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Tossing Salinger into the pit of deposed men

Both Joyce Maynard and Salinger's daughter Margaret were vilified for violating the great man's privacy when they wrote about their own experiences with him and exposed his predatory, controlling relationships with women. Instead of exploring the insights these revelations might bring to readings of Salinger's work (not to mention the women's right to tell their own stories), critics dismissed their books as exploitative, attention-seeking stunts. When Maynard decided to sell some of the letters Salinger had written her -- letters that confirmed her story of their affair -- the response was even more bitter. A typical reaction was that of author Cynthia Ozick, who wrotethat Maynard "has never been a real artist and has no real substance and has attached herself to the real artists in order to suck out his celebrity." This sort of backlash is not exclusive to Salinger -- when Pablo Picasso's former wives and lovers began to expose him as a physically and emotionally abusive man, they were subject to similar criticisms.

As feminists have long known, the personal is political, and women who tell unpleasant truths rarely find a receptive audience. (Mikki Halpin, “Salinger: ‘Recluse’ with an ugly history of women’,” 8 Feb. 2010)

Please wake up. Any time a famous man dies now, and we don't thereafter learn what a junk of a human being he was to women, we breathe a sigh of relief: My God! It is possible to die and not as a retreating spirit have to watch a gaggle of awfuls piss on you in hopes their evidenced disgust at you shores up their own immunity to the same fate.

Yes, we should be alert to how our own needs shape our perception/taking of the real. Given the now, bringing up the women made your important point inaudible amongst the shame-shame-shames.

Thanks Mikki

He was a woman-hating male writer, like so many others. Men don't want to hear about that. But women do. And we also want to hear the truth and not a made-up version of somebody's nobility.

Thanks Mikki for taking the time to write about that. (Deb McEachern, response to post, “Salinger”)

I'd like to hear the truth, too, Deb. But there is NO SUCH THING as a "woman-hating male writer," that is, some worst slum of demons who's somehow prowled out of the dankest part of the inferno to squeeze love, hope, and joy out of womankind.

Screw you for wanting to keep this pit of mad-mean myth alive and open for more deposits. No one hates someone else, unless they've been thoroughly beat upon. Unloved, unrespected mothers, use their boys to satisfy their own needs. They end up hating them, when they (the boys) focus on their own lives. This is where the woman-hate comes from. No one is to blame. Our earliest ancestors knew little more than the reptilian, and love has just taken a gargantuan ton of time to start trumping that huge, long impress of savage. That is all. Start dealing with THAT truth, and I'm with you. Then when we hear of woman-hate, we're also hearing something else: reason, fairness -- love, maybe even -- no revenge.

Gag order from beyond the grave

enforced by a self-appointed army of thought police aka fans.

The outrage is totally out of proportion to any accusation, which is why it is clearly not rational in nature.

This only happens to women who attempt to tell their side of the story in a relationship with a powerful man. (Angela Quattrano, response to post, “Salinger”)

@Angela Quattrano

The outrage is totally out of proportion to any accusation, which is why it is clearly not rational in nature.

In may be no exaggeration to say that the entirety of pop-culture analysis these days revolves around the periodic full reveal of great men to puerile exposure, and a collective subsequent watching to see all the blood rivulets and crass contours that develop in the desperate attempt at some recomposition of the flagging victim / splayed corpse. We get the day-to-day -- and then the lottery! Yay! Another man down -- THIS time, WITH LETTERS!

Link: Salinger: “Recluse” with an ugly history of women (Salon)


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