John Summers: As the armies of tolerance celebrate To Kill a Mockingbird–it’s the 50 anniversary this month—one is put in mind of a maxim by W.H. Auden: “You do not read a book,” Auden said. “A book reads you.”
Wendy Block: Both Zinn and Salinger remained true to themselves. Zinn maintained his radical stance when many of his contemporaries softened. Salinger rejected what he considered the phoniness of fame, and even stopped publishing (but maybe now, secreted works will go public). Though some of his rumored actions, if true, were eccentric, there’s nothing reclusive about wanting to live a life free from an obsessively attentive outside world.
Jules Siegel: Coming across as pompous, astoundingly unfeeling, deceptive and defiantly hypocritical, Salinger indoctrinates her with his homeopathically inspired theories about food, teaches her how to induce vomiting in order to avoid absorbing “toxins,” has her share a diet so austere that she stops menstruating, and generally makes himself the absolute center of not only her personal world but also life as we know it. In one scene, commenting scornfully on the Beatles and their Maharishi, he takes rueful credit for having created the Oriental philosophy fad, conveniently ignoring the Transcendentalists, Herman Hesse and Alan Watts, among others.
Dear Messers O’Reilly, Hannity, and Savage, Congratulations. You sure did it this time. You’re the New Century answer to J.D. Salinger, now that an admirer/acolyte of yours has gunned down two people and injured several others in a senseless assault at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. You must be so proud. “Still seized three [...]