Satire period 2
November 1, 2010
The Use of Satire
in Expressing Social Flaws in Feed
The satirical and dystopian novel,
Feed, by M.T.
Anderson exposes many social flaws that are present in today’s society.
The book portrays the foreshadowing events of the future if there is no change
in our society. The people living in the world of Feed rely heavily on the technology of
their feed. Due to the reliance on their feeds, the
people are unaware of their surroundings, or are simply too
distracted to care. Many of the people who have feeds are unable
to think for themselves and lack self reflection. Due to the fact that they aren’t able to
process the information around them, the environment is dying, if not already
dead, and the corporations are taking over their world.
Anderson uses devices of satire to portray these social flaws through the daily
events and life of Titus, who is an average teenager in America’s
With insight into Titus’s life the
reader is able to see exactly how much technology influences daily life. Titus, who is an average teenager, spends his days
M-chatting with his friends, buying “cool” clothes and gadgets he sees on
advertisements and goes to parties, some even on the moon. Going to the moon,
however, isn’t as cool as you would think. “We went to the moon to
have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck” (1). It
is ironic that they think the moon is nothing special because in our world we
can say that only 24 men, who were on the Apollo missions, have been on the
Another example of irony in Feed is captured in the quote, “The
moon really isn’t working out, I said. Next time,
you should try Mars. Yeah, I’ve been to Mars, I said. It
was dumb. Suddenly, she laughed. Are you serious? Yeah, I’m serious.
she said. Mars is a whole planet. And it’s dumb!” (37). This conversation
between Titus and Violet showcases their differences and also shocks the reader
because not many people have been to these planets let alone think it’s boring.
Very early on in the book it becomes apparent that our world is very different
from the world in Feed.
Their idea of “normal” consists of seeing
“all of the up cars in tubes and in the parking lots,
just normal stuff, like people walking and talking on their feeds,
and kids hanging out and s***.”(77). It is ironic that up cars and people talking
on their feeds are normal because most people would think the complete opposite, it
Common things that most people
would take for granted, like going to school with intent to learn,
are not appreciated in the world of Feed. School
is not a large part of daily life. In fact, there aren’t even teachers
anymore, there are holograms instead. School isn’t a place for
education anymore it is a corporation (School TM). Seeing the allusion of “TM”
after certain words indicates that it had been taken over by a corporation.
However, the people in Feed don’t prioritize education,
why would they need to actually learn if they could look up information right
in the feed. For example,
when Titus is talking to Violet’s dad and he asks what something means,
Titus gets very upset when Violet’s dad tells him to figure it out. The
relationship between the feed/corporations and the people in feed is an
allusion of the Eloi and the Morlocks in the Time Machine. The Morlocks support the world’s infrastructure and
provide for the Eloi just like the corporations and feed provide information
and support for the overall running of the country. Because the Morlocks/Feed
(corporations) provide and solve all the problems that require any kind of
strength, thought, or value the Eloi/futuristic people’s minds slowly
begin to deteriorate in their ability to think for themselves.
Titus is forever wired into the
constant advertisement information bombardment, the feed which enables him
to form his own thoughts about anything. From a very young age,
people get the Feed “installed”. The feed then grows with their brain and
corporations are free to monitor and manipulate citizen’s thoughts with pop-up
ads and also able to monitor their purchases with which they put individuals
into consumer profiles. In addition, the Feed chip is implanted at such an early
age that it actually takes over the running of many brain functions as the
child matures. As a result, certain sites on the Feednet have
psychological effects on users, causing them to go “in Mal” where
people can intentionally cause their feed chips to fail, causing feelings similar
to the effects of alcohol and drugs.
The corporations that monitor the
feeds take over each individual as soon as the feed is installed. Those
who have the feed installed understand that they are being run by “something”, however,
don’t seem to care because of the convenience that it provides them with. M.T.
Anderson uses understatement in the dialogue between characters regarding their
knowledge of the evil corporations involved in the running of their feeds. “Of
everyone’s like da da da, evil corporations, oh they’re so bad, we
all say that all know they control everything. I mean,
it’s not great, because who know what evil s*** they’re up to.
Everyone feels bad about that. But they’re the only way to get all this
and it’s no good getting p**** about it, because they’re still
going to control everything whether you like it or not.”(48).
All of the characters except Violet don’t understand and therefore don’t seem
to care about the immense role that the corporations are playing in their lives
which is why they all seem to downplay the seriousness of the evil corporations.
