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Book Notes

This book, by Anderson not Grant, was indirectly recommended in the XOXO slack, after a fellow attendee, community member, slacker posted about how his kid was setting up a large number of privacy-focused technologies in the home, and how either proud or nervous the parent should be. The consensus was proud, but, hey, was the kid inspired (terrified?) by Feed by M. T. Anderson into being more privacy conscious? Something that could inspire a kid to be more privacy focused? Yes, I will read this book.

The book follows Titus and his friends as they venture off to the moon for a weekend jaunt. Without explaining the various technologies (they just are), Titus and his friends go to a big party, where their neurological connections to the internet, their feeds, are infected. There are repercussions from the infection (gosh, five of them go a whole week without constant distractions), mostly surrounding Violet who is the awkward social outcast of the tale.

While Titus's family is rich and privileged, Violet's is not. The book does a great job contrasting the two of them while exploring privilege, the obliviousness of the privileged, the exploitation of corporations for our attention, the abuses by corporations of the data we provide, the potential disaster of media with the suppression of journalism, the dumbing down of society as a whole even as technology progresses, and the absurdity of mindless consumerism. Violet is the breath of fresh air, the voice of reason in the disaster that is this American culture (and let's be real, a completely believable prediction given the us vs them mentality and anti-science rhetoric that pervades our current culture). As a result, we know that Violet shall be the tragic character in this tale.

Oh, look, she is.

But with that tragedy, Anderson does a great job also of portraying just how we deal with death, bad luck, depression, anything negative: we flinch, we run away from it. While I can't say I'd recommend this book to many people, that lack of recommendation is more because I don't know of many people in the target audience for this book. However, for the juxtaposition of the surprisingly deep topics portrayed amongst the inane characters, this book is worth reading.

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