Danny Iachini’s Weblog

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Feed

From January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007, John and Hank Green (an author and an eco-activist, respectively) communicated with each other primarily through daily (alternating between each other every weekday) three-to-four minute YouTube vlogs (video logs).  I didn’t find out about this Brotherhood 2.0 experiment until July 18th’s Accio Deathly Hallows song was featured.  After that, I went and watched all of the earlier videos and all of the rest of them (and they’ve continued doing them about weekly through 2008 so far).

Since John and Hank are each big readers, they have discussed and suggested a bunch of books in the past year and a half.  The first two books of theirs that they suggested and I read were Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines.  Each of these was written by John Green, and they were both absolutely awesome reads (you should all check them out!).  One other book which they off-handedly mentioned and which really stood out to me was M.T. Anderson’s Feed.  The context in which they mentioned this book was about having Wikipedia in your head, and being able to get any information you want at any time – but that it could be modified by anyone (John was saying that he wouldn’t want someone to change the article in his head about the Yeti (his wife)…).

That seemed like a really interesting concept to me, so this book sounded like something I’d enjoy – I put it on my to do list (with Wanted, The Wizard (which I’ve seen, but really want to see again), and my idea for an awesome Flash game… more to come at some point in my life), and have been staring it down daily ever since.  When I got on my reading kick this summer, I was overjoyed to see that the Cranberry Township library had a copy, so I picked that up when I got all of my other recommended reading.

When I couldn’t sleep in on Monday morning here at the beach, I thought a great idea would be to jump right into Feed.  So I did.  And I loved it.  Feed is such an interesting concept and I think it is absolutely 100% where the world is heading (which I’m all right with in some sense, but not entirely all right with in others).  The idea is that just about everyone has a chip wired all throughout their brain, and this chip enables them to be connected to everything (it’s basically a super-internet).

With this chip, you can communicate with the universe (sending text messages to anyone, anywhere, any time), you can find any information you want (if your friend uses an archaic term or new slang that you don’t know, you can look it up), and you can find whatever entertainment you want (TV shows, radio broadcasts, whatever music you want, etc).  In those three huge categories of usage, I’m all for it!  That would be awesome to be connected like that to make my life that much easier.

But problems with this chip include privacy (your mom can tell where you are, what you’re doing, and what you’ve been “feed”ing on) and advertising.  We’ve all seen where advertising has been heading with ads personalized based on your Google searches, or Facebook ads which supposedly target you (though they’re not always perfect).

So that’s the concept of the book – as for the actual story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  At first, it was tough for me to get used to the language that was used (on the cover sleeve, I later read that M.T. Anderson read lots of popular and teen magazines and listened to conversations in malls in order to write this), but eventually, I started to want to talk like “Unit, this mal is so meg sweet!” (“unit” is like “dude”, “mal” is short for malfunctioning, so it’s like the effects of alcohol or drugs, and “meg” is like “freaking”…. I think…).  There really weren’t any slow parts at all – something is always happening, or you’re always learning something new about a relationship or the concept.  The fact that no chapter is longer than maybe 7 pages made it so tough to put it down.  Dinner would be ready, and so I’d say that I’d need to just finish that chapter – but when I saw that the next chapter was 2 pages, I would finish that too… and maybe one more.

My favorite line in the book was a nerd joke that happens on page 53-54.  Violet is talking about how her dad teaches dead languages at a university, and when Titus asks what dead languages are, she described them and said “You know, Fortran. Basic.”  That was just so awesome to me.  The whole book was a fun read, and it really took me no time at all (I started just two days ago, and by no means spent any large amount of time on it).  If you’re looking for a fun, quick, futuristic story, this one is a great one to get you thinking about what might happen in the near future.

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July 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] different from hers, but I told her that I’d at least put it on my list.  When I finished up Feed this morning, Who Moved My Cheese? was at the top of my To Read […]

    Pingback by Who Moved My Cheese? « Danny Iachini’s Weblog | July 25, 2008


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