January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger has died.

Link.

ADDED: "He was 91"... so a long detailed obituary was ready to go. You can read it at that link. Who here was not entranced by "Catcher in the Rye" at some point in their lives?
“Catcher” was published in 1951, and its very first sentence, distantly echoing Mark Twain, struck a brash new note in American literature: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”...

With its cynical, slangy vernacular voice (Holden’s two favorite expressions are “phony” and “goddam”), its sympathetic understanding of adolescence and its fierce if alienated sense of morality and distrust of the adult world, the novel struck a nerve in cold war America and quickly attained cult status, especially among the young. Reading “Catcher” used to be an essential rite of passage, almost as important as getting your learner’s permit.
And yes, yes, there are all those murderers who have that book in their back pocket. So don't get too entranced by it. Move on, read other things. But don't be a goddam phony.

MORE: A big question is, now that he's dead: Are there unpublished manuscripts that we'll get to see? Will we learn more about his retreat from the world?
In 1953 Mr. Salinger, who had been living on East 57th Street in Manhattan, fled the literary world altogether and moved to a 90-acre compound on a wooded hillside in Cornish, N.H. He seemed to be fulfilling Holden’s desire to build himself “a little cabin somewhere with the dough I made and live there for the rest of my life,” away from “any goddam stupid conversation with anybody.”
Or do we you really want to hear about it anymore, now that all these years have passed,  years of a hermit life almost as long as my whole life? (And I'm pretty old.)

Well, there will be no more goddam stupid conversation with anybody anymore for him, but I've got to say I hope he held up some kind of one-sided end of a conversation with us for the past quarter century and we'll get some more readings.
But was he writing? The question obsessed Salingerologists, and in the absence of any real evidence, theories multiplied. He hadn’t written a word for years. Or like the character in Stephen King’s novel “The Shining,” he wrote the same sentence over and over again. Or like Gogol at the end of his life, he wrote prolifically but then burned it all up. Ms. Maynard said she believed there were at least two novels locked away in a safe, although she had never seen them. Quote TK from Salinger’s agent about surviving manuscripts, if any, and plans for them.
Ha ha. That last sentence is now edited out of the NYT obit at the link. Come on, TK!
Mr. Salinger was controlling and sexually manipulative, [Joyce] Maynard wrote, and a health nut obsessed with homeopathic medicine and with his diet (frozen peas for breakfast, undercooked lamb burger for diner). [Margaret] Salinger said that her father was pathologically self-centered and abusive toward her mother, and to the homeopathy and food fads she added a long list of other exotic enthusiasms: Zen Buddhism, Vedanta Hinduism, Christian Science, Scientology and acupuncture. Mr. Salinger drank his own urine, she wrote, and sat for hours in an orgone box.
Ugh! Maybe I don't want to read anything more.

173 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

No comment.

*snicker*

Comrade X said...

goddamn phony

rhhardin said...

I get it confused with "Goodbye Columbus."

Scott M said...

Dead, huh? No big deal. He was a huge phonie.

Scott M said...

D'oh!

Comrade beat me to it and probably spelled it correctly.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do writers go in threes?

traditionalguy said...

He was a very good writer but as alienated as one can get, not that there is anything wrong with that. RIP, J David. We hardly knew you.

Salamandyr said...

I missed 'Catcher in the Rye' as an adolescent, and have been planning to catch it on the go-round during my mid-life crisis. My understanding is that the perceived power of the book depends on if you discover it during the right period in life. I have the feeling if I read it right now, I'd just want to slap Holden, and tell him to "suck it up and drive on".

I'm sorry to hear Mr. Salinger has passed. I've never been particularly comfortable with him, considering his reclusivity. I hope he had a happy life.

Ann Althouse said...

"Do writers go in threes?"

Howard Zinn, J.D. Salinger... who's the other really old American writer that influenced a lot of young people? I have the feeling there are 2 or 3 guys who need to be really careful. Roth...

MadisonMan said...

Never read him.

Ann Althouse said...

Roth isn't really that old. (77)

Ann Althouse said...

@Crack Did you notice the homeopathy in the story?

Smilin' Jack said...

I have the feeling there are 2 or 3 guys who need to be really careful. Roth...

Yeah, I bet God is teeing up Roth right now....

Chris said...

I think crazy correlates with great artist at least as much as inherently right wing. Salinger seems to have been both.

Orgone box. LMFAO.

Ralph L said...

I have the feeling if I read it right now, I'd just want to slap Holden
As a registered geek at 15, I ought to have been sympatico with Holden, but I didn't like him or the book.

Widmerpool said...

Gore Vidal

Freder Frederson said...

Was he a conservative?

Beth said...

Homeopathy did him in. He'd have made 92 otherwise.

Just kidding, Crack!

All that water kept him well hydrated.

Chris said...

@Frederson,

He was certainly no collectivist.

ironrailsironweights said...

J.D. Salinger
1919-2010
F*** You

former law student said...

In high school, the Catcher in the Rye was a book that teachers inexplicably (to me) praised. But maybe it resonated with them because they were adolescents (or young adults) when it was first published.

