Blog Roll

AVATAR – The Last Airbender

I am not here to talk about the movie. That M. Night Shayamalan abomination will not be discussed accept for me saying here that it was awful. It butchered it’s source material. Completely butchered it. The show and comics deserved so very much more.

AVATAR – The Last Airbender developed a cult following because of it’s beautiful story and incredible universe. The sequel, The Legand of Korra, did justice to AVATAR, with the comics answering some excellent questions from the show. It is very kid based, with some excellent morals and themes woven into the story line.

Firstly, a brief overview. Our hero Aang is a 12 year old boy from the Air Nation (this world is split into 4 nations – Fire Nation, Water Tribes, Earth Kingdom and Air Nomads). Aang is revealed to be the Avatar, who is the master of all, the bringer of peace and can control all 4 elements. Skip 100 years ahead and we find the world to be under siege. The Fire Nation is fighting a 100 year war to destroy the other nations. Aang froze himself in time days before the Fire Nation wiped the Air Nomads from existence. Aang is our last airbender. He undergoes an adventure with various teammates from the other nations in an attempt to master the other elements and end the war.

This is a light hearted family fun show with some excellent messages to discuss.

Lets start with the typical, friendship, family, love, blah blah blah. Aang would not have gotten far without the others. This is even a focal point of an episode. His friends are an integral part of the story. He learns he does not have to face adversity and horror alone. The grief he feels when he finds the remains of his closest mentor rips through his soul. And trust me, when you see that scene, you too will feel it.

There is also an incredibly strong anti-war message. We get to witness the devastation, death and destruction that comes from 100 years of war. Families destroyed, tribes decimated, an entire nation wiped out. We witness the horror that an army leaves in it’s path. The skeletons at the Air Temples, the small remnants of the Southern Water Tribe, the destruction of Earth Kingdom cities. It is a devastating site. Another powerful image is of the Fire Nation capital. A paradise. Brainwashing education where the populace believes that the war is helping the other nations. Where they believe the Air Nation army attacked the Fire army (Air Nomads were monks, they had no army). If this isn’t a metaphor for Nazi Germany then I don’t know what is. It is a reminder, to tell us that the citizens are often oblivious yo their governments crimes. Many German citizens knew nothing of the camps. The German people are not to blame. Just as the Fire Nation citizens are not to blame. Brainwashing is a powerful tool of mind control and manipulation.

Aang is a monk… an Air Nomad. He spent his childhood at a temple learning to live in harmony with the world. The shows message of peace and harmony comes through strongly throughout the episodes and the comics. Aang’s strong connection with the spirit world and his connection to his past lives promotes harmony within oneself and the world. Through these connections, Aang discovers energy bending, which is an ability that allows him to alter the energy within someone. This allows him to end the war with peace instead of bloodshed. This is the core of what and who Aang is. Peace. The most important message promoted throughout the entire AVATAR universe. Even in the face of adversity, with advice from all sides condemning Peace and encouraging him to kill, Aang stands strong and doesn’t sway from his principles. Peace is the answer to everything, as long as you will work for it.

Family, anti-war and peace. Is this what we want our youth to absorb? I think so! This whole world could use a little more peace.

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Perry Moore – Hero

This is yet another young adults novel I found during the study for my University degree. I found it to be incredibly charming and thought provoking. An excellent way to engage youth with LGBTIQ issues.

Our story is of a young man named Thom, who lives in a world where superheroes protect citizens as part of The League. Thom’s father is an ex-hero who was shamed into retirement. After discovering he has powers, Thom joins the League in an attempt to become a hero behind his fathers back. Meanwhile, we are given an insight into Thom’s mind as he recounts the feelings and thoughts he has because of his sexuality. He spends the majority of the book desperately trying to hide the fact he is gay from his father. A man he believes to be homophobic. We are allowed into his mind to see the torment he undergoes as people comment and attack him. The fear he feels once his father finds out, and the discrimination he undergoes once he is outed to the world. Thom allows the readers to humanise homosexuality, and see the damage that snide remarks can do to an individual.

