Can You Resist the Feed?
November 30, 2012
We live in a culture where mass media affects almost everything that we do. But how much are we really aware of the control that it has on our lives? As we become more and more obsessed with tweeting, email, texting and YouTube, it may be important for us to think about the possible downside of these technologies. Can we become too reliant on this constant connectedness?
Feed, a chilling book by M.T. Anderson, presents a future world where everyone is attached to instant media through a neuro feed installed directly into the brain. Through this gateway, the person is bombarded with advertisements and entertainment 24 hours a day. Titus, the main character of the book, never questioned the portal that he had been hooked into since childhood. Then he meets Violet, someone who didn’t get connected until late and actually spent some of her early life away from the perpetual feed of information.
When Violet is injured in a terrorist attack, her connection begins to break down to the point where her body also starts to break down. She is dying because of the implants in her brain, implants that she had desperately wanted so that she could be like everybody else. As her control over her motor functions declines, Titus is forced to confront the negative side of the feed, even while feeling the need to defend the only way of life he has ever known. Then things get even scarier when it becomes apparent to the reader, and yet not the characters, that everyone in the society is slowly dying. They are just unaware of it because they are too immersed in the feed.
While many may argue that we are far from the future portrayed in this book, some of the parallels to our own society are frightening. For example, the people in the book seem to be unaware of events taking place in the world because they are too focused on their own entertainment. How many Americans can tell you the name of the Canadian Prime Minister, our closest neighbor (his name is Steven Harper)? How many people can tell you who just got eliminated from Dancing with the Stars? Just something for us all to ponder.