Magneto: Issue #6 – Collective Memory and Information Overload


This issue continues where Issue #5 left off. Magneto is tracking down the Marauders, who were responsible for brutal assaults on mutants. It is made known that the individuals who make up the Marauders are genetic replicas, so when one dies, that Marauder is replaced by another. The issue concludes with the implication that Magneto has a plan to reprogram a group of inactive Marauders to do his bidding.

There is a great passage in this issue that addresses collective memory and how media overload has impacted it.

What the Marauders did all those years ago… is almost forgotten now… a dozen other, more terrible tragedies jockeying for room in the collective memories of those who might have cared.

I find this a powerful critique on our society. In the information age, we are fed a continuous stream of news, data, information, opinions, ideas, and so forth. While the nerd in me finds this exciting, I am not a fool and therefore recognize the downside, which is that there is too much information for people to digest adequately. Out of necessity, we must forget past events to make room in our minds for the new, which never ceases to demand our attention. We have 24-hour news stations constantly pushing stories at us, forcing us to stay focused on what they deem to be the important news story of the moment.

I have gotten rid of cable TV and hence stopped the pseudo-news stream which bombards most individuals. Still, I read the news everyday online, which means I am exposed to a lot of news stories. But at least I can take it in digestible doses so as to prevent overload. Hopefully, this will allow me to maintain a memory of important historical events, because in my opinion, history is important.

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