Ever come across the issue of homosexuality in your classrooms? I’ve been out of University for 3 years and I am only still a casual, but even I have dealt with this issue. I will discuss one major issue I had in a classroom without stating any names as I MUST protect this child’s identity and safety. Presumably, you all understand.

A top stage 4 class. All the students work wonderfully for me. They are loud and excitable, but always complete work and are lovely kids. But it’s needles day. And one boy, is terrified to death of going. The lady comes and collects handfuls of kids at a time. But he refuses. I strike a deal with the teacher organising this. He will come after class, when all other kids have gone. He is most afraid everyone will see him cry. I manage to talk to him about his fears whilst the classroom is almost empty. He reveals he is gay, and if he cries it will make the bullying worse. I try to console him, telling him there is nothing wrong with gay, nothing at all. His fears of never finding love need not be there. He is young and will find someone. I told him stories of gay friends who found soul mates. Told him I waited until I was 25 to find mine. We talked about living in a small town as a gay man, and I acknowledged his fear. But tried to reassure him that they were unfounded and did not need to exist. I spoke to his Year Adviser and we organised for him to see the school counselor. As a casual I rarely see him, but I hope he gets the help he needs. This boy, bullied by his peers, is talking of suicide. His classmates could not see the torment inside him. And yet some bullied him mercilessly. All because of who he is attracted to. I have never been so scared for a students, and so angry at others. I was embarrassed that such bigotry was going on in my class.

People don’t see this torment on the inside. No one except the individual will ever understand what is shooting through their mind. That is why I love this book. It shows us these thoughts and fears. It brings us to the forefront of discrimination. We become a part of it. We feel it. We see it. It hurts us too. And it’s superhero connection draws kids in even more. Especially lately with the popularity of the Marvel Universe, and the growing excitement of the DC Comics Universe. Heroes are in! What better way to teach kids about these issues than by appealing to their hero side?

The world is full of so much hate. Hate because of colour, gender, identity, sexuality, religion, politics… Honestly, I can feel it every day. I see it through my gay friends, my Aboriginal partner, my Islamaphobic father, my sexist grandfather and the fear I feel when I tell people I’m an Atheist. There is so much hate, so much. I feel art is a form of expression, whether it be painting, video games, comics, movies, plays or novels. This book is a work of art, made to break down the barriers in society. Made to tackle the problems. Made to open minds. And so many young minds need opening.

Video Games

Video games have become an important and integral part of youth culture. As a gamer myself, it is a culture that I fully and completely understand. I will discuss various video games here and the messages they send to our youth, whether I believe them to be good or bad. You may agree or not, but as a gamer I understand this medium and its content. I acknowledge that some of these games may not have been created for young people, but I am positive they play them nonetheless. I have witnessed a woman buy her 8 year old son GTA V. This game has death, sex, torture and crime riddled throughout it. Although some of these games are not made for kids, they have become a part of the youth culture.

The Fallout Series

Fallout is an incredibly successful series based in a post nuclear apocalyptic world. The hero must fight raiders, slavers, mutants, ghouls and a variety of other people and mutated creatures. The game changed after no. 2, with Fallout 3 becoming a different game based in the same world. I admit, I have not played the first 2. Regardless, Fallout 3, New Vegas and Fallout 4 are all excellent games riddled with content. But what exactly is its message?

I honestly believe analysing a game for its messages is harder than analysing a book, song or film. The content here is so vast and expansive that I barely know where to begin.

