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Steven Weber Headshot

Another Writer Guy Dead. But Where's Octomom?

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History, like its scruffier cousin Memory, just gets in the way of making a profit.

The death of JD Salinger will most likely be heralded by the shrinking community which reveres art and culture, knowing that without them, society is a sterile, shallow, casually consuming mass.

Oh. Yeah. Ahem.

Do young people read him anymore? Or are they just too engrossed in World of Warfare to notice that more than any electronic game which would ascribe impossibly godlike characteristics to any basement bound consumo-nerd that a far more potent avatar would be found in the person of Holden Caulfield?

Sorry to be a snob (and nowhere near as well-read as my outrage would presume) but I get the feeling that our culture has become mechanized, nothing more than a virtual conveyor belt of impersonal data to be absorbed like a sublingual melatonin and then flushed from the system to make room for more bits and bytes.

When Marlon Brando died, I was fairly appalled at the cursory attention paid this cultural icon. Unique, provocative and confounding, Brando managed, in the space of really a small body of work, to alter modern culture profoundly. And yet, his societal contributions lay buried beneath what he had become physically and all he had endured publicly; his arguably eccentric personality exacerbating the problems he had in his private life became fodder for the gossip rags and late night comedians.

So it will be, I suspect, with Salinger. More and more the masses are becoming unworthy of the geniuses who struggle to make more of themselves and their world, having chosen (or been forced to choose) dreck over splendor.

And it's not just the arts which suffer from a lack of respect. It is the very workings of our political system which of late seems solely to bank on the short and/or defective memories of its citizens. It's in our consumer society which hails the innovation of the latest I-Thing with nary a subconscious twitch, a remnant from the last similarly hailed innovation only two years ago, which burst upon the scene with virtually assured obsolescence as part of its charm.

Depth, introspection, reality -- these are qualities American society should embrace if it is to survive with anymore sophistication than a crap-encrusted farm animal. JD Salinger's work was the embodiment of those powerful qualities, and more.

Maybe someone should come out with a Franny and Zooey app?