off after 5 minutes of non-use to save energy. Although it is ideal for small to medium office use, it is also an excellent machine for home office or personal use.

Although this machine is manufactured in China, Aurora is a company founded in the USA in 1975 and headquartered in California.

 

The Good

  • Quiet shredder produces around 65 decibels of noise
  • 15 sheet micro cut 
  • P4 security rating
  • 60 minute continuous run time
  • Anti jam auto reverse and auto reverse overload protection
  • Auto shut off
  • 5 year cutter warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • A little heavy at 43 lbs.
  • Exact decibel level not available

 

6) Bonsen S3103 Paper Shredder

BONSEN Paper Shredder, 12-Sheets Cross Cut Credit Card Shredders for Home Office with 6 Gallons Wastebasket, High Security Level P-4, Black (S3103) (Renewed)

The Bonsen S3103 Paper Shredder is a reasonable priced shredder designed for home use. This 12 sheet cross cut machine has a run time of 6 minutes and needs a 50 minute cool down time. But while running, it can shred up to 360 sheets of paper working at a speed of 5.9 feet per minute (FPM) along with credit cards, staples, paper clips, and junk mail. It produces cross cut particles measuring 5/32″ x 1 12/32″ providing a Security Rating of P4. The S3103 operates at 65 decibels – a little louder than normal conversation.

This shredder comes with auto start, auto reverse to help keep paper jambs to a minimum, overheat protection and overload protection which automatically shuts down the machine to avoid damage. 6 gallon waste bin can hold up to 500 sheets of paper waste.

Note: This machine is only suitable for home use or small home office use, and because of short run time, is not capable of big continuous shredding jobs. It is perfect for occasional use or cleaning out a file folder or two.

 

The Good

  • Quiet 65 decibels of noise shredder – a little louder than normal conversation, a little quieter than a refrigerator
  • P4 security rating
  • 12 sheet at one time shredding
  • Auto start, auto reverse
  • Overheat protection and overload protection
  • 6 minute run time/50 minute cool down time
  • 1 year limited warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • Short run time and long cool down
  • Warranty fairly short compared to competitors

 

7) Boxis AF120 Autofeed Paper Shredder

BOXIS AutoShred 120-Sheet Auto Feed Microcut Paper Shredder (AF120)

The Boxis AF120 Autofeed Paper Shredder gives you the option to stack 120 sheets of paper into the machine and walk away while it does its job. It zips through paper at 11 feet per minute and runs for up to 20 minutes continuously in auto feed mode. Even at that rate it only produces 70 decibels of noise. This micro cut shredder boasts a P4 Security Rating reducing a sheet of paper into 1500 particles.

The AF120 also gives you the option of manual shredding up to 10 sheets at a time. And it shreds credit cards and standard staples. The manual feed runs at 7 feet per minute with a continuous run time of 10 minutes. Other features include auto start/stop and a manual reverse function along with open door, overheat, and overload indicators. It is mounted on 4 castors for easy moving and has a 6 gallon waste container.

Boxis claims to have invented auto shred technology in 2006.

 

The Good

  • Quiet shredder producing only 70 decibels of noise – about the sound of a dishwasher or your shower
  • Auto feeds up to 120 sheets of paper
  • Manual feeds up to 10 sheets of paper at one time
  • Micro cuts to P4 security rating 
  • Auto start/stop c/w manual reverse
  • Overload and overheat protection
  • 1 year limited warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • Does not shred DVDs/CDs or paperclips
  • Warranty fairly short compared to some competitors

 

8) Kensington Office Assist A1300 Paper Shredder

Kensington Shredder - Officeassist A1300 Auto-Feed Anti-Jam P4 130 Sheet Crosscut Shredder (K52079AM)

The Kensington Office Assist A1300 Paper Shredder is an auto feed shredder that can handle up to 130 sheets of paper at one time. It will also shred credit cards, junk mail, staples, and paper clips–all while only producing 59 decibels of noise (about the sound of normal conversation) and takes up to 6 sheets of paper manually. This cross cut shredder has a P4 Security Rating and is best for small office/department, or home office use. The 7 gallon waste bin holds up to 250 shredded sheets of paper before requiring emptying. 

