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J.D. Salinger Phones Home from Paul’s Boutique

Since all post-1963 speculation about J.D. Salinger’s state of existence is more or less a blank slate, save for the occasional lurid detail you wish you didn’t know, I’ll share my pet theory that he spent the years since 1989 preoccupied with endless repetitions of the Biblically dense, ridiculous, outrageous and uplifting scavenger hunt that is the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique album. Teenage angst paid off well, but when Salinger got bored and old, I can imagine him on a Pilgrim’s quest through the far reaches of Paul’s Boutique, with “Shadrach” captivating his mind much as the Jesus Prayer did for Franny Glass. Well, do you have a better theory?

I got more stories than J.D’s got Salinger
I hold the title and you are the challenger.

Beastie Boys, “Shadrach”

Franny took in her breath slightly but continued to hold the phone to her ear. A dial tone, of course, followed the formal break in the connection. She appeared to find it extraordinarily beautiful to listen to, rather as if it were the best possible substitute for the primordial silence itself. But she seemed to know, too, when to stop listening to it, as if all of what little or much wisdom there is in the world were suddenly hers.

J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

Beastie Boys, “Shadrach”

From → Quick Shots

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