Last modified on 23 December 2007, at 12:53

Talk:J. D. Salinger

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The images on this page are ridiculously sacchrine. I don't think J. D. Salinger was the cheesy, shallow type of religious writer the images make him out to be. The image with the soup is the worst--way too obvious. The image shouldn't just serve to illustrate one of the words used in the quote, it should demonstrate the principle of the quote.

Justinjuicebox 01:59, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I also don't understand the use of bold type in the quotes.

—This unsigned comment is by 76.104.197.159 (talkcontribs) .

Part of a comment I originally posted at Talk:George Washington (which I think I might slightly edit and begin using as a standard reponse on pages where the issue about bold emphasis arises):

As one of the people who has spent the most time working on this project (and in developing this page among many others), I have always objected to the idea that everything should be presented at the same level of emphasis, and I have always believed it makes immense sense in a collection of quotations for those that are most famous, and those that users tend to find the most notable to be emphasized by bolding. I believe it especially useful on longer pages where many famous and important statements would otherwise be much harder to find, and the practice has been used on many pages since the earliest days of Wikiquote. I have discussed it more fully at a few points in the past, and now when the subject occasionally comes up, I usually just provide a brief comment and links to some past discussions.

As to the images, they too are employed to make pages more visually interesting, especially to casual browsers, and also as points of easy reference to those who might refer to them more than once. As well as perhaps having some non-obvious connotations, I also believe the rather mundane image of the bowl of chicken soup addresses the theme and principles of the statement Salinger makes quite well: "How in hell are you going to recognize a legitimate holy man when you see one if you don't even know a cup of consecrated chicken soup when it's right in front of your nose?"

Salinger's words and themes, like that of many great writers, consistently indicate awareness that transcends words, definitions, and such an absolute use of labels as are commonly employed by many people who cannot easily perceive much beyond the most shallow of impressions and often make extremely shallow statements of absolute judgment. Against such shallowness, whether it is manifested in "cheesy" or bitter ways, Salinger declares many gems of wisdom, and flashes of a complexly melancholic and joyful sense of the sacred amidst the mundane and chaotic:

"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "Fuck you" right under your nose"
"What is it but a low form of prayer when he or Les or anybody else God-damns everything? I can't believe God recognizes any form of blasphemy. It's a prissy word invented by the clergy."
"all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next."
"There isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? . . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy."

The last statement quoted has long been a personal favorite of mine, and I consider it among the most notable statements Salinger has written. It makes a very profound point in such a way as not to immediately passed over and rejected as "too-saccharine" by those who have come to have a distaste for anything with any sweetness if it is not salty enough as well. Like chicken soup. ~ Kalki 12:44, 23 December 2007 (UTC)