A warning to our listeners, this episode contains discussions of mental illness, suicidal ideation, explicit language and violence. Discretion is advised, especially for listeners under 13.
And on December 8th, 1980, at the far edge of Central Park West, the proud Gable's of the Dakota poked out into the skyline like statues. The building's penthouse was home to the former Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono.
It was a picturesque setting for what was soon to be a grisly scene early that day. Eyewitnesses saw a 25 year old, Mark David Chapman, clutching a vinyl edition of Lennon's Double Fantasy, eager and seemingly adoring Chapman and Lennon to sign his record. The rock legend amiably complied. A few hours later, when Lennon returned home to the Dakota, Chapman shot four bullets into his back.
As Lennon lay bleeding at his feet, Chapman sat down and flipped open a novel, his literary chaser of choice, J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a Spotify original from Paşa cast every Monday and Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth. I'm Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg. And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious.
Don't get us wrong. Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not.
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This is our first of two special one part episodes on literature conspiracy theories. Today we'll be covering The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger s polarizing coming of age novel, which quickly found its way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and directly into the hot seat.
Starting around the midnight 1950s, parents and school administrators grew furious to find it on reading lists.
In this episode, we'll explain how the public initially demonized the book. We'll explore whether parents were right that the novel's themes might morally compromise their children. Then we'll see if Salinger's writing actually caused readers to commit malicious, even deadly acts.
Next, we'll dive into three conspiracy theories about the book. In conspiracy theory, no one will investigate if the book prompted the assassination of John Lennon in conspiracy theory.
Number two, we'll explain if there was any reason to believe Mark David Chapman could have been associated with the CIA and what role Salinger's novel might have played.
Finally, we'll examine conspiracy theory number three, whether The Catcher in the Rye incited another young man to attempt to murder a U.S. president in cold blood. We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. This is a PSA. Black storytelling is getting its own platform on Facebook and they're calling it We the culture expect to see black excellence unapologetically black. Let's celebrate and share black creativity, join the community, follow we the culture on all social media platforms.
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Getting apathetic teens interested in literature can be tough. For decades, many instructors have opted for stories young people can relate to tales that focus on identity, angst and self discovery.
J.D. Salinger's landmark novel, The Catcher in the Rye, certainly covers all those bases and then some first published partially in serial form in 1945 and 1946, and then novelized in 1951 by Little Brown.
The book follows a 16 year old outcaste named Holden Caulfield.
As the novel goes, Holden is kicked out of his New England prep school. Disillusioned, he embarks on a three day whirlwind around New York City.
Once back in his hometown, Manhattan, he begins complaining about the phoniness his world is steeped in and how he seemingly can't catch a break.
Along the way, Holden has a bone to pick with everyone. His former prep school roommate, strangers, even his own siblings, his rude krass and lies constantly.
Even more alarming, Holden's behavior is consistently erratic.
On one occasion, he attempts to spend a night with a sex worker but chickens out at the last minute.
On another, he tries to buy a group of young women drinks, only to be rejected by the waitstaff or being underage.
Prior to this scene, Holden insisted that he deplored men acting phony towards women. But now he's furious, steadily growing more and more belligerent.
In this interlude and others like it, Salinger hints that Holden's neuroses permeate his narration, casting a gloomy shadow over his hero's journey. As psychologist Hueber and Leadbitter wrote, Holden believes the entire world is an evil place and that the plight of man is hopeless.
In other words, the book is peppered with moments suggesting that Holden is unwell. However, it's not until the novel's conclusion that readers realise just how troubled the misanthropic teen really is. Catching the rise ending reveals that Holden has been retelling his story from the type of inpatient psychiatric facility.
Aside from the novel's dark tone, its so-called vulgarity is often its most debated aspect. Certain curse words appear from around 40 to 80 times by the end of the novel.
Today, explicit language and literature rarely turns heads. But in catcher's heyday, Holden Caulfield vulgarity, paired with the appearance of sex workers and underage drinking, was polarising. It's no surprise then that in 1951, when Katcher began popping up on required reading lists, parents were outraged.
Teachers, school administrators and libraries received waves of backlash. The fury against the book's snowballing quickly from sluggish to vigorous.
