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Life expectancy for American men drops for a third year (cbsnews.com)
100 points by hhs 16 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 177 comments



This drop is largely caused by deaths of despair [1], partly related to a lack of affordable health care in the US. The fact that (at least [2]) 78% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck [3] underscores the relative poverty many people experience in daily life. I think it is fair to say that a majority of Americans live with a scarcity mindset, likely affecting mental health negatively.

EDIT: As a Norwegian following American politics, I am surprised that this topic is so rarely talked about by the democratic nominees. The only candidate I have seen talking about the causes of the drop in life expectancy is Andrew Yang. Not even Pete has worked this into his talking points as far as I have seen.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diseases_of_despair

[2] The number is increasing fast; it was 75% in 2016 and rose to 78% in 2017.

[3] http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-08-24-Living-Paycheck-to...


>This drop is largely caused by deaths of despair, partly related to a lack of affordable health care in the US

I'm curious whether you believe lack of affordable health care in the US causes a lot of death from diseases of despair; and if so, why you believe that.

I always thought that health care is relatively ineffective at preventing death from those diseases -- addiction in particular, but also suicide. In other words, I always thought that the solution to this particular epidemic will require more than just allocating more money to health care.

Also I always thought that most of those dying from diseases of despair do not suffer from other chronic illness, e.g., diabetes, that health care is effective at treating. And I always thought that among those Americans without a pressing current need for health care, simply not having access to good affordable health care, although bad, is not bad enough on its own to drive a significant fraction to suicide or substance abuse. In other words, I always thought that the despair has another source, e.g., a lack of friends or a lack of feeling integrated into a community.


> I'm curious whether you believe lack of affordable health care in the US causes a lot of death from diseases of despair

There are several underlying causes leading to deaths of despair in the first place; sudden job loss (largely due to automation) [1] I think is a big one–and as you point out– an increase in loneliness and a lack of societal cohesion in general. The fact that 70,237 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017 alone [2] just boggles my mind, and there is no reason to believe that this trend has slowed down the last few years.

Without readily available (mental) health care or strong social security, there is next to nothing that protects people that are out of a job (in areas where the economy is winding down) from a downward spiral.

[1] https://money.cnn.com/2016/03/29/news/economy/us-manufacturi... (2016) https://futurism.com/new-chart-proves-automation-serious-thr... (2017)

[2] https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/o...


Mental health is health care too.

This is true but mental healthcare can not solve systemic issues that contribute to isolation like a lack of social opportunities or sexual partners. These things can be entirely related to economic factors that a healthcare professional can't address.

Yeah as an Australian I am deeply mystified by why things are going so badly in the US given that it has the worlds largest GDP.


Also of interest, drug overdoses DOUBLED over the last decade. There's a lot of reasons people turn to drugs, but lack of a solid healthcare system to address drug addiction is what's ultimately killing them.


[flagged]


Even raising the topic attracts hostility.


This is one of the most ridiculous things I've read on this website, especially when it pertains to a country with a legislature, judiciary, police system and executive section of the economy with such a high proportion of white men - and even more so when one considers the law (not necessarily culture, though) was explicitly (to the actual letter) biased toward the needs and desires of white men until less than 70 years ago.


Wait, so you think white men are not killing themselves out of despair? Or maybe that if they are they are pussies unable to see how privileged they are even in their despair? Or maybe that they have reasons to despair, but that every single one of them had it coming anyway because of the sins of their fathers?


A lot of people are having a difficult time. I don't pretend to know anything about psychology or depression, but I do know that between the elbow of exponential growth in all things good and bad, and our increasing awareness of it, that it's good to reach out to friends and read between lines, and ask if we're all ok. Sometimes flipping a stone over to check in can really make a huge impact in someone's life, even just a random coffee that wasn't normally meant to be.


> it's good to reach out to friends and read between lines, and ask if we're all ok

Will this actually reach the people that need it? I mean, just having friends (and/or people you're regularly in contact with) is probably quite helpful in preventing these situations from arising... I imagine the path towards suicide / serious life & mental health issues is quite gradual, rather than a cliff... so people would become negative, unpleasant to be around (hence lose their friends) way before coming anywhere near suicide... by then it's already too late.

I often think, in terms of my life (highly privileged, smart & well educated, upper class, rich or at least high-earning, programmer, young, healthy, lots of career options, career resistant to automation, first-world citizen so easy to migrate, ...) I'm really quite isolated from "normal", "average" people... I don't actually even know anyone who's poor, or not in a career (i.e. just has a dead-end job like a bartender or truck driver)... just by virtue of the education system, I've been kept away from people like that since I was 15! How am I to even imagine what they're going through?! Sure not everything is rosy in my life, and even rich people can get sick and depressed, but I sometimes consider this viewpoint for some perspective...


I salute you for having the humbleness to see it. There is horrific pain and suffering out there, one has only to hang out a bit with people outside the tech bubble to see it. Talk to your mechanic, the waiter, the landscape guy, the aging bro at the gym, the broken vet. There but for the grace of god is any one of us. It is unspeakably shameful that we dismiss their suffering because of their supposed male white privilege. As if that made them less worthy of empathy and respect.


This is a good point. I live partly in the country and small towns are full of guys 40-60 years old with no immediate family and, I presume, a limited support network. I realized at some point these are the men society marginalizes and sends out into the country to die.

Only 40-60% of men become fathers. It's something I think about a lot after failing out of school. No one wants to date me, and the chances of me ever forming a nuclear family are getting slimmer by the day.


You owe it to everyone else to go talk to some random people, people that you don't think you have any business talking to. Because they are the people you have the most business talking with, to help you learn about everyone else.


"Men who are among the richest 1% of Americans live almost 15 years longer than those who are in the poorest 1%, the Harvard analysis found."

15 years is a tremendous gap!


The poorest 1% is an extreme outlier cohort in America. Some sources from a cursory search suggest it’s something like less than $2 a day.


Yes it would be interesting to see if it extends to poorest 5% at least.

However I would assume the poorest 1% would be covered by social security.


Covered by != having effective access to.

