In the seventh chapter of Feed, we learn just what type of candidate Peter Ryman is, and then GODDAMN IT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.
Okay, thanks to some gentle nudging (AKA outright telling me) from someone on Twitter, I get now that the blog entries bookend the narration, that this is a first-person narrative IN BETWEEN blog posts. WELP. I think I would have figured this out on my own, BUT SO IT GOES.
This entire chapter, I was not only fascinated by Peter Ryman, but I kept thinking one thing: something is going to go wrong. Obviously, I think something has to to drive the plot, but I felt this growing sense of dread while reading this chapter. Things were too nice, they were progressing too well, and I kept anticipating that someone in that room with Ryman would end up being a zombie.
Well, I was still quite unprepared.
So, here’s the thing. Georgia’s initial blog post in this chapter – where she is reluctantly able to state that she likes Peter Ryman – echoes my own sentiment. I have to praise Mira Grant here. I don’t know how she is able to get me to like a Republican presidential candidate who I have practically nothing in common with, but in the few chapters he’s been in, I would fucking vote for him. Like, I have the exact same suspicions as Georgia! He’s too good. He’s too sensible. HE IS TOO LIKABLE. And it fucks with my own political cynicism! I mean, I generally consider myself to be fairly positive. I didn’t start off that way, and my early twenties were a DARK TIME, y’all. I ate up existentialism (which I still love, by the way), I refused to give the benefit of the doubt, I clung to my atheism like a teddy bear, and I was so full of fury, grief, and disappointment that it reflected in my personality. I still have bits and pieces of those same emotions in me, so I don’t want to say that I’ve become a different person. But I’ve found ways to cope, ways I didn’t have a decade ago.
But when it comes to politics, NOPE. I am bitter, angry, and goddamn mad all the time. So I suspect that Georgia almost feels the same way, as if she’s betraying her critical thinking skills by liking Peter Ryman. I’m so used to disavowing political heroes, of constantly being disappointed by how my country is run, of expecting the cultural and financial elite to only look out for their own interests, that it fucks with my brain when someone like Ryman is propped in front of me.
Let’s just dissect what we see of Ryman in this chapter. When Suzanne Greeley asks that whopper of a trap of a question, I knew that this moment would show me what Ryman was made of, at least in a superficial sense. His answer would absolutely sway how I felt about him. Would he poke fun at the lady? Give her an easy answer? Dodge the question? Side with religious extremist? Of all the possible scenarios that unfolded in my head, not one of them was what happened here. At first, he makes that joke about table manners, and for a brief second, I thought, “OH, YOU FUCKED THIS UP, DUDE.” And then Ryman just… holy shit. I am an atheist through and through, and his entire bit about it making no sense for God to send down the apocalypse, and to avoid structuring our political stance around the possibility that the end of the world is coming is just… y’all. I LIKE PETER RYMAN. I LIKE HIM A LOT. How can I not like a man who says shit like this?
Failure to keep people healthy enough to stay alive bordered on criminal negligence.
What a mighty FUCK YOU to those opposing health care.
Well, folks, given that it was no longer possible to pretend that any part of the human race was going to politely lie down and disappear just because the majority happened to disagree with them, and given further proof that life is a short and fragile thing, he didn’t see the point of rendering anyone less free and equal than anybody else.
No, who are you, and why aren’t you real?
When we got to the afterlife, God could sort us out into the sinner and the saved. Until we got there, it seemed to him that we were better off just being good neighbors and reserving our moral judgments for ourselves.
:: throws hands up in the air :: I can’t deal with this man. I like him so much.
But you know, I also like Georgia a lot. I don’t want to ignore that either. She’s no-nonsense, direct, and I feel safe. What I mean by that is that it’s comforting to read this book from her point of view. It’s that brutal honesty of hers that I appreciate, the one that she manifests in her blog posts. There’s no performance on her site. She is who she is. And you can see that, easily, when Georgia moves about the room, talking to the people left in the civic center after Ryman’s appearance. Like, seriously, here’s a main character who calls out someone for spewing untrue bullshit, and she does it like she’s just shaking someone’s hand. For Georgia, facts are her life, and it makes me feel like this book is best seen through her eyes rather than Buffy’s or Shaun’s. Also, Carl, you are so mad that you got proved wrong, and probably even more so because Georgia’s a woman, and I can’t help but cheer Georgia on for this. HOW COULD YOU NOT? Hell, that entire rant/internal monologue about encountering types like Carl is just everything I love about her. She doesn’t want life to be safe and without risks. That doesn’t mean she cares not about her own personal safety. This is about willing to be uncomfortable for things and people that are not like herself. It’s about keeping the world diverse and interesting.
On top of that, the blog posts that ends this chapter is just brilliant, a scathing indictment of the notion that God punishes people for their insolence or for disobeying him. She beautifully tears apart this idea by pointing out that in the zombie apocalypse, death was random. The sinners and the unrighteous weren’t the ones killed, and clinging to that notion will just get more people killed. How can I high five a character in a book? Someone tell me.
There’s more information given about how the media world operates, and I liked the detail that “journalistic acceptance” is always the last thing Georgia expects to get. But it seems that what she and her team are doing is helping to win them more than just ratings, too. Even on a non-professional level, it seems the Ryman team has welcomed these three bloggers with open arms. I think that’s why the security guards are so playful with Georgia. It’s beyond them tolerating her presence. Well, it helps that Georgia doesn’t treat them terribly, but I think the entire Ryman camp is happy with the coverage they’re getting online.
The only other notable thing I picked up on in this chapter (aside from the SHIT IS GETTING REAL, ISN’T IT? moment at the end) is Grant’s characterization of Buffy. We get a bit more insight into why she may be the way she is. She’s an only child, not used to sharing so many things with other people, and Georgia and Shaun have adapted to her behavior not just out of respect, but for the comfort of everyone involved. Buffy comes from a different world than the Mason siblings, and it’s not that they resent her or anything for it, but Georgia at least accepts that they’re going to see things differently. Why make anything harder than it has to be? And I’m glad that these three have a system that mutually benefits them. It gives me faith that when things get hectic and complicated, they can still work things out with one another.
You know, during situations like these:
Whatever he was going to say was drowned out by the gunshots outside.
Hahahaha, oh sweet innocent bumblebees, it’s starting, isn’t it? Oh boy. Well, it was nice and calm for seven chapters. HUZZAH, HERE WE GO.
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