But those teaching the book weren't inclined to bow to pressure as far as they were concerned. The book wasn't malicious. In its defence, teachers pointed to Salinger's early short stories where the Holden character began. The author himself professed innocently that one tale about Holden was largely benign. Just a sad little comedy about a prep school boy on Christmas vacation.
But parents didn't see it that way. In a time when Cold War paranoia was only starting to die down, anything deemed racy or provocative, anything that might threaten wholesome American values was subject to criticism, as writer John Edwards explains.
Back then, critics didn't see it as a simple teaching device. Instead, the book became a vile, ungodly plot to undermine the morals of American schoolchildren.
This lack of morality was precisely what parents were terrified of. They fear that if catcher became part of the American literary canon, it might promote behaviour like Holden's.
It's no surprise then that some parents believed it was their duty to fight back. Take Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1960, Edison Preparatory High School teacher Beatrice Levin was just trying to bring some nuanced reading to her 11th grade English students. But when she assigned Catcher in the Rye, pushed back against it escalated rapidly.
No less than eight parents went to Edison's administration, wagging their fingers in disgust. Catcher was simply too profane for their teenagers to placate parents.
The school removed the book from the reading list and placed 11 on temporary leave in her absence. School administrators argued about whether someone should lose her job because of the controversy.
All the while, parents continued on in their supposedly moral crusade. They insisted Leverne be fired and said the book had filth on every page.
Levin refused to relent, insisting she had done nothing wrong. The book was appropriate to teach. Ultimately, the administration decided that termination was too extreme, so they offered her her job back with one caveat. Catcher must be kept off of all syllabi moving forward.
Levin turned them down with her judgment being questioned at every turn. Going back to such an embittered climate in the classroom just wasn't worth it.
However, the attempts to ban or censor catcher from school reading lists only escalated in 1975. Pennsylvania parents, too, called for it to be barred, citing its rampant obscenity. Similar scenarios played out in the states of Washington, Michigan, Alabama, Florida and Wyoming over the next decade, according to Time magazine, some libraries even refused to stock catcher.
They said it contained excess, vulgar language, sexual scenes, things concerning moral issues, excessive violence and scenes dealing with the occult.
Even in recent decades, Catcher in the Rye continues to be removed from reading lists as an Levinsohn, then assistant director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom told the New York Times in 1989. I think The Catcher in the Rye is a perennial number one on the censorship hit list. Levinsohn sentiment held true even in 2008, when time ranked catcher as one of the most censored books ever written.
Clearly, parents and administrators still did not trust that catchers literary merit outweighed its questionable morals. And they certainly didn't agree with the L.A. Times that Holden was a quintessential anti-hero of American literature.
Instead, they continued to fear that something was so inherently wrong with the way Holden talked, acted and carried himself, then it might prompt readers to do something drastic.
Radicalize them, perhaps. Parents weren't alone in their concern. In fact, J.D. Salinger's editor himself had reservations that the book would be too extreme for most readers. This suspicion was borne out when Salinger tried to bring Catcher to Harcourt Brace Publishing. Their response was firm, telling the author, This book is not for us. Try Random House.
Eventually, Catcher found its home at Little Brown and Co. But the publishers that passed on it before had predicted a problem that would later arise. The book's complex themes might be interpreted or misinterpreted, rather, in a variety of ways.
An incident in 1980 confirmed their greatest fears. A despairing young man who was obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye seemed to prove that the distaste, terror and outrage that hounded the book might not have been so overblown after all.
Coming up, The Catcher in the Rye becomes the manifesto of a killer, you discover their practices, seek their advice, and let yourself become more vulnerable than ever before. They have the ability to heal what the doctors can't, or so they say. Hi, listeners. It's Vanessa from the podcast series Cults. Be sure to check out our four part special on Myracle Healer's airing right now. Meet figures from around the world who claimed powers and pushed remedies.
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Now back to the story. Though J.D. Salinger's coming of age novel, The Catcher in the Rye, shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list shortly after its publication in 1951, its origins were far less glamorous. Salinger's editor had shopped the manuscript around New York to multiple publishers before it was accepted by Little Brown.