The first is a legal and regulatory status. The second requires knowledge of, access to, capability of negotiating system(s), having a sufficiently fixed address, documentation, and numerous other factors.


haven't looked at the data, but I'd guess a similar gap exists if comparing the top 1 or 2% to the bottom 5-10%...


Let's not get too excited about causation there, though. Being about to die isn't a good way to stay rich in many, many dimensions. And rich people obviously aren't guaranteed longer lives.

In other words, it's a shocking statistic, but I'm not sure what to do about it since both wealth and health are influenced by so many other things, including each other.


It is an interesting quote but leaves so much out. Where is the difference happening? Gradually between top 1 and bottom 1 percent? Or sharply somewhere in the middle? I think the way this difference is framed is not helpful. An example of where graphs are both more informative and more objective than text.


Absolutely true. Also, I was disappointed that the article didn't mention opioids. It seems like that would have a huge impact on all life expectancy in the US over the last several years.


15% isn't really that much. It's the difference between 65 and 80 which when you account for the rising chance of mental health issues after 65 is even less of a difference. I'm honestly worried that the richest still die before 100. Am I too old to be the generation that lives to 200?


yip, i think the drop is mainly due to the poor getting poorer


Men are risk-takers by nature. When we feel lost, we take risks, for better or for worse That's why the military still has great recruitment rates. It's also why many of the self-made wealthy are men, and the ones who aren't are often people more like JK Rowling.

Looks like fewer of those risks are paying off than usual.


This vague generalization of men is exactly the issue. "Why haven't you gotten a job yet, you should be a risk-taker". Men aren't a monolith, and this exact thinking boxes people in.


I won't be so quick to say that the kind of overgeneralization the comment you're replying to is guilty of is clearly a factor in this issue, but it does indeed undermine their point and "explanation".


Vague generalizations are all the rage nowadays. See "Men are trash".

Granted, I should have said "Tend to be risk-takers" or something.


Some advice I've found helpful is to quit Twitter and Reddit, while also unfriending particularly misandrist and racist (yes, anti-white racism is still racism) Facebook friends. I've found myself a lot happier when I cut out people who would constantly try to demonize me for various physical traits. If you have the mass media constantly telling a group of people that they're inherently evil, of course it's going to cause suicides.


The article discusses problems for white men without a college education, including drug overdose and suicide. Drug overdoses in young men will have a strong effect since you're losing a far longer stretch of life from the averages (an OD'ing 25 year old affects the stats more than an OD'ing 70 year old).

If you have some resources indicating this misandry and racism is behind drug use and suicide, can you share it? I'm not even saying that for some people it's upsetting to see this POV (the same that I imagine some boomers are tired of being told they created a lot of today's crises), but it seems like a pretty simplistic view and, if at all, only ver tangentially related.


Here's a study that shows social isolation is a contributing risk factor for mortality.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/174569161456835...


As if this is the cause of the life expectancy drop for American men. I think learning how to deal with this type of criticism is a quality one needs to have nowadays. I'm white and I have no problem with twitter or reddit. They are actually great platforms.

I think the root of the problem with American men is that inequality in America is increasing. Also the culture and education system needs a reform, a lot of kids are growing in an environment where drug abuse is cool, doctors don't want to hear patients and just prescribe medicine etc.

There are a lot of wrong incentives. Hopefully the next president focuses on addressing them.


>I'm [ethic group] and I [love social media].


>They are actually great platforms.

With incredibly toxic userbases.


I have no problem there, people are very friendly on every reddit sub I enjoy visiting. The same is for twitter.

What those platforms have in common is choice.

If you are toxic and think it is fine to openly argue and make socially awkward comments the whole time, then you will view it that way. You will likely also get attracted by subs and communities that this happens.


You must be incredibly lucky, as I carefully curated my Twitter feed to a few scientists and some baseball figures and was still overwhelmed at the hate and awfulness on display. Twitter is for the hateful and gleefully cruel.


I'm not sure Twitter and Reddit are equivalent here. There are plenty of really great subreddits. It's pretty easy to avoid the ones you don't like. You can stick to a political silo for sure, but also (and more ideally) you can just stick to an interest group that stays on topic but doesn't talk about politics. (if you take this approach, there will be many subreddits that are off limits, but you'll also avoid much outrage and addiction.)

Twitter is much more of a free-for-all. There's a much greater chance of politics and general public reaching you on Twitter.


I follow a large number of web developers, male and female on Twitter. I see a lot of complaints about men in general from women - some of it fair, some of it nasty. One dev in particular regularly rage tweets about men and makes the point her tweets are aimed at every single man - including those who are generally nice people and respectful towards women. Reading Twitter just makes me feel depressed some days, being constantly reminded that because I’m white and male I’m actually a fucking scumbag


>Reading Twitter just makes me feel depressed some days, being constantly reminded that because I’m white and male I’m actually a fucking scumbag.

You should do what everyone else gets told to do when they complain about being harassed on the internet - simply ignore it.


>I have no problem there, people are very friendly on every reddit sub I enjoy visiting. The same is for twitter.

The only way to have a good time on those platforms and to a lesser (but increasing, in my unscientific observation) degree, HN is to only express opinions that toe the party line (party line being relative to whatever the mainstream opinion is on the platform or subset of it in question). Those platforms have features designed to amplify consensus and quash dissent.


It's good you mentioned HN. I also find it to be an extremely reasonable forum. Radical opinions pop up every once in a while, but somehow they still manage to cause little outrage and hatred.

Kudos to the team (and all of us too!)


> Radical opinions pop up every once in a while

Is it just me, or are they becoming more common. I could have sworn when I browsed HN several years back there was next to non of it, but theres a good chance I'm just remembering incorrectly


[flagged]


>The biggest thing I've noticed is that recently (like 6mo or less) people are much more likely to down-vote every recent comment in your history if you say something that offends the median ideology. This used to Never(TM) happen but now it seems like even the most minor affront to someone's world view triggers it.

Case in point my comment about working hours in a totally different thread that was apparently offensive to the average. Literally everything else I said today had a couple up-votes until I dropped that one now they're all negative and that one's very negative. I'm not particularly distraught because the internet is full of idiots but it's kind of annoying when they try to silence your opinion on a bunch of topics not related to the one they disagree with you on.


or not care about downvotes


But why would you post if you don't care about people's reaction to your message?


