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JD Salinger: Pitcher or Catcher In The Rye: Depends on how young the girl is…

November 2, 2013

I went to Ursinus College for two years, JD Salinger also went there and left after nine months, and I’m surprised because it had plenty of 18-year old girls.

I read the new bio, Salinger. The guy went through five brutal campaigns in WW2 that ended at a concentration camp. Before that he was a pampered and indulged and rich child of Park Avenue parents. And I also think that went into his arrogance, because when you have money you never have to deal or tolerate people because you don’t need them to get your way, and they might need you because you have money or might know someone who can help them, so they indulge you.

I almost think the guy was so self-centered, his post-traumatic shock never left him, and he developed this twisted craving for anyone untainted by the horrors of war. One girl he consistently pursued at 14, and eventually slept with when she was 18, then he dumped her the next day. And he actively pursued teenage girls (basically before they become women). And he had a juvenile trait of cutting people out of his life if he felt the “betrayed” him. One thing that kept cropping up in the letters and conversations the women recount of his courting is how they keep saying how he never judge them took their side, found everything about them fascinating. All the patterns of a child molester, really, developing and exploiting youth through trust. Very manipulative, regardless of his believe in Vedantic philosophy. And how he uses the lure of Holden Caulfield speak to lure them in–the same way Michael Jackson dressed in cartoon costumes, had pets, and created a theme park to draw them into his bedroom.

Catcher can keep a person who is an adolescent in limbo. This sense of no one understands you, how everyone is a phony or not. Youth always forgives its own indiscretion but judges anyone older as hypocritical. Easy when you’re not in the mix, or have a horse in the race. It reinforces that sense of yourself where you can withdraw from the world. It’s a strong drug, but you have to shake it off. Some never did. Salinger certainly didn’t. He never wanted Catch to be a movie, but when it goes out of copyright, it will be so what’s the big fricking deal? Outside of just being a 93-year old man maintaining his hissy fit of depriving his fans of ever seeing the film in their lifetime.

9 Stories perpetuated the no-one-understands-me-better-than-me, and created that genre of innocence is all. A cult. A seductive one to people who want to remain on the cusp between adolescence and adulthood. That we are all too holy for this world. Hey, even Jesus said he wasn’t coming in peace, he was carrying a sword. The only revelatory story, Bananafish, shows his suppressed sexual desire for children, which even Salinger had to kill in his fiction because he couldn’t reveal it.

Outside of Catcher, I like Raise High The Roof Beam. But his Harrisburg 1924, where a seven-year old rants about literature, his parents, and life. That’s just bad writing, solid screed, and shows a man driving off a cliff, but no one was there to catch him.

Who stopped Salinger from sprinting through the rye and  jumping off the cliff? Not Holden. because they were one and the same, too good for this world: on their terms.

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