Thursday, November 17, 2005

Paris not by Clockwork

Now, I'm a big fan of Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange -- as I've confessed here before -- but I'm well aware of the limits of its arguments. Unfortunately, 'Reason' magazine isn't, and I'm not really sure they understand it.*

According to 'Reason' magazine, A Clockwork Orange "was the leading indicator of the French riots." Really? See for yourself. Reason has come up with a hook in search of some facts to hang on it: unfortunately while making a few good points, they've come up a little short.

Linked article: Orange Méchanique
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* Says 'Reason':
Specifically, A Clockwork Orange was born of Burgess' lifelong efforts to popularize the works of James Joyce, and specifically to demonstrate that there was any point to Joyce's catastrophically polyglot last novel Finnegans Wake.
Um, no it wasn't.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seeing as that article is arguing for a rethinking of the role of the welfare state in forestalling the development of individual responsibility, I would have thought you'd agree with it.

Is your argument that because you don't agree that Anthony Burgess wanted to reconcile Finnegan's Wake to the canon, then there is no connection between welfarism and the rioting in France?

11/17/2005 12:27:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

If ~all~ they said was that the rioting calls for a rethinking of the role of the welfare state in forestalling the development of individual responsibility, then I'd have little to disagree with, and nor I suspect would Anthony Burgess. That would be one of the "good points" I mentioned, and the reason I linked it, but it's not the only point the author is making.

He's also suggesting for example that it's wrong to use the phrase 'Islamo-fascist' unironically, when the muslim involvement is at least a factor, if not not a disturbing development.

He's also suggesting "most intruigingly" that the youth slang is somehow one of the defining characteristics of the rioters, which is hardly germane.

And he's suggesting -- not just that Anthony Burgess wanted to reconcile Finnegan's Wake to the canon, as you put it -- but that the ~specific purpose~ for which Burgess wrote 'Clockwork Orange' was to popularise "Joyce's catastrophically polyglot last novel." The real reason was closer to the point you made in your comment; I suspect the Joyce reference, while being irrelevant, is there just to show off the author's scholarship.

So like I suggested, some good points reasonably well made, which if they'd been left at that would have been worth thinking about, but which the author confuses for his 'hook,' and so IMO confuses his argument.

11/17/2005 12:47:00 pm  

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