Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"My idea of life, it's what happens when they're rolling the credits."

~Violet in Feed

Titus’s world is so fast-paced that the girls must dash off to the bathroom, not only to touch-up their make-up, but also to change their hairstyles, just to stay current with the latest fashions. M.T. Anderson has envisioned a commercialized future in which the corporate world truly controls everything, including things like the (no-longer-quite) public education in School™ (indicated by the trademark symbol~they took over once the government could no longer afford or control it) and the environmental-like special effects such as Clouds™ (necessary once most of the true environment was destroyed). These corporations also control America’s citizenry, not through any type of “Big Brother” oversight, but through almost more insidious means: direct computer Feed.
At birth the majority of the American population (about 73%~basically the ones who can afford it, but they are the only ones who really count in this marketing culture) have a transmitter chip implanted directly in their brain. Through this transmitter they can receive (and transmit back) everything: the latest new music, fashion, entertainment in all its current forms, they can instant chat their friends and family, buy and track items from all over the world, anything their little hearts and minds desire. The feedcast also allows corporations to market directly to the population, to instantly collect ALL their demographic information and to TELL them exactly what their little hearts and minds desire (perhaps before they are even aware of it themselves), and how, when, and where to get it and at what price. Right Now!
The illiteracy of the population is demonstrated, not only through Titus’ first person narration (a voice which Anderson captures perfectly) but also by the name of one of the most popular feedcasts: Oh! Wow! Thing! News of what is actually happening in the world, politically, environmentally, culturally is of no real matter to most people as they are too obsessed with what they can buy and how it makes them look to others. Even things like the lesions beginning to affect everyone become a fashion statement rather than a health concern.
Then Titus meets Violet, a girl who dares to think differently and he doesn’t know quite what to do. All does not end well. This young adult novel is seriously dark, with a wonderful ironic tone, and it might just accomplish the feat of making the teen reader think of the implications of rampant consumerism.

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