In that genre I thought A Separate Peace was a better book -- more interesting, more developed characters. I did think his stories were good, though.

Lem said...

Chomsky is 81

Chris said...

Homeopathy and the various laws of three. Reasons that an understanding of basic statistics should be required to get a high school diploma.

Trooper York said...

Actually, Robert B. Parker recently passed away!

A far more enjoyable writer than this noxious prick.

His base scribbling is fodder for adolescents and those that never progress from adolescence.

Lem said...

Maynard claimed on Charlie Rose that the diet Salinger kept her on was so austere it messed up her period.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

AA said: "Who here was not entranced by "Catcher in the Rye" at some point in their lives?"

Glad to see I'm not the only one who wasn't. I read it sometime after high school, because it just seemed like one of those books you were supposed to read. Completely didn't get it. What was the point? Alienation? So what?

I honestly remember very little of it, because I just couldn't get into it enough to care what happened.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In that genre I thought A Separate Peace was a better book -- more interesting, more developed characters.

Chalk this as one of the few times I will wholeheartedly agree with FLS ;-)

ricpic said...

It pains me to admit it but when I read Catcher I was such a young stripling that I bought into the pure Holden against all those older phonies line, well... hook, line and sinker.

If memory serves one of Salinger's lesser known efforts had the title, For Esme - With Love And Squalor. For that alone he deserves a degree of immortality.

John Burgess said...

"Catcher" certainly framed a certain period of my adolescence and the write was very good, IMO. It was far better than other things, like "Franny & Zoe". So, I'd be interested if there are other manuscripts. Or perhaps he just lived in his exile, burnt out.

For Tyrone Slothrop: Does this mean there will be no more Pynchon novels? (JK).

BTW, "TK" is editor-ese for "to come".

peter hoh said...

I read Catcher in the Rye as a teenager, but I didn't think much of it. I remember asking my English teacher what the big deal was supposed to be. I couldn't figure it out.

The Science Museum of Minnesota has an Orgone Energy Box. It's part of the collection of Questionable Medical Devices. You can see the box here and learn more about the collection here.

Charlie Martin said...

Me. Affected, overwrought, essentially unreadable.

Trooper York said...

Hopefully this will be another baby boomer piece of shit that will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

The book, not the author.

He was just a nasty douche bag.

wv: fitsla, something Titus would like to write about.

Triangle Man said...

At least, as a hermit, he was not perpetuating homeopathy.

Comrade X said...

I didn't know Gogol burned the second part of Dead Souls. What a loss.

Expat(ish) said...

@FLS - Ditto on Knowles's fine book. We read both and I hated Catcher and was fascinated by Phinney and his crowd.

My kids probably won't read either book, being too busy having "world" literature shoved down their throats.

Ok, well, Achebe's Things Fall Apart is wonderful, but mostly it is bad.

-XC

bagoh20 said...

Never finished Catcher. I'm pretty sure now I never will. This is the danger of retiring. It should not mean stop working. The mind will pursue a lot of nothing, if not challenged to produce something.

Skeptical said...

Wow, no love for JD Salinger.

I read Catcher in the Rye at several points in my life, and bits of it resonated with me at different times. Now what gets to me is that Holden — who is a wanker, and who gives a shit if he is a wanker, anyway, who of you morons weren't a wanker when you were Holden's age? — does get that there is a lot of goddam phoniness, and he wants to protect his younger sister from it all.

traditionalguy said...

The mystery of Salinger is how his great skill at expressing himself could not also help him get free from the black hole he had hidden himself away in. Crack Emcee might say that he was trapped by cult teachings that are targeted at the minds of those whose minds are their only strength. That is why people also need a community of safe people as advisers around them. The Cult world is by definition a world of pride in secret knowledge that promises what untested secret knowledge never delivers. In one sense that can happen easier to a right wing thinker than to a collectivist follower (unless the whole collective has one false teacher/prophet behind it). Also see, the John Birch Society and Ron Paul as proto-types of right wing cultists. Scripture says that you shall know them by their fruit. J. D. trapped in painful exile could be an example of the bad fruit of cult teachers.

ricpic said...

I don't quite get the vehement dislike Salinger inspires. None of us really know what he was like. He wanted to be alone? Okay, so he wanted to be alone. Doesn't put my nose out of joint. My guess, for what it's worth, is that he was a minor artist who mined a tiny vein and then quit because he had said what he had to say. Is that so terrible?

An interesting speculation about Salinger is that he is in the line of writers that descend from Poe. There was no overt horror in Salinger's work but the situation of every one of his characters, Holden and the entire Glass family, was a horror: the horror of those who are all intelligence, all nerve endings in a world that is too physical, too coarse, too corrupt, too phony for them to endure. That may sound affected and too too precious but it is the situation that some find themselves in. The uncharitable way of putting it is that they are too weak for the world. I think that was Salinger's situation and it is a horror. At least he had the guts to set it down. And then he was done.

Steven said...

Well, add me to the local crowd of those who never felt any entrancement with Catcher in the Rye.