You can care about how some people react without overvaluing the aggregate reaction.


Agreed that there is a lot of toxicity. But I think there's value in learning to participate without being dragged down by griefers and trolls.


> there's value in learning to participate without being dragged down by griefers and trolls

There's also value in knowing when to detach. For most people, these platforms are value subtracting.


It is generally not possible to participate on the reddit while presenting an alternate viewpoint. You go to your own echo chamber or you get downvoted into oblivion.


What does "toxic" mean?


Maybe you haven't heard that word in this context before, it's of course not meant to be read literally. I understand it the same way as I would read "toxic workplace culture" or "toxic social environment", which is that there are people who bully, abuse power, take advantage of you, deliberately misunderstand you, are racist, sexist, etc.


>What does "toxic" mean?

Toxic -- adjective (ˈtäk-sik)

1) containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation

2) exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis

3) extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful

4) relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market

In the context of this specific discussion, for the sake of disambiguation, the third definition listed above is the one being used. Here are some articles which may help to further clarify the concept of "toxic" as it applies to people, social interactions and online communities:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/whats-a-toxic-person-how-do-yo...

https://www.healthscopemag.com/health-scope/toxic-relationsh...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/02/26/racism-...

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/18/americans-s...

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/us/toxic-masculinity.html


This sounds like a caricature. I haven't been to the US in years, but I don't believe it's this bad.


In a country this big, there are massive areas just a little bit off of the beaten path where millions of people live where the suffering these numbers speak to is largely taking place - areas where people have few employment or higher education options, stricken by drug epidemics (since producing/moving/usings drugs is glamorous in dismally poor regions), where public schools are abysmally bad, where they have to drive 20 miles for a grocery store that sells produce.

I live here and travel frequently and it's very hard for even me to be in touch with the areas that are suffering. There are huge swaths of Metro Detroit that range from pleasantly functional to fabulously wealthy - a normal person would have to take a weird detour to be exposed to the dysfunctional/left behind part of America. I recently drove through Ohio to visit an amazing state park and the story was much the same. Reputable journalists write about massive unemployment and drug abuse in many regions there, but all I saw was well-maintained infrastructure, cute urban areas and a beautiful park.


In a country that doesn't have universal healthcare you blame twitter for reducing the lifespan of the poor?


1. If lack of healthcare were the cause, wouldn't life expectancy also drop equally for all other demographics who are just as poor?

2. The article specifically mentioned the uptick is caused by suicide and drug overdose

3. America does have a healthcare system for the poor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicaid


And is drug rehab a funded by the healthcare system for the poor in the US?


A quick google search confirms that it is.

https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/medicaid-and...



Well great then. My hunch didn't pan out.


We never had it and we have never been this unhappy. Read "Coming apart". It focuses on whites, but the lessons there apply to any demographic. The economy has come to value one thing above all others: intellectual aptitude. Intellectual ability is different from other talents, in two important ways. First, one very smart person can do things that a million less smart cannot, no matter how motivated, and second, the fruits of high IQ, consisting mostly of information, can be easily duplicated. The result is that, increasingly, only a few, incredibly talented people, actually have economic value. Everybody else is left without pride, purpose or a livelihood. Though this is no picnic for women, it is particularly devastating for men, who tend to tie much of their self image to their ability to provide. There is no easy way out of this trap and for many suicide is the only escape they see.


What's about a country that does have a universal healthcare for poor? Oh, wait...


When you are a privileged American, that's all you can see: people who don't agree with you are the reason why people are overdosing and committing suicide. It's sad.

Just adding to what you said, which is correct, the issue is much more likely to be because the US nowadays is a very developed economy, but socially and culturally it is worse than many of third world countries. The country is only good for a very few. And I'm not even pushing some leftist view or anything. It's more like, there is so much data that says this is completely wrong and in many cases even dampers economic development.

For instance, just imagine if all black Americans would have a degree, how much GDP the US would add? Or if there wouldn't be an incentive for doctors to prescribe a lot of medicine to people?

In the US there are a lot of wrong incentives and this is what is killing Americans and making it look like a silly country when compared to other developed countries. Almost all the other developed countries, if not all, the people live better lives, of more quality, more happy... even though they have lower GDP per capita than US.


Quitting reddit over a year ago was good for my mental health. I noticed that I found myself being very submissive and changing my behavior and opinions so that some anonymous mob wouldn’t dogpile on me.

I think the same thing is happening in society where men are expected to behave a certain way or be shamed.


I did that during the Kavanaugh circus. definitely feel much better as a result. Despite enjoying it a lot more now, my overall engagement in social media is down as well. Probably cofactors in how much better I feel.


[flagged]


Yes, but unfortunately that doesn't matter. The modern left taught a subset white men to:

1. Be aware of their race.

2. Be aware people don't like their race or their culture.

3. Be aware of the various systemic problems they uniquely face.

4. Argue via tenuous connection as to what is causing their problems.

And that subset is growing because it is more attractive than

1. Joining the modern left

2. Remaining neutral


[flagged]


We've banned this account for repeatedly breaking the site guidelines.

If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Like what?



Well if one googles one can find all sorts of crazy essays...

I suspect the impressions you get about how "anti-white" people are (as opposed to "anti-racism") will depend hugely on your filter bubble.


Sure, if one googles one can find all sorts of crazy essays, conspiracy theories and a lot of trash. So far it seemed to me that on Twitter and Reddit mainly racists complain about "anti-white" sentiments after being called out on their racism or if a story is only about non-white people taking action to highlight problems in their environments (e.g. BLM demonstrations), which I haven't seen blaming white people in general either. I am white, live in the US and I have never had the feeling of something being truly ant-white. I am sure there a filter bubbles, but so far I have never encountered an honest text about this anti-white perception (but also didn't look for it). Anything you can point to?


> I have never had the feeling of something being truly ant-white.

There are indeed, albeit a small amount of legitimately "anti-white" people and groups. However while in discouraged that there are people who would inherit dislike me / hate me, I understand why they feel that way.


