Impending Doom Versus Consumerism in Feed and Real Life
Even when Titus and his friends aren’t “going mal,” they seem to be numbing their senses in another way – consumerism. Feed highlights the almost anesthetizing effects of consumption rather explicitly when Titus orders the same pair of pants over and over again after the trauma of witnessing Violet on her death bed. And of course, the relentless ads interspersed throughout the novel, although often comedic, emphasize how Titus’s world is saturated by consumerism.
In contrast to the placating effects of consumption, the novel made frequent, albeit passing, mentions of the horror and tragedy taking place in the broader global community. Violet discusses the fifteen hundred people found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, or a news broadcast mentions “genocidal dictatorships,” but Titus pays far less attention to these tragedies than to Quendy’s lesions or the purchase of his new upcar (189). The novel creates a sense of impending doom, the world seeming to grow bleaker and more violent with each passing day, and yet the characters, excluding Violet, seem largely unbothered by it.
I wanted to believe that our world hasn’t yet reached this level of complacency and nonchalance concerning tragedy and injustice. At the height of the Trump Administration’s family separation, I felt that every other post on my Facebook feed was some sort of petition or call for action. Today, however, I had to scroll through for quite some time before I reached a story of any importance, and not simply cat videos and memes. For what it’s worth, the story was posted by a politician.
Large-scale tragedy and injustice are without a doubt currently taking place, but my news feed seemed more concerned with cute animals and funny gifs. I like to think that my social circle and I are politically engaged, conscious citizens, but I wonder if we too are choosing to ignore growing threats, like climate change and mass incarceration, in favor of the numbing effects of consumerism and entertainment. Feed certainly got me to thinking about how I respond to national and global crises, and, in that way, I found it to be a very thought-provoking and effective satire.