Mutnodjmet said...

I detested "Catcher in the Rye". However, such a passing is always sad. May he rest in peace -- and English teacher STOP making this mandatory readings by the time my son hits high school.

Trooper York said...

Salinger elicits such loathing because he is one of those authors who teachers praise to the skies and when you read them you realize that they are crap. Over praised self indulgent dreck.

Then you are at a turning point. Do you accept the pabulum spoon fed to you by your teachers or do find authors that you can enjoy and learn something from without the baggage. You know talents like Mickey Spillane or Jaclyn Suzanne or Mario Puzo or Peter Benchly or Michael Crichton.

It’s like your mother telling you to eat brussel sprouts when you want ice cream. No matter how much she might praise it, brussel sprouts don’t taste like ice cream.

And they give you gas.

ribock said...

I was about 20 years old at the time, born in England, living in England. I threw it aside, a repellent pile of gibberish. Some Americans seem to have been moved by it but I was in the wrong culture at the wrong age.

Trooper York said...

If you want horror, read the master: HP Lovecraft.

Or the aforementioned Jacklyn Suzzane. For horror in so many ways!

John Stodder said...

I'm surprised at the lack of appreciation for "Catcher in the Rye." I'm wondering if everyone is just in a bad mood after Obama's irritating speech.

When I first read "Catcher," I was unfamiliar with the annoying mythos of J.D. Salinger's life and other writings, which I think informs contemporary readings of it. Too bad. It's a great novel, well-worth re-reading. His "Nine Stories" are also superb. It's the rest of his stuff where you pick up the smell of a twisted soul. "Franny and Zooey" has some moments -- I love how it begins -- but "Seymour" "Raise High the Roof Beam" and the unpublished "Hapworth 16, 1924" are increasingly unreadable and pathological.

What's going to be interesting now is the battle over the reams of writing he supposedly left behind. Did he really write a lot more novels and stories? Did he burn them? Did he set them up legally so it would be impossible for anyone to see them? Or are we about to get inundated with unpublished Salinger? And, if so, will it be as bad as "Hapworth 16, 1924?"

Greg Hlatky said...

The fastest way to destroy love of literature in the young is to make it required reading in high school. After all these years, the mere thought of "Catcher in the Rye" or "Siddhartha" fills me with horror.

Lem said...

My guess is Salinger's seclusion is of the more commonly mundane kind.

Simply put Salinger was afraid he could not meet expectations.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"Salinger said that her father was pathologically self-centered..."

Another role model for the Boomers has gone to his reward.

Harold said...

"Who here was not entranced by "Catcher in the Rye" at some point in their lives?"

I was forced to read it. I was not entranced. More like disgusted that I had to waste my time on it.

Heilein, Asimov, Clarke and Herbert were so much more interesting, and yet never assigned.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sorry to say, I thought he was already dead. That's always embarrassing.

Never read "Catcher in the Rye," can't recall anyone telling me as a boy I ought to read it. I grew up in the '70s, that may be a '60s thing. Also, I went to a (public) high school that emphasized the classics, Latin, Shakespeare, so maybe that's why no one urged "Catcher" on me.

Or maybe I was daydreaming that day in class, who knows?

Hoosier Daddy said...

If you want horror, read the master: HP Lovecraft.

Hey as I always said:

Cthulhu for President - Why vote for the lesser evil?

Triangle Man said...

When I read the book in high school, my impression of Caulfield was that he was an ass. Then again, I thought Sartre's "The Age of Reason" made an excellent cautionary tale.

victoria said...

Anyone who thinks that great writers should also lead great lives is seriously deluded. These supremely talented people are also supremely screwed up. Need I mention people like Hemingway,Jack London (my personal favorite) Fitzgerald, Steinbeck. The list goes on and on. I personally detest Hemingway and I don't understand why anyone would read him but he was talented and a dismal human being. They can't be judged that way, only by their output.

Phoney, how do you know?

My daughter, 24, read Catcher and was profoundly affected by it. Holden Caulfield is one of her favorite characters of all time.


Commie, no commie, why do you all have to label someone. Just appreciate their talent.

I am beginning to think that most of you readers, Ann, consider Harry Potter and Twilight great literature. Dreck, all of it.

Vicki from Pasadena

Trooper York said...

"Cthulhu for President - Why vote for the lesser evil?"

Sorry Hooiser. Hillary lost. Get over it already!

Jenny said...

I read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was a junior in high school. My main take away was that Holden needed to get over himself. Funny, I had the same reaction when I read "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."

Freeman Hunt said...

I loved "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" until it got to the part where he went to college. Then he and his friends were so insufferable that I could barely force myself to finish it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh, and I liked Catcher in the Rye when I read it ten or so years ago. Don't stone me.

Trooper York said...

That's "The Lottery" Freeman, another overrated piece of crap.

Trooper York said...

You can always tell an elitist know-nothing snob when they pull Steinbeck, Hemmingway and Fitzgerald out of their ass.

Go watch Masterpiece Theater you snobby twat. I think the have the thirty-seventh replay of ‘Brideshead Revisited.” Knock yourself out.

