This Week in Girl Geek: JD Salinger Dies and the Internet Is Goddamn Shitty About It

Posted at 5:00 AM Jan 29, 2010

By Kiala Kazebee

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Howard Zinn died this week and the politico literatti mourned appropriately. Zinn was a hero to anyone who gave a crap about oh, I don't know, THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD, and when he passed, the internet quietly tweeted and blogged and facetubed or whatever about it in a tasteful manner. And then yesterday, Salinger's Blue Period ended for good and the World Wide Web imploded with cynicism, splintering into many, many camps--those who loved him, those who hated him, those who loved him and wanted movies made out of his books, those who loved him and NEVER wanted movies made out of his books and hipsters who wanted whatever anybody else didn't want.

For the record, I stand firmly in the "I love him and would be thrilled to see a For Esme With Love movie and goddamn it if I don't think there isn't at least one gentle filmmaker out there who could do it justice" camp. I am looking at you JJ Abrams. KIDDING. Sort of.

I don't love the man JD Salinger; I'm not naive. I think he was a crazy, misogynist hermit with a gigantic ego and a somewhat tyrannical nature who was kind of into Scientology, so I understand why his death is a bit more problematic than Zinn's. But MY GOD PEOPLE, he was a fucking excellent writer. I dare you to read Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and not fall head over heels in love with that awkward, emotional, hilarious and sweaty New York story--laughing and cringing and laughing until you're not laughing or cringing anymore because you're crying. I dare you.

And I find myself a wee bit conflicted about my stance on respectful internetting because for me, funny always trumps appropriateness. This is like an empirical law or a moral imperative for me. (And it is why I disagree with Andrea about the iPad tampon jokes. I think some of them are funny enough that it doesn't matter to me whether or not they're juvenile. Just something to consider.) So when I see a tweet about Salinger like this one from my friend and Escapist blogger Earnest Nex Cavalli, I lauuuughhh:

"OH MY GOD! JB SALMONGINGER IS DEAD YOU GUYS! WHO ARE WE GONNA GET TO CATCH ALL THIS FUCKING RYE NOW?>!??"

But when I see posts like this from another friend I am IRRITATED. Sorry Graham.

"Catcher in the Rye is a mediocre book. Teen agnst (sic) is boring."
It's complicated, I guess. I am just as excited as everyone to read the Posthumous Manuscripts of Holden Bananafish or what have you, and I am just as trepidatious about the imminent casting of Zooey Deschanel as Franny Glass (a nod to Alison Hallett for that one), but I am also sad. Not sad that Salinger is dead, he was 91 for chrissake, but sad that his passing wasn't as easy or palatable or sacred as Zinn's.

"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'F*** you' right under your nose." ~Salinger

Comments

Susan said:

UGH YOU ARE RIGHT THEY WILL ALL BE ZOOEY DESCHANEL. Man, I really hope they don't start making them into movies because it's really going to fuck everything up.

Rivka said:

Honestly, I love his work, dislike (a bit) the author who felt little responsibility to his work or readers, but I KNOW he was important. Can't we all agree and mourn the passing of an such an important writer?

Lauren said:

When Kiala's on, she's on. As J.D. himself, said:

"I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could just meet somebody I could respect."

I'm finding myself respecting this piece of work.

FreddieF said:

Jd Salinger has been one of the giants of American literature, with his creation of the book entitled “Catcher in the Rye”. Granted, JD Salinger had a long life – 91 years is a pretty good run, and at that age it's bound to happen sooner or later. There's still a bunch of unpublished works of his still left and a lot of people would want to get it published, that's for sure. Catcher in the Rye is still a classic, despite its controversy, and Holden Caufield will remain one of the most essential characters of American Literature.

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