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September 11, 2000 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-11

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12A -- The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 11, 2000

ARTS

WATCHER
Continued from Page 11A
convince Spader that they were
meant to be together. This should
have made the audience queasy,
suggesting that this was not about
good and evil only, but about some
primal attraction betweenthe
hunter and the hunted. Instead,
they laughed because the scene
played off as if the two were meet-
ing for the first time in a singles
bar.
For her part. Tome: plays her
psychiatrist with emotions running
from concerned to really con-
cerned. You can tell by how deep
th crease in her forehead
'iecomes. Character actors Ernie
Hudson and Chris Ellis do a fine

oh, and add the only real enjoy-
ment to the film in smvall parts as
tte cops that assist Campbell. Ellis
is especially fun, and the only time
the film transcends "Movie of the
Week" mode is when he is on
screen.
That said, there are a few bright
spots in "The Watcher." Charbanic
has an eye for the city, and makes
Chicago look both over populated
and anonymous. Reeves smile
makes him look so innocent it's
chilling.
Overall, though, "The Watcher"
is overly long, excruciatingly pre-
dictable and not very scary. Han-
nibal Lector wouldn't even have
neede d a Chianti chasesr if he
decided to devour this bland
movie.

Daughter exposes "
Salinger in new book

Coykesy ofUvers a
Keanu Reeves plays creepy serial killer David. Allen Griffin in 'The Watcher.' Whoa.

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The Los Angeles Time1s
NEW YORK - Why can't we just
leave J.D. Salinger the hell alone?
With the publication next week of
Margaret A. Salinger's memoir,
"Dream Catcher" - a dark strife-
with-father portrait of a bedeviled
life, the world will again lift the rock
and turn a flashlight on the strange,
seclusive writer.
The book has just about everything
you'd look for in a Salinger story.
Clear writing. Edgy characters. A
dash of death. A pinch of sex. A dol-
lop of loneliness. And lots and lots of
weirdness.
Like: A sadistic uncle, a torpedoed
ship full of children, Viennese friends
killed in concentration camps, kid-
napping threats.
At one point Peggy's mother,
Claire, was so despairing, she laid out
a plan to murder her daugrhter and
commit suicide. She li tSalinger
instead. Another time,1k"''gy satys,
Claire may have started a fire that
burned down the house.
Like: Many references to Salinger's
interest in young, pure-as-snow girls.
Like: His refusal to allow visitors
into the house or Peggy into his closet
or bathroom. His office and bedroom
were locked and off-limits.
Like: Eruptions of violence and
wrath and constant belittling of those
he loves.
Like: The tragic notion that
Salinger was more loving and giving
to his fictional characters than to his
own children. "Unlike me," Peggy
writes, "his ten-year-old characters,
my fictional siblings, were perfect,
flawless, reflections of what my father
likes."
Today, Peggy Salinger, 44, looks
nothing like a little girl.
Slender and toothy, she wears a red
jacket, red blouse, gray slacks, ruby
shoes and a gold watch on her left

m.
Al

;

wrist that doesn't work. She has
Prussian blue eyes, high chekbones
and a new Halle Berry-like haircut.
She is a mother, a singer and a
newly published author.
She lives in the Boston area wit0
her husband, Larry, and her young
son, who is in grammar school.
"My life is so delightfully normal,"
she said.
Well. As normal as life can be if
your last name is Salinger. Many peo-
ple she meets - telephone repair-
men, airline ticket clerks -- ask her if
she is related to the man who wrote
"The Catcher in the Rye," the book
that changed their lives.
People look to her father hopin
that he will understand theit, she
explains. "To be their catcher in the
rye."
She's staying at New York's Plaza
Hotel under an Irish alias. Outside her
fourth-floor fountain-view window
the sun is sining-.Aits rainittg.
Anid childrett are lunghing and rush-
ing past their parents into FAO
Schwarz.
She doesn't want to talk about her
son or her home. She has hired a
"threat management" company to
help her deal with potential crazies
who might come out of the wood-
work.
She doesn't talk to her younger
brother, Matthew, an actor and pro-
ducer in California. She hasn't seen
or spoken with her father since he
found out that she was writing this
book.
"I knew he'd be furious at the idea
of it," she said. Our family doesnt
confront tlings"
He's profoundly deaf, she said. But
he's still in good shape.
And, she adds, "my dad can be
really scary when he yells."
Unlike her father, Peggy does get
out of the house a lot. She sings with
the Tanglewood chorus and serves
a volunteer chaplain at several hosp
tals. She is just one internship away
from a Harvard divinity degree.
"One thing I regret," she said, is
that the book might not illustrate
"how funny and loving and charting
he can be."
Part of the problem, ste said, is that
she can't quote from his letters.
Another writer, Ian Hamilton, tried
that technique a few years back a
was sued by Salinger. The case we
all the way to the Supreme Court,
which ruled that letters belong to the
person wo wrote them. There are
photos it the book. Her father did not
take the pictures, she explains.
His humor, she says, is hard to
translate. It's old-time Jewish humor.
Vaudeville shutick. For example, she
says, he referred to his first wife,
whose name was Sylvia, as "Saliv"
And he used to put water on his han
flick it on the back of Peggy's neck
and pretend to sneeze.
He lit up a room when he entered,
she says.
Except when he didn't.
'Itm so sick of me and my story
and my family' she said.
She's schedul d to be on the
"Today show tice next week talk-
ing about those very things. She's
bound to be complicated She's J
Salingers daughter.
Why arewe so curous?
OK So he wrot a novel in 1951,
"The Catcher in the Rye " that has
become a handbook of high school
angst, ai American anthem of isola-
tion and alienation, a story in which
the main chariacter Holden Caulfield,
wants to spend'his days catching
young people before they go over the
side of a crazy cliff. And Salinger to
ted out a batch of mostly downer

short stories - about suicide and
pain that appeared in The New
Yorker. But lie hasn't published any-
thing fiesh since 1965.
In fact, it is Salinger's expressed
desire to live as a hermit in the hills of
New Hampshire. There the 81-year-
old shares a tonic with his third wife,
Colleen, a nurse who is half a century
his junior. He walks. He maintains an
exotic health diet. He writes stoA*
that are to be published only after he
dies.
So why can't we leave the guy
alone?
We all have our reasons. Professors
keep celebrating him to students
because he speaks to the loneliness of
adolescence. Yale professor Harold
Bloom once said that the sensitivity
of "The Catcher in the Rye" "fits a
sensitivity of young people who a
going to develop a consciousness and
a distrust ofste adult world."
JoAnmne Lamionemme, who has taught
"The Catcher initml Rye" at Sidwell
Friemids in Washimngton. B.C., says:
"You gem hooked right imito Holden's
world and his perspemtive. The book
is about loss. Thaitmever gets old"
She says: "You don't get the feeling
that his parents love him. He wants to
be loved. That desire and wish t
loved is also an ageless desire."
And: "He's scared of moving out.of
childhood into adulthood. He sees
adulthood as a very scary thing -
full of sex and people who talk of
mundae things.
Perhaps like Peter Paint, Micitael
'Jackson amid countless others,
Saliiger- is holding ott to childhtood.
He is arrestedPicy vsciggests, in
adolescence.

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