Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Suddenly, Salinger!


Mackie45
 Share

Recommended Posts

The new Shane Salerno documentary is already up for streaming from NetFlix. Boy! Was that quick or what? Well, despite the valiant, ever so high-minded effort of critics to murder it, up so far as 20 minutes into it--got it momentarily on pause--I cannot share their opinion. I have already learned about 10 things I never knew about J. D. Salinger, and that's after having read every biography extant on the man, including those of his daughter, Peggy, and his ex-lover, author Joyce Maynard.

 

But, we'll see. I only paused to pop the popcorn, and send off this heads-up. We're up to the part just following upon Salinger's invasion of Utah Beach, on D-Day, and the Dear John letter he got from Oona O'Neill: a newspaper article showing Charlie Chaplin's ring going over the finger of the love of his life.

 

Edited by: Mackie45 on Oct 23, 2013 1:33 AM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well . . . .

 

Gonna have to admit that the hagiographic tone of it that enters in toward the end gets pretty fulsome, till you're feeling a fair degree of embarrassment for the film-maker. There are other displeasing elements (aside from the scandal mongering of Joyce Maynard, who once auctioned off her letters from Salinger at Sotheby's ) which raise what some would see as the absurdly puerile suggestion that J. D. Salinger (and Holden Caulfield) are the assassins of John Lennon--well, by instrument of Mark David Chapman, of course.

 

One author commentator mentioning in the same context, John Hinckley and the murderer of Rebecca Schaeffer, one Robert John Bardo, concludes that if three deranged whackjobs had associated their murderous acts with a book he'd written, well that might tend to bother his sleep at night. Yes, well, that might. But then how are we to distinguish between that and the fact that Charles Manson claimed the same manner of motivation from songs that John Lennon wrote?

 

And what of God, and Allah--are they losing any sleep at night over all the murder and mayhem that has been wreaked in the world by the nut-jobs who claim inspiration from the books they are alleged to have written? It's a thorny question. And it may well have bothered Salinger, if certain comments attributed to him, second hand, should be taken as relating to that specifically--how he regarded Catcher in the Rye as "a mistake"?

 

Well then, there's plenty of blame to go round, isn't there. Every critic from all the great publications who praised that novel to the skies, every high school teacher and college prof that ever assigned it for a student to read, and not least, the publishers who continue to keep Catcher in the Rye in print. What are they to do now, if Jerry Salinger really did call Holden Caulfield a "mistake"? How many more rock stars, Presidents of the United States and pretty California Girls must we lose before Catcher in the Rye, the Bible and the Qur'an are taken from the shelves and burned in a huge Nazi-style bonfire--will we ever get it right?

 

Edited by: Mackie45 on Oct 23, 2013 5:00 AM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, Mackie...very interesting reading!

 

If one wants to look to creations as being motivators of evil, then you are right that one must include "Taxi Driver" by Scorcese, and considering his Jesuit led background, I'm sure he would defend his choices.

 

There is the scene in "Clockwork Orange" where the droogie, Little Alex becomes very religious and is helping the chaplain with prayer services and always reading the bible, and then one sees that while he is reading the crucifixion part of the New Testament and looking all beatific, Alex is actually envisioning himself as one of the tormenters who is flailing a whip at the Christ figure.

 

Which goes to show, what one gets out of anything is more intrinsic to their predisposed tendencies than the intent of the thing they are motivated by.

 

I don't like book burnings as I am still regretting the loss of books pre-Dark Ages and also Mayan and Aztec tomes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, CaveGirl . . .

 

Swell of you to reply. :-)

 

"If one wants to look to creations as being motivators of evil, then you are right that one must include "Taxi Driver" by Scorcese, and considering his Jesuit led background, I'm sure he would defend his choices."

 

Right. That too. And I won't forget the night I saw that film, first run at a theater on Hollywood Boulevard, either the Pantages or the Hollywood Pacific--can't recall which, and neither will l I forget the generally shocked response of the audience. Man! It's like they were pressed down in their seats by the G-forces of it, most of them--while I was busting a gut laughing, in what felt to be the right places.

 

Think of the scene where Scorsese plays the jealous, cuckold husband obsessively ranting in the backseat, while looking up through the dark at the lighted apartment window where he sees his wife cavorting with her lover--well! People in seats ahead of me were turning around, as if to wonder what could possibly be so funny about that?

 

Well, was it funny? Certainly not in any ordinarily comic way, but in another more profound sense, yes. Surely, I was no less shocked than they to see a thing like that so excruciatingly exposed on the screen in all its most viscerally sickening sense of thrill. Maybe it was like the way people laugh sometimes when they're startled? Yes, that's what it was: made you downright giddy to see that we finally had a film director with so undaunted a vision for such starkly confessional frankness about the secret, sensual horror of erotic betrayal. It was just too startlingly real not to laugh out loud.

 

"Which goes to show, what one gets out of anything is more intrinsic to their predisposed tendencies than the intent of the thing they are motivated by."

 

Exactly. How can anyone think to blame the madness of madmen, who will be mad, and dangerous no matter what may be the art they are exposed to--on the artist? One thinks of the lunatic who took a hammer to Michelangelo's *Pieta*. What's the difference between such an act as that, and claiming, "It was *Catcher in the Rye* made me do it"? Vandalism, on both counts. Might as well have taken a gun to J. D. Salinger while he was at it, which, in a sense, he did.

 

"I don't like book burnings as I am still regretting the loss of books pre-Dark Ages and also Mayan and Aztec tomes."

 

Right. That's for the bonfires of 1936 Germany, and as you note, the heirs to the Spanish Inquisition. Awful to think of what was lost due to the insane zeal of those conquistador priests. One gets something of an idea of the loss from *The Memoirs of the Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo* who accompanied Cortes during the conquest. It's in his description of what they saw, when at last the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) hove into sight. The man is simply at a loss to describe (though he does give it a good try) what he was seeing, what it was like to ride into such a world as appeared to be constructed of fantasies or dreams, or fairy tales--with all the attendant horrors they'd soon be witness to, along with the splendor.

 

Wow! I see that the Diaz memoir can now be downloaded for free (to a Kindle, or otherwise) from Amazon.

 

Edited by: Mackie45 on Oct 25, 2013 12:47 AM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...