The book certainly wasn't everyone's taste. Perhaps that was because it was more cobbled together than many readers even realized. Has Vanity Fair found Salinger created Catcher by consolidating a handful of his short stories? In fact, he'd begun work on the Holden character while serving in World War Two nearly eight years before. On D-Day, Salinger had six unpublished Caulfield's stories in his possession stories that would form the spine of The Catcher in the Rye.
But Salinger's time in the Army wasn't all glory, valor and literary aspirations. The author was deeply depressed. So after the Germans surrendered to the Allies, he checked himself into an inpatient psychiatric facility. Writing to his one time mentor, Ernest Hemingway, Salinger confided his deepest fear if he was released and details about his mental health became public.
His career as a writer might be tarnished, though allusions to his mental health were right there in his stories, especially those about Holden Caulfield. One was titled The Boy in the People Shooting Hat.
Like the book in later years, the short story was swiftly rejected by The New Yorker.
The magazine wrote back saying This narrative has passages that are brilliant and moving and effective. But we feel that on the whole, it's pretty shocking for a magazine like ours.
Another early Holden Caulfield story was simply titled I'm Crazy. With a moniker like that. It wouldn't be a stretch for readers to guess that the author himself might be troubled.
But parents had a different concern. They didn't worry for the man writing these stories. They fretted about how his work would be interpreted by their kids.
They believe their children's malleable minds would internalize Holden's warped rationale. Even worse, they feared their kids would emulate Holden's sordid deeds.
In other words, Holden's madness could be infectious.
Which leads us into conspiracy theory. Number one, that The Catcher in the Rye inspired the assassination of John Lennon.
In early December of 1980, 25 year old Georgia native Mark David Chapman traveled to New York City with the sole purpose to murder John Lennon.
On December 8th, Chapman proceeded to stake out Lennon's residence at the Dakota on Manhattan's Upper West Side. That afternoon, when Lennon and Ono left for a recording session, Chapman intercepted them outside the building. He begged the icon to sign his copy of Double Fantasy. Lennon obliged. Then the couple went on their way. But Chapman wasn't satisfied.
He proceeded to linger around the neighborhood for the next six hours, and when Lennon returned home from his recording session shortly before midnight, Chapman shot five bullets at him with a 38 caliber revolver.
Four of the shots went into Lennon's back shortly after being rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. The music legend was pronounced dead. But despite the global mourning he single handedly caused by killing John Lennon, it was Chapman who remain the focal point. This was likely due to his odd behavior immediately following the murder. Instead of trying to escape, Chapman sat calmly at the scene reading The Catcher in the Rye.
The notion that an assassin might sit serene after committing a high profile celebrity murder was unfathomable.
Even more bizarre was Chapman's forthcomingness after being arrested. He didn't require intense questioning to reveal his motive. According to the Associated Press, Chapman blatantly told the NYPD that he killed Lennon because the beloved singer songwriter had forsaken his ideals and become a complete phony.
If it sounds like Chapman was talking a lot like Holden, that's intentional. Chapman claimed he had taken on the role of Holden.
He said he was being a hero. Though Chapman's words seem counterintuitive, it was clear he had been inspired by the hero of The Catcher in the Rye, allegedly, and the hours before he killed Lennon. Chapman all but recreated the itinerary that Holden embarked on around Manhattan.
But the parallels between Chapman and Holden Caulfield ran even deeper. As police looked into their suspect, one undeniable notion became clear.
Chapman's personal history was eerily close to that of the fictional anti-hero. For instance, in his early 20s, Chapman attempted to kill himself, allegedly when he wasn't able to self asphyxiate off of a car tailpipe. He was admitted into a psychiatric ward, just like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye.
Chapman's suicide attempt was far from his first sign of mental illness, his struggles with manic depression. What we know today as bipolar disorder began long before he'd read The Catcher in the Rye as a teen, Chapman told friends that he worried for his sanity.
And according to People magazine, an acquaintance believed Chapman's mental health issues started when he began to experiment with psychedelic drugs around his sophomore year of high school.
At that point, according to Chapman's friend, Chapman began tripping all the time, sometimes for four or five days in a row.
It was mostly LSD, but he took a lot of mescaline and barbiturates to heroin was Chapman's favorite drug, he said. It turned everything white like heaven. However, heroin's effect on Chapman's mental state was nothing short of hellish.
