Random Thoughts 17

I have developed a troubling fascination with the Kardashian reality show on E!. They are just so sincerely and hopelessly out of touch with the real world that it is sort of amusing.

 

Out of all the hundreds of types of people out there, I think I’ve decided the one I like the least are progressive hippie wannabes who fancy themselves 1960’s throwbacks.

 

What’s with America’s fascination with spicy food?? Everywhere you look restaurant food and grocery items are “fire grilled”, “molten lava”, “fiery”, “flame throwed”, and “volcanic”. Now I will admit I have whatever is the direct opposite of an iron stomach. I’ll need to run to the bathroom after writing this. But the increasing obsession to kick up our food to scorching levels of hotness seems a bit odd.

 

The History Channel show Life After People has to be one of the dumbest television programs of all time.

 

Fat free bologna does not fry very well.

 

I have a solution for overly rowdy fans at collegiate sports events, because no one should ever get away with throwing anything onto the field or court. Such behavior needs punished severely. If the perpetrator is a student then he or she is banned from attending any university sporting events for the remainder of their college career. If the person is an adult non-student then they are banned from all university sporting events for 10 years. The penalty for an adult is harsher because they should know better.

 

RIP author JD Salinger, author of infamous novel The Catcher In the Rye. I personally don’t see what the big deal is about the book, but I realize I am in the minority.

 

President Obama’s low blows against Vegas just make me want to want to go there even more.

 

Two weeks of hype for the Super Bowl is undeniably too much.

 

I had my wild party days in college. I drank plenty of beer and liquor. But I’m in my mid 30’s now and drinking on a regular basis holds no thrill for me. It kind of surprises me the number of my peers that seem to enjoy drinking like they are still college students. A lot of them are people with spouses and jobs and kids, yet they try so hard to be perpetually 19 years old. I find it a rather unflattering side to otherwise decent people. Are your lives so miserable that you have to dull the pain with alcohol?? Have a cola or an iced tea or some milk folks.

 

RIP as well to actress Frances Reid, who died at age 95 after portraying Alice Horton on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives for over 40 years. My sister and I had a babysitter that got us hooked on DOOL (and General Hospital) back in the early 1980’s. I’ve been watching ever since.

The Catcher in the Rye

“Must we go on with this inane conversation?” someone inquires of Holden Caulfield at one point in The Catcher in the Rye. It’s a question I recall asking myself a few times back when I read the book.

 

I suppose maybe I read the book too late to really “get it”, too late in my life and too late in the history of our nation and world. For some reason I didn’t read it until I was an adult. I went to high school in the 1980’s, and even though political correctness was in its embryonic stage Catcher had already been deemed too scandalous for young ears.

 

That “scandal” is, in my opinion, what has really vaulted Catcher to its abstract significance. It has given the book an undeserved level of prestige. We tend to embrace the forbidden, to be drawn to the esoteric. Telling teenagers that a book has been banned gives that book a one way ticket to Coolsville and makes the youngsters want to read it that much more. Unfortunately in this case the controversy is much ado about nothing. From my viewpoint it seems like a bunch of uptight wet blankets got themselves in an uproar about some “damns” and “hells” and various instances of taking The Lord’s name in vain. I’m not saying these are good things by any means, but I am suggesting perspective. Banning The Catcher in the Rye from…well, anywhere…..while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the garbage that has been appearing on our televisions and movie screens with increasing quantity and intensity over the past couple of decades seems somewhat misguided.

 

The book itself is an easy read…..too easy as a matter of fact. The first time I read it I kept waiting for the symbolism, foreshadowing, and other hallmarks of great literature. I pegged Holden Caulfield as a Shakespearean tragic hero with a fatal flaw in the mold of Macbeth or King Lear. I assumed there had to be some reason why many thought of this as such a great novel. All I got for my intellectual effort was a reminder of what happens when one assumes.

 

The “hero” Caulfield is just an irksome and petulant bundle of neuroses. I suspect that if I’d done my academic duty when I was supposed to, at around age 14 or 15, I might have more closely identified with the whole angst vibe, the sense of being perpetually unimpressed and underwhelmed by everything and everyone. But it’s amazing what a difference a decade or so can make. Two decades really changes the game. As cynical as I can be, as adept as I am at openly mocking the absurdity in our world, even I find Holden Caulfield to be a bit much. He’s the kind of galling personality that in “real life” would have people just waiting with fervent anticipation for him to fall on his face. It’s difficult to like Holden or feel any semblance of compassion for his plight. He does have a tendency to accurately see through the speciousness of others, one of his few redeeming qualities.

 

I don’t dislike The Catcher in the Rye. It’s a decent, well written story. I don’t feel like the time I spent reading it (and re-reading it years later) was necessarily wasted. I’m just of the opinion that those who deem it as one of the best books ever written are giving gravitas to something unworthy of their passion.