February 04, 2010

“It was a dark and stormy night, but we were young and thought we could do anything. There was no looking back. None of that David Copperfield kind of nonsense. We were already men. We had our finger on what was going on between self and culture. We did away with the traditional architecture of the short story. It was bull—-t, so we dumped it. There was no beginning and no middle, just a lot of emotion, irony and mood. MMMooodd. It was Zen, man, and it never snapped shut. We said less, and it counted for more, and the suckers went wild. Holden grabbed them by the coogies and never let them go. Shawnie loved that stuff, but Susan Hayward really blew it in Uncle Wiggy. She of the Foolish Heart.

They said I liked young women and manipulated them. Of course I did. Wouldn’t you? That bitch Joyce Maynard took me for some ride. I love you more for yourself than Catcher, she used to say, while I stuffed her. And like a fool I believed her. We used to lie down after chow and she’d tell me about the millions—millions—of boys who went to bed at night thinking they were Holden. And when I’d tell her those millions went to bed jerking off thinking of Marilyn Monroe, she’d squeal like a stuffed pig, and make me come.

“Is this a joke? Believe it or not, it’s not. Suffice it to say that—unlike Clifford Irving and Howard Hughes—I have been in touch with Mr. S in the past. Better yet, he chose to contact me.”

They say I am a recluse. Of course I am. Look what they did to Papa. Philip Roth, John Updike, Harold Brodkey, they say I shaped them all, and perhaps I did. Pitch perfect dialogue and sharp social observation is what it’s all about. Sure, Holden was my Gatsby, I got his fierce alienation just right. Adolescence and alienation, morality and distrust, you don’t need to be a genius. When The Catcher first caught fire, I thought only of getting laid. Holden’s inner voice was talking about a need which comes before love—honesty—or so they told me. I was dying to tell them the only need which comes before love is getting laid. Thank God, I didn’t.

When I was writing The Catcher I was horny as hell. Marilyn, Jayne, Ava, Lana, they all drove me nuts. So I punished the bitches by showing them that love does not mean sex. I gave Holden an instinct of celibacy. And although my old man was a Jew, I never cared for all that bullshit. I made the only two good people Holden meets to be Catholic nuns.

After that it was all down hill. I wanted to save the world but the world did not want to be saved. So I said fuck it. I invented the Glass family, a group ritually washing away the world’s guilt. This is a world of hypocrisy and false values, a world that needs love but does not know how to find it. The people who use the word love are all phonies, starting with that jerk Bono. The only man I trust and whom I’ve never met is Taki, the Greek Spectator correspondent.”

Is this a joke? Believe it or not, it’s not. Apparently it will all soon come out, with the great man’s papers. How do I know it’s not a hoax? Ah, here we’re getting into deep waters. I am not at liberty to reveal certain facts, suffice it to say that—unlike Clifford Irving and Howard Hughes—I have been in touch with Mr. S in the past. Better yet, he chose to contact me. The only clue I will give is that Mr. S was a Spectator reader, and received the best weekly in the English-speaking world under a pseudonym, but in his New Hampshire address. Toward the end, he hinted to me that he read Takimag, but I’m not sure he could handle the internet or a word processor. Apparently I stand to inherit something from him, but that’s the least of my concerns. What I’m worried about is publicity, or the movie that’s sure to follow. I can see it now. “JD & Taki, a love story between two real men who never met.” Or “JD & Taki, a movie that will melt your heart the way Melvin & Howard did.”

Joking aside, as soon as my pen pal died I contacted both the sainted editor of the Speccie as well as our executive editor. Both doubted my story but immediately changed their minds when I produced the proof. They both advised me to go with it but not to mention what I have in my possession until the will is probated. I have obviously also taken legal advice which, incidentally, was the same as the sainted one’s.

I cannot go into details for legal reasons, but JD Salinger and I never spoke on the telephone, we only corresponded. He loathed modern Britain almost as much as I do, and particularly hated what he called phonies like Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis and, surprisingly, VS Naipaul. In fact he once hinted I should beat Naipaul up, but dropped it after I told him I was a friend of Shiva Naipaul’s, as well as of his wife Jenny. Nearly all adults were suspect to JD Salinger, as well they should have been—that’s why he has a man who Holden respects make a homosexual pass at the youngster. A boy alone in a world of hypocrisy and false values. That was the real JD Salinger, at least the one I got to know through hundreds of letters. Stay tuned.


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