Adverts. But I'm a white supremacist for noticing, apparently...


citation needed


[flagged]


She later said it was reverse trolling to parody all the hate she got on Twitter and in DMs for being Asian. Not saying NYT shouldn't have taken action against her.


[flagged]

belltaco 16 days ago [flagged]

If things like that affected health, most PoCs and other ethnicities would be dead already.


There are theories that say black men suffer higher rates of schizophrenia (and associated deaths) due to them occupying a lower level in society.

gerbilly 16 days ago [flagged]

Right, but I thought we were talking about white dude's health suffering because of people posting on twitter...


[flagged]


I see your point and I think we can all agree that the past few hundred years has been hard on black people. However as the suicide rate and drug overdose rate for white men is increasing I think we should also consider their plight as well. Life can be hard and we shouldn't dismiss problems just because of their skin color.


I think by segregating suffering individuals into their racial groups you're setting up adversarial resource competition that is bound to create societal tensions and create discord, even though you probably think its virtuous to acknowledge historical discrimination without giving much thought to the people using it a social lever today in ways that harm society.


Thank you for the thoughtful reply to a snarky comment. That’s admirable. And I agree that we should not dismiss problems just because of skin color. You win the internet today.


This post will just bring down the level of discussion here rather than be interesting, helpful or informative. I don't think it should exist.


I think it’s important in that someone may read the comment above and start to think “hey, maybe that guy is on to something.” My snarky reply may remind them that it’s a ridiculous proposition in the greater context. Maybe?

But I will agree, I come to hn for a higher level of discourse. And the whole comment thread doesn’t belong here. As long as it is, however, I think it’s important to rebut absurdity.


A white master/black slave dichotomy is poorly supported by history: it's thought that enslavement goes back before recorded history, and apparently appeared almost everywhere at one time or another, and as such involved a rainbow of ethnicities at its top levels, and moreover, it still goes on today, and the people at the top are still very diverse.


The only people who will think "this guy is on to something" will be those who already agree with you. Strawmanning and mockery may silence people, but it will very rarely change their views. (Do you really think a racist who is on hackernews hasn't already read a hundred variations on your post?)

Also, it would have been pretty easy to communicate your point without the mockery.


Threads like this in general will always have poor levels of discussion, regardless.


The best way to have an open mindest is to never contemplate different viewpoints?


No. It’s to not mock someone for their side of the argument.

That person may have never once been racist or shitty to someone yet they have society telling them they are terrible. Blaming whole groups of people for the actions of portions of that group is not how things are going to change. You lose allies from people within those groups because they begin to get attacked. And if you’re thinking “who cares about those people,” think if equality really is your goal or is it really something else.

It seems like people are more about bringing the other side down instead of bringing everyone up.


> It seems like people are more about bringing the other side down instead of bringing everyone up.

There are groups of people that see it as being in their interests to sow division.


>If you have the mass media constantly telling a group of people that they're inherently evil, of course it's going to cause suicides.

So there's maybe 20-30 years of "anti-white racism", how many years did we have "regular racism"?


How is that relevant?

20 to 30 years is almost my entire life


Something has to change, radically, when it comes to mental and medical healthcare in this country.

I am very, very, fortunate.

In 2018 I was suffering from the effects of PTSD: social isolation, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, poor physical health, and depression.

Many men are experiencing some of these issues, not brought about by PTSD but by other factors and they turn to drugs and alcohol to cope.

Luckily, instead of coping with PTSD brought about by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan through drugs and alcohol I turned to food and extreme isolation.

But I make money. Lots of it. I also have persuasive parents, and a great job with awesome co-workers who spurred me into action.

With my money I hired a registered dietician, therapist, and a personal yoga instructor, and have completely changed the trajectory of my life. I meditate daily, go to yoga six days a week, have lost 50 lbs (22.7 kg) in eight months. I have had more, positive, social interactions in the last year than I have had in the last 10. My daughters say I am a completely different person, and I feel healthier at 40 than I did at 20.

I am tapering off the industrial quantities of anti-depressants I was on, and no longer eat anything that came off an assembly line.

There are very few social problems that lead to shortened life expectancy that cannot be overcome.

And while "diet and exercise" seems to be met with derision on HN, it's not just about that. It is about the mindfulness and care one puts into themselves when dieting and exercising. The slow changes that are barely noticed from day-to-day but hit you like waves, like when I was brushing my teeth and some toothpaste fell from my mouth and instead of landing on my belly, it landed on my feet. Or when you struggle for months with sitting still and focusing on your breathing while meditating and then one day your timer goes off and you are amazed because it feels like you just started your timer two or three breaths ago.

It is unacceptable to me that just because I used the GI Bill to get a degree in Computer Science and now make lots of money that I can save myself from a downward spiral of isolation and addiction (to food), while most other men cannot.

Because of my limited ability to effect change, the only thing I can propose is that we collectively throw the stigma associated with depression and isolation in the trash and look out for each other as best as possible, talking openly and candidly about those things and trying to support each other with low-cost evidence-based self-improvement methods like diet, exercise, and positive social interactions until access to the same resources I used to save myself of are attainable by everyone.


Society doesn’t care about men’s issues. 57% of undergraduates are now women yet every resource makes it seem like men are way ahead and tries to bring them down because.001% most powerful are mostly men. It’s okay to mock men constantly and anyone responding back gets demonized.


Neither side is actually wrong. Men dominate the corridors of power, and also the corridors of the dispossessed (e.g. the homeless, imprisoned, etc). Both of these things are problems.


This is the key point.

People in power would like to avoid divisions that are between them and people with less power. Instead they prefer divisions between different groups of people with less power, because that way these groups will be ineffective.

If the median white American man understood this, he would understand that he is siding with the wrong people.

---- PS: Yes, I know the labels for this might be "divide and conquer", and "false consciousness", but I think people have trouble relating to these terms.


> If the median white American man understood this, he would understand that he is siding with the wrong people.

I'm sorry, what groups are you saying actually support the "median white American man"?


People who fight for universal healthcare, for example.

Last time I checked, they didn't say "universal healthcare if you are exceptionally poor, colored, non-American, and/or female."


