A Likely Story: M.T. Anderson’s Dystopia Feed and the Tyranny of Corporate Consumerism

I really like dystopian fiction. Whether old classics like Brave New World or more recent YA blockbusters like the Hunger Games trilogy, I think it tends to provide piercing commentary on modern-day issues, no matter how far in the future the story is set. Their power comes not so much from accurate predictions about how our future will be, as from the scary ways that we can see these dystopian scenarios already playing out in the current world around us. For instance, if you apply Hunger Games to today’s world, you’d see that we in the developed world are the Capitol, the developing countries and poorer parts of our own countries from which we extract cheap goods and resources are the Districts, child labor is the Hunger Games, and of course, media manipulation is ever-present, keeping us complacent (and this is just one interpretation).

The thing is, though, I don’t find the literal scenario of a power-hungry dictator forcing children to fight each other to the death for the entertainment of elites to be very likely to ever happen, at least not in the United States. And the more likely I find a dystopian story to be, the scarier and more poignant I find its message.

There is one dystopian YA novel that is becoming a more and more accurate prediction of our future every day. And that’s because the “bad guy” is not a reductio ad absurdum oppressive government regime, but something I find even scarier: corporate control.

Before checking out the rest of the post below, I beg you to go read M.T. Anderson’s Feed, not just because I’m going to spoil it, but because it should seriously be required reading for, well, everyone. Finished? Shaken? Good. Let’s go.

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Throwback Thursdays: Josie and the Pussycats

Greetings, friends! If you’re tuning in for a theatre column, I have bad news for you: as Fiyero explained last week, we’ve phased that one out as our writer base has changed. That doesn’t mean we won’t post about theatre anymore, it just means we won’t be doing it every week.

The bright side of that change, however, is that it’s being replaced with a cool new column: Throwback Thursdays! Starting today, we’ll be celebrating old-but-awesome media. And to kick it off today, I’m gonna tell you all about why you should love the Josie and the Pussycats movie—a.k.a. fictional semi-dystopian Spice World, a.k.a. the most formative film of my childhood years.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: Consumerism and Geek Culture

Happy Easter to all my Christian sisters and brothers! Today’s post is not going to be about anything involving Easter. Other than the Christ figures, there isn’t much Easter-oriented material in geek culture. There are probably a couple reasons as to why that is, but we aren’t going to get into that today.

Instead, we are going to discuss Christian ethics in geek culture. Particularly, we will be discussing issues of simplicity and voluntary poverty.

Shut-up-and-take-my-moneyRecently, I have been thinking about taking on the challenge of living a life of voluntary poverty. Voluntary poverty is an old idea going back to the monastics and hermits in the early Catholic traditions. The idea of lay (non-clergy) Catholics embracing the idea of voluntary poverty was made popular through the Catholic Worker movement, started by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day. Living a life of voluntary poverty means to live as simply as possible, rarely buying possessions, and worrying less about making and obtaining money in order to dedicate one’s life to service and prayer. It’s a tough sell for many people, but it can also be very freeing. For most people, living a life of voluntary poverty does not seem to be an option. However, all Catholics are called to live a life of simplicity, not to be consumed with possessions or material wealth. I realized as I tried to realign my life in order to live more simply that I had a major problem. I’m a geek. And being an avid fan of all things geeky actually seems to be an exact opposite lifestyle to a simplistic Christian one.

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In Defense of the Alicorn

There’s a storm on the horizon. In fact, many would argue that it’s already here and it as such, has already been given a name: Hurricane Alicorn, starring one Twilight Sparkle.

Yes, apparently there’s a big fuss in the more vocal part of the fandom over the purple pony reaching the mythical level of the Alicorn—some sort of pegasus/unicorn hybrid. And as you can probably tell from that last statement, I’m not in this fandom. I have seen a grand total of three My Little Pony episodes, counting this finale, but I think that even as an outsider I can talk about some of the trends happening in terms of the sociology of the program (perhaps even especially as an outsider). Specifically in terms of this season finale, it’s clear that there’s an interesting disparity happening between the two very distinct parts of the fandom. Interesting in some respects, rather disgusting in others.

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