His deterioration only mounted when he suddenly quit his day job as a security guard. Afterwards, Chapman wrote to a friend that he'd, quote, gone nuts. More disturbingly, he signed that letter, The Catcher in the Rye.
This was ultimately the point that people fixated on the fact that Chapman alluded to catcher before killing Lennon and had it on his person after the assassination fueled the conspiracy that the novel had incited a murder.
On the other hand, knowing that Chapman had behavioral issues long before Lennon's murder makes it hard to pin the blame entirely on the novel. Besides, Chapman allegedly purchased a brand new copy of Catcher, the same one he had on him when he was arrested that same day. This seems to directly oppose theories about his fascination with a novel. Surely if he'd been such an avid fan, he would have already had his own well-worn copy.
That could be true. But it's worth pointing out that Chapman kept referencing the book even when he was on trial in 1981. He told the court The reason I killed John Lennon was to gain prominence to promote the reading of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
That's true. Also, according to the Associated Press, Chapman even went as far as quoting the book during his trial. To the consternation of the jury, he read a well-known passage about Holden's quest to protect the innocent children in the Ridgefield.
Chapman quoted the book saying, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye. Thousands of kids and nobody's around, nobody big, I mean, except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody. If they start to go over the cliff.
I mean, if they're running and they don't look where they're going, I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I just be the Catcher in the Rye.
Chapman thought these words justified his act like Holden. He was the Catcher in the Rye in killing Lennon. He was protecting the young and innocent from the musician's phony influence.
Strangely enough, in the book, Holden misunderstands the Robert Burns poem. He's so inspired by the character believes the poem is encouraging him to catch people and protect them from danger. However, the poem isn't about protecting innocence at all. It's an allusion to casual sex. It's meant to be ironic.
The real irony is the Chapman misinterpreted the poem, just like Holden did in the book. For me, this information debunks our first conspiracy theory. The Catcher in the Rye didn't cause Chapman to kill Lennon. Chapman misunderstood Salinger's book using clouded logic to justify his actions.
I agree it's definitely possible Chapman misinterpreted things.
The reality was that Chapman didn't fully understand the book. For all we know, Salinger's book could have just been the flavor of the week for him. He could have misinterpreted any literature with anti-establishment themes, taking it as inspiration and the outcome would have been the same. For that reason, I give this conspiracy a two out of ten.
I'm not entirely convinced. Even if Chapman misinterpreted the book, we still can't overlook the fact that he blatantly said he killed John Lennon to promote the reading of The Catcher in the Rye. Chapman wanted to share the book with everyone at any cost. So even indirectly, just by virtue of existing, Salinger's novel was still a motivating factor. I give the first theory a four out of 10.
That interpretation would be terrifying indeed, but he gets worse. In the years after John Lennon's death, theorists have toyed with another, more sinister idea. Maybe Chapman wasn't acting of his own volition. Maybe he was being controlled. Coming up, we explore with Mark David Chapman was a sleeper agent.
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Contact your local Land Rover retailer today to schedule a test drive Land Rover above and beyond. Now back to the story. In the decades since John Lennon was assassinated in December 1980, a second explanation about Mark David Chapman's motivation began making the rounds instead of directly blaming The Catcher in the Rye for Lennon's death.
Some people believe the book was used as a tool by the government. This brings us to conspiracy theory. Number two, Mark David Chapman was a sleeper agent and Salinger's iconic novel was the triggering device used to prompt him to kill.
The Daily Mail fleshed out this theory further, explaining that Chapman himself didn't want the rock icon dead. Instead, he was a pawn used by the CIA.
It may seem hard to fathom that the CIA could use a piece of literature as a tool for mind control. But proponents for this theory often point to the agency's MK Ultra program as evidence.
It's been confirmed that from 1953 until 1973, the CIA actively tested drugs like LSD on agents for the express purpose of psychological manipulation.
Knowing that the U.S. government has engaged in unethical psychiatric testing in the past.
It's hard not to wonder if maybe Chapman was psychologically manipulated, especially considering that he was later quoted as saying it was almost as if I was on some kind of special mission that I could not avoid.
