I’m going to be thinking about Feed by M.T. Anderson for a long time. It’s mostly a not-too-far-off description of the logical conclusion of social media and capitalism, and was written in 2001 (before social media existed!?) but feels terribly present-day. It’s a horrible prophecy that we should have all heard and then used to repent of our ways immediately.
Outside of predicting the exact circumstances around the demise of American society, I really enjoyed Anderson’s pictures of popularity:
It turned out that my upcar was not the kind of upcar my friends rode in. I don’t know why. It had enough room, but for some reason people didn’t think of it that way. Sometimes that made me feel kind of tired. It was like I kept buying these things to be cool, but cool was always ﬂying just ahead of me, and I could never exactly catch up to it. I felt like I’d been running toward it for a long time.
It was weird to be in the room with her. It was like being in the room with her if she was wood. It didn’t feel like you were in the room with anyone. You could stand there and you would feel completely alone, like you were just in a room with a prop. You could watch the prop, and not feel anything, or remember anything about how the prop used to joke with you, and how you wanted to kiss it and feel it up. I had thought it would feel like a tragedy, but it didn’t feel like anything at all.
Throughout the book—although some of it is written in Clockwork Orange-style slang—I was really struck by how accurately private feelings, the ones we’re ashamed to admit we have, are described.
To ruin your week, read Feed and watch American Meme on Netflix.