Firstly I wish to discuss the nuclear war scenario. One message I see for all for us, not just the young, is the destruction nuclear war can bring. Instead of in a film or book, the player is able to witness this destruction first hand. When you emerge into the Wasteland in no. 3 you are met with a blinding light and a destroyed world. Trees that are nothing but dead stumps, billboards half destroyed, roads almost gone, houses nothing but rubble, a town destroyed and empty. A nuclear wasteland. As much fun as this game is, it made me realise how much we need to avoid this scenario. You never truly realise how horrific a nuclear apocolypse can be until you come face to face with a ghoul. Humans so riddled with radiation they are nothing but living corpses. And just like everything else in this world, some are friendly and some are not. Fallout seems to have been rather successful in its anti-war message. Although most gamers adore this series (I myself have played it numerous times) I think it is safe to say that we can all agree that this world is not one any of us should live in. War is about survival. Or in some instances it is about power, money, destruction, human rights or protection. Fallout acknowledges that, even with an apocalyptic wasteland being shoved in everyone’s faces, even after seeing the destruction that war can and will bring. People never stop fighting.

War… war never changes.

I believe the message about war leads perfectly into consequences. Fallout is a game based largely on the decisions made by the player. There are evil and good paths, there are neutral decisions, and then there are the ones that have completely unexpected consequences. In Fallout 3, the first town you come across gives you the opportunity to make one of these decisions. Do you save a town, or blow it up? You are given the choice of either disarming a nuclear bomb planted in the middle of this town, or arm it and blow the entire town to pieces. This kills almost everyone. This is not the only decision of this kind you can make. Do you let the vampire kid stay with the other vampires? Or send him home to his friends and family? Find the orphan a home? Or leave him to die? Seriously, I have barely scratched the surface of the things you can do in this game. But for me, the most harrowing one of all is Tenpenny Tower. Here you find a group of high class people who are very very self indulged. There is a group of ghouls (walking corpses) that wish to enter the tower and live with them. They have the money, so why can’t they? You can either side with the residents and kill the ghouls, or side with the ghouls and kill the residents. I took (what I thought to be) a better approach. I convinced everyone in the tower to let the ghouls in. I thought I had overcome adversity and discrimination. I was wrong. I returned some time later to find the tower full of only ghouls. No humans, the residents were gone. Upon further investigation, I discovered the ghouls could not live with the humans and they killed them all. I was astonished. My plan was so perfect, and yet it failed so miserably. Not only did this demonstrate to me that the decisions made in this game are not black and white, but also that;

War… war never changes.

The Last of Us

This is an incredible game that touched millions. If you plan on playing this game, don’t read this, at all. Spoilers destroy the beauty of this game. The one problem with it is, it can never be played for the first time again. It is still fun but that feeling cannot be recaptured. It is, again, the depiction of a post apocalyptic world. Here a virus has spread throughout the populace. Like a zombie virus but spores reanimate and alter people into mindless hunters out to kill. The story switches between 2 characters, Joel and his daughter figure Ellie. We begin with Joel’s story at the beginning of the outbreak, when he loses his daughter Sarah. Cut to 2 decades later and we watch as Joel fights to protect Ellie from numerous threats. I don’t feel I need to touch on the apocalyptic theme as I did whilst discussing Fallout, and they are similar in that regards. Human nature still doesn’t change. We are still so very violent. One moment even indicates that a grown man intends to rape Ellie. A horrifying look into a post apocalyptic world.

But the importance of family and loyalty shines through. Joel and Ellie become a family, with Joel becoming the father Ellie never had and Ellie filling the hole Sarah’s death left in Joel. Family not related by blood, but by loyalty.

GTA V

Now onto the controversial one. Firstly, I like the GTA series, but I am not an avid fan. I merely enjoy playing them sometimes. GTA, much like Mortal Combat, has long been the focus of controversy, as the developers enjoy pushing the boundaries of what is socially acceptable. In an attempt to have you, my audience, understand just how hated this game is, I searched for a variety of articles that condemned the franchise.

https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/mkdn-never-play-gta/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/dont-buy-your-kid-grand-theft-auto-v-for-christmas_b_4440477

https://www.cnet.com/au/news/school-principals-threaten-parents-with-police-if-kids-play-grand-theft-auto/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/grand-theft-auto-is-good/

I also found articles promoting GTA V and video games as essential for children and young adults. There are so many arguments. So many opinions.

http://www.gamesradar.com/6-reasons-why-kids-should-play-gta/2/

http://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/parenting-style/why-violent-video-games-are-good-for-kids

http://jar.sagepub.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/content/28/2/155

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10268820/Grand-Theft-Auto-therapeutic-for-kids-say-psychologists.html

Honestly, there are so many opinions, so SO many varying opinions, that people will NEVER know what the truth is. I honestly do not know myself. But I can tell you my own opinions on this matter.

