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A Clockwork Orange

A milk bar. It left me confused. I imaged a bar, like as a night club, where under-aged kids would do drugs and drink milk. I remember hollering with glee when I saw a milk bar in Australia and suddenly got the book A Clockwork Orange in it's entirety, years after I'd read it, a bored week I spent in Princeton before shipping out to Japan. [A milk bar is what in America is called a convenience store! A place to buy milk, not a crazy night club.]

The whole confusion on the book arose from having watched or partially watched the film of the same name. In the film it's all about the 'horror-show' which is literally a visual tour of violence. Where a pack of young men meet out ultra-violence made cool, made strangely attractive, glorified not for it's meaning like wars, but for it's act, like art. The book is different, thought.

Upon realizing what a milk bar was, I got what the story is about. It's not about violence but about boredom. The kids go to the milk bar, buy food and do drugs outside. They are very young. Teenagers if that, barely. The violence is their way of entertaining themselves. A thing I image will be harder and harder to understand in the post-internet age. But back then if you didn't have money to go to a club, or a car to move, or friends to hang out with, there was no cable with one-hundred-fifty channels but nothing. Truly nothing to do. And if school was dull, because you were too smart or you weren't into sports, and lived in an urban area, well crime could be a diversion, something to do for fun.

That's why they are 're-educated' that's why it's so poignant  and that's why the last chapter of the book, which is chapter twenty-one and signals reaching of adulthood is missing from the movie completely.

A clock-work orange is like Akira. And 'horror-show' turns out to be Russian for good (khorosho). There are many dictionaries now in the age of internet that give you a peek into the real meaning of the book. I, of course, knew none of these when I read the book on the rainy summer days and nights. Someone had left the book behind in the room I was renting, so I picked it up and read it. For I like the teenage kids of the book, was bored, had not TV, no car and ample time then.


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