The A1300 runs for 10 minutes continuously with a 30 minute cool down. It also automatically switches to energy saving mode when not in use. A self cleaning intelligent cutter automatically reverses to clear paper jams and and at the end of each shredding cycle. Four dual castors make the machine easy to move around if required.

Note: The Amazon website states that the A1300 shreds CDs/DVDs. The Kensington website states that it does not. I went with the Kensington specifications.

 

The Good

  • Very quiet 59 decibel operation – sound of normal conversation
  • Auto feeds up to 120 sheets of paper
  • 6 sheet manual feed
  • Cross cuts to a P4 security rating
  • Auto start/stop c/w manual reverse
  • 2 year limited warranty. 10 year warranty on cutter

 

The Not so Good

  • Does not shred CDs/DVDs

 

9) Aurora AU200MA Auto Feed Paper Shredder

Aurora Commercial Grade 200-Sheet Auto Feed High Security Micro-Cut Paper Shredder/ 60 Minutes/Security Level P-5

The Aurora AU200MA Auto Feed Paper Shredder will handle up to 200 sheets of paper at one time. With a 60 minute continuous run time, it will shred stacks of paper without needing a rest. Micro cut cutting head pulverizes each sheet of paper into approximately 2592 particles, providing a P5 Security Rating. It will also destroy credit cards, paper clips, and staples. The manual feed will take up to 10 sheets of paper at one time.

This shredder also features anti jamb auto reverse to clear paper jambs before they happen along with Auto Power-Sleep to save energy. The LED displays Stand-by, Overheat, Bin Full, Overload, and Door Open status. I comes with an 8.5 gallon pull out waste bin that holds 4 times more micro cut particles than a typical cross cut shredder. This is an ideal machine for a home office or small to medium sized business or department.

 

The Good

  • Ultra quiet operation under 70 decibels
  • Auto feeds up to 200 sheets of paper
  • 10 sheet manual feed
  • Micro cuts to a P5 security level
  • Auto start/stop, auto power save, anti jamb auto reverse
  • Brightly lit LED display panel
  • 1 year machine warranty. 5 year warranty on cutting heads

 

The Not so Good

  • Does not shred DVDs/CDs
  • Exact decibel level unavailable

 

10) Amazon Basics 15 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder

Amazon Basics 15-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper, CD Credit Card Office Shredder

The Amazon Basics 15 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder also shreds credit cards, CDs/DVDs, staples, and paper clips. (It has a dedicated slot for the cards and CDs/DVDs.) All while producing under 68 decibels of noise. (70 decibels is the sound of your dishwasher.) This cross cut machine turns paper into 3/16″ x 1 7/32″ confetti type pieces meeting Security Rating P4. It has a 20 minute continuous run time/20 minute rest cycle with thermal protection that automatically shuts off the machine to prevent overheating.

The user friendly controls feature a 4 mode switch–auto, off, forward, and reverse along with LED indicators for power, bin full, door open, overload, and overheat. The anti jamb auto reverse feature prevents paper jambs and auto sleep mode, which activates after 30 minutes of non use, saves energy. It comes with a 6 gallon pull out waste bin, and is mounted on 4 easy roll, locking castors to make moving the machine easy.

Note: Amazon Basics claims to test every shredder before it leaves the factory. Finding some paper shreds in the machine does not mean it is used.

 

The Good

  • Quiet operation under 68 decibels of noise
  • Shreds up to 15 sheets at one time
  • Cross cuts to a P4 security level
  • Thermal protection
  • Auto start, anti jamb reversing, full LED panel
  • 20 minute continuous run time – 20 minute rest time
  • 1 year warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • 1 year warranty is shorter than most of its competitors
  • Some complaints about it producing quite a bit of dust

 

Paper Shredder Lubrication

To get the best out of your machine, most paper shredder cutters need to be lubricated occasionally. There are two methods used to accomplish this.