I have to go and catch the replay of the Wendy Williams show. I think she has Snooky and the Situation on and they are going to hook up in a hot tub right on the stage.

wv: prousl: the woody that snobs get when talking about Proust.

former law student said...

Freeman, if you enjoyed the Catcher, more power to you. To each her own.

Meade said...

"Howard Zinn, J.D. Salinger... who's the other really old American writer that influenced a lot of young people? I have the feeling there are 2 or 3 guys who need to be really careful."

Not necessarily just writers. Cultural subversives.

Hugh Hefner, 83.

Meade said...

Helen Gurley Brown, 87

Lem said...

With one tread the prodigal son Trooper attempts to retake the Holden Caulfield mantle away from Crack.

I never said it would be easy ;)

Trooper York said...

Hey I can't touch the Crack.

Wait that came out wrong.

Meade said...

Jean-Luc Godard, 79

rbell96630 said...

Never read Catcher nor any of his other works.

BTW, isn't "Quote TK" shorthand for "quote to come..."?

rcocean said...

Ha. Had the same experience. Read him in high school - thought it was crap. Asked my Lit teacher why he was so great.

She could not answer. Damn phony adults.

Ralph L said...

and he wants to protect his younger sister from it all.
Yeah, but he completely wimps out.
Agree with Freeman about Portrait. I enjoyed Dubliners 20 years ago, but couldn't get past page 1 last year. Some writers (Wharton, Faulkner) should have stuck to short stories.

Vicki, don't tempt us to rave about our favorite obscure, high brow fiction. Major bore.

Penny said...

I much preferred Roberts Burns poem "Comin Thro' The Rye".

He's dead too.

Watch out for that rye!

Meade said...

Stanley Kubrick

Nevermind. Already dead.

Ann Althouse said...

An emailer says that some of you who are dissing Salinger might want to look at this part of the obit: "On June 6, 1944, he landed at Utah Beach, and he later saw action during the Battle of the Bulge. In 1945, he was hospitalized for 'battle fatigue' — often a euphemism for a breakdown — and after recovering, he stayed on in Europe past the end of the war, chasing Nazi functionaries."

Let's have some respect.

Ann Althouse said...

The same emailer says that the triad with Salinger and Zinn could contain Ray Bradbury, who is 89.

Lem said...

Film makers count?

Meade, obviously not a purist.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

Homeopathy? Salinger?!? No way! But he's The Biggest Selling Author On Pandora!!!!

I just don't believe it.

(For the record, is homeopathy in "Catcher"?)

Freeman Hunt said...

Uh oh, I liked "The Lottery" too.

traditionalguy said...

@ Vickie from Pasadena...I am pleased to find that I have some common ground with you in your love for John Steinbeck as a writer. But what do you see as crazy about his life other than the unique people he associated with? He was from California, after all.

ricpic said...

Dr. Dean Edel says that homeopathy's a crock.

Comrade X said...

victoria said...
Phoney, how do you know?


it's a tribute vicki

ricpic said...

Steinbeck's okie fixation is a bad sign. Real life okies are bad news.

Lem said...

..that some of you who are dissing Salinger.

I think its more about the cult like facination built around the name that some people are objecting to here.

Andy Rooney was there in WW2.. not that there is anything wrong with Andy ;)

ricpic said...

It's Chinatown, vicki.

Trooper York said...

Let's be phony. Check.

Meade said...

Lem,
As I mentioned, I was thinking of cultural subversives.

SMGalbraith said...

He tried to find and explain the (or a?) "second innocence" but kept lapsing into the first.

Lem said...

Oh - I got it.

Lem said...

Robert Allen Zimmerman is 68.

I bet This obit will break all records for lenght.

Comrade X said...

Salinger, Zinn, & Pernell Roberts.

former law student said...

Louis Auchincloss died the other day. I cannot remember any of his books, however.

rcocean said...

Show respect? For the fact that he was drafted in WW II 70 years ago?

OK - J.D. Salinger - a good soldier, a bad novelist, and a worse human being.

Respect for the truth.

Trooper York said...

And since he was a hero of the War of 1812, I better not hear anybody dis my man Washington Irving. A great author, a great New Yorker, a great American.

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. is a masterpiece.

Chickenhawks!

SMGalbraith said...

Well, Strom Thurmond parachuted behind German lines on D-Day and fought heroically.

Then comes back to America and promoted the same (roughly) type of racialism he fought to defeat.

Thanks and no thanks.

Trent Lott forgot the second "no thanks."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Never read Catcher in the Rye and now really have no desire to do so after the comments.

The fastest way to destroy love of literature in the young is to make it required reading in high school. After all these years, the mere thought of "Catcher in the Rye" or "Siddhartha" fills me with horror.

Great Expectations and anything Dickens gives me the creeps. Horrible horrible book.

Penny said...

Badmouthing the newly departed is a high art form on the internet.

Or so it would seem.

That was not a crack at my fellow Althousians. It's ubiquitous.

