JD Salinger piece plus 'A Perfect Day For Bananafish'



I don't do forums so forgive me if any of this has already been said. I'm on the road with limited bandwidth and haven't gone through the other threads re your piece. This is my post:

For me, the most frightening aspect of your work is that it took this long for someone to come out with it (at least in public).

Really important, vital work. Bravo.

I might add a couple details (which you probably already know):

According to record, just after the war Salinger checked himself in to an army hospital for ‘combat fatigue.’ This of course is a red flag re some sort of mind control program that he may have been subjected to. The details of his hospital stay, real or concocted, might tell us something.

Also, Salinger married a German woman who – according to record – turned out to be a ‘possible’ Gestapo agent during the war. Another red flag. Details might be helpful - more about this woman, how he met her, why they broke up – was she in some way a handler? All kinds of questions come to mind, to add to the ones implied by Salinger’s history as an army counter-intelligence operative and his early participation in the ‘holocaust expose.’ His use of a word relating to a Paperclip list in Catcher was a good catch, by the way (sorry for the pun), and possibly indicating a significant related issue.

Although I’ve never been much of a Salinger fan – now even way less so, of course - after reading your piece something nagged on me. Realized what it was after sleeping on it:

Keeping in mind that (it’s well known) Salinger really like ‘younger’ women, I went back and read one of his early short stories. ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’ was – I’m pretty sure but will check – the first of his stories to be published in The New Yorker, which was and still is the ultimate venue for short stories; it’s also well known that as a young writer Salinger was obsessed with being published there.

Also keeping in mind what we know about the Elite, ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’ is about pedophilia. In fact, it’s utter transparency as a pedophile story is probably why no one (that I know of) has ever mentioned it before. It’s just so in your face.

Briefly, an unnamed young man (that he is ‘anonymous’ is significant) has what on the surface is an innocent interaction with (from her description) a four or five year old girl. It’s on the beach and minimal physical contact is made. To entertain the girl, the young man – who is obviously ‘good’ with kids – makes up a story about imaginary ‘bananafish.’ A bananafish will go into a hole underwater, he says, and eat so many bananas that he can’t get back out, and therefore dies in the hole. (Need we deal with the ‘banana’ – ‘hole’ – ‘gluttony/obsession’ symbolism? In fact, there is so much obvious ‘stuff’ going on here that I’ll just let it lay…)

The little girl wanders off (with no regrets about their interchange) and the young man walks back to his beach hotel, then to his room. In the elevator he causes a scene, accusing a woman passenger of staring at his feet. He tells the elevator operator that he has perfectly ‘normal’ feet and why would someone stare at them? (Much could be made of this piece of business but, as I say, I’ll just move on.)

Arriving at his room he promptly opens his luggage, pulls out a pistol, and blows out his brains. End of story. (Aside from the bananafish dying ‘in the hole,’ there is no foreshadowing whatsoever.)

You’re way ahead of me here, Joe, I’m sure, but just for the record: I believe that ‘suicide as the only recourse for pedophiles’ is so obvious that it probably misses the real point.

For me, as a writer and a fan of good writing, what’s interesting is the mediocrity of the story, and even the prose. There is just nothing remarkable about it. Yet at the time of its publication (1948) it caused ‘a sensation.’ The NY literati were, as they say, ‘all a-buzz’ about this fresh, new talent.

With your expose in mind, what comes to mind now is the power of these people; that they could not only get this tripe pubbed in the prestigious literary magazine, but also gin up the critics on its behalf.

Like The Catcher in the Rye, ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’ is a warning, generally directed at anyone who ‘breaks the rules’ (a bullet in the brain being in the offing), but specifically to those pedophiles already under blackmail-control for their perversion.

That there is no outright evidence that Salinger himself was a full-blown pedophile is meaningless. (More than one mainstream bio has emphasized his predilection for younger women by such phrasing as ‘really younger.’) His reclusiveness comes to mind here as well; it being one way of avoiding temptation.

But again, the mere fact of this story’s publication, plus the hoopla, is the significant aspect of the ‘Bananafish’ matter. (Ditto Catcher, of course, plus – as you point out - its being on the public school ‘required’ list for our all these years.)

I urge anyone reading your piece to please take the time to ponder its import and to take the time to do the only thing we can do in defense of our liberties and even our lives – get this material (and others like it) to go viral. If enough of us know the truth, they will have to stop doing this shit. (For what it’s worth, I have issues with some details of other similar pieces, but not with the over all drift.)

You can be in touch with me via acwdownsouth@yahoo.com