In his book The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History, Walter Benn Michaels considers the deeper theoretical implications of Stephenson's book. Comparing the book with a range of contemporary writers—the fiction of Bret Easton Ellis , Kathy Acker , Octavia Butler , and even Paul de Man and the literary criticism of Richard Rorty —Michaels criticizes the deep claims of Stephenson's book: "And yet, in Snow Crash , the bodies of humans are affected by "information" they can't read; the virus, like the icepick [in American Psycho ], gets the words inside you even if you haven't read them."  Michaels especially targets Stephenson's view that "languages are codes" rather than a grouping of letters and sounds to be interpreted. Michaels further contends that this basic idea of language as code ("... a good deal of Snow Crash 's plot depends upon eliding the distinction between hackers and their computers, as if—indeed, in the novel, just because—looking at code will do to the hacker what receiving it will do to the computer"  ) aligns Stephenson, along with other writers mentioned, with a racially motivated view of culture: that culture is something transmitted and stored by blood (or genetic codes), and not by beliefs and practices. According to critic Walter Benn Michaels:
Crash is definitely a movie worth seeing, especially because it is essential to be aware of and acknowledge those social issues that are the focus of the film. Even though it is quite possible that some viewers might not agree with the director’s view on the modern-day American big-city social and cultural peculiarities, I am rather positive that any audience of twenty-five years and up will find some of the portrayed scenarios to be topical problems of today’s America. The least this movie can do is give some food for thought and some reasons to take an extrinsic look at our own stereotypes and inflexible beliefs, and possibly reconsider them, like some characters in the movie did.