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey - I just got a mention in the National Review! Which means,...Jim Geraghty read my blog!!!! Jim Geraghty read my blog!!!!

Seriously, J.D. was a real live life-long loony.

Sorry, Ann (and to the mystery e-mailer) but the damage is done and there shall be no tears. That man lived through The Battle of the Bulge to become a NewAge nutcase?

No, no fucking tears at all.

Curmudgeon said...

"Howard Zinn"

Good riddance. He and Chumpsky deserved Nuremburg Trials.

G Joubert said...

Who here was not entranced by "Catcher in the Rye" at some point in their lives?

I read Catcher in the Rye in the 60s when I was a teenager, and I liked it well enough. People can say what they want and compare him to Knowles and Roth and others and find Salinger wanting, but the fact is Salinger got there first. He was the first one to identify the concept of the disaffected alienated angst-filled youth and stake it out as his subject area. All those others got there after him.

Salinger was affected by what he saw and experienced in WWII, and it's clear he had what we call PTSD today. I don't think he ever really recovered from it, hence his reclusiveness and other odd behaviors.

Here's to hoping that he has a treasure trove of writings squirreled away ready for publishing.

Lem said...

An emailer says..

Usually emailers are told to leave it in the comments.

Whats up with this backroom deal ;)

wv - vicanesp

Penny said...

Very cool, Crack! Congrats!

traditionalguy said...

Rcocean...The respect for the men fighting in the 4th ID, drafted or enlisted, was well earned. They helped stop Hitler's personally ordered repeat counter attacks at Mortain for a week until Patton's breakout had encircled and destroyed the German Army at Falaise instead of Patton's Army being cut off from the Normandy supply lines and destroyed. Salinger earned his respect, even if he was unable to handle stress at home after the war. His unit ended the war in Bavaria with Patton's Third Army and he volunteered to use language skills to face the hard part of finding the Nazi cult members hiding out there.

john said...

For the past hour I have been trying to visualize Salinger as a cultist, drinking his pee, sitting in his Wanker box, terrorizing his family; or how Holden's obsession with protecting his little sister was psychosexual, not heroic; it didn't change my mind.

I still loved Catcher in the Rye.

victoria said...

Trooper York, an angry, angry man. I am sorry, this is a place where intellect is celebrated, not demeaned. You revel in your low class trashiness all you want. Reverse snobism is not attractive or sought out by thinking, rational people.
Go loiter with the low class scum you usually associate with. Have at it, babe. You deserve it.

Vicki from Pasadena

garage mahal said...

Hey - I just got a mention in the National Review!

One can often recognize herd animals by their tendency to read the National Review.

victoria said...

and it is phoney. Try a dictionary or spell check some time.


Vicki from Pasadena

Lem said...

Remember me when you get to haven Crack ;)

Trooper York said...

In actuality, Salinger and Irving had a lot in common. John Wilkes Booth had a copy of “Knickerbocker Tales” in his pocket when he shot President Lincoln.

He was sure that Lily Lantry would notice him once he did the deed

Trooper York said...

Thanks Vicki. I wear your opprobrium as a badge of honor.

And by the way, perhaps you should check out a dictonary yourself.

If you look up snob you might see your picture.

Jake said...

Seems like a perfect day for banana fish.

And yes... he did write from Cornish. All those tedious lefty editorials published in the NYT and the Globe in the 70s and 80s.

Duscany said...

"Mr. Salinger drank his own urine, she wrote,"

This what as known as deep recycling. Salinger was green before his time.

bagoh20 said...

My money is on Widmerpool's pick of Gore Vidal. At 81 he's ripe.

He really irks me a lot personally, but as a young man, I loved his 1981 historical novel "Creation". I still have vivid memories of scenes of Persian kings, drunken meetings of ancient celebrities, and purses made from the scrotums of defeated warriors; great stuff.

The Crack Emcee said...

"One can often recognize herd animals by their tendency to read the National Review."

Hey Garage, when Joan Walsh gives me 00">some nice words in that laid-back lair of open-mindedness, Salon, I'll be sure and let you know first.

bagoh20 said...

Duscany said: "drank his own urine,... Salinger was green before his time."

You did that on purpose.

Comrade X said...

and it is phoney. Try a dictionary or spell check some time.

in your face Salinger!

Robert Cook said...

"Not necessarily just writers. Cultural subversives."

We always need more cultural subversives; let's hope more are being born and nurtured as the old ones die away.

former law student said...

Because my wife is hooked on Desperate Housewives, I've had to think of Orson Bean's existence once more. I remember now that during the 60's, Bean, a regular on late night talk shows, would describe his experiences with the Orgone Box.

Trooper York said...

Actually, that was Arlene Francis's nickname.

She was one wild and crazy skank.

rcocean said...

Traditionguy:

Yes, Vets earn our respect for serving their country especially the guys in the infantry. But I must say Salinger's wartime time service seems a little fuzzy.

15 million men served during WWII. If you were 18-25 & had 2 legs and 2 arms - you served or went to jail.Did you know George Rockwell and Julius Rosenberg were WW II vets? So you know...

