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If you read it anyplace else, it's not Really Legal!
Zick Rubin’s columns on the lighter side of publishing and intellectual property law.
Holden Caulfield Weighs In
Holden Caulfield comments on settlement of the Salinger v. Colting lawsuit
J.D. Salinger died on January 27, 2010, several months after Holden Caulfield’s guest Really Legal® column (see below). Under the terms of a settlement of the lawsuit entered into in December, 2010, the book, Coming Into the Rye: 60 Years Later, is permanently enjoined from being distributed in the United States. We asked Holden for his comments. He sent us this email:
It gave me sort of a headache, if you want to know the truth. After old J.D. finally stopped complaining, I thought I would just buy a copy at Barnes & Noble in Grand Central Station, which is my favorite bookstore, and see what it had to say. So then J.D.’s wife, for chrissake, says she’s the Trustee of the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust and she can’t stand the book, either. That’s what really knocked me out. Who knew that old J.D. even had a wife? I should’ve been the Trustee of the J.D. Salinger goddam Literary Trust, if you really want to know, because I’m the one with the 65 million copies in print and I’m getting a little bored with it. I really am.
In a victory for the reclusive writer J.D. Salinger, a federal judge indefinitely banned publication in the United States of a new book by a Swedish author that contains a 76-year-old version of Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of "The Catcher in the Rye." -- New York Times, July 1, 2009
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.
Copyright © 2009 by Zick Rubin