bless the new york times' heart.

so i went to the high dive for the first time last week, and had the misfortune of hearing two really bad bands before hearing the mediocre band that i had gone to see. one of the bands was a female-fronted punk band, and their music was completely uninspired and sloppy. i spent most of their set outside, so as not to hear them, but i came inside at one point and they were playing an appalling cover of elton john’s “rocket man.” i was appalled; they completely butchered it and dishonored elton’s artistry, and i was wishing that there were copyright laws against live bands playing cover songs.

which reminds me: we all know that j.d. salinger is not quite dead but very reclusive, but here’s a little tidbit that the layman may not know: he’s apparently very protective of his work and fond of litigation. i read this article in the new york times that talked about salinger suing a swedish fellow for copyright infringement for a book the swede wrote that features holden caulfield, infamous hero of salinger’s ‘the catcher in the rye,’ aged 60 years from salinger’s first writing of him in the 50’s, as the protagonist. not even a swede can escape the wrath of 90-year-old salinger fighting to protect his masterpiece! amazing.

half of me applauds salinger for preserving his novel as he wrote it, despite many people’s desires to adapt it (he turned down spielberg!) or draw material from it. it shows that he has pride in his work, whereas so many contemporary writers are willing to let hollywood screenwriters mangle their words into something they think will be palatable to american moviegoers, which usually ends up the opposite: something that only vaguely resembles the original because marketability is more important than depth. the other half of me, however, thinks that perhaps salinger is taking it a bit too far. is it really realistic to think that he can shelter his work entirely from the taint of the outside world? would it be so terrible for someone else to be inspired by his work, and to draw on his masterpiece as a tribute to that inspiration that he stirred in them? as much as i loved ‘catcher in the rye,’ it is not the only novel that exists about adolescent feelings of alienation and madness. as dear shakespeare said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” holden caulfield is not the be-all-end-all of teen angst, so should salinger continue to be allowed to treat him as such? hard to say. but power to the old man and his lawyer.

another shining gem in the times is a profile on agyness deyn. yes, she’s british and a supermodel and has great hair that inspired me to chop of all my own hair in an attempt to be ‘fierce,’ but after reading this, i’m kind of appalled at how vapid she is and how her behavior perpetuates the stereotype of dumb supermodel. but what’s even more appalling than her airheadedness is that the writer seems to praise her for it, claiming that it makes her more universally marketable in the fashion world. ugh, gag me. it disturbs me that humans in the public eye can be exempt from having a personality, or even just an intelligent thought in their head, as long as they appeal to more people than someone else who’s being marketed in the fashion world. can’t we be appealed to through and enticed by distinct and strong personalities like we are with normal humans? apparently models are not humans, just a way to sell something, so i guess not.

the new york times really does have all the news that’s fit to print.


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