I would NEVER let a child play such a violent game. Any young child, should not be playing GTA V. Violent games can be great, one article said it was even therapeutic. But GTA V has SEVERE adult themes. I am not talking about murder, we as a culture have become desensitized to murder and mayhem. I am talking about graphic sex scenes, the horrific things you can do, but mostly I am talking about the incredibly graphic torture scene.

I personally LOVED this game. Yes it is violent, yes it is graphic and yes I thought it was great. I enjoyed racing through a major city running countless people over. I have the common sense and empathy to understand they are not real. Most youth do too. But at young ages, I’m talking under 10, children probably need to grow a little more empathy before they undertake this game. Now, yes I enjoyed this game and I have enjoyed many other violent video games, but I am a good person. I am an advocate for marriage equality, gender equality and freedom. I would fight to the death against racism, misogyny (and misanthropy), domestic violence, animal abuse and Islamophobia. I am a good person, and I LOVE violent video games. Have done since I was a teenager.

This is one fight I cannot give a definitive answer for. My opinions sways, as I think very young children should not be exposed to such violence, but at the same time they kind of need to be. We need to build their immune system, the world is full of this stuff now, we can’t really protect them from it.

I honestly love video games, and would not see such strong restrictions on art. Yes they are created by adults, again, but they are a major contributor to modern youth culture. Censoring them only makes children/teens angry and resentful. The restrictions set on us as Australian ADULTS makes me resent our government. Children feel similar when such restrictions are placed on them. The job is not to hide these games, but to educate our youth about them. Make sure children understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and that it is just a game for fun. Most understand you can’t run someone over just for the LOL’s. Many people only focus on games like GTA V and Mortal Combat and how harmful they are, but they never discuss the messages conveyed through a variety of games. The anti-war and pro family ideals as discussed above. Video games are just a modern and more interactive version of book, and an educated society stopped book burning a very long time ago… you’d think…

Stephanie Meyer – Twilight

Twilight, the ‘romantic’ tale of 2 lovers. A vampire and a human, who defy all odds and live to be married and have child.

How… Romantic…

I hope my sarcasm came through… I really do. In case you can’t tell, I despise Twilight. I admit, I saw the film first, and loved every second of it. I, a typical teenage girl, fell in love with the vampires and thought about perhaps finding my own prince charming. Well I have found mine, and he is NOTHING like the creeps in this novel/movie. I read all the books, and then re watched the movie. The 2nd time I saw it, I felt uncomfortable and I did not know why. I realised that the acting was bad, and the story was terrible. I began to think about the idea of having an Edward in my life and more than anything, it scared me. During my first year of University, I studied Twilight for a class and compared how modern vampires differ to those in the past. This time I saw my discomfort. I saw what millions of girls thought romantic. I saw an abusive man controlling a young girl, and I saw the impact this had on youth. We spend so much time and effort teaching girls (and men, men can be abused too) that this kind of relationship is NOT OK. And in one novel, years of hard work was destroyed. How many teens found their Edward? How many are still stuck with him? Scared? Alone?

When deciding on various texts to discuss (heading for the controversial voice) I recognise that Twilight is a relatively old text in the grand scheme of things. Though I COULD NOT ignore it. It has a message that NEEDS to be heard. Twilight is nothing but a story of abuse.