Author Phil Strongman's supports the notion of Chapman as a CIA pawn to begin with. Strongman pokes a hole in the theory that Chapman killed Lennon as a mere publicity stunt, explaining that Chapman turned down the chance to star in a trial which would have placed him in the American limelight.
Chapman didn't try to defend his innocence. Which strongman takes as evidence of Chapman having fulfilled his duty, the killer quietly went off to prison. Media coverage died down. And just like that, the job was done. Like strongman, those who favor the sleeper agent theory believe the CIA wanted Lennon dead because he was a vocal and famous critic of the Vietnam War. The CIA may have been coordinating with the FBI and far right conservatives to silence the rock star.
Despite its popularity.
This argument doesn't quite add up. To claim the assassination was a sting operation against Lennon for anti-war propaganda is odd considering the timeline. For one, by the time of Lennon's assassination, the U.S. military had been withdrawn from Vietnam for over five years.
In addition, by 1980, Lennon's heyday as an anti-war activist had long past. As a result, Lennon was by no means the most prevalent threat to America's impressionable youth.
Knowing Lennon's relevance was already on the decline, it doesn't make sense the CIA would kill him in such a splashy, obvious way. Furthermore, many skeptics of the Chapman sleeper agent conspiracy will also point out that by 1980, Lennon was largely out of the public eye. He'd been raising his son Sean, with his wife, Yoko. Some even went so far as to joke that Lennon had been in seclusion.
And his record double fantasy, the one Chapman had him signed just hours before murdering him, wasn't exactly Lenin's most provocative work. The songs weren't revolutionary anthems. Rather, they mostly celebrated Lennon's new era as a father and husband, as the rock icon told Rolling Stone in the last interview before his death. I was just the same as any of the rest of you. I was working from 9:00 to 5:00, baking bread and changing some nappies and dealing with the baby.
Considering the domestic nature of Lennon's late years, I just don't believe conspiracy theory. Number two, it seems incredibly far fetched that the CIA would have enlisted Mark David Chapman as a sleeper agent to assassinate a rock star over a war which was already at its end. For that reason, I give this theory two out of 10 a fair point.
After learning more about Lennon's lessening public influence, I'm inclined to rank this second theory lower as well. I give it a three out of 10.
The Catcher in the Rye remained in the zeitgeist as Lennon's murder continued to dominate the headlines. If anything, the role the book purportedly played in his death was highlighted.
Americans wondered if the novel would finally fall out of favor, if only for the bad memories now associated with it.
But just four months later, the controversy escalated. The novel once again showed up in the hands of a questionable character, which leads us into conspiracy theory. Number three, The Catcher in the Rye made John Hinckley Jr. try to murder President Ronald Reagan on March 30th, 1981.
Fresh off a Greyhound bus, 25 year old John Hinckley Jr. arrived in Washington, D.C., shortly after disembarking Hinckley cabbed over to the Washington Hilton and positioned himself outside on citing his target. Hinckley took six shots at then President Ronald Reagan.
One bullet managed to hit Reagan, but the president thankfully survived his injuries. As Hinckley was taken into custody, the eyes and ears of the entire nation turned to investigating his motives.
Later, a copy of The Catcher in the Rye was found among the belongings in Hinckley's D.C. hotel room. This spurred waves of speculation. After all, John Lennon's death had barely faded from the American consciousness, as they did with Chapman theorist's immediately connected Hinckley's actions to catcher. They insisted it was yet another occurrence. The book's violent themes pushing a young man to murder.
However, there is little, if any, evidence to indicate that The Catcher in the Rye was at fault.
As therapist blamed the book for Hinckley's assassination attempt, they missed some striking similarities with a different work of fiction, namely the ones between Hinckley and scenes from one of the most iconic Hollywood stories about an outsider taxi driver.
Then Martin Scorsese's 1967 classic cab driver, Travis Bickle channels his manic insomnia into a twisted quest to clean up New York City as the film goes on, because obsessions range from engineering a plot to kill a politician to rescuing a young sex worker.
That young woman was played by actress Jodie Foster. And after watching the movie, Hinckley was smitten. It wasn't so much the juicy plotline that kept him obsessed. It was 19 year old Foster.
