I don’t really know what to say about J.D. Salinger. He was a writer who tried to nail down a little part of postwar fiction on a lamppost, right beside stapled flyers that had Vonnegut and Pynchon lettered on them.
I have a vivid memory of The Catcher in the Rye from my sophomore year in high school. I read it and then cut it up, made a performance piece out of it, and performed it in front of old white women. I got nearly last place, if not last place, but Holden Caulfield had already jumped out, called my ass a phony, and molded me a little. I kept performing Holden, kept being him, kept running my hands through my hair. I was him, for a little while.
Then Franny and Zooey, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Simpsons, all of those things that put Salinger in some kind of context for me. Now I’m not sure what it all was. Maybe Salinger knew, but chances are really good that he had as good an idea about the world as I do, or as Holden does, or you and everyone else does. Maybe he just paid attention behind his curtains, behind the windows.
I feel hollow. Howard Zinn died, but fuck, I could care less right now. It reminds me of the episode of Freaks and Geeks where Jason Segel is crying over Jon Bonham’s death two weeks after it happened. I’ll be thinking about today for a long time.