Black-and-White Persons

In class we talked about a couple different ways that Snow Crash analogizes issues of race: "thrashers" constitute an ethnic identity; hackers, too, have unique social identities as well as somewhat unique physiologies. In this response, I guess I just want to add another example, but it's one that I find particularly interesting: the figure of the "black-and-white person" within the Metaverse.

The Labyrinth of Existenz

Rather than talk about the many, many sexual metaphors and images that pop up in Existenz, I'd like to talk about the film in terms of narrative, and its particular brand of alternate reality. This movie was certainly not helped by being released around the same time of the Matrix, since they cover somewhat similar ground, but Existenz is a quiet, low-budget, semi-incoherent techno-horror movie, and the Matrix is the Matrix.

"Y.T. bites her lower lip and flips him the bird"

I've noticed that most of the other posts are about information, or artificial reality, or something like that, but I've decided to post on something that's a little closer to the range of my interests.

Snow Crash vs Jennifer Government

Both Snow Crash and Jennifer Government postulate a fairly dystopian future. Snow Crash is very much science fiction, while Jennifer Government is merely fiction, and has nothing really scientific about it. However, both overlap in their portrayals of business, corporations and government in the future.

Anarchy in Snow Crash

The political world in Snow Crash resembles that of an organized anarchy. We only get a real sense of what the governmental situation in America is like, but we know that the federal government completely collapsed. The American dollar experienced hyper inflation similar to that of Germany in the early 1920's, to the point of where trillion dollar bills were almost worthless. The role of the federal government has been reduced to the equivalent of an overly proud company that thinks it is way more important than it is.

Parallel "realities" make for some interesting experiences...

Snow Crash takes a very interesting approach to the future...namely, an evolution of what we'd consider the internet. However, this web of information is more than just a bunch of pages to look at...its a whole new reality whatsoever, with people interacting, sharing, and doing stuff almost as if it is the real world....with some modifications.

The Stephenson Bias

On page 57 of Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson describes the problem that the Black Sun staff has understanding Juanita's work as "sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists." To some degree, it seems that he may be, intentionally or not, describing himself.

2 effects of capitalism gone wild


I wanted to follow-up on the idea presented in-class that Snow Crash takes a similar stance on both prejudice and democratic government. Eventually both will be pushed out of existence as capitalist competitivism acts as the ultimate driving force for all socio-cultural change.

the red pill or blue pill?

Well, judging by the titles of the responses that have come before me, I have chosen a well-trodden path to talk about, but it's the only question that came up repeatedly for me as I was reading, so I'm going to write about it anyway and hope that some kind of original thought manages to creep its way in somewhere.


Power plays a very significant role in Snow Crash. With the fall of government, life has become radically unstable, with radically different expectations in terms of justice. Individual security no longer holds the significance that we are used to. The only way for an individual to ensure that violations of personal interests won't go unpunished is to tie those interests with the interests of a group, which means, in effect, to become a part of a franchise. This truth is expressed repeatedly in the book by both Y.T. and Hiro and the way they manage their individualism.

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