 I found this excellent clip in my search. It perfectly sums up how this is a story of an abusive relationship. I acknowledge that this is different to my last post. My discussion about Feed was a recognition of the warning it was trying to teach the youth of today. An attempt at scaring us into reality. I believe this to be the ultimate appeal of Dystopian Literature. But Twilight is not Dystopian Literature. It is a monster/romance story. The idea of the blood-sucking horror that drains every part of your life and soul, has been forever tainted by a sparkly, abusive man. This is not a warning, this is what we have been warned about.

Throughout my studies in this course I have begun to realise that we adults attempt to control youth too much. We do not allow them to be themselves, or grow their own culture. Adults write YA novels, direct teen movies and produce popular music. The youth have barely any say in their own culture, and I often feel this needs to be rectified. But in the case of Twilight, I find myself torn. Do we step in… again… and say what the youth can and cannot do? Or do we allow millions of girls (and boys) to believe that this is a healthy relationship? Where is the line? Because I honestly have no idea.

Regardless, I feel I must discuss exactly how this story promotes abusive relationships. Then perhaps you may decide for yourselves the prudent course of action in regards to this popular aspect of young culture.

http://au.reachout.com/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship

Reachout is a site dedicated to domestic violence and educating everyone about the issue. They have an excellent check list for an abusive relationship. Below are the points that can be found on their website, word for word. Shall we evaluate Bella an Edwards?

Possessiveness:

  • Checking on you all the time to see where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with.
  • Trying to control where you go and who you can see and getting angry if you don’t do what they say.

Jealousy:

  • Accusing you without good reason of being unfaithful or flirting.
  • Isolating you from family and friends, often by rude behaviour.

Put downs:

  • Putting you down, either publicly or privately, by attacking your intelligence, looks, mental health or capabilities.
  • Constantly comparing you unfavourably with others.
  • Blaming you for all the problems in the relationship, and for the times they are out of control or violent.

Threats:

  • Yelling, sulking and deliberately breaking things that you value.
  • Threatening to use violence against you, your family, friends or even a pet.
  • Saying things like ‘no one else will want you’.

Physical and sexual violence:

  • Pushing, shoving, hitting, grabbing, making you have sex or do things you don’t want to do
  • Harming you, your pets or your family members

Edward constantly controls Bella (I am not just talking about the first installment, I will discuss them all). Although she sometimes ignores him, and has been known to proceed to Jacob’s anyway, she is still very much under his control. How many times do we see him bark instructions at her and she willingly obeys? He follows her on a night out, stalks her and watches her WHILE SHE SLEEPS!!! Honestly, the creepiest thing in this entire story. He isolates her, she becomes withdrawn from her friends, he is overtly aggressive towards Jacob. Bella’s only remaining full time friend. He is often ridiculously jealous and protective around her. Like she is his property, and he is staking his claim. He blames her for loving him, he has been seen putting her down (we saw some of it in the YouTube clip). He threatens to leave, even kill himself. I know that isn’t specifically on this list, but it IS A THREAT! It is manipulative and destructive… I’ve seen it before. He is not overly physically violent, but he is not gentle. His abusive signs are NONE of the overt ones. Our hero, our Knight in Shining Armour CANNOT hit the girl. But he can control her… he can manipulate her… and he can OWN her.

Twilight is a terrifying franchise. I have heard people defend it, saying Bella is s strong woman, but she isn’t. Sure I cried when my ex dumped me, but I moved on. You can’t sulk in a room for months on end and be labeled “strong”. Strong does not even belong in the same realm as Bella. Edward owns her body, heart, mind and soul. She is no longer an individual.

This is what we are OK with teaching our young girls (and boys, never forget this can happen to them too!)? How did this happen? How did THIS become romance? Stalking is not fun or romantic, I can promise that. 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 13 men (https://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/stalking-fact-sheet_english.pdf), experience this in their lifetime. I have, my friends have, what about those younger than us? I was 19 and had the support of my family. Strong enough to run before it got bad. I am the very lucky one. Friends have broken because of this. Are we really OK with teaching our children that it is normal? That’s what love is?

