“Feed” by M.T Anderson
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In ” Feed”, M.T Anderson tells a story of a failing futuristic society that is controlled by corporations and manipulated by consumerism. In this society, half of the population has a computer-like device called “Feeds” implemented in their brains, essentially connected to their thoughts, emotions and memories. The “Feed” allows them to communicate with each other constantly and look up any information they wish but the downside is that it sends them constant stream of advertisements and other forms of consumer media. M.T Anderson uses the destruction of nature and the implementation of technology as an example of what he saw in the society. He argues that people are becoming more shallow and unintelligent as a result of consumerism. In this paper, I’m going to talk about how M.T Anderson presents the issue of consumerism, reflect on the issue, and parallel it M.T Anderson presents the theme of consumerism in “Feed” by . The setting of the story takes place in a futuristic society in the twenty-fifth century that is so high-tech that 73% of the population has “feed” installed in their head. People have flying cars, flying to other planets, and farms growing living meat in vast plantations. M.T Anderson shows how the earth’s natural environment has been destroyed as a result of consumerism.
Titus and Violet traveled out to the farm country where they visit a steak farm, but instead of seeing animals and livestock in what we interpret as a “farm” what they encounter was a bizarre farm, with red meats growing artificially in “plantations”. According to Titus “It was a perfect afternoon. They had made part of it into a steak maze, for tourists, and we split up in the steak maze and tried to see who could get to the center first ( Feed 142).”Titus’s point is that the steak farm is not bad as we think it is, but it’s entertaining the tourist with the living meats growing artificially and part of it as the steak maze. M.T Anderson shows us with the loss of earth’s natural environment, Feed’s society has slipped further into its own nightmare and the society is oblivious about the danger of it M.T Anderson reflects on Titus thoughts regarding the steak farm, and his lack of awareness about the artificial society he lived in. The farm growing artificial beef in the plantations symbolizes the artificial products that consumerism has influence in the society. The natural goods have been destroyed and everything is genetically engineer.
The genetic coding for the steak goes wrong and the middle of the beef, the tissue forms a horn, an eye or a heart, for instance demonstrate that nothing on earth remain as it was prior to corporations controlling everything and turning it to synthetic. The essence of M.T Anderson’s argument is that the destruction of nature aligns with the trivial representation of the consumerist desire. During dinner, Violet and Titus were discussing of going to Jefferson Forest since neither of them have ever seen a forest. Titus father states “Yeah. Jefferson Park? Yeah. That was knocked down to make an air factory. (Feed 125).” In Steve’s view trees are nice but they’re inefficient compare to air factory and real estate cost more. It’s about people, and people need a lot of air to survive. Violet disagrees with Steve’s point and argues that we need trees and trees make clean air. In this scene, Titus father represents the corporations as he cares more about the real estate cost, and the benefit of air factory have for the people. The air factory symbolizes the consumerist desire for efficient and faster products they can get which promotes more consumerism to the society.
The setting of the story entangles our society’s problems as it reflects on the global issues and its consequences. The evidence shows that the destruction of nature is found all around the world and blame U.S for the over polluted air. For example, while chatting through feed, Violet asks Titus “Have you heard about this Central American stuff? Two villages on the Gulf of Mexico, fifteen hundred people-they’ve just been found dead, covered in this black stuff… It seems like an industrial disaster. The Global Alliance is blaming U.S (Anderson, 241).” Basically, Violet is warning that the industrial pollutions in the factories are causing a global meltdown. Anderson has intended this as a portrayal of our society in the near future if we continue to trash and pollute our environment. Our society could end up like this. Anderson presents the theme of consumerism through character development of Titus with his thoughts, actions, and interaction with his friends. According to Titus, you can be super smart without ever working. Everyone is super smart now.
You can look things up automatic, like science, and history, like if you want to know which battles of Civic War George Washington fought in and shit.”(47) In making this comment, Titus urges us to rely on technology as it provides instant access to any information we want without ever working. In other words, Titus believes that the necessity of feed and his above those without feeds. The evidence shows how Titus depends on consumerism to secure his identity and education is not necessary with having “feed”. The schools are promoting consumerism instead of education, and teaching students about literacy. Titus states that “School is run by the corporations, it’s pretty brag because it teaches us how the world can be used, like mainly how to use our feeds.”(109-110). The school is being controlled by corporations and corporation use schools as tactics to appeal to its younger consumers with classes on technology, and persuade them to consume more products with learning how to find bargains, and best ways to find jobs. It shows that everything focuses on consuming, buying and having the current fads and fashion.
One of the most evident examples is the constant stream of advertisements and consumer media in the feed. Violet points out how “Everything we’ve grown up with-the stories on the feed, the games, all of that- it’s all stream-lining our personalities so were easier to sell to.”(97). In Violet’s view, the feed knows what you want based on want you stream in the feed and they try to appeal to your personality and conform you for easy marketing. The evidence shows that when Violet and Titus went into Bebrekker and Karl store and immediately their feed went completely Bebrekker and Karl. The worker comes up and tries to help them by showing different models and attain to their needs. This shows how the society is exposed to consumerism with constant streams of commercials of products, pop songs, feed casts, etc. The constant media presence lures its consumer to consume the current products and fads to be appeal “cool” and socially accepted by their peers. As seen in the favorite T.V show that Titus and his friends watch “Oh, wow Thing” celebrities are showing off their lesions and making it a fashion trend. The “feed” portrays lesion as “cool” and fashionable as muscles are seen with this cuts. Titus states that “when she got here, it was silence- because her whole skin was cut up with these artificial lesions.
We were all just looking at her. They were all over her.”(191). Basically Titus is saying that Quendy have lesions all over her and you can see her all her muscles to appeal to Link and socially accepted but she has it overdone. Again consumerism is played throughout Titus life from when he went to the moon to interacting with his family and friends. He alludes to it when he ordered the draft pants from Multitude and thought it was a real bargain. He kept ordering pair after pair and putting his address as quickly as he can. He tracks each one of them and continues to order the next morning. In the futuristic society that Titus and his friends lived in people are taught to value money, technology, and objects above everything else. People are rapidly losing their ability to think themselves as feed control its user.
The feed makes the manipulation possible as a result people are unable to use their critical thinking skills and be aware of the damages the manipulation does to them. As seen, Titus and his friends have alludes to consumerism as they only worry about having fun and consuming anything of interest that comes in their feed. In the recent discussions of I phone 6, a controversial issue has been whether the I phone 6 meets the consumer expectations due to the issue of the bend. On the other hand, some argue that I phone features an A8 chip that is highly efficient and faster. However, others argue that the issue of bend continues to impact its consumers. In the word of M.T Anderson the theme of consumerism affects today’s society as the media tries to influence its consumers from constant ad flows from the latest fashion trend to technology and it will continue to affect our future if we don’t anything to change it.