Everyone has those days when they recall a movie or book they fell in love with when they were younger and decide to re-watch or re-read it.
This is usually followed with profound disappointment: “Maya Angelou sucks.” “Wow, I cannot believe I ever liked Annie Hall.” “What was I thinking.” Wisdom does, indeed, come with age.
The Catcher in the Rye is probably responsible for producing thousands of these “how did I ever like this” moments. A full-grown rationally autonomous man will often pour back over the pages that once comforted him during his adolescence only to discover that this 200-page whine belongs back in the cardboard box with the Che Guevara T-shirts and yo-yo’s.
But, why did the enlightened education bureaucrats deem this to be a classic and force everyone to read it?
To card-carrying members of the National Education Association, the model citizen is Holden Caufield, the main character in The Catcher in the Rye. He has a loving, fairly affluent family. He attends a fine private school where teachers take interest in him and make an effort to motivate him. From what the reader can deduce, he is reasonably good looking and articulate. Despite all this, he whines incessantly and he is in a perpetual state of depression.
Rush Limbaugh has said multiple times that “Americans are so well off they actually invent their own problems: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), global climate change, obesity.” Limbaugh sees thousands of Holden Caufields in this country. Collectively, these people are known as the “American left” or “liberals.”
The American left requires adolescents read J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye because they want young Americans to become false prophets of doom. They are sowing the seeds for the next generation of Paul Ehrlich’s and Al Gore’s.
These young students had grandparents who faced more dangerous threats than “global climate change,” such as fascism and communism. Hitler was certainly more threatening than the fabricated myth of global warming.
Obesity is supposedly this generation’s great enemy. Dinesh D’Souza refers to a friend in his Letters to a Young Conservative who says that he loves America because in America “the poor people are fat.” In many nations, there are people dying from under-consumption of food, while Americans spend a fortune on eliminating the affects of overconsumption.
The behavior of a normal, healthy little boy is now repackaged into “Attention Deficit Disorder.”
This mental ailment most certainly exists, but to conclude that every little boy who prefers playing dodge-ball to sitting still and listening to the teacher needs to be doped up on Adderall is silly and dangerous. Little boys will always want to run around, yell, and throw dodge-balls.
ADD, global climate change and obesity are dwarfed by the threat of radical Islam. Global climate change never hijacked a plane and flew it into an office building.
The American left wants us to continue manufacturing our own problems because without these fabricated problems they have no issues to run on. The left seems to think that the individual voter is in trouble and has no idea how to save himself. Let us enlightened ones extend our hand so as to say, “I am from the government and I am here to help.”
Holden Caufield invented his own problems in his head. The Michael Mann’s and Al Gore’s of this world do not have to dream up a new Malthusian lie to scare the daylights out of someone, they just have to assure him that they have a government program for him.
It is important to remember that Holden Caufield was in a mental hospital telling his story to a doctor. He had a serious case of depression. By doping these young boys up with Adderall and Ritalin; by instilling guilt in them because they are “too rich” and every little thing they do is “killing mother Earth;” and; by pouring demoralizing rhetoric, such as The Catcher in the Rye, down their throats, academia causes serious depression in American youths. Depression and bi-polar disorder are two more problems academics say the government needs to combat but they should recognize that they helped to create these problems.
How could this possibly be a recipe for a happy child-hood: 1) pump him up with Adderall; 2) make him read The Catcher in the Rye so he understands that those who have found intrinsic meaning in life are all “phonies” who do not see the real problems that you alone can see; and 3) tell him his value as a person depends on what he can do for others and various things (such as the environment), that the value of his personhood is therefore conditional and not intrinsic. What a dull, meaningless, depressing existence.
Academia will no doubt continue to idolize Holden Caufield. They will insist that the young man should not be happy, that he should not see intrinsic value in his personhood, that he ought live for another man in servitude, that he ought not pursue his personal utility, and that he dare not strive to be exceptional, simply mediocre, like the ultimate case study in mediocrity Holden Caufield.
They will celebrate mediocrity in every way possible; graduation ceremonies for children moving from the 3rd to 4th grade and baseball games where score is not kept because the scoreboard is so “judgmental” and, after all, “everyone is special.” These education bureaucrats fail to realize that the most memorable line from the Pixar movie The Incredibles is absolutely right: “Saying ‘everyone is special’ is another way of saying ‘no one is special.’”