Holden Caulfield Weighs In
In June of last year, the reclusive J. D. Salinger, author of Catcher In the Rye, sued in federal court to prevent the sale of 60 Years Later – Coming Through the Rye, by Swedish author Fredrik Colting. The novel’s main character, “Mr. C,” is a 76 year-old version of Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, and its theme is the retrospective examination of his young life. The court issued an injunction prohibiting Colting from publishing, distributing, promoting or selling his novel in the United States, pending a trial on the merits.
Zick Rubin, a lawyer who specializes in publishing, copyright and trademark law here in the Boston area, thought that Holden Caulfield would have an opinion on the efforts of his creator to stop him from growing up. On his website, Rubin convinced Caulfield to write a guest editorial expressing that opinion. I am pleased to reproduce it below:
[copyright, Zick Rubin, Esquire]
That J.D. Salinger is strictly a pain in the ass. He makes me want to puke, if you want to know the truth.
Old J.D. never wanted me to grow up in the first place. The whole book is full of all that crap about my getting kicked out of Pencey Prep and getting drunk as a bastard and telling lies about having a tiny tumor on my brain and all. It’s probably the only Coming of Age book where the kid never comes of age. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to grow up. I’ve been 16 years old for about 60 lousy years. If you really want to know, I feel some concern for my future. I really do.
So this guy in Sweden wrote a book about what happened to me when I was about 75 years old. I would really like to read it. I’ll admit that the guy in Sweden is a total phony. He called himself “J.D. California,” for crying out loud. Big deal. I’d just like to see what it would be like to get older. That’s all I’m saying.
But old J.D. Salinger won’t let it happen. He’s 90 years old, for Chrissake, and he is so screwed-up about his crumby “Catcher in the Rye” that he won’t let anybody change a goddam word. I think he’s nervous as hell that people will think J.D. California is a better writer than he is.
So old J.D. went ahead and got some moron lawyer to sue J.D. California, and the judge said that J.D. California can’t publish his book about me because I’m copyrighted. I’m not kidding. If I want to read it, I need to go to goddam Sweden.
What really drove me crazy is that J.D. Salinger wouldn’t even let Steven Spielberg make a movie about me, even though Steven Spielberg really wanted to. It’s a funny thing, I hate movies like poison, but I would get a big bang out of it if Steven Spielberg made a movie about me – I admit it. That kid who played Harry Potter would be a terrific Holden Caulfield, if he could just get rid of that phony British accent.
But that sonuvabitch J.D. Salinger thinks he owns me and all. It’s making me so depressed and lonesome that I’ve got to do something about it. I really do.
If you really want to know, I’m going to testify for that phony from Sweden and I’m going to sue for custody of my sister Phoebe and I. My father, who is a corporation lawyer and used to haul it in before he got downsized last month, says that is crazy. But I’m going to do it because I would like to read that book before I am goddam 90 years old.
I think Zick nailed it.
Zick Rubin’s website has all sorts of helpful and interesting information on it, and he’s a fine gentleman who I look forward to getting to know better. Check it out!
Filed under: literature, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
Tags: catcher in the rye, copyright, fair use, holden caulfield, humor, infringement, salinger