I’m not!

 

M.T. Anderson – Feed

I will explore a variety of youth texts and popular culture for various reason. However, Feed, began my interest in the controversy that surrounds this topic. It is this novel that began my journey.

I first encountered Feed by M.T. Anderson during my 3rd year at the University of Wollongong, in a Youth Literature class. Out of all the YA (Young Adult) novels I read during this time, this was my favourite. It’s message of an ominously bright future, consumed by money, advertising, selfishness and material wealth concerned me. This novel was well written, and afforded me a terrifying look into the future.

A future we can all be afraid of…

The Moon

Our story began on the Moon… yes… the Moon. Where our protagonist and his friends are bored… BORED!!! ON THE MOON!!! This thing, this object, that has captured the wonder and imagination of humanity for thousands of years… is boring. Titus describes something almost like an amusement park, a place of excitement and low gravity. The absence of gravity being something many of us (in the 21st Century) only dream of. Some even pay incredible amounts of money just to experience this zero gravity for 30 seconds. And yet, this low/no gravity is one of the things Titus hates most. Titus even briefly mentions a trip to Mars… THE RED PLANET… though it to was boring.

“The Red planet was a piece of shit.”

Imagine for us to be able to travel to and experience another planet, just on a whim. For so long being an astronaut has inspired countless children, and yet, it was “totally null”. The fact the children find the Moon and Mars boring, concerns me greatly. Have we become so overloaded with what we want all the time, that nothing pleases us? However, the fact that the Moon is an amusement park frightens me more than anything else about this first scene. This magical and beautiful thing in our sky. This object we have stared at and wondered about for thousands of years. This giant, beautiful orb, that so wonderfully lights our nights, is owned and operated by a corporation. It is nothing more than a money making machine, stripped of beauty and wonder for a few bucks. Not only has greed destroyed our world (Violet and Titus’ father have an argument about a forest being destroyed), but it has expanded and engulfed the Moon and even Mars. I feel that immediately, our innocence and wonder dies here, in the first scene of our story. The Moon should mean so much more to us.

School™

School is scarily labeled School™ … trademarked… School is… trademarked… As a school teacher, this terrifies me. Corporations owning school. Education, nothing more than corporate brainwashing for youth. Titus explains that this is a good thing as he no longer has to learn useless things as the Feed reads, does math, studies history, explains science and anything else he has needs. The Feed is his education. School™ teaches Titus how the corporations are so ‘wonderfully’ controlling everything. How the businesses are out to help them. Violet manages to point out how awful this is when she asks Titus if he can read. The fact that he can’t (the Feed translates words for him) should terrify us all. Violet is considered strange for using big words and knowing how to read and write. Titus is astounded when he discovers she can write with a pen. I honestly wanted to begin this paragraph with a positive, and lead into the negative. However, I found no positives here. The idea that no one wants to pay for proper education, so big business offers (and everyone was just OK with this) is an incredibly scary concept. I see our Australian government ignore the GONSKI campaign (please join and support, it’s a great cause) and waste millions on a plebiscite that isn’t even binding. This all seems to me to be a step in the way of corporate schooling. Our government withholds educational funding. Our schools lose teachers whilst our politicians live on hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The rural school near me can’t afford enough teachers to cover classes. With class sizes of 30 + and no money for casuals, the school struggles. If a teacher calls in sick, no substitute is called. The classes are sent to the hall to do various activities supervised by minimal teachers. But hey, John Howard still deserved his $100,000 – $200,000 pension each year despite the fact he does nothing for our country now except talk about how bad Marriage Equality is. Schoolis a scary insight into an all too realistic future. Kids in the school I teach at already value business over education. I have seen many wag school to go to work. How are they and their parents OK with this? It has already begun… that’s how. Education has begun to lose its value. This novel merely demonstrates the future we will have if we continue on this path. A path our government will not deviate from. And we are letting them get away with it.

I can see our government giving up on education, they have already begun.