Civil war trivia: Lew Wallace was putting his ass on the line while 'chickenhawks' Henry James and Mark Twain stayed safe. Who would you rather read?

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

Hey Garage, when Joan Walsh gives me 00">some nice words in that laid-back lair of open-mindedness, Salon, I'll be sure and let you know first.

Seriously is there anyone at the NRO that disagrees on anything? Even in the slightest? Talk about a collectivist groupthink cult.

Freeman Hunt said...

Congratulations, Crack. Pretty cool.

Penny said...

It takes a helluva lot of courage to put your life on the line.

Yes, more courage to be a soldier than a writer, but both make personal sacrifices for some greater good.

I'm grateful.

William said...

Jake Barnes, Nick Carraway, Rhett Butler, Huck Finn, Pip, Holden Caulfield: These characters have an identity based not on the artistry of their creation but on the way the reader absorbs their tics and grimaces into the empty spaces of his own personality. These characters are the movie stars of literature. They don't teach us the nature of reality; they teach us the right pose to strike in the presence of reality. Saul Bellow created some vivid characters, but no one ever wanted to emulate a Bellow character. Think Fredric March versus Steve McQueen......Salinger led the kind of life that Holden Caulfield would disapprove of. Holden talked about the kind of writer who connected with you and you would wish to have as a friend. Salinger apparently vetted the letters from teen age girls and used their admiration as a source of nookie. For all his artistic pretensions he wasn't that much better than the drummer in a rock band with a big hit. There's the sense that he thus betrayed the trust that readers extended to him......Well, all that's over now. I can't wait to see the movie version of Catcher in the Rye.

Fred4Pres said...

You Salinger bashers are a bunch of phonies.

From Inwood said...

How'd they know?

(Apologies to someone.)

former law student said...

Come on now. What man alive would not want to be Henderson the Rain King? And many of us were Augie March, whether we wanted to be or not.

From Inwood said...

Failed Law Student said

Louis Auchincloss died the other day. I cannot remember any of his books, however.

With all due respect, of course you can't. They were all about lawyers & the law!

former law student said...

F I:
If neither the Volokh gang nor Althouse noted Auchincloss's passing, I must conclude his work was not significant to lawyers.

Jeff Gee said...

Do you think the Onion had this ready to go, just like a regular obituary?


http://www.theonion.com/content/news/bunch_of_phonies_mourn_j_d

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"The same emailer says that the triad with Salinger and Zinn could contain Ray Bradbury, who is 89."

Grouping Bradbury with Salinger is ok but linking him to a self-hating Marxist like Zinn is just vile.

Freeman Hunt said...

Honestly, until I read that he was dead, I didn't know Salinger was still alive, and by then, he wasn't.

SMGalbraith said...

Reading Salinger as a boy - especially the "good" parts - is far different than as an adult. The "second innocence" simply doesn't connect.

Same with, grabbing off the top of the 'noggin, "Grapes of Wrath."

Read parts of "Grapes" now and try not to laugh.

Diamondhead said...

"Seriously is there anyone at the NRO that disagrees on anything? Even in the slightest? Talk about a collectivist groupthink cult."

Either you're a herd animal or you have no idea what you're talking about. That may be a false choice.

Lem said...

Diane Sawyer just apologized for reporting Salinger's death.

What a phoney.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Trooper York, an angry, angry man. I am sorry, this is a place where intellect is celebrated, not demeaned. You revel in your low class trashiness all you want

Uh oh. Now it's on. Victoria from Pasadena has picked a fight with Trooper.

VW: nogie. An abreviated noogie

Penny said...

"These characters are the movie stars of literature."

William, very insightful.

They are also unforgettable, unlike most of our current cadre of movie stars.

Penny said...

That's what I thought, too, dbq. Seems that Troop is feeling quite kindly this evening. lol

Popville said...

Orgone Box: Wilhelm Reich may have been mad by the time of its creation, but till then he was possibly the greatest psychiatric researcher besides Freud.

He wrote one of the key psychoanalytic tracts - Character Analysis (1933); which continues today as an insightful read. His therapeutic techniques remain state-of-the-art because psychotherapy advancement imploded after some small steps in the 60s (too scary, like nuclear power).

And...Reich became a very early Neo-Conservative after his horrible experiences with Communists in Germany prior to the Nazi regime.

(ducking...)

Lem said...

The question is did people read Salinger for the gravitas necessary to help them get laid?

Gary said...

I can say that I never had the pleasure of being entranced by Mr. Salinger.

Sorta like I was never entranced by Michael Jackson.

"Rye", urine, and Jesus juice?

No thanks.

I'll stick with sweet tea, whole milk, and coffee.

Just keeping life real simple.

James Wigderson said...

I always thought “Field of Dreams” was overrated.

Penny said...

Lem that link to the Gladwell story was fantastic.

I liked the man before, and now I like him even more. And now I am back to Robbie Burns:

"Should a body meet a body
Coming through the glen,
Should a body kiss a body,
Need the world know?"

Gladwell and Burns agree on some things at least.

Chris said...

