MT Anderson

All posts tagged MT Anderson

Violet was screaming, “Look at us! You don’t have the feed! You are the feed! Your feed! Your being eaten!”

In the novel Feed by M.T. Anderson, media plays a huge role due to its integration into the human body. By getting rid of external technology, the internal construction of the human brain becomes a media playground with the “feed” constantly probing and advising the user.   It’s often hard to disguise between personal thoughts and the feed, because there often are none. There is just the feed!

Feed takes place in a futuristic dystopian society in which everyone had “the feed”. The feed is a micro-chip that is imbedded in the brain, “feeding” the user any information they want or would want to know. Everything is available with in a blink of an eye…literally. No remote, no phone, no TV needed. So, in having the feed you basically have a built-in mind computer. As such, you are frequently bombarded with advertisements, commercials, TV shows, social updates, and the news.

Example of what the feed does for the user.

Part of the book describes, when accessing the feed, the user seems to dazing off, leaving behind a blank expression. Another response happens involuntary when the user looks at products, merchandise, or thinks of something they want. The feed is the brain, and it allows direct media access from corporations to their target consumers. All the time.

In this case, the feed is the media, and it’s an intimate part of you. Not only does the feed facilitate your desires, but it also allows corporations to have a literal voice in your head in the form of Nina your personal shopper.

She works much like an algorithm. Every sensory detail helps Nina construct a personal profile that better aids “the feed” to distribute information to you,  while also assisting corporations to distribute products that you might want and ultimately buy.

With the feed’s cognitive integration, Nina is able to construct a profile that relays everything that you find interesting, without you even asking.

“All you must do is want something, and there’s a chance it will be yours.” But, the primary job of the feed is to serve as a distraction. It become evident towards the end of the book that reality is not so great as the feed perceives it to be. The Earth is dying, and the environmental conditions are gradually causing physical degradations to its inhabitants. Viruses, lesions, even hair balding is happening. Slowly, the people are being consumed by the dire conditions that they have ignored , and even embraced. They are being eaten alive, but its all up to the feed to make sure they don’t realize it.

 

Anderson, Mathew. Feed. Candlewick Press, 2002.

Propaganda seems to play a large role in dystopian fiction, as it promotes specific societal standards, plays on social tensions, and relays messages over media to masses of people. In Feed, by MT Anderson, the role of propaganda dominates all others, as society and trends are controlled by the Feed, with implanted brain chips guiding every individual’s thoughts, opinions, and free time. In Anderson’s novel, a group of American corporations regulate and control all things relating to the feed: installation, fees, maintenance, qualitative material, and customer service. From an economic standpoint, this makes the Feed a monopoly, allowing it to charge above market prices and avoid innovation, since there is no competition. This creates a dependence on these corporations, since all business, social, and leisure activities are centered around this technology. The corporations behind the Feed are therefore incredibly powerful and influential, supplying the public with their main medium of communication. This then allows the Feed to display advertisements, images, and propaganda that guide their users to buy more and more from the Feed, making the technology a necessity in their society.

Brain chips are slowly emerging from a fictional impossibility to a realistic scientific endeavor. Does dystopian literature reflect and critique the possibility of this advancement in our modern world? (“Brain Chips”).

Anderson clearly illustrates that public opinion and societal trends are greatly controlled and influenced by the Feed, and specifically through the media that the Feed provides. Flashing advertisements pop up in the character’s minds when they reach any new destination. They’re constantly updated on sales, clothing trends, and TV show updates that pop up in their feeds. The customization of shopping also guides the individual towards what the Feed wants them to like, through advice from online helpers and visual stimulation on the network. All of these images, videos, and updates serve as propaganda that the Feed literally plants in the minds of their users, guiding them towards a specific outcome or sale. The Feed does not only serve as a way of communication between users, but also a way of control and communication between the user and the corporation.

This specific form of propaganda exemplifies the typical government/corporation totalitarian control that often occurs in dystopian fiction. For a non-democratic government system to work, all citizens and participants must consent to their government, or be forced to consent. The Feed serves as the media that subconsciously forces their customers to continue using their services, since the technology has become a social survival necessity. The Feed also reflects on our own modern world, serving as a critique of the rapid advancement of technology and how it will affect our intelligence, communication, and language. Anderson’s Feed is a sort of pessimistic prediction of how society will adapt to technological change, and how personal intelligence and personality may be wiped away.

Anderson’s “Feed” explored a technological advancement that impacted society, government, and individual rights, with propaganda as the center of the technology. “Feed” exemplifies how media can control, not only society, but individual minds. (ISawChannel).

Works Cited:

Anderson, Matthew Tobin. Feed. Candlewick, 2002.

“Brain Chips.” Information Stash, 1 Feb. 2017, www.informationstash.com/Blog/brain-chips.html

ISawChannel. Memory Brain Chip? Episode 13. ISawChannel.com. 19 Mar. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sKpjCyz8I8