Damnation by Automation
One account, Feed by M.T Anderson, a group of teens love in a hyper automated world. While spending their spring break on the Moon, Titus and his friends meet Violet Durn, whose questioning attitude is completely new to the others. At a club, a strange man approaches them, they get hacked and fall sick. All go to the hospital, but since Violet doesn’t have enough money, she does not get fully healed. Through the whole hospital phenomena, Violet and Titus form a relationship, and fall in love. Violet confides in Titus that she dislikes the feed, and informs him of her desire to resist it, and how she hates a fashion trend, lesions. Violet malfunctions, and falls into a coma. While in the coma, Violet sends Titus what memories she has left, and titus deletes them. As Violet passes away, there are several memories, never to be seen again. In an act of grief, Titus buys several pairs of jeans, until he runs out of credit. In another film account, Wall-E, he is a robot who is tasked with cleaning up the trash from the Earth, and to make cubes to compact the trash. Eva is a plant containment unit robot, who searches for life on Earth, and who is required to return to space when she finds it. Humans are in a spaceship the AXIOM, floating around space, losing bones, buying useless stuff, gaining weight, and losing basic means to life, movement, healthy food, and awareness of surroundings. On the ship, the machines took over, gaining full control. These machines threatened whatever life existed on Earth, and ran completely automatically. With a team of rogue robots, Eva and Wall-E secure a plant and revive Earth with the humans on the AXIOM. In thorough examination of M.T. Anderson’s Feed and Pixar’s Wall-E, comparisons and contrasts exist, especially in the damnation of society by consumerism and technology.
Feed and Wall-E share many frightening aspects and images that still hold true to today’s society. Many of which lie in the environmental destruction of the Earth, due to overproduction and waste. All of this environmental disrespect, “Umm, Operation ‘Cleanup’ has well uh, failed. (similar to the dead environment)” The CEO of Buy-N-Large released a statement to AUTO, in the form of Directive A113 (Wall-E). “As you know, rising toxicity levels have made life unsustainable on Earth, we’re gonna have to cancel operation ‘Recolonize’… Do not return to Earth, I repeat, do not return to Earth” (Wall-E). The eventual death of this society was caused by the rise of consumerism, in both Wall-E and Feed, in Titus “…there’s nothing but the feed telling you, This is the music you heard. This is the music you missed. This is what is new. Listen” (Anderson 5). In the two pieces, the Earth is in a state of disrepair, in a time run automatically, by robots, with no input by those who inhabit the Earth, humans. In Feed, the World is dangerous to a point where everything is artificial, and trademarked, such as “School™” and “Clouds™” (Feed 79). Within Wall-E, the environment had become even more toxic, or so that was, 700 years before. The plant that made its way through the plotline signified a change, one not in just the condition of the Earth, but the condition of the human race, changing steadily, ready to grow— “Out there is our home! Home AUTO! And it’s in trouble. I can’t just sit here and do nothing. That’s all I ever done. That’s all anyone in this blasted ship has ever done. Nothing!” (Wall-E). Within both Wall-E and Feed extreme waste was a problem that took place on the Earth: “Too much garbage in your face? There’s plenty of space out in space!”(Wall-E). This stood the rally cry for BNL, and the convincing point behind moving into space. In M.T Anderson’s Feed all animals other than cockroaches have been killed by humans. Oceans are toxic and the Earth is dying but nobody seems to be aware of these problems, Being as absorbed as they are in keeping up with the newest trends, In Wall-E, also, as in the scene where everybody is floating in there chairs, and a message flashes, “Try blue! It’s the new red” as soon as the message happens, blue sweeps like a wave across the AXIOM (Wall-E).
In Feed, the Earth is still safe and inhabitable to some extent, and people were still living on Earth, or in the atmosphere and the planets surrounding it. In Wall-E however, the toxicity was completely unsafe, so much so that the Earth had to be evacuated, everybody onto the AXIOM. There were plans to return once the army of Wall-E did their job, however “… rising toxicity levels have made life unsustainable on Earth, we’re gonna have to cancel operation ‘Recolonize’… Do not return to Earth, I repeat, do not return to Earth” (Wall-E). A second is the health of the inhabitants, In Feed, the environment is so outlandishly toxic, that the citizen’s skin is falling off of their bodies, and making what the citizens are calling ‘Lesions’. With Wall-E the citizens have devolved to floating blobs of fat, with minimal bone structure, they’ve become so fat, that standing is nearly impossible, and getting up requires a team of robots. A downside to these societies is the obliviousness of those in the AXIOM, in Wall-E “I’m Sure a few laps around the ship’s jogging track can fix you right up. ‘We have a jogging track?’” (Wall-E). Similarly in both Feed and Wall-E, people went around on hovering modes of transportation, but the mode differed. In Feed, People went around in ‘Upcars’ ones such as the “Dodge Gryphon” (Anderson 122). Titus was so ecstatic about his upcar, he forgot about his surroundings, how he was Violet’s Boyfriend and she had needs as did he. “I was hugging them… by tomorrow I would be driving to pick up Violet in my own goddamn upcar…” (Anderson 118). Like the real world that we live in today, cars provide a distraction and a new part of this futuristic yet wonderfully oblivious world. In Wall-E the floating chairs were the method of transportation on the AXIOM, all of the fat people floated in their chairs, along magnetically aligned rails, going only where they wanted to, or nowhere at all. The chairs made people so oblivious of what’s going on around them, “We have a jogging track?—I didn’t know we had a pool!” these two things were completely ignored, partially explaining the health issue on the ship (Wall-E).
Within a thorough examination of M.T. Anderson’s Feed and Pixar’s Wall-E, comparisons and contrasts exist in the damnation of society by consumerism and technology. One, environmental destruction of the Earth, thanks to overproduction and waste. Second, the decadence of society by automation, and third, in consumerism and loss of human choice. As a final comparison, both show and prophesied the current condition of the United States, and what its going through today. To put simply, “They’re us, in other words. And like us, they’re not all bad. The paradox at the heart of “Wall-E” is that the drive to invent new things and improve the old ones — to buy and sell and make and collect — creates the potential for disaster and also the possible path away from it. Or, put another way, some of the same impulses that fill the world of “Wall-E” — our world — with junk can also fill it with art” (Scott). For contrast, in Feed, the Earth is still safe and inhabitable, however in Wall-E, the toxicity was unsafe. Secondly, in Wall-E, humans had lost bone mass, and become horribly obese and unhealthy. Third, in Feed, the cars hovered above the ground, and in Wall-E the chairs hovered above the ground. Finally, in Feed, the end is the eventual death of Violet, it’s sad and shows how not everything is painless and simple. The example that no matter how is much technology can do, death is inevitable and will always occur. This stands completely opposite from the normal path of Disney and Pixar. The calm and happy ending, where everything comes together, and it’s happily ever after. Wall-E, a creative definition of the Pixar motif, demonstrates the recolonization of Earth, with Eva and Wall-E finally getting together. Looking back on it, both are completely opposite endings, yet both stand equally meaningful. Life can end well or horribly, good and bad, fair or unfair, like in the case of Violet and Eva.