Well, "people who fight for universal healthcare" seems to be pretty constrained to the left of American politics. And while it might just be outgroup homogeneity bias, the American Left has been relatively vocal in its dislike of "average white men"... (At the very least the identity politics subsection seems to be "the farther you are from 'straight white man', the better")


For sure, people who say stuff that sounds like they don't like any white men get a lot of attention. But, I suspect they form a very small minority, also on the Left.

Can I ask, what for you are some important examples of anti-"median-white-American-man" statements? I'm aware that there is a prevailing narrative in many parts of the media that this group is being singled out a lot, but personally I don't often see blanket statements of that sort.


You should think deeper about why the media you consume is presenting you with this impression.

From the outside it seems absurd but I'm not sure how to meet you in the middle for this.

Maybe you heard people complaining about how "socialized" medicine would create death panels. Did you reflect on why they were scaring old people in this way?

Or the focus on how the left are actively wanting to kill babies, rather than wanting access to reproductive healthcare. Again, why would right wing media present this patently false image? What are they trying to achieve?

If you can understand that then you might understand why the media you consume is telling you that the left hates you.

Final hint, the phrase "identity politics" is itself identity politics.


To break things down a bit... Are there people on the right fighting for universal health care? As far as I know that was a factual statement. Same with "anti-white/anti-male idpol is mostly left" - after all, the "pro-white-male idpol" groups seem to be on the right. This doesn't mean the people fighting for universal healthcare on the left are the same people embracing identity politics! But they do seem to share the same tent.

But to address your ad hominem attacks:

> Maybe you heard people complaining about how "socialized" medicine would create death panels. Did you reflect on why they were scaring old people in this way?

Well, few things here. For one, any form of medical resource distribution creates death panels or the equivalent. There are not unlimited resources, therefore some people will not receive all they could have used. I don't think this is an argument against socialized health care. (I think that socializing health care would result in massive cost disease, and that efforts in the US to move consumers farther and farther from the prices of health care are also counterproductive, but that's unrelated)

> Or the focus on how the left are actively wanting to kill babies, rather than wanting access to reproductive healthcare. Again, why would right wing media present this patently false image? What are they trying to achieve?

I'm pro-choice, actually. Also pro gay marriage, drug legalization, good sex ed in schools, etc.

But as to why people would present abortion access as killing babies? That's a really trivial question to answer - it's because they believe abortion to be literally killing babies.

> If you can understand that then you might understand why the media you consume is telling you that the left hates you.

I wouldn't say hates - at least not the vast majority of the left. Doesn't care about? Sure.

> Final hint, the phrase "identity politics" is itself identity politics.

Are you saying that the descriptor is wrong? It's been around for a while. [0] And if it's not wrong, I don't see what the objection is.

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_politics


Okay so you're firmly aboard the libertarian to alt-right pipeline, I thought you might just be confused.

It's great that you still publicly identify with all the sane and sensible policies that Democrats have been fighting for for decades and have slowly achieved. It's sad that you can't support them in the American two-party system because they harbor so many communist, anti-white campaigners like the Clintons and Obamas and all those other people who would be center right in any sane political system.

But, no worries, you can easily claim to be even more right-on than them, because you're a libertarian. You can attack them for centrist stances they took two decades ago when Reason was still openly denying the Holocaust and supporting Apartheid and somehow hold the moral high ground as yet another Republican criminal gets elected to President and large numbers of the administration get arrested and jailed (weird how that just keeps happening, right?).

But you keep your eye on the real danger, there must be a sexual, racial or religious minority group that's taking things too far for your liking and that's well worth getting angry about. Luckily a bunch of Billionaires are really keen to keep that in the front of your mind at all times so you don't even need to seek this stuff out. Enjoy your anger.


Do you have any actual responses to what I said, or did you just want to call me names? Because I fail to see how any part of this comment relates to the previous one.


But interestingly, one gets much more attention than the other.


Correct. The left cares about the dispossessed, at least to the extent that it gives them votes, but all the anti-men-in-power animosity does spill over I think to the effect of making it hard to drum up sympathy for men where men are suffering.

The right mostly doesn't give a shit about the dispossessed, at least as far as potential government intervention goes. They're more social darwinist; if some men are really suffering, maybe they should stop being such losers, goes the thinking.


I'm not american, so correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I see in the american news many liberal strongholds have the highest homeless rates and aren't doing a lot to remedy the situation - lacking low income housing etc.

It makes me a little skeptical that "the left"[1] care that much about the homeless.

[1] I'll be honest I think "the left" and "liberal" are kind of useless catch all term at this point and lumps too many people into one group together. For instance, for this conversation I mean middle class college educated men and women living in coastal american cities that had at least semi-stable childhoods.


Yes, but you have to consider that the homeless aren't fixed to a certain place. A place that's more generous to the homeless will inevitably get more homeless people. Because why wouldn't you go to somewhere that treats you better, rather than the place that treats you like garbage?

This means there's a financial incentive for any given city to treat the homeless like shit. Classic free rider problem; why not let other cities deal with helping them?

If you look at the countries where they do a better job, what you largely see is not a handful of metros doing their part, while other cities and the national government completely shunt the responsibility. The whole country contributes, is at least sort of on the same page. At least, that's been my experience living in Germany and reading about other places.

So in my opinion, what we'd need to see is a federal mandate that doesn't let some cities mooch off of others' charity. But short of Bernie storming the white House and the Dems getting an overwhelming majority in both halves of Congress, it's hard to see that happening.

Anyway, I don't disagree that more liberal cities could do more, but at the same time I don't think the problem is solvable without national involvement.


Very fair point, haven't thought about it that way. I wonder if any studies have been done on where the homeless in the liberal leaning cities actually originally come from.

As for the Dems in congress - You'd need the right kind of democrat also. I think Hillary clinton did a real number to that parties reputation during her time in power. The american democrats desperately need smart, ethical and above all honest new faces that will fight the rampant corruption in american politics.


In some cases, homeless people are given bus tickets to liberal cities by officials

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/dec/...


People in the thread below were complaining about how toxic reddit is. Politics is ten times worse.

Why would a smart, ethical and honest person ever get within a gunshot of politics?

And should by any accident that happen, how such a person would survive?