Throughout the book, technology and
corporations appear to hold the true power in America. The similarity between the fictional and this present
world is very scary. Today, we are increasingly swamped with advertisements from
companies from all forms of media, making us subconsciously unwilling consumers. Our fashion sense and culture shocks are heavily
influenced by what we see and hear through TV, radio, and the
Internet. From one source
to another, all means of
communication have the same repetitive and monotonous advertisements that many
of us seem to unwillingly memorize. An example of parody that is used in Feed is when there is
a commercial showcasing one of the popular songs. It parodies how superficial and how there is really no
real meaning in the lyrics of many of the songs in modern pop music. “Their hit
single “Bad Me, Bad You”: ” I like you so bad/And you like me so bad./We
are so bad/It would be bad/ If we did not get together, baby,/
Bad baby, Bad, bad baby. /Meg bad”…” (15). There is clearly no real
depth or insight in these lyrics, which is why it parodies many of the songs
for example Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back”.
is a character in the book who is very different from your stereotype feed user. She likes to speak with her mouth, rather than M-chat through the feed, and she has serious reservations about the forced
consumerism. Her ability to
see beyond the feed and process real thoughts is because she got her feed
installed at age 6, when many
people don’t know of life without a feed. Violet tries to
resist the feed when she goes to the mall and shows interest in many uncommon
items. She does so in order to throw off the corporations trying to track her
purchasing history in the feed. Violet believes
in writing and learning about what is going on in the world. An example
of irony involving Violet’s way of life occurs when Titus realizes she is
writing with a pen. “I looked at her pen. “You write all the time,” I
said completely in awe. “I’ve done it since I was little.”
“Do you write…stuff?” “Not stories or anything. I just write down things I
see sometimes.” “On paper.” “Yeah.” I looked at her.
“You’re one funny enchilada,” I said.” (66). Violet’s “strange” ways don’t allow her to connect with
many of the other characters in the book because they don’t understand how to
process their own thoughts and do things on their own without the help of the
to the fact that people aren’t able to think outside the feed,
the environment in the world of Feed has
come crumbling down. They aren’t able to work to protect the environment
because they have never learned how to. The corporations have taken care of managing
the environment, which they don’t have much respect for. There
are no longer any trees because they have been cut down to make room for
corporate buildings. Without oxygen producing trees, people would no
longer have the ability to live. To fix this problem the corporations created
Air Factories to provide oxygen to the people. “‘There’s a forest,’
said Violet. It’s called Jefferson Park. We’re thinking about going
either there, or out to beef country.’ My dad nodded. ‘It’ll have to be beef
country,’ he said. ‘The forest’s gone.’ ‘Yeah.
Jefferson Park?’ Yeah. That was knocked down to make an air
factory'”(125). Not only are the forests gone but food producing
animals such as cows are gone as well. The meat farms, which are corporations, find
it more efficient to grow meat rather than have actual animals.
Atmospheric conditions no longer
allow the natural formation of clouds and the sky, the sky is now filled with artificial Clouds™.
the ocean has become so acidic that whales are sheathed in plastic coverings
and you must wear protective suits. One of the interesting things Anderson talks
about is buildings being covered in all black. “I just remember that
everything godly and sparkling, but as we walked down to the luggage,
all the air vents were streaked with black.”(8).
Today we have the oil spill in the Gulf that is polluting hundreds of miles of
sea life, and wildlife. This effect is having the same toll on people
as it did in Feed.
Anderson is trying to warn his readers of what could happen in the future.
What we didn’t know is that it would be this close in the future. A
large oil corporation, BP spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil
into the ocean.
In Feed sexual reproduction is a mechanical process. All women undergo in-vitro fertilization and have their
children custom tailored to their liking. This shows satire in that
we are now just discovering how to alter the genes in babies,
like eye color, and in the future we can have the babies made for us.
People no longer have to think too much about reproducing because the
corporations do it all for them.
satirical Feed brings to light many
social flaws which could ultimately lead to the destruction of our society and
the world. To ensure we don’t fall victim to these social flaws we must
support individualism and thought instead of blindly conforming to social
“norms”. People who focus on their beliefs and independent thoughts and
actions, like Violet, will be able to overcome the conformist ways pushed upon
many of us. Violet is a symbol of individualism while Titus and his friends
represent blind conformity. People
often conform to achieve security in a group. When people blindly follow
and are not looking thoughtfully at the world around them, they become
vulnerable to control by people/organizations that may or may not have their
best interests at heart.