Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines

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Making a Difference: Passively or Aggressively?

Throughout the Maddaddam trilogy, we see characters who act either passively to fulfill their objectives, or act in more direct and aggressive manners. For this article, I’m going to mention two we see a lot of in Maddaddam, Jeb and Adam. Both Jeb and Adam are actively trying to pursue a similar goal, yet are very different when it comes to their strategy. This begs the question of which is the more effective method.

In looking at an example that’s both applicable to the real world, and the Maddaddam world, one of the best is the example of protests. Protests, for any reason and by any group, tend to either be passive/calm, while others take what can be described as a more aggressive course of action, consisting of marches, strikes, and boycotts, with riots being a part of the far extreme of acts of protests.


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Both passive acts and aggressive acts can fail or succeed, with the latter tending to be much more controversial, as we can consider Zeb’s acts to be more controversial than the methods of the quiet Adam. Zeb believes in taking direct action, often resorting to violence and getting involved in the underworld that is the deep Pleeblands. Adam is much quicker to wait and think, preferring to lightly influence and wait for the change to come.

I believe it entirely depends on the context of the situation. For example, in today’s society, the more aggressive methods tend to receive the most attention, and in a world where the most attention gathering stories make traction, your goals will typically require attention to survive. And in the world of Maddaddam, it seems that passive movements are no longer a viable option. Protests of Happicuppa ended with gunshots and deaths, and even having dissent ends with death as seen by the fate of Crake’s father. However, it’s still important to give praise to Adam and his Gardeners, who ended up making a large impact with mainly passive efforts.

Nevertheless. the world has been significantly changed by both passive methods and aggressive methods, for better or worse. Which is better, to reach into the world and change it, or to gently encourage it into a better direction?

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Adverse Advertisements: Corporations and their Influence

We’ve all seen the advertisements, ranging from how you should look to what you should put in your body. I know this because advertisements like this assault our audio and visual senses constantly, especially when our college is dead center in downtown Montreal. Even in current society, the morality of advertisements is up to debate. Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood show us a horror show of possibility in advertisements, that we might be closer to than we realize.

In the first two novels, advertisements and the corporations behind them are a fundamental part of practically everything, whether it be education (HelthWyzer High), or police and security (CorpSeCorps). All day, a person raised in the compounds would be taught that the corporations were their friends, supporting them and giving them everything they need. Those in the pleeblands would see advertisements as promised salvation to their sufferings, hence part of why so many people decided to eat up Crake’s BlyssPluss pill, enriched with the deadly JUVE virus. Teaching people that corporations are their friends is certainly questionable, considering that corporations value profits and business, not people. Today, people can live much more independently from corporations, and make the choice of knowing that corporations see them as money, not people. But in The MaddAddam trilogy, this new level of corporate involvement doesn’t give that choice to children growing up in the corporate embrace.

As awful as a world with corporate indoctrination sounds, it’s not as far off as we’d hope. Most everywhere we shop is corporate, and local alternatives are quickly being bought up as another corporate profit opportunity. We see advertisements 24/7, and slowly but surely, they’re taking over many aspects of our lives. Locally, a rather distasteful change was made to Montreal’s concert hall, Metropolis. A location with a long and rich history is being rebranded as “M Telus”, to associate that brand name with everything Metropolis stood for: good times and music.WWL

Metropolis, Montreal concert hall on Sainte-Catherine E

          While we’re not quite at the MaddAdam level of corporate branding in every aspect of our lives, we are gradually getting to a point where corporations will have infiltrated as many parts of public life as possible to peddle their products onto us, to create dependence, and to guarantee profit.

Have you noticed any corporations trying to wrap their fingers around your favourite locations? Do you think we can prevent this level of involvement in every aspect of our lives? Agree or disagree? Leave a comment down below.

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Tags: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, Corporations, Advertising, Influence, Metropolis, Margaret, Atwood