Amoeblog

J.D. Salinger 1919 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, January 29, 2010 10:55am | Post a Comment
Every obituary for J.D. Salinger, who died yesterday at the age of 91, will inevitably mention that he was a celebrated author and an enigmatic recluse who detested the spotlight. He was the Garbo of letters so too J.D. Salinger obituaryspeak, whose first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, is an anthem of adolescent angst and youthful rebellion, and in the 1980’s a couple of sociopathic assholes claimed they read something into the book that doesn’t exist, which drove their actions. A few obits might also mention that Salinger was a big fan of Ring Lardner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alfred Hitchcock, W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers and even psychic Edgar Cayce. But Salinger lives. His novels' popularity obviously endures today. His books continue to sell, Catcher alone sells more than 250,000 copies a year in paperback, as do his other books, Nine Stories, and two compilations, and possibly his very best writing, about the fictional Glass family-- Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.
 
As for me, here's something I'll add, Salinger wrote one of my all time favorite lines, I ate it up as a kid and even memorized it: “If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn't rub out even half the 'Fuck you' signs in the world. It's impossible.”
 
Here are some other quotes from J.D. Salinger:
 
 “I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.”
 
“I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.”
 
“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.”
 
“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody.”
 
“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.”
 
“Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.”
 
“I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
 
“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
 The Catcher in the Rye
“Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phoney. I could puke every time I hear it.”
 
“I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
 
“It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
 
“It was a very stupid thing to do, I'll admit, but I hardly didn't even know I was doing it.”
 
“You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phoney stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they're mean bastards at heart.”
 
“It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road.”
 
“Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.”
 
“In my mind, I'm probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.”
“Sex is something I really don't understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away. Last year I made a rule that I was going to quit horsing around with girls that, deep down, gave me a pain in the ass. I broke it, though, the same week I made it -- the same night, as a matter of fact.”
 
“People always clap for the wrong things.”
 J.D. Sakinger cover of Time
“I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.”
 
“It's no fun to be yellow. Maybe I'm not all yellow. I don't know. I think maybe I'm just partly yellow and partly the type that doesn't give much of a damn if they lose their gloves.”
 
“Catholics are always trying to find out if you're Catholic.”
 
“Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.”
 
‘Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.
It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to.”
 
‘That's the nice thing about carousels, they always play the same songs.”