"When was writing ever your profession? It's never been anything but your religion.": Salinger Trailer

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"When was writing ever your profession? It's never been anything but your religion.": Salinger Trailer

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | June 17, 2013 | Comments ()


J.D. Salinger is one of the most divisive authors around, much more so than the usual suspects that might pop up on your radar. And I don't mean because of the bizarre number of people who try to get the book banned from libraries because it says "fuck" six whole times. Seriously what the fuck is wrong with you fucking fucktards who think that your precious fucking teenager has never fucking heard that magical fucking four letter word that has been sprinkled through every fucking conversation in every fucking high school for the last fifty fucking years? There that sentence should be good enough to get me banned from conservative high schools throughout the country.

I mean that the level of love-hate for the book is pretty much at a one to one ratio, which just doesn't tend to happen. Yeah there are Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown, who also have a lot of people who hate them and a lot of people who love them, but there's a big difference. I won't even try to put this delicately. Most authors are divisive because people with intelligence and taste are on one side of the fence, and genetic disappointments are on the other. But with Catcher in the Rye, the line runs right through the middle. Grab a group of well read intelligent individuals and mention that title and half will roll their eyes while the other half get excited and then call the rest phonies.

[Scratches head]. So, apropos of nothing, Dustin might have told Joanna and I that we were phonies.

Salinger of course was famously reclusive, refusing to have anything to do with the public eye or even publish anything from the 1960s until his death in 2010, despite writing for several hours every day. His daughter has said that he meticulously organized his writing, color coding whether it was reading for publication after his death as is, or whether it needed edited first. By some accounts, he's got 15 unpublished novels in a safe, and no one knows when or even if the world will ever see them.

But this is all build up for a truly interesting looking documentary about Salinger's life, delving into his war experiences, the basis of his writing, and what made him withdraw from the world. Here's the trailer:

And here's the documentary's summary:

SALINGER features interviews with 150 subjects including Salinger's friends, colleagues and members of his inner circle who have never spoken on the record before as well as film footage, photographs and other material that has never been seen. Additionally, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal and Pulitzer Prize winners A. Scott Berg and Elizabeth Frank talk about Salinger's influence on their lives, their work and the broader culture. The film is the first work to get beyond the Catcher in the Rye author's meticulously built up wall: his childhood, painstaking work methods, marriages, private world and the secrets he left behind after his death in 2010.

I could really do without a lot of the actors talking, but I suppose that's the selling point of this for a lot of people.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Mrs. Julien

    Oh, how I hated CitR when I read it so, so many years ago. Maybe I should re-read it, although I have tried that with other books thinking "I might have a different perspective now that I'm older" and still hated them.

    I actually got incensed with my high school English teacher over CitR. I said how much I hated it and he replied that maybe I didn't understand it. I was the first to answer every damn question he asked the class after that, with my teeth clenched and my intellect bared. I even rejoined "Not bad for someone who doesn't understand the book, eh?" to his approbation for one of my responses. For me, in my WASPy, private school, ingrained fear of authority figures world, asking that question was my version of screaming FU*K YOU at the top of my lungs. Do not tell me I don't understand what I have read. I was 16.

    I will watch the documentary though. It sounds fascinating.

    (I also announced that I thought Heathcliff was an @sshole when we were discussing Wuthering Heights in grade 13, although I can't remember what alternate sobriquet I chose.)

  • PaddyDog

    You pose an interesting question about re-reading it. I have found that many people who are 10-15 years younger than I am hate CITR. Many have told me that they can't relate to it. It's an odd thing because I would have very few favourite books if I needed to relate to them all (not many books are written about rather average people with average lives like me). However, I wonder if some of those people would have a different reaction to it re-reading after, for instance, watching Mad Men in which so many characters are from a Holden Caulfield background and even had an ep that paid homage to HC in a way.

    It's also interesting that it's so unpopular with the current crop of high schoolers and high school graduates since I find HC's whiny moments to be very close to the whining I hear from the Millennials every day.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Doesn't that just make them teenagers?

  • I have a slightly different read on where the fence comes down on Catcher in the Rye. In my experience, there seems to be a line drawn along gender lines. When I read it in school, the girls hated Catcher, but the boys loved it. That same year, we also read A Separate Peace and it was flipped: girls loved it, boys hated it (including me. That book is garbage when it could have been GREAT). Obviously there are exceptions, but that seemed to be the average broad stroke.

  • oilybohunk7

    I'm an exception, I'm a woman and I loved, loved, loved Catcher. We were assigned chapters in school but I read the entire thing the first night because I couldn't stop. My friends hate it.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I have a hunch that On the Road would be equally divisive, probably also along gender lines. Because that is a book for which I found that the prose was captivating, the people/plot were not.

    I still haven't read Catcher (though now I'm hearing it in Jennifer Aniston's Good Girl voice). What can I say? I just finished Gatsby yesterday. So much classic literature, so little time.

  • indarchandra

    you may be onto something here. I acknowledge that Salinger is a great writer and even that CITR is a superbly written book, But! Man oh man, does Holden bug the crap out of me. Quit your moaning, basement boy!

  • PaddyDog

    He did write more than Catcher in the Rye. I would suggest that CITR is a divisive book, but if one reads his entire body of work, it's very hard to dismiss him as a writer.

  • Robert

    I'm not a big fan of Catcher but I respect his voice. He knew how to write.

  • sal paradise

    I did enjoy Catcher the first time I read it, although it was never a favorite. But after reading Nine Stories and Rise High the Roofbeams/Seymour, I was fucking blown away. It's a shame that so many people are exposed to only Catcher in school and are turned off afterwards.

  • jen

    the glass family... aye... maybe there are many more glass family stories in that vault. and maybe someday they will see the light of day. or not.

  • Siege

    I would read multiple books that are just about the day-to-day life of Zooey Glass.

  • Drake

    Hopefully I'll live that long. Love the Glass family stories.

  • I wholeheartedly agree. His fascinating laser focus on his writing to the exclusion of almost everything else is reflected in his work and it's rather hard to deny.

  • SLW, I understand the Principal would like a fucking word.

  • Pnut

    Ha, he is so incredibly devisive. Both my sil and I were lit majors. I absolutely love catcher, while my sil couldn't finish the first chapter and now considers me a bizarre individual. What can I say? It cracks me up every time!

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