Don't think smart, ethical, and honest matters. Oh sure, those things are great and greatly preferable to the status quo. But the reason why other countries have good homeless policies and why we don't is not because they have unusually honest politicians, I don't think. They're just further left economically, and thus more supportive of the downtrodden.


One theory goes that the left has no genuine interest in improving its voters' circumstances, because a more empowered individual has less need of the state to look after them, and thus would be less likely to vote for the left. The corollary is that it is in the left's electoral interests to attempt to disempower, impoverish and weaken the greatest number of voters as possible, because then said voters will see that their best interests would be served by the party that 'looks after them', and would vote for socialism en masse.


> The right mostly doesn't give a shit about the dispossessed, at least as far as potential government intervention goes. They're more social darwinist; if some men are really suffering, maybe they should stop being such losers, goes the thinking.

Well yeah, being against government intervention is sort of the classic definition of the American political right. People on the right believe that when possible you should choose private charity over government programs. They also donate more to private charities.


Yes, and that's what we have right now. How has that worked for us, compared to other countries?

We all know the answer is that the homeless are radically better off in those interventionist countries. Ergo, if we care about results, ours are rather abysmal.

> Well yeah, being against government intervention is sort of the classic definition of the American political right.

To a certain extent, but it also depends on the domain. The right is very much in favor of government intervention for some things, like who you're allowed to marry, or how you can have sex.


Yes but those are primarily religious organizations.


Yes they believe much of the care for the needy should be undertaken by institutions like religious organizations.


Even when you exclude religious organizations, the right donates more.

It's an odd fact, isn't it? It doesn't mesh well with the portrayal of them as stingy people who don't care about others.


Left? Right? Sadly these days I think that the vast majority of politicians are merely playing a role when it comes to political persuasion, and would be quite happy to do a complete 180 in standpoint if it meant a sufficiently large pay off in terms of power and/or money.


maybe they should stop being such losers

I think another motive here may be that if you provide "the dispossessed" and benefits, you create the incentive to become dispossessed.

This problem is relatively easy to solve on a small community level (all family knows that aunt Rosa isn't actually as sick as she likes to pretend), but becomes extremely complicated when scaled to the whole country.


The MRA groups, on Reddit at least, seem to spend more time blaming other people for things that are affecting men versus figuring out ways to overcome the issues.


It seems to me that in many cases the answer may be "what's the alternative?"

For example, if someone doesn't know how to find a girlfriend, then PUAs are the only game in town.

Until viable alternatives are presented I suspect that men will keep going with what's available.


The salient point of an identity group is to be angry at the other groups. This is true of all the groups, and is a very important vice to avoid. It's alluring in a way that people don't have very good defenses against.


Thing is though, whenever they do do something - like say, organising a group to discuss their problems - they get attacked, ridiculed etc. in a way that no other group ever does today.


At least https://www.reddit.com/r/MensLib/ takes a more enlightened approach.


Ditto for every identity group.


I couldn't agree more. I see very little representation of issues affecting men and a lot of demonization of perceived wrongs that men do. International Men's Day also received very little recognition despite it's focus on real issues affecting men such as mental health and the justification I heard often was "everyday is men's day" and "<insert incels insult here>". Men also have a problem with being less vocal and outspoken on issues that affect them compared to women which is something that needs to change.


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> deserving demonization

really?


>> I see very little representation of issues affecting men and a lot of demonization of perceived wrongs that men do.

Well, we have had it good for basically the entire course of human history. I personally don’t mind taking a backseat and allowing society to focus on issues affecting women now.


Society has many (new?) structural problems dealing with men's issues. A lot of it is sexism favoring women, but a lot of it is a lack of desire to understand the issues facing men and address them. To get an idea how bad it can be check out the APA's guidelines on treating men.[0]

I think at the root of this is just a poor economy. Many of these issues about uselessness or loneliness would be solved by a job and a significant other. But no one's just going to start handing out well paying jobs and girlfriends.

[0] https://www.apa.org/about/policy/boys-men-practice-guideline...


Andrew Yang's national dividend proposal would be the next best thing to handing out jobs, better in a lot of ways because it would free up some mindspace for the minority of men who do have entrepreneurial potential but not the freedom to pursue their vision.


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Resource constraints being a common precursor to suicide it's a bit strange to argue that a more redistributionist system wouldn't lower the suicide rate. I mentioned Yang specifically because that brand of redistributionism at least doesn't punish anyone who does get (or make) a job.


"The solution to suicide is socialism" doesn't ring more true when you try to obfuscate it by claiming "common precursors" etc you know won't pass basic inspection.

Yang's redistribution is step 1. You elect the guy who gets the "reasonable" dole in place, and every election after that becomes about who can offer the most money to the people collecting.

Yang is a snake oil salesman and has no solution. His solution is actually step 1 - create a situation where politics becomes about individually promising people money.

What a disaster of a candidate. The only thing that at all makes me feel better is that he's going nowhere.


So he's the worst candidate because he's the least-bad candidate, thus making people more likely to accept a bad ideology?


Nothing i said qualifies him as the least bad" you're doing some sort of interpretive reading there champ


>1. You elect the guy who gets the "reasonable" dole in place

I mean, the US already has food stamps, medicare, EI, disability... quite the socialist smorgasbord really. I thought you were saying those were 'unreasonable' while UBI was 'reasonable'. What did you mean then?


>To get an idea how bad it can be check out the APA's guidelines on treating men

What is the problem with these guidelines? I didn't see anything particularly controversial or objectionable there, although I did just skim them.


The gist of it (to me) is it focuses on issues that are the feminist conception of what is wrong with masculinity and it is overly focused on masculinity. Masculinity, or what women think masculinity is, is usually just a proxy for feeling included and wanted. It's fine to say you don't owe anyone anything or don't need to impress anyone -- but as a man, if you're not doing those things (even in a way which isn't "manly"), no one cares who you are.

In my experience this leads to going to a therapist and being told you can be anything you want to be, but when you actually try to follow up and get help, no one wants to help you because you're a man.

I can't get it to load on this connection so I can't provide direct citations. Most of what I found objectionable was in the first two pages or so.


