Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Howard Zinn, J.D. Salinger, and C.

Last week saw the confluence of three things from my past which have no direct ties to each other:

1. Howard Zinn died,
2. J.D. Salinger died, and
3. My "old" friend C. - was incapacitated with major "replacement" surgery.

Generationally - the two deaths hit me hard - yet they seem not to have really hit some of the generation of bloggers who are younger than me as hard.

I grew up in a world which seemed to me at least much more "conformist" than things are today. There was a definite lack of alternative periodicals (though there were a few)as well as no internet - nor other simple means of being reached by others.

Howard Zinn was a giant in reaching out to those in my generation who were open to looking at the United States in an alternate way that was both critical and loving. He was different from some whose focus seemed to be on Marxism, though Marxism certainly must have influenced him. He was scholarly, but wasn't aloof from those outside of academia. The sources where I've had the most to read of online, since his death have largely been - Peace Seeking Jews opposed to the status quo re: Palestine-Israel - and this certainly wasn't his primary focus in his long and bountiful life.

Howard Zinn was clearly a "mensch" - one who gave and shared and loved.

J.D. Salinger wrote a few Great Novels - which were lovingly read by me as a teen. He chose a life apart from nearly all. I'm glad to have been touched by his writings and they will live on well beyond his death.

Salinger was a great writer who chose to be "apart". While he wasn't a "bad" person, he also wasn't "of this world" in many ways and certainly lacked greatness as a "person".

C. - my old buddy - is working hard at recovering from his surgery. He's my one friend who I could count on to know and appreciate both of them. If he'd not been of necessity focusing upon his surgery and subsequent recovery, I suspect he might have had significant feelings (different from mine no doubt) about both of them.

C. - has had some of the drive of Zinn and some of the creativity of Salinger.

May the memories of the first two live on in us and those who follow us and may C.'s recovery be smooth and as comfortable as is possible.


1 comment:

Suzy said...

Hey, George -- VERY sad about the death of Howard Zinn. He is an icon in the vein of Pete Seeger. I know that Zinn's death is not out of order and we youngers need to pick up and carry the torch, but I will miss his presence in this world greatly. As for Salinger, I'll admit that I was never much moved by his work. As for C.S., I am wishing for him a speedy recovery. I saw him in hospital last Saturday. I saw him, yet even though his eyes were open and he participated in the conversation after a fashion, he doesn't remember much of the visit. Strong drugs! I will be heading over there tomorrow or Friday... Take care for now. --Suzy