WTM #1083: Salingertronix

wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies


1 Februari 2010 // 16.30-18.30

“The bellboy that showed me to my room was this very old guy around 65. He was even more depressing than the room was. He was one of those bald guys that comb all their hair over from the side to cover up the baldness. I’d rather be bald that do that. Anyway, what a gorgeous job for a guy around 65 years old. Carrying people’s suitcases and waiting around for a tip.”
J.D. Salinger, quotes from more extended on-air reading of “Catcher in the Rye”

Charming > Mankind
Perspective > Eutro
Sun & Ice > The Field [From Here We Go Sublime / Kompakt]
Blue > Nalepa
11110111111 > Ryogi Ikeda [Matrix / Touch]
Floating Dub > Sven Weisemann
11101111111 > Ryogi Ikeda [Matrix / Touch]
Molten > Faction
Path Leading To The High Grass > Biosphere

“The cab I had was a real old one that smelled like someone’d tossed his cookies in it. I always get those vomity kind of cabs if I go anywhere late at night. What made it worse, it was so quiet and lonesome out, even though it was Saturday night. I didn’t see hardly anybody on the street. Now and then you just saw man and a girl crossing a street, with their arms around each other’s waist and all, or a bunch of hoodlumy-looking guys and their dates, all of them laughing like hyenas at something you could bet  wasn’t funny. NY’s terrible when somebody laughs on the street very late at night.”
• J.D. Salinger

Movement 1 > Carl Craig & Moritz von Oswald [Recomposed : Music by Maurice Ravel & Modest Mussorgsky / Deutsche Grammophone]
Intro > Carl Craig & Moritz von Oswald
What Does Your Soul Look Like > DJ Shadow [Endtroducing / Mo Wax]
Scent.edit > Eutro
Jute Wheel > James Plotkin & Mark Spybey [A Peripheral Blur / Kranky]
Gringo Grinder > Pan/Tone
Heroes > Philip Glass vs Aphex Twin [26 Mixes for Cash / Warp]
So What > Flanger [Midnight Sound / Ntone]

“It wasn’t as cold as it was the day before, but the sun still wasn’t out, and it wasn’t too nice for walking. But there was one nice thing. This family that you could tell just came out of church were walking right in front of me – a father, a mother, and little kid about 6 years old. They looked sort of poor… Te kid was swell. He was walking in the street, instead of on the sidewalk, but right next to the curb. He was making out like he was walking a very straight line, the way kids do, and the whole time he kept singing and humming. I got up closer so I could hear what he was singing. He was singing that song, ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye.’ He had a pretty good voice too. He was just singing for the hell of it, you could tell. The cars zoomed by, brakes screeched all over the place, his parents paid no attention to him… It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more.”

Red Shift > Spaceheads [Low Pressure / Bip-Hop]
Clickety Clack > Pine [Forma.1.02 / Progressive Form]
Buffer Zone > Bob [Unstable Friends / & Records]
Spheric Wave > Sven Weisemann
11110111111 > Ryogi Ikeda [Matrix / Touch]
11101111111 > Ryogi Ikeda [Matrix / Touch]

“It’s funny. Don’t tell anybody anything. If you do you start missing everybody.”
J.D. Salinger, last lines from “Catcher”

What I like is stories about so-called experts in the field of literature are wrong. This can be editors, publishers, reviewers. The New Yorker rejected excerpts of Catcher in 1951 considering them too pretentious. He did publish other works in the NYer however….

I have always considered JD Salinger a kindred spirit [Thomas Pynchon as well] in part because of Salinger’s shyness before the media. When I first read Catcher I was 15 and its fragile, naive, knowingness really struck a chord. It may have been the first book I read that actually was directed right at me. It was for the first time I saw how writing can be an intimate conversation between the author’s voice and your thoughts. The book’s anti-hero was already an accurate depiction of the human in trouble by no volition of his own. Kids were early on pushed into a sinister world of hypocrisy and lies created by parents and adults, his voice fit right into the zeitgeist of the 60s of don’t trust anyone over 30. Or 21. When I reached 21 it was people over 40. When I reached 40 I had decided age wasn’t the issue and it was a type of character, a genre of humans we had to be suspicious of.