  1. Paper Shredder Lubricant Sheets. Nuova Shredder Sheets not only lubricate the shredder cutter, but also sharpens the blades. They are a quick and easy, non-toxic, and compatible with all makes of shredders. Just run it through the machine as you would any sheet of paper.
  2. Paper Shredder Oil. Fellowes Shredder Oil is made for cross cut and micro cut machines. It only takes a matter of seconds to oil the shredder–every time the bin is emptied for cross cut and every 15 minutes of use for micro cut machines.

Not only will a well lubricated shredder cut better, reduce dust, and last longer, it will run quieter. As with most metal on metal moving parts, lubrication is essential for smooth operation. Some shredders have frictionless blades that do not need oil. Make sure you check your owners manual and follow the manufacturer’s lubrication instructions.

Nuova SP12 Shredder Sharpening & Lubricant Sheets, 12 Count

Fellowes Powershred Performance Shredder Oil, 16 oz. Extended Nozzle Bottle (3525010)

 

How We Chose the Best Quietest Paper Shredders

As always, noise levels are the most important part of choosing the best quietest paper shredder. If you only use a shredder occasionally, it is probably not a real important consideration. But if the shredder gets a lot of use, a noisy machine–specially one close to your desk–will be annoying and distracting. And if it actually runs continuously for minutes at a time, it will disrupt phone calls and conversations.

I also restricted the list to personal, home office, and small office paper shredders. Most of the manufacturers on the list make complete lines of shredders–from inexpensive strip cuts to large company sized machines. Some of them costing in excess of $20,000. Hopefully, you will find what you need here.

Note: I did not include any ‘strip’ shredders on this list because although they are inexpensive, and quiet, they also usually only have P1, P2, or P3 Security Ratings. Those types of shredders do not provide much more security than ripping up a sheet of paper by hand or cutting up your old credit card with a scissors. Does not seem like a wise economical move to me.

 

Paper Shredder Noise Level

Although many paper shredders will produce noise in the 75 to 85 decibel range, new and improved technology–such as anti vibration motor mounts, sound absorbing cabinets, and frictionless blades–keeps most new shredders under 70 decibels. (70 decibels is the sound of your shower or dishwasher.) All of the machines in our list meet the 70 decibel, or lower, standard.

 

Paper Shredder Types of Cut

Generally, paper shredders will provide one of 3 different types of cutting style. The cutting style is also directly related to the security rating. 

  1. Strip cut –Quite often the quietest type of paper shredders because they cut paper into long thin strips using rotating cutting blades. 
  2. Crosscut –A crosscut shredder uses 2 offset cutting blades that cut the paper twice to produce small rectangular shaped particles.  
  3. Micro cut or Particle-cut –These shredders are similar to crosscut machines, producing even smaller particles of waste. 

All of these cutting methods will reduce paper documents to small difficult to read–or impossible to read–strips or particles. 

 

Paper Shredder Security Levels

The following paper shredder security levels and explanations are from Wikipedia – Paper Shredder where you can find more information on shredders. The ‘P’ stands for paper-based material and the numbers refer to different sizes of shredded paper. 

The previous DIN 32757 standard has now been replaced with DIN 66399. This is complex, but can be summarized as below:

  • Level P-1 = ≤ 2000 mm² particles or ≤ 12 mm wide strips of any length (For shredding general internal documents such as instructions, forms, expired notices)
  • Level P-2 = ≤ 800 mm² particles or ≤ 6 mm wide strips of any length
  • Level P-3 = ≤ 320 mm² particles or ≤ 2 mm wide strips of any length (For highly sensitive documents and personal data subject to high protection requirements, purchase order, order confirmations or delivery notes with address data)
  • Level P-4 = ≤ 160 mm² particles with width ≤ 6 mm (Particularly sensitive and confidential data, working documents, customer/client data, invoices, private tax and financial documents)
  • Level P-5 = ≤ 30 mm² particles with width ≤ 2 mm (Data that must be kept secret, balance sheets and profit-and-loss, strategy papers, design and engineering documents, personal data)
  • Level P-6 = ≤ 10 mm² particles with width ≤ 1 mm (Secret high-security data, patents, research and development documents, essential information that is important for your existence)
  • Level P-7 = ≤ 5 mm² particles with width ≤ 1 mm (Top secret, highly classified data for the military, embassies, intelligence services)

