Empty marketing has begun long before my lifetime. Empty ads to feed empty people things that mean nothing in comparison to the void. Take the ad above, for example.
For those who have never read Feed by M.T. Anderson, be warned for spoilers. For those that have, a contemplative analysis over the last bits of Anderson’s weird, cyberpunk novel is incoming.
Feed can be a noun, and a verb. Anderson utilizes both. Personally, I like Violet, and wished that I had her story as the protagonist, instead of Titus. However, I know that Titus gave the readers the experience of the “feed”, the electric/metal wires that fed everything about the world around them.
The last two chapters of Feed both had the same title: “4.6%”. In this case, it’s Violet’s brain’s function capacity. She cannot move, a statue trapped behind her eyes. However, Violet’s father can feed Titus the memories of Violet’s body failing her. Titus tries to explain that she wanted to live, and that it wasn’t his fault that the hacker messed up her feed.
The art of truly living comes with the price of dying. More often than not, the likable characters die a tragic death after finding some purpose in their life.
Authors can be cruel.
However, the ending, fading quote repeating “everything must go!” in Feed plays along the idea of marketing and capitalism. Titus is feeling depressed, as with the marketing of “Feeling blue? Then dress blue! It’s the Blue-Jean Warehouse’s Final Sales Event!” (Anderson pp. 299). The sales pitch of “everything must go” parallels with the emptiness that Titus is feeling. When Violet was stressed earlier after falling down the stairs, her feed didn’t call for help; instead, it offered shopping deals. On a side note, even Titus’ father, who came to visit him on the moon while he’s recovering from the hacker, is informal and impersonal. He’s almost as naive as his son.
Moods must be thrown away. Feelings are fleeting, and only used for marketing in Titus’ world. He doesn’t want to live in that world with Violet and her perspective. But, the feed feeds Titus and the people around him the emptiness to try and fight emptiness within themselves.