Friday, August 18, 2006

Note To J.D. Salinger

I've done a bit of research on this topic lately and the image I get is one, not of a true recluse, but one of someone who preys on young talented "nymphettes" repeatedly throughout his sojourn in the hills of Cornish, NH since the year I was born: 1953. A real hermit, famous or not, would not even bother to attract these vulnerable sages, who come bearing gifts a real hermit would not accept, even temporarily. I'm afraid this smacks of out and out manipulation of the young. He is the "Catcher" alright, but saving children isn't really the goal based on the info I'm reading from the history. Careful reading reveals what could only be called the "Lecher in the Rye" is more accurate of the MO. My only interest lies with his first person reportage from World War II, shared with my late father. People are flawed, some more than others.

Update: For an analysis of his last writings, this Janet Malcom NYTBR piece is the journey to take.

7 Comments:

Blogger Dwight The Troubled Teen said...

He's a complicated guy.

The young chick thing is problematic, yes, but you gotta admit that he's the product of a different generation. That wasn't always as taboo as it is today, and JD hasn't always been as old as he was the last time he swapped out his wife for an 18 year old.

I'm waiting to see the Glass family stories in their totality. I can't really pass judgement based on a fraction of the story.

Catcher is not about saving children per se. It's an anti-war story in which war is never mentioned.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yes he is and plays prominently in my latest effort on the war months that I asked him about. He's the same generation as my parents and they didn't behave in such a way. I'm reading the daughter's book now. He was 35 and went to get a 19 year-old from which he had his family and he seems devoted to them at the time, possibly still. At 55, two years older than myself currently, he stalked and landed another 19 year-old and got he to move in. Sound familiar? Currently he has yet another Colleen who is 50+ years or more younger than his 87. I don't know, older looks like the MO to me.

Here's the deal: He shuns fame while reaping the benefits continually in the form of wives and income. A real recluse wouldn'y have a wife let alone several teenage ones in succession. He's a world class hypocrite in this regard if nothing else.

I'd be interested in what you mean by catcher being anti-war? He imagines himself a saver of children: a catcher in the rye. Which is a misreading of a poem although I forget which one now. It's obvious the Glasses are his family and the Jewish family thing is a haunting tortuous journey for him. They sound like people I don't want to know and a waste of "obvious talent," as Hemingway said. I want more foxhole information, and that's what I asked him for.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

"He shuns fame while reaping the benefits continually in the form of wives and income."

What do you want him to do, take his books out of circulation? Once a writer becomes successfull enough their celebrity becomes a self-perpetuating engine that is out of their control.

If Salinger had been vigorously promoting himself all these decades then you'd call him an opportunist. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

As to his women, well, he's not exactly raping 12-year-olds, is he?

18, 19, it's the age of consent and these girls obviously want the relationship. I don't know of any allegations of abuse. He's hardly ruining anyone.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Well the girls aren't exactly coming out Okay mentally from what they say.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Dwight The Troubled Teen said...

Half of Catcher was written on a New Jersey air base where the naive 4F Jerry was writing every person of influence he could find to get into the war.

The second half was written after his return from the war, including the Normandy-Hurtgen-Buldge campaigns.

It's a book written on the fulcrum of innocence and cynicism. It's a book that probably cannot be written again.

Jerry's dad was a Gung-ho, "Charge of the Light Brigade" kind of guy who was very pro-war. Once Jerry came home from the war, he and his dad almost came to blows over Dad's cavalier attitudes about war. They had a falling out and - rumor has it - they never spoke again.

So Catcher is really about saving young generations from the meatgrinder of war and phoneys like Papa Salinger. That's my two cents worth, anyway.

While you are reading the daughter's book, pay close attention to how much time she spends on the tangent about what makes a CULT. Then ask yourself why she's detailing all the cult awareness stuff in a biography of her dad.

JD is not reclusive. He's not withdrawn. He's not pouting about some bad reviews of Hapworth 13.

He's following the example of all cult leaders: Restrict access to the Guru.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Interesting. He was 4F? I hadn't read that. Source? He is still clearly shocked by the violence he witnessed as was my father. They were for all practicable purposes together over there.

I see him a s a cult indoctrinee not a guru. Women fair badly in his world. He treats them like dirt slaves, and young is the best starting point for that. He's like she says, very much a spoiled child. The books will be published after his death accorduing to her in referring to his filing sytem and instructions.

Sometimes being a jerk is just what it is.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I ould Add that WWII was hardly a cavalier war. And it is doubtful Salinger felt this was so. It was a necessity and that can't be said for all wars.

7:18 PM  

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