Most of the paper shredders on our list are at least a P-4 level. Although I am not paranoid enough to think anyone is going through my garbage, I do think that taking a little extra care when handling personal information makes sense. And cross cut shredders that have P-4 security ratings are not that much more expensive when considering the years of use a person usually gets out of them.

 

Paper Shredder Features

Here are some of the other shredder features to consider when purchasing a new one.

  • Run Time. If you do a lot of shredding at one time, a shredder with a longer run time before it needs to cool down could be more important than some of the other features.
  • Jamb Proof. Shredder paper jambs can be annoying and time consuming; maybe even dangerous if you do not unplug the machine to clear the jamb. Many shredders have an auto reverse that will prevent jambs by reversing the paper out of the machine before it gets bad.
  • Energy Use. Some shredders are equipped with an energy saving mode that will save power when they are not in use. (Usually the machine will start again as soon as paper is inserted into the slot.
  • Size. Depending on how much paper you shred, bin size can be important. The bigger the bin–the less time spent emptying it. If you do not do a lot of shredding, bin size probably does not matter much. (My shredder has a 4 gallon bin that needs to be emptied about 6 times a year.)
  • Warranty. As far as I am concerned, anything with moving mechanical parts needs to have a warranty. The longer and more comprehensive, the better.

 

Best Quiet Paper Shredder – Best of the Best

Fellowes Powershred 99Ci 18-Sheet Capacity, 100% Jam Proof Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

Although all of these paper shedders are very quiet and efficient, my choice for the best all round machine is the Fellowes Powershred 99 Ci Paper Shredder. Unless you want, or need long run times or auto feed, this machine will fulfil all of your requirements–quietly, efficiently, and safely.

  • Very quiet at 56 decibels of sound when operating (sound of rainfall–a little quieter than normal conversation)
  • Cross cut Security Level P4
  • 18 sheet shredding at one time
  • 100% jamb proof
  • Safety Sensor turns off when hands detected on paper feed
  • 2 year warranty on complete machine, lifetime warranty on cutter

In addition to those main features, it has a 9 gallon bin, shreds DVDs/CDs, staples, paper clips, junk mail, and credit cards, runs continuously for 30 minutes, and has an energy saving system.

 

Paper Shredder Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the questions people have when considering the purchase of a new paper shredder.

 

Do paper shredders need oil?

Yes. Actually they need to be lubricated fairly regularly–either with shredder oil or lubricating sheets.

 

Do paper shredders need special oil?

Yes. Shredder oil (and shredder lubricant sheets) is made from light Canola Oil. Heavier oil will gum up the cutters. And never use WD-40. Or any flammable aerosol spray because paper shredders can get very hot. 

 

Do paper shredders vibrate?

Yes, they do. But usually not to a significant degree. If your shredder does vibrate enough to be annoying, make sure that it is not touching a wall or desk, and set it on something like the Rubber-Cal Shark Tooth Mat to keep from having impact noise on the floor.

Rubber-Cal 03_109_W_23 Shark Tooth Heavy Duty Mat, Black, 3/4-Inch x 2 x 3-Feet

 

Are all paper shredders noisy?

No. The ones on our list all range from ultra quiet to quiet. The bigger commercial shredders make more noise because of bigger motors, cutters, and cabinets, but even they are quieter because of anti vibration technology.

 


Terry Schutz

I have worked as a contractor, sales person, and business owner in the construction industry for over three decades--mostly in home renovations and also as a home builder. I have been married to the same wife for 46 years. We have 3 children and 4 granddaughters. I have also been writing semi-professionally for about 20 years--construction articles, personal stories, and politically incorrect social commentary.


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