>The gist of it (to me) is it focuses on issues that are the feminist conception of what is wrong with masculinity and it is overly focused on masculinity.

I'm guessing you're making the common assumption that the "feminist conception of what is wrong with masculinity" is that masculinity itself is somehow harmful, which is a misinterpretation of the concept of what "toxic masculinity" is - a concept invented by the men's rights movement, and not feminists.

The premise that masculinity could have negative aspects is at the core of common male "codes of conduct" like chivalry and gentlemanly behavior, traditionally enforced by men in order to police their own behavior (and, ironically, to enforce patriarchy.) And it's a premise that men didn't take issue with with until feminists agreed with them.

If you interpret the concepts presented in the guidelines on their face rather than an anti-feminist bias then you would likely find that it isn't actually anti-male or even anti-masculine. Rather it mentions many of the issues that people often insist that society disregards relative to men, such as the life expectancy issue mentioned in the OP.

> It's fine to say you don't owe anyone anything or don't need to impress anyone -- but as a man, if you're not doing those things, no one cares who you are.

In other words... masculinity is an influential aspect of male identity, both personally and socially, and some aspects of the way masculinity is expressed can be harmful, just as any social, political or cultural complex (which masculinity is) can present both positive and negative effects. And it would be helpful for counselors and medical professionals to recognize this and know how to deal with it when necessary.

This suggests to me that the conception of masculinity and what can go wrong with it (as opposed to "what is wrong with it", which again, suggests an often willful misunderstanding the concept) in the guidelines is correct, and that the focus presented on it by those guidelines is in proportion to its likely relevance.

But as we seem to have come to radically different conclusions from this document, we may have to agree to disagree. I didn't read a sexist agenda or a callous disregard for men or men's issues from it, quite the opposite.


The issue is the focus on masculinity at all, let alone whatever toxic masculinity is.[0] The way psychological issues are linked to masculinity is disingenuous as the deeper cause of the issues isn't masculinity but the inability to self-actualize in whatever environment the man is in, and this is more closely related to how the worth of men is evaluated by society. This value can be attached to masculine qualities or not, it doesn't matter.

So talking about masculinity and "subverting" it is pointless because as a man at the end of the day you are still left without opportunities or companionship because of how other people are evaluating you.

[0] I only ever hear toxic masculinity brought up by feminists, can you really show it has some attachment to the men's rights movement?


>The way psychological issues are linked to masculinity is disingenuous as the deeper cause of the issues isn't masculinity but the inability to self-actualize in whatever environment the man is in

The AMA guidelines don't link psychological issues to masculinity, nor are they considering masculinity to be a cause of any issues in and of itself.

>So talking about masculinity and "subverting" it is pointless because as a man at the end of the day you are still left without opportunities or companionship because of how other people are evaluating you.

Nowhere in the AMA guidelines is "subverting" masculinity discussed or considered, either.

You're basing your opinions on a false assumption of what masculinity is assumed to be, and reading an agenda into the AMA guidelines that isn't there.

>can you really show it has some attachment to the men's rights movement?

It's literally mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the term[0], and a quick Google search brings up a few more references[1..3] although I'm guessing your use of the term "really" in italics is meant to leave wiggle room to deny whatever sources I present as being authoritative enough. So take the fact that, if you research the origin of both the term and the concept, you find links to the mens' rights movement and male culture, and no such sources claiming that the term was invented by feminists, as you will.

[0]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxic_masculinity

[1]https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/02/toxic-mas...

[2]https://thebookofman.com/mind/masculinity/what-is-toxic-masc...

[3]https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/man-victorian-ma...


Ok -- if masculinity is irrelevant, which is what I am claiming and what you say the APA guidance also claims, then why do they spend so much time on it? They don't dismiss it, just speak to different types of masculinity.

What is the intended interpretation of your sources? It seems like you just put some random links up. They don't seem to link the creation of toxic masculinity to any movement.


>Ok -- if masculinity is irrelevant, which is what I am claiming and what you say the APA guidance also claims, then why do they spend so much time on it? They don't dismiss it, just speak to different types of masculinity.

They don't claim that it's irrelevant, nor do I, so we disagree there, and we also disagree that the space given to it is out of proportion to its relevance. They merely don't consider it pathological, and most of the guidelines don't appear to be about masculinity per se, at all.

> It seems like you just put some random links up. They don't seem to link the creation of toxic masculinity to any movement.

From Wikipedia: "The term toxic masculinity originated in the mythopoetic men's movement of the 1980s and 1990s.[1]" [1]https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/02/toxic-mas...

From the Atlantic: "Despite the term’s recent popularity among feminists, toxic masculinity did not originate with the women’s movement. It was coined in the mythopoetic men’s movement of the 1980s and ’90s, motivated in part as a reaction to second-wave feminism."

From the book of man: "The phrase can be traced back to a guy called, brilliantly, Shepherd Bliss, who was one of the leaders of the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement activist which sprang up in the 80s, and aimed to remythologise men: essentially remove the limited archetypes like “warrior and king” and end biological determinism and hierarchical thinking. Bliss wrote about a return to preindustrial cooperative masculinity, all raising barns and making fires, rather than competitive technological masculinity."

The goodmen project page doesn't make the links the others do, but it does describe the concept as existing as far back as the Victorian era. One can make a reasonable inference from there.


I like to s/wo// any slogan. If it sounds sexist the original probably is too. Nobody cringes because we've been trained to accept it.


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Love that sub. It's rather poignant.


> 57% of undergraduates are now women

True

>yet every resource makes it seem like men are way ahead and tries to bring them down

What college resources are trying to bring men down?


Students at my university tried to create a 'men's space' on campus, similar to a 'women's space' that had existed for years.

The student paper was full of articles for months talking about what horrible misogyny men would get up to if they were allowed to gather in a space without female supervision and people were ostracized for expressing support for the project, there was an immediate backlash of intimidation that successfully shut it down.


That's interesting, and seems sad. Where I live there's an entire program for spaces for men to try to address a mental health and suicide epidemic among (mostly older) rural men.

http://menssheds.ie/


Have you just ever tried to ask for help while being male? There's people lining up at student centers to help female students, but go in as a guy and no one really cares.

