A Clockwork Orange: I won’t bother summarizing the plot. If you haven’t seen this magnificent film by Stanley Kubrick (or read the less-than-magnificent-but-still-pretty-good novel by Anthony Burgess), stop reading this column right now and head to your local video store/shop/torrent site, get a copy, sit down with a glass of whisky, and dedicate two hours to absolute brilliance and jaw-dropping horror. Seen it? Good. Now we can continue.
Alex: a morally empty young man whose leisure activities include opiate-laced lactose, theft, battery, bloodletting, and rape. Like Frank Castle, the subject of my previous post, the man is a sociopath. He lives outside our laws and levels of moral behaviour because he considers himself above them; he is a law and force unto himself, and he revels in his self-imposed position. He’s not psychotic: he doesn’t break into fits of uncontrolled rage or mania; everything is cold, calculated, and considered. He’s fully aware of his actions; he simply doesn’t care.
As madness goes, this is a sad one. When Andy asked me to put forth some suggestions for those in popular culture whom I found interesting and stark-raving mad, the first person who came to mind was the pixie-ish River Tam.
For those who don’t know the cult favourite science-fiction western Firefly (and its later feature-length film, Serenity), River Tam is the genius and psychotic sister of Serenity’s doctor, Simon Tam. Simon risked his life and destroyed his standing in society, as well as divorcing himself entirely from his family, in order to save his sister from the clutches of a corrupt and monstrously bureaucratic government. She was supposed to be at a school for the gifted; she was supposed to be safe; everything was supposed to be wonderful for the young woman’s future.
Apparently “supposed to” means nothing in the universe of Firefly. Instead of being sent to a school for gifted children, River is instead experimented on time and time again because she displays some psychic ability. Read the rest of this entry