The most bizarre thing about the obiturary in the NYT is the correction:

"An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that Miriam was the name of the wife of Seymour Glass, one of Mr. Salinger's characters. And it erroneously gave June 4, 1944, as the date that Mr. Salinger landed at Utah Beach."

It is remarkable anyone could mess that up.

Chris said...

Unlike spelling obituary wrong.

former law student said...

The Utah Beach invasion was led personally by Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his efforts.

The Crack Emcee said...

Garage Mahal, man, you are slow:

"Seriously is there anyone at the NRO that disagrees on anything? Even in the slightest? Talk about a collectivist groupthink cult."

Hello! I'm the atheist? "God And Man At Yale"? Anybody?

Damn - my bad - looks like you got me again, man,...

c3 said...

Dr. Dean Edel says that homeopathy's a crock.
But a very small crock!

From Inwood said...

FLS

If neither the Volokh gang nor Althouse noted Auchincloss’s passing, I must conclude his work was not significant to lawyers.

With all due respect to Prof A. & to the Volokh guys, you’re proving the narrowness of your legal research skills again.

Auchincloss’s work is significant to lawyers, preppies, & wannabe lawyers & preppies, lovers of literature, & those who enjoy a good read.

For legal tributes see, e.g.,

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/01/27/law-blog-obituary-louis-auchincloss/?mod=djemWLB&reflink=djemWLB
http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lawyer_and_new_york_society_novelist_louis_auchincloss_dies_at_92 &

http://news.justia.com/

Louis Auchincloss, so far as I know (& I’ve read almost everything he wrote), generally ignored Irish-Americans from Inwood (or elsewhere), the uppa crust being his oeuvre, but he so neatly disdained us in sidebars, even if we’ve married into his crowd or have made it financially, that we overlook such slights for the delicious look into the follies of his world.

For an exception, see:

The Mavericks. A vivid portrayal of the relationship of Irish-American Fordham Law grad to firm’s preppy lawyers & daughter of head of the firm. Auchincloss is, as usual, a snob observer. But, unusual for him, his "Mick" (he uses that word) is a fully-drawn character & is strong & the equal of his preppies as a man’s man even though still not a member of their class (it was 1962).

victoria said...

Trooper, I would rather be a snob than a low-life scum.

Dictionary definition of asshole, Trooper York step forward!


Vicki from Pasadena

Penny said...

Oh, come on now, Victoria. Not sure how you and Troop got off on the wrong foot, but may I suggest you both step out on the other one now?

It'll be tons more fun that way. Honest!

Christy said...

Crack, congrats! Well done.

I probably read Catcher, voluntarily btw, at too young an age to appreciate it. I despised the novel and saw Holden as a nasty, nasty boy. So glad I'm not the only one who wasn't enthralled by the novel. Sorry to hear, however, Salinger had such a debilitating psychic trauma.

How odd it is to judge people by their fiction preferences. I do it all the time, although I know better, and I'm always ashamed of myself.

From Inwood said...

TY

I agree with you that Masterpiece (whatever it's now called) is mostly for zee snobs who look down zee nez, but Brideshead Revisited is one of the best novels of all time & the mini series was great.

And fans of WW II here would do well to read Waugh's Sword of Honor, one of the best WW II novels.

IMHO, Salinger will be forgotten except as a footnote when all those born before say 1970 have died.

And a chick flick, My Foolish Heart, not all that bad, was made from one of his stories, with a great Victor Young score. He looked down zee nez at the film & never sold any more of his stories.

Holden Caulfield was a big shock in 1951 & meant something to every teenager then & sometime later but if you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is what I was doing when I first read it in my phony childhood & in the colloquiums of the day, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. . . . I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography as it relates to Catcher.

John Lynch said...

Hated Catcher in the Rye.

What really grated was all the girls swooning over Holden when they'd (correctly) ignore him for the loser he was if they met him in real life.

Mark said...

To everyone: I'm pretty sure Holden was supposed to be an "unreliable narrator" that you had to assume was a liar and a phony. Betcha Salinger wanted to write the most pathetic a$$hole ever as the focal point of his book, and to watch the rubes buy it.

As to the headline of this post: Happened at least 50 years ago, but the corpse kept breathing.

rcocean said...

neither the Volokh gang nor Althouse noted Auchincloss’s passing, I must conclude his work was not significant to lawyers.

I missed this. I read the "The Rector of Justin" in college and enjoyed it immensely. In terms of quality and quantity Auchincloss was light years ahead of Salinger - but he didn't write about popular subjects.

Salinger's real genius was picking the right subject - 50s children/teenagers - a topic beloved by the almighty boomers. Had he followed it up with a novel on civil rights or Marching at Selma - they would have made him a God.

Methadras said...

Pretentious bullshit says what?

Almost Ali said...

NYT: In 1937, after a couple of unenthusiastic weeks at New York University, Mr. Salinger traveled with his father to Austria and Poland, where the father’s plan was for him to learn the ham business.

