Language & Technology in M.T. Anderson's FEED

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Language & Technology in M.T. Anderson’s Feed

Feed depicts a futuristic dystopia in which technology not only surrounds humans at all times, but it is literally built in to many a human head. For a novel published as recently as 2002, it is not hard to find similarities to the technological boom we are experiencing in the real-world twenty-first century, with more and more emphasis on online networking and interaction and increasing ease of use and high-speed accessibility. The language used in Anderson’s novel reflects on the substantial decline of traditional communication and the value of social interaction due to an abundance of technology. Feed’s narrative style seems a little jarring at first glance. The infrequent interruptions involving Titus’ internal corporate advertisements parody the multitude of commercials and promotions one deals with on a daily basis, all with a distinct “language” of their own. Likewise, when Feed’s characters speak to one another, through internal feed or vocally, their word use is strange and almost fractured. Whole conversations take place in short, simple, abbreviated sentences. Titus’ use of phrases such as “da da da” and “meg null” and the ever-present “like” quickly become familiar methods of description. Instances of futuristic slang terms mark a shift in the formality of the “dead languages” of the past. “Unit” (dude), “M-chat” (feed-talking), “Major system error” (big problem), and “Girlf” (girlfriend) easily get their point across but, being so mechanical and impersonal, do away with the need for deeper thought and comprehension. I found it strange too, reading Anderson’s dialogue, because unfortunately it is fairly easy to interpret without much though, which is no doubt a consequence of basic familiarity with twenty-first century conventions and Internet jargon. Anderson’s story is aimed at a young adult audience, which works well with the subject matter, though I am surprised at the amount of cursing

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