Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to configure Ubuntu's keyboard to work like a Mac's

Typing accents on a PC is a complicated Alt + three numbered code affair. One feels like a sorcerer casting a spell. "I summon thee accented é! I press the weird magical key Alt, and with 0191 get the flipped question mark!" For a bilingual person this meant that writing on the computer was a start-and-stop process. With Mac's it a whole lot easier, just Alt + e and the letter you wanted for accents and alt + ? for the question mark. No need to leave the keyboard for the number pad and no need to remember arcane number combinations or have a paper cheat sheet next to the keyboard, as I've seen in virtually every secretaries computer in Puerto Rico.

Linux has a interesting approach to foreign language characters: using a compose key. You hit this key which I typically map to Caps Lock and ' and the letter you want and voilá you get the accent. Kinda makes sense: single quotation mark is an accent, double gets you the ümalaut, works pretty well. Except for the ñ, wh…

Fixing Autocomplete in Github's Atom Text Editor for Ruby

I really like Github's Atom Text Editor. I really like that it's multi-platform allowing me to master one set of skills that is transferable to all platforms and all machines. 

On thing that just burns me of the default set-up in Atom is the Autocomplete feature that seems to change my words as a type them. Because Ruby uses the end of line as a terminus for a statement you usually finish a word with pressing the return button and you get really annoying changes to your finished typed word a la MS Word. I find myself yelling "No that's not what I wrote!" at the screen in busy coffee shops.

I disabled autocomplete for a while but it is a very useful function. Then I found out they changed the package that gave the autocomplete to a new one called "Autocomplete Plus" that gives you more options. All that I needed to change to make autocomplete sane again:

1. Open Atom's Preferences
2. Search the bundled packages for "Autocomplete Plus"

3. Go to t…

Contrasting Styles of Writing: English vs. Spanish

There is interestingly enough a big difference between what's considered good writing in Spanish and English. V.S. Naipul winner of the 2001 Nobel prize for literature publish an article on writing. In it he emphasizes the use of short clear sentences and encourages the lack of adjectives and adverbs. Essentially he pushes the writer to abandon florid language and master spartan communication. This is a desired feature of English prose, where short clipped sentences are the norm and seamlessly flow into a paragraph. In English prose the paragraph is the unit the writer cares about the most.

This is not the case in Spanish where whole short stories (I'm thinking this was Gabriel Garcia Marquez but maybe it was Cortázar) are written in one sentence. Something so difficult to do in English that the expert translator could best manage to encapsulate the tale in two sentences. The florid language is what is considered good writing in Spanish but unfortunately this has lead to what …