Violet

Violet is honestly a breath of fresh air in this novel. She is the closest we have to a light in the dark. She is home schooled and as a result, she is able to read and write. She follows politics and is concerned about the lives that everyone is living. She is the only one that mentions the legions. The human race has become so disgusting that their bodies begin to fall apart. Literally. The legions are tears in their skin that have become fashionable. FASHIONABLE… cuts, breaks, tears. Big enough to see muscle tissue. It is all somehow… fashionable. Violet is the only one to point out the absurdity of this. What has happened to us that allows our bodies to deteriorate so alarmingly? Violet appears to be our only voice of reason. She expresses our concerns for us, though she is labeled ‘weird’ for doing so. She is a pleasant character and our only respite from the horribly bright, dystopian world. Although we hope for the best, hope she will be able to wake up her friends and perhaps be the hero this story needed; she falls victim to her own morality. She is defeated by the very corporations she is rebelling against. Our hero lost. And yes, she is our hero. Titus is not a hero in my eyes. I don’t know about you, but I am not used to this feeling. I am not used to the bad guys winning. Violets rebellion against the system is her downfall, she is refused treatment  until she becomes a better consumer. Yes, that’s right… corporations own healthcare too.

The Feed

The Feed… where do I even begin? This is possibly the single most amazing, awesome and terrifying thing in this entire book.

Imagine, having the world wide web literally only a thought away. Feel like buying something? Just think about it, send payment details, and it’s yours. Computer too far away to do homework? Access your inner web and get the information you need. Don’t want to interact with those around you? Watch TV in your mind. Too lazy to text? Think the words and your Feed will send it for you. Can’t be bothered to learn how to read? Don’t worry, the Feed has got your back, it’ll translate everything for you. Want to completely forget about anything even remotely important in the world? The Feed will hide it all by bombarding you with bulls*** so you NEVER have to worry again. Be the sheep you were MADE to be.

Brutally honest? Good. The Feed seems like an incredible feat of ingenuity. What an amazing product, to have the entire world a mere thought away. What a beautiful idea. But humans have long taken beautiful ideas and destroyed them. Music, an expression of feelings and a way to oppose oppression and injustice. All I have seen lately has been so called “music” about drugs, ass’ and sex. What an amazing expression of feeling, condensed into nothing but mindless dribble to numb the masses (yes I know some of you won’t agree). We take science and create the most incredible things, but greed always wins. Science has been used for horrid purposes. Hiroshima and Nagasaki anyone? I view the Feed the same way I have seen anything else we create or use as a species. We WILL (and have) f*** is up.

The Feed in this novel is hardwired into the brains of approximately 70-78% of the U.S. population. The powers that be have been known to tap mobiles and bug computers. Imagine the horrors if they would be permitted access to our brains. We have not stopped them tapping our phones, I doubt we can stop them taping into our minds if given the chance. But, this is not even mentioned in the novel (it is my own concern), the main problem mentioned is the overt bombardment of advertisements. Capitalism at it’s finest. A world controlled by big business in an effort to sell, sell, sell. There are numerous moments in this novel where Titus explains that his feed is going a little crazy bombarding them with constant ads for them to buy various items. Every now and then, among these advertisements, there are snippets of news. Politics where the U.S. President makes an idiot of himself in front of various world leaders. Where the world begins to deem America as less than it used to be. These moments of real life are the highlights of this novel. It feels real. I enjoy knowing that there really are problems in this place, and that people are noticing them because I often feel alone worrying for the inhabitants of this America. However, these moments demonstrate a stark reality that we can even notice today. There are far too many ads, and not enough news. Ever watch a news program and think “where is the news? This isn’t news!”? Well, M.T. Anderson’s world demonstrates what would happen if they stopped trying to disguise advertisements as news. They don’t even have to try in this novel.

When looking at the Feed, all I saw is a way for big business to marginalise, manipulate and control the masses. Whilst simultaneously making money, controlling politics and dumbing down the people… one generation at a time.