Re: Try listening to the real ideas and ignore vitriolic attacks

From: James Rovira <>
Date: Fri Feb 28 2003 - 15:44:47 EST

Well, thanks, 90% of this was substantive reply. Will's gone,
unfortunately, so that leaves me in the position of either speaking for
 him or dropping it. I tend to agree with your opinion of Salinger's
relationship to Buddhism, and of his later work (though I think S:AI is
pretty good stuff while Hapworth is an example of a similar effort gone
awry -- but in S:AI the writer is still being self critical about self
indulgence as a writer), but perhaps Will was referring to the
dedication to S:AI, if I have the right book?

That was one heckuva sentence to wade through.

Your previous reply to Will seemed more to me like 50/50 attack/valid
response, line for line, and I think that's what Will was responding to.

Anyway, I mean the dedication that asks the amateur reader to split the
book four ways with his wife and children? May have been to Raise High
or Nine Stories...the details escape me. Kim knows :). This would be
an appeal to readers. I'd agree Hapworth was authorial self indulgence
-- failure to consider the reader much at all.

If it's any comfort you and Scottie's BSing about Hapworth got me
reading it again. As fiction it's annoying, but as Glass Family Archive
it does indeed give you a lot. Young, horny, 7 year old Seymour almost
confesses to an Oedipal complex that'd really explain his future
relationship with women, though I don't think Salinger was into
psychoanalytic theory...


John Gedsudski wrote:

> jim says:
>> I think the point here would be to listen to, say, Will's real ideas
>> and judge them on their own merit, rather than listening to someone
>> else's misrepresentative attack on them. Even then, of course, the
>> attack can have some merit, but its merit can only be judged if
>> you've listened to the original ideas to begin with.
> Jim, I feel my ideas and responses are real. Moreover, it is difficult
> for me to judge primarily on "their own merit" when the author signs
> every post with an waggish tag-line. Someone who is in such an
> esteemed position of professorship must be careful when prescribing
> "advanced degrees" on others. As if, by default, that makes a person a
> more productive member of the academic distopia they live in. Making
> the lay people without them ignorant, of course.
> The previous discussion on MFA's was a frutiful one, proving how
> hopeless the participants of those programs are, and how hapless the
> people who organize them will always be.
> I've taken issue with a number of the associate professor's comments.
> The bulk of of them have been Salinger-related, and for the often
> charged comments there are so many proverbial wet-blanket posts of
> "this list is turning so nasty" "people are so caustic here on
> bananafish island" or "john g. is such a ornery poster" most of which
> are from people who likely read all of the posts with unbridled
> enthususiasm but as posters have little to say on a regular basis.
> Never have I questioned Will's familiarity of J.D. Salinger's works.
> This is why I am sent reeling when he says 'Salinger later appealed to his
> readers.' How can he substantiate this? Especially after reading such
> a dissapointment as Seymour:An Introduction, a mawkish and brittle
> piece of literature, and then of course Hapworth 16, 1924, it is clear
> to most not enthralled by the cult of Salinger that the Old Hermit
> turned his back on ALL his readers, even the amateur ones. How can
> there be a supplication with an author who refuses to publish for 40
> years, after a spurious promise of more works? Then the Amazon posting
> in 1994. Playing games, again, what a sicko. Took Ol Roger at GMU for
> a spin though, didn't ya?
> Also, I take issue with the view J.D. Salinger's central myth is art
> not impeded by religion. While the point about family is a good one,
> think how Eastern philosophy dominates all aspects of his later work.
> Art is not impeded by religion, it's saturated by it. While readers
> can witness the seeds of his obsession in the Catcher in the Rye, with
> the short but important scene with Carl Luce, I am glad we have his
> one novel doctrine-free. Surely, that is more I can say about those
> novels-to-be waiting in the wings.
> For a supposed-JD. Salinger-related list, it is disheartening to see
> so many posts of a heartfelt urge to "stop the anger" and "put down
> your arms" as if no productive discourse ever came from conflict.
> Well, I am not under the umbrella of your University-Ingsoc.
> So deal with it.
> Most of the people who take the namby-pamby view are doomed to a life
> of mediocrity anyway, and will never make it through the gauntlet of
> an artist's life. Let them polish those papers, stand on the shoulders
> of giants, and publish those paradigm-theories on literature. Those
> dissertations will never need to be defended again, because life is to
> short to waste precious time on that pedantic anaytical butt-wiping.
> Take a Look through the archives of most posters, finding a kernal of
> knowledge in ANY Great Work for them is like trying to find flea shit
> in a pile of pepper.
> Cordially,
> John Gedsudski
> Adjunct Professor of Sciolism
> Northern Philistia Community College
> 501 Boorish Drive
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Received on Fri Feb 28 15:44:49 2003

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