A Conversation for John Lennon


Post 1


that footnote about salinger... are you insinuating that somehow Salinger or Catcher in the Rye encourages people to kill others, or that Salinger is somehow dangerous? because i find either notion utterly ridiculous, Catcher in the Rye is a beatiful work, and just because it has perhaps been misused (???) if even that, does not mean that there is anything wrong with it...
if however that was meant as just an interesting factoid, then i apologize, although i might suggest a rewording or additional note to point people away from the conclusion that i drew...



Post 2

what you know as km

Well, I see the mention of Chapman and of the book has since been removed altogether. Fair enough. It is, though, fairly well-known that after shooting Lennon, Mark David Chapman's statement included that after reading Catcher in the Rye (which I think is a fantastic book and I myself have never quite understood where anyone would find "kill kill kill" in its text, but Chapman isn't alone, history books will show) he believed that Lennon was a "phony," and was moved to murder him.

And, as I mentioned, it isn't Chapman alone who used the book as part of his insanity plea... which is why this bizarre effect of the book on certain (probably previously unstable) people is regarded as such a strange phenomenon.

But no, Salinger is not a bad man, the book is not a bad book, and there's no way of proving that the book has any strange effect, that Chapman and (okay, I'm going to look this up and find out names of these) others like him weren't just making something up to reduce their sentences. But the prison psychiatrist seem to believe it. smiley - winkeye

Now, I'm going to research this, because... well because I HAVE to now. smiley - winkeye


Post 3

what you know as km

Well the first part was easy... from http://mitglied.tripod.de/BerndWahlbrinck/ext.htm —


Here is a summary of an essay by Daniel Stashower, published in the American Scholar (#52, 1983).
According to Stashower, Chapman was carrying a copy of The Catcher in the Rye with him at the time of the murder. Also, at his trial Chapman read the famous passage from chapter 22 about Holden wanting to be the catcher in the rye, in an attempt to justify the murder.
Now, how could such an amazingly human book (my opinion) trigger such an outrageous murder? Here's the upshot of Stashower's "On First Looking into Chapman's Holden: Speculations on a Murder".
Chapman probably identified himself heavily with Holden Caulfield. CR is very much concerned with the preservation of innocence and saving kids from becoming adult "phonies". Chapman may have seen Lennon as an innocent who was himself about to be corrupted, just like D.B. who began to "prostitute himself" in Hollywood by writing cheap movie scripts: commercial success at the expense of artistic integrity. Probably Chapman admired Lennon's withdrawal from public life in the post-Beatle years. In 1980, however, he resurfaced in a way that Chapman might have found listing dangerously towards commercialism: after a Salinger-like isolation (!), he released a rather mediocre album (Double Fantasy), granted interviews, appeared in public, etc, thus being in danger of falling off the cliff. Chapman's distressing, twisted solution may have been to play Lennon's catcher in the rye: he shot him to achieve the permanent state of innocence which Allie also has in the novel - because he is dead.


Post 4

what you know as km

And I haven't found evidence of others yet, so I could be wrong about that. That's probably information I got from VH1. smiley - winkeye

But I'm not ready to stop looking.

Anyway... yeah. smiley - smiley


Post 5

what you know as km

Honestly, you'd think I was making too much of this. I'm not, really, I just like to post information as I find it. Terrible habit. Working on it.

I found some of what I was looking for—John Hinckley. The man who attempted to assassinate Reagan in the 80s... he was carrying the book as well.

Yes. Good. I'm not completely mad. smiley - winkeye

So. Er. To the original question... er... no, I wasn't trying to imply that there was something wrong with the book. It's just an infamous fact about the murder.


Post 6

what you know as km

Just one more thing.

There's a bit in there about Holden's red hat... he calls it his "people-hunting hat," and he's mysterious when he wears it. Some people who are excessively concerned with this cite that as something that may be construed... badly.

Still, I didn't even vaguely want to kill anyone when I read it. This is clearly not the point... *makes note to write entry on this*


Post 7

what you know as km

Well, as long as nobody else is going to reply in this forum, I may as well say one other thing:

I hate to be a bother, but I would quite like to see that bit put back into the article... I don't understand where it's vanished to. It wasn't offensive—it was just true, a sufficiently relevant, I should think.


Post 8


I read Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" also and didn't see the connection that Chapman made with it. Holden C. wanted to protect innocent children. Apparently he was re-enacting events from the book.
The scene where he 'pictures himself like a Hollywood gangster' 'slipping into a revenge fantasy' against the elevator operator who cheated him on the prostitute deal is the only scene to do with a gun. He wrote "this is my statement' in the front of his copy of 'Catcher..' There was more of a parallel between Lennon and Chapman in that they both had a Japanese wife and Chapman had just made a trip to Japan. Strange. And for an unemployed security guard how did he have all the money to travel around and pay for hotels? Maybe someone put him up to it. It's tragic and horrible and John is missed by people who weren't even alive to know firsthand what the Beatles meant to the world. I remember when it happened my second year of university just finishing exams in Dec. I heard it over the radio and I remembering wishing I could be in NYC just to be there but I would've only been angry at the Americans who provided the feeding ground for it to happen.

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more