The "ham" business? As in pork. How does one learn the ham business? I was, though briefly, in the hog business myself, but there were no ham specialists. Which may explain exactly where J.D. Salinger went wrong - led to the slaughter by his own father, as it were. Very traumatic, I'd say.

Or maybe something was lost in transcription.

NYT continues: Deciding that [ham] wasn’t for him, he returned to America...

Almost Ali said...

NYT: Readers also began to learn about the [Glass] parents, Les and Bessie, long-suffering ex-vaudevillians, and Seymour’s siblings Franny, Zooey, Buddy, Walt, Waker and Boo Boo;

I suspect the vaudevillians were the real-life team, Olsen & Johnson - who eventually purchased a dairy farm in upstate New York (Putnam County), not far from Camp Alamar where the fictional, 7-year-old Seymour fixated on the owner's wife.

NYT: ...about the Glasses’ Upper West Side apartment; about the radio quiz show on which all the children appeared.

Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts fits JD's time frame, and his NYC location. Also my crazy aunt's, who knew just about everyone behind the scenes.

For a time, at least, Salinger led an interesting life. But then it stopped, and so did his writing.

victoria said...

Penny, i am game if he is. Forgiveness all around. Sunshine, light. I'll tell him my John Wayne secrets. After all he is a fellow USC grad. Trojans!!!!!


Vicki from Pasadena

Trooper York said...

Penny, maybe we did get off on the wrong foot and I am willing to let bygones be bygones.

I just don't think you should believe anything an English teacher has to say about anything.

Especially when they tell you bullshit like "The New Orleans Saints are going to win the Super Bowl."

Trooper York said...

There is nothing you can tell me about the Duke that I don't already know.

But the thought is very nice.

Frodo Potter said...

I really liked Catcher in the Rye, but it may well have been because I did not *have* to read it. My brother had brought it home from school and I just picked it up and read it because it seemed cool (the same thing happened with The Great Gatsby and The Autobiography of Malcolm X).

I never entered into the Salinger cult, but I do think it was a classic. I knew Salinger was something of a nutcase, but I am still sorry to learn of his passing.

Three quick notes. FLS, great point re: Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. Teddy Roosevelt was not only one of the world’s great leaders; he was also one of the world’s great fathers. Only Princess Alice was a little off and I do believe that if opportunities for women had not been so restricted, she might have had a great career as a public servant.

@From Inwood, could not agree more about Brideshead Revisited. Truly a classic!

@rcocean, I was very sad to learn about Louis Auchincloss. I agree with you about The Rector of Justin. It was a *very* underrated book.

As for Howard Zinn, well, I am feeling positive, so I won’t speak ill of the dead. Still, he’s no Salinger or Auchincloss.

victoria said...

Sure, trooper, whatever you say. Not true, but sure.


Hmmmm


Vicki from Pasadena

Trooper York said...

Well Vicky, the only thing you could possibly know is some details of the Duke's coming out party when he was on the USC football team. Did you know Clara Bow?

victoria said...

How did you know the Duke was gay? Say, you do have more info than me.

Ha Ha

Clara, close friend of the family. LOL


Vicki from Pasadena

Penny said...

Well done,you two!

Oh, and Troop? You know that old Jan and Dean song? Yup, THAT one. Please don't sing it.

K thanks BYE!

Trooper York said...

Vicki, Vicki baby you dissapoint me.

Everyone knows that the Duke, (Young Marion Morrison as he was know at the time) was a football lineman for USC when he participated in a gang bang with Clara Bow in 1927. It was his entree into Hollywood so to speak.

Since you haven't read anything since the twenties I figured you knew all about it and that you might even be a contempory of Miss Bow.

It is obvious you know even less about popular culture than you do about politics.

All the best,
your pal Trooper.

victoria said...

Trooper, just kidding, man. I was a film minor in college, actually with an emphasis on silent films. Took classes at the Art institute in Chicago in high school. Did film reviews for the "Daily Trojan" while at USC. Parents were close friends of the Duke and one of his sons. No trash there, just pulling on your pinata.



Vicki from Pasadena

victoria said...

Michael, John Wayne's oldest son,Michael, was a member of the Irish American Society in Los Angeles, along with my parents. They knew Michael and Gretchen very well. RIP Michael. He was a producer at Warner Brothers all his adult life and truly a lovely man. Many people say he was most like his dad. Knew John Wayne's first wife, Josie, too.

Vicki from Pasadena

Ralph L said...

I thought Morrison was a Scottish name.

Trooper York said...

You know Vicki I will never look at your posts in the same way again. Your memories of the Duke and his family are much appreciated.

I was aware of the regard so many people had for Michael Wayne and the work he did at Batjac and later in his career.

And you would be one of the few that would know that John Wayne loved Hispanic women all his life and always seemed to be married to one.

As I often tell Ritmo, we are not all of a piece and I would look forward to any insights you could offer about the Duke in future posts.

Thanks.

victoria said...

Thanks, trooper. I welcome more discourse with you and,occasionally, a little flinging of the poo.

We are all entitled to our dreams


Vicki from Pasadena

Trooper York said...

Oh. Late word on what really happened to JD Salinger!

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