Fifty Years Of A Clockwork OrangeMay 15, 2012 No Comments
When A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962, the term sexualized violence wasn’t in use. The distinction between sexualized violence and erotic sex was, in law and in everyday discourse, blurred.
This is why Anthony Burgess’ novel led us into a dark, yet honest place. Though the elaborate and often unreadable cruelty in the novel stirred controversy, the complete removal of eroticism from rape stands apart from what many writers of Burgess generation and our generation have failed to do. To show violence as violence, with the sexualization of violence as the thing which maximizes harm and attempts to reach a more personal, long-lasting place in the victim’s mind and body.
It’s fifty years since this notorious novel first reached the public. Since then it’s been discussed, burned, filmed, banned and endlessly written and talked about. It’s synonymous with a cold cruelty that is feared and recognized. The depiction of rape is the undercurrent of every conversation I’ve had about this book, which says something about what we dread.
In 2012, I am still surrounded by art and media which fails to appreciate the particular brutality of sexualized violence. Newspapers compound the pain of survivors by linking eroticism and bland morality with rape and sexual abuse, and attract readers with lewd and useless details about victims. Clothing, appearance, the time of night, the secluded location. Where the bruises are. A Clockwork Orange did the opposite of this.
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