Post date: Mar 27, 2018 1:49:40 PM
This week we started our fourth and final unit of the year. Our guide material is the novel Feed by M. T. Anderson. Feed is an interesting book. It is speculative fiction set a couple generations in the future in America. The author imagines a world that is a technological wonderland, for the rich at least. A majority of people have an implant installed when they are young called the Feed. This connects something like the Internet with the central nervous system allowing all kinds of data to feed directly into your brain. Imagine the possibilities! While it might sound awesome on the surface, a plethora of problems exist as you can imagine. Corporations control the Feed and constantly feed their advertising into you to get you to constantly buy new stuff. This rampant consumerism has destroyed the planet.
The book, written in 2002 before Google, Facebook, and the smartphone, has predicted much of what we see today. A warming, volatile planet, constantly connected culture, Big Data, and targeted advertising. The themes of the book are more important than ever as we inch closer and closer to the future that M. T. Anderson predicts in this novel.
While reading, we will explore topics of consumerism, the value of human life, our relationship with technology, and technology's impact on human relationships and communication (especially with how it changes language). We started the unit with two assignments. One, a look at the poem Anderson uses to begin his book, "Anthem for St. Cecilia's Day". The second assignment is an ongoing one where students make a dictionary of the slang words slang words used by our future-set characters. Coming up soon will be an assignment that asks the students to look at the technology found in the novel and analyze their benefits and costs to society. I'm hoping for some provocative discussions over the next 8 weeks.