Sure, you can say men don't take advantage of educational resources, but that's typically because they're used to those resources wanting to be unhelpful.


Society does care, tune into the positive things that are being done for men like acknowledging their mental health needs and enabling their role as carers.


how are mens mental health statistics doing? What does "enabling their role as carers" do for those who aren't carers? Is that for men or for a subset of men that accept the heavily biased current status quo?

The things you mentioned arent being done for men, they're being done to men.


well, the statistics for men's mental health are being acknowledged. By you and me.

and for those who aren't carers, perhaps look to being carers.

All categories are filled with subsets. There are always folks left behind. Let's look to them.

What are the struggles and needs that you would like us to focus on and meet?


But what is the trend? Is whatever you claim like acknowledgement valuable in terms of real world effect? What are the statistics on men's health? What if acknowledgment isn't a solution?

As to your second part - is sort of see the back and forth like this .

You "We are supporting men who are carers"

Me "What about men who aren't carers?"

You "perhaps look into being carers"

This is the opposite of an empowerment message. You're saying if they want support they must conform to being you.

I don't want anything from you sir. You represent no one and nothing. I was merely contradicting your statements that the two things you mentioned are being done for men, when in fact they're being done to men.

What do I want from you? To acknowledge that becoming carers and being acknowledged as having mental issues isn't a solution for anyone.


Who is it that is doing this to men? Who is it that is attacking you? Who is it that you hate?

And also : you say you don't want anything from me, and then you say you want me to acknowledge your pain? The first step here is for you to acknowledge that you are in pain, you are distressed, and you need some help.


You have seriously misread something.

I dont want you to acknowledge pain, I want you to acknowledge that your initial statement was wrong.

Your emoting at me there wasn't really part of intelligent discussion.


I am sorry, but I am right, you are wrong. Your reported perception and reaction to my comment is the sign of mental distress.

Reading this discussion convinces me you are in need of help. I urge you to get it from a professional before you hurt someone.


The article suggests that this is an issue of rich vs. poor, not of men vs. women.


Do you have any sources for a) society doesn't care about men's issues and b) it is okay to mock men constantly?


"Society doesn’t care about men’s issues."

Please. My wife recently had some health issues due to a condition that primarily affects women, and I went with her to her medical appointments. The level of casual dismissal I saw regarding pain and symptoms from numerous (male and female) doctors was absolutely shocking. While I've certainly had doctors fail to resolve a medical condition before, nothing like the lack of respect I saw had ever accompanied my interactions at a doctor's office. If you genuinely believe that "society doesn't care about men's issues", at least compared to women's issues, you're living in an absolute fantasy world.


I'm a man and I have a condition that is poorly understood by the medical community. The lack of respect is glaringly obvious when I interact with nurses and doctors. I have discussed this phenomenon with hundreds of men and woman, so I do not think it's gender/sex based discrimination.


The existence of women’s issues doesn’t invalidate GP’s point. It’s not clear to me why you think it is relevant at all.


Your anecdotal dismissal supports the parent commenter's point.


It's fairly well-known that there is more medical knowledge about men, and women are affected in different ways by diseases, about which more knowledge is needed.

See for example this article: https://www.ft.com/content/7864ae80-9597-11e8-95f8-8640db906...


Indeed. And yet life expectancy is still lower for men, and is getting worse. Can we not talk about that for a moment?


Sure we can, but I don't think it's very productive to start arguing that society doesn't care about men's issues. I don't immediately see what society has to do with the lower life expectancy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#Sex_difference...


> and is getting worse

You missed a pretty important part. I don’t see how that could be the result of anything other than society?


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GP: Men have problems we should pay attention to. It's not logical to conclude that if privileged people are men, all men are relatively privileged.

You: BS. Out of touch. Men are too ignorant to complain.

A better reply would have responded to the actual points in some substantial way. For example, we could go back to "the 1%" phrasing and stop saying "men" are privileged while also complaining about male incarceration rates.


[flagged]


We don't know why exactly these deaths of despair are increasing, and I don't think it's right to assume that it has anything to do with people not caring about "men's issues", as the problem does not seem to be unique to men, from the article:

> Young women are also experiencing a sharp uptick in drug overdoses


This starts being pretty similar to what happened in the USSR immediately after the Perestroika failed, in a span of 10-years (1990-2000) life expectancy for men fell by 5 years (from 63 to 58).

That was a pretty big societal crisis which among other things helped bring to power an autocrat like Putin (and especially helped him stay there, as life expectancy shot up again starting with the early 2000s), I’m wondering when will the present situation in the States be treated like the real societal crisis that it represents? In other words, guys like Trump are not merely the causes for much that goes wrong in the States, they’re merely the effects, take him down and a new Trump-like character will probably emerge in his place, unless you fix the problem at its very roots.


Thank you for this historical perspective. Globalization, IT, aging society, young having it worse than the ones who came before them - there is considerable stress on the fabric of society. The era after Perestroika certainly was more extreme but there are parallels.


And what's the root cause in case you know it?


Increased inequality (both economic and social), crippling debt, horrendous health system, lack of hope (this one especially stings) etc etc. I personally am not from the States, I lived and grew up in Eastern Europe back in the ‘90s, and saw the same thing happening here, only that we used cheap alcohol instead of opioids in order to dig up our own early graves.


It's probably overdetermined, but I suspect that peaking fossil fuels and a subsequent deceleration in energy entering the economic system play an underappreciated role.

To give context: Hubbert's peak, which is generally considered the most reliable predictor of fossil fuel extraction curves, predicted a peak for the US in 1970 and the world in 2010. Allow 2 years margin of error on either side and it lines up very closely with the advent of stagflation in both systems.


I'm treading into Marxist territory, but I think industrialization, technology, and their societal consequences are a large part.

If I dropped the first part, there would be no downvotes.


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I agree that the ardent tribalism and group-ism can become a big drain on mental health, and can only imagine how exhaustive it must be to constantly measuring oneself up against other groups and demographics that seemingly enjoys more privileges than oneself.


Please don't use HN for ideological battle. Not what this site is for.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


You're going to need a raft of evidence to justify this claim.




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