Home > Uncategorized > The cult of Salinger..

The cult of Salinger..

I am impressed by a lot but it takes a lot to impress me. What everybody tells me I should think is great I try like hell not to think is great.

Like Jim Morrison. What the hell ? I’ve read more coherent poetry on a Wheaties box. Robby Krieger was The Doors best songwriter. By far. As Casey Stengel said….”you can look it up.”

J. D. Salinger.

So yea…..what’s this all about. One book. Catcher in the Rye.

Catcher-in-the-rye-red-coverLike most people I read the book because I had to. Or at least I think I did. I can’t really remember if my various catholic schools banned it because of the word “fuck” and other assorted things that old uptight white people, who went to war against the nazis, ban books for. So maybe I actually read it because I wanted to. I do remember that my Dad had a copy of it downstairs on his bookshelf. That iconic red cover with the yellow lettering. It was hard to miss. My Dad was old fashioned to the core but…..remained one cool cat through it all. He was a writer and a damn good one. Good writers don’t don’t burn books….even if they think reading them might send them to hell.

I read Cather in the Rye and was stunned. People write like this? I’m a person who thinks Shakespeare is a meandering wanker. Can’t understand of word of his gibberish. Could not then and can’t now. But Holden Caufield? Damn….this is how I talk. Well….in my head anyway. Book was published in the early 1950s. And this is still how I talk. In my head anyway. That’s 60 years. Either I’m backwards or this Salinger guy knew his shit.

Maybe both…but still.

Book created a shit storm apparently. I wasn’t alive so I’m taking this all on faith. Salinger couldn’t deal with all the adulation and what it took to be famous and moved to some weirdo place on top of some mountain in New Hampshire. This apparently drove all his fans batshit….and sent them flocking to his dirt road trying to find out what he was up to and why he wasn’t being a normal famous person and doing all the talk shows and releasing Cather in the Rye Part II. And why he wasn’t allowing Hollywood to turn his novel into a movie starring Jerry Lewis….as if Jerry Lewis being in charge of Holden Caufield wasn’t enough to send a guy off to the New Hampshire woods…..leaving his compound only to pick up his mail.

Turns out Salinger….who saw shit in World War II that might fuck up the head of Buddhist monk….wasn’t exactly a moral paradigm. The old coot might in our time be called a pedophile…such was his predilections for young girls. Especially those who thought he was a literary genius. He had a habit of writing fawning letters to young girls who wrote fawning letters to him first…and inviting them to share in his solitude….as long as they agreed to share his bed too. A bit of a creepy dude really….but such things are generally overlooked when said creepy dude has written the great American novel.

No matter….the problem with 14 year old girls is that they get older….and Salinger disliked aging. So he’d give ’em cab fare and send ’em home before they were old enough to drink. From these girls we know that the guy never stopped writing…..literally locking himself into a shack on his property for week at a time…..banging away at his typewriter. Salinger apparently wrote books and short stories aplenty….but considered publishing pandering to the pain-in-the-ass masses. So he’d stick his manuscripts in a fireproof safe…..and that was that.

I really don’t give a shit what the guy wrote in the woods. He’s dead now. If something comes out…wonderful. If not…oh well. My wish list on Amazon is already so long I’d have to live to be 167 to satisfy it. The cult of Salinger is annoying not because he wrote Catcher in the Rye….but because people expected him to write it again.

I can’t imagine anything more potentially horrible than reading about Holden Caufield in his 20s. Or 30s. How phony would that be?

I suppose I should mention that Salinger gained tremendous street cred in my years from the death of John Lennon and the near death of Ronald Reagan. Both Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley had huge Holden Caufield hard-ons….to the point where they were carrying a gun in one pocket and the Salinger book in the other….essentially blaming their own wretchedness on the alienation of a fictional character named Holden Caufield. Catcher in the Rye still sells around 250,000 copies a year….so there’s no telling how many other fucked up flaccid white guys are out there in the shadows….sticking Holden needles in their arms. Time will tell I suppose.

No wonder the guy locked himself in a room for half a century. Who’d want to be responsible for such mental gruel? Blame Yoko for breaking up the Beatles sure. But now because of this haunted, gaunt hermit they’ll never play on any more roofs.

So yea….I read that book. And I was captivated by it. Astonished really. I re-read it every few years. Nothing changes. It does not age.

I read the same copy my father read.

I don’t give a fiddler’s fart if those pages Salinger churned out ever see the light of day.

He owes me nothing. He’s done way more than most.

In a bit…

–tf

 

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jimbob
    April 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I once said f**k and did not become famous

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