My soul has always been [too] youthful for this world. I am consistently naive and bitter about how that offers you nothing but disadvantages. Aggression + hypocrisy + duplicity + a laziness of spirit was Salinger’s axis of evil. I have always written with Holden on my shoulder and the conscious attempts at imitation gave way to an organic absorption of our mutually compatible natures. And so even today, my novel Beer Mystic alludes to Holden, periodically folds in the ambience of the book and the penetrating dubiosity of Holden. That utter sadness of discovering that the world is a spectacle – a place already sold to the highest bidders who sell you back small parcels of it at a hefty price so that it reflects their nobility. Debord and Salinger probably had some spiritual kinship, inside-out romantics saddened by the world as it is.

The original kid antihero who tells it like it is about the phoneys was definitely one of the first books that ever spoke to me beyond the page. When I read it in bed at age 16 or so, I remember savoring it and repeating phrases and my [then-not diagnosed dyslexia] made post-modern text out of it but still I managed to read it as if it were reading me. The fact that it and so many great books had been rejected so often by those who pretend to know continues to give me hope but the territory has changed significantly with the print world glutted with would be authors. And I am clearly in the Holden mold incapable of doing some things it seems to take to get heard and that is why I have sought an agent but in order to get heard by an agent you also need a representative of sorts… Salinger, died Jan. 27, at age 91 and he represented or embodied many of the very same things – or so I imagined – that have left me at odds with the culture and just within the extreme outside of it. This is fine but it does mean an extreme amount of struggling within and without.

Part of the appeal of the book is its eternal and modern voice at once hyper-contemporary and classic. Beyond this book and his other great stories I felt for JDS and felt I understood and respected his decision to withdraw into a kind of fetishized, hyper-mediated reclusiveness. His interests in zen became mine but was it through the book or a parallel search that made us even great kindred spirits?

Another admirable aspect of the book is how subversive it was received and perceived by the small bureaucratic consciousness that rules the straight world. It was banned and banished, lambasted and excoriated and the more it irritated certain guardians of ruling class entitlement the more the young sought it out.

In my literary world JDS’s Catcher was the first steppingstone on the way to becoming a writer, which I must honor but also denounce since becoming a writer my life has become increasingly ruled [schedule and spirit-wise] by the fact that my lack of breakthrough plus the ticking timebomb of ageing has begun to give my literary career a sort of air or aroma of bitterness not at any one thing, person or whatever, just at the lot, call it [mis]fortune or whatever.

This then was a show dedicated to the writing and hermetic existence of JDS, whose absence from the hungry eye of the media was more impressive, more memorable than the presence of many others. Like Pynchon and Traven, Salinger is a giant presence specifically because of his conscious absence from mediation; of course, this does not stop anyone from making an even larger mythical lie of this absence as the media tried to give it a consumable shape…

Catcher’s comeback into the media’s hungry eye was no less controversial and painful. When in December 1980 John Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman, it was Catcher that MDC used to justify his crime. It was as if he had let go of the boundaries between voices heard and voices listened to, the real and speculated, the incredible mawing cleave between him in his own mind and the rest of society made it seem that Salinger [the powerful gift of his writing] was speaking truth into the ear of man who misheard everything however he wanted to hear it. The Bible and Koran are commonly  named as a source for crimes justified by the word “of god.”
“Catcher in the Rye” by Guns & Roses deals with Mark David Chapman’s obsession with “Rye” before he shot John Lennon dead [See 10 Songs inspired by J.D. Salinger]. Also the Jonas Brothers’ “6 Minutes,”  The Offspring’s “Get it Right, the Old 97’s “Rollerskate Skinny.” Other than the Beastie Boys, it seems that a lot of execrable and uninteresting types reference Salinger: Well, OK, Belle & Sebastian’s “Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie” but Guns n roses, Rick Springfield, Bill Joel, Green Day, the Refreshments!??!? I think that the influence goes way beyond referencing, however, and probably the main comparable author 15 years later was Jim Carroll, who sadly peaked early in his teens as an author of notice when he wrote the “Basketball Diaries” and never managed to dodge the dark cloud that hung over his angst and talent. But anyway, this book seems to have a similar take although from a less wealthy and more down-trodden and drug-hampered backdrop. It was like a pimped and pumped version of “Rye.”






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s