In fact, before attempting to assassinate Reagan, Hinckley had long been monitoring Foster's every move from afar. And despite his desire to meet the actress, he had yet to make contact. By the early 1980s, as Aussie News pointed out, Hinckley was growing despondent and desperate, according to The New York Times, Hinckley's D.C. hotel room containing dozens of pieces of writing, they included themes of love for Miss Foster despair, death and suicide, contempt for lousy, stinking rich people, madness, tragedy and death.
In other words, Hinckley was losing his grasp on reality and his will to live. The only source of hope in his life was the idea that he could catch Foster's attention with a big gesture and not just any gesture. It had to be an act of valor, allegedly, before he'd attempted to kill President Reagan. Hinckley had contemplated suicide at Yale University, where the actress attended school.
But Hinckley soon decided on something far more ostentatious. He returned to the movie where he'd first been introduced to Foster Taxi Driver. Just as Travis Bickle plotted the murder of a politician to win his love interest. Hinckley believed killing the leader of the free world might be what it took to impress Foster.
Once the idea occurred to him, he couldn't shake it. So he decided to assassinate President Reagan and win Foster's heart.
Sadly, in addition to being motivated by taxi driver, Hinckley found inspiration everywhere and in every one.
That's not to say The Catcher in the Rye being found in his hotel room was proof Hinckley was inspired by Holden Caulfield. On the contrary, his idol was a little more mainstream. Like everyone else in the world, Hinckley was captivated by John Lennon. The New York Times reported that Hinckley had long been obsessed with a musician before attempting to kill Reagan. Hinckley actually stopped by the rock legend's former home.
He went to the Dakota building in New York City, where Mark David Chapman had shot John Lennon just four months earlier. In late 1980, allegedly, Hinckley was on the brink of committing suicide then and there, but ultimately decided against it.
To me, this refutes the idea that Hinckley's assassination attempt had anything to do with The Catcher in the Rye, at least not directly. If anything, Hinckley's obsession with John Lennon caused him to take inspiration from Lennon's assassin, Mark David Chapman. Ultimately, Hinckley's own attorneys concluded as much.
And The Catcher in the Rye wasn't a prominent feature in their defense.
Instead, his lawyers cited Hinckley's pathological obsession with Scorsese's taxi driver as the catalyst for his actions on March 30th, 1981. They went further, claiming Hinckley was mentally ill. When he tried to shoot President Reagan. They argued he was not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. In light of this, I give this last conspiracy a two out of 10. The Catcher in the Rye didn't inspire Hinckley to murder Reagan.
I am also inclined to rate this theory pretty low. Hinckley was mirroring Lennon's murderer, Chapman, in a bid to win Jodie Foster's affections. Like the character in his favorite film, Taxi Driver, his connection to The Catcher in the Rye is tangential at best. So I'm also giving this a two out of ten.
Still, even if all of our conspiracies in this episode lead back to Mark David Chapman, it's worth noting that his motivation can never be truly verified.
After all, Chapman's explanation has changed over the years.
After being sentenced to life in prison, Chapman shifted from saying he'd killed Lennon as a means of promoting The Catcher in the Rye. Instead, in 2006, Chapman admitted that he'd contemplated multiple celebrity targets. He told his parole board that the former Beatle was simply the easiest to access. As he put it bluntly, the Dakota was easy to get at.
Knowing this, I'm even more convinced that Salinger's novel didn't inspire Chapman. Rather, Chapman romanticized certain aspects of The Catcher in the Rye and in his spiralling, unchecked bipolar ism, used them as an extra way to justify his actions.
As People magazine pointed out, Chapman found in the book only what he wanted to find.
Perhaps it's best to leave our discussion of The Catcher in the Rye on this note. It's a novel about disaffected youth and losing the revered innocence often associated with childhood. It reckons with the bleakness and cracks in the 20th century American Dream. And it asks gloomy questions about what is phony, feeble and untrue in our culture, which is by design.
Salinger himself experienced childhood in America's glittery jazz age, only to confront in adulthood of nuclear paranoia and cynicism. It's possible the author felt it was his duty to prepare young readers for what lay ahead.
In that sense, his novel isn't a prescription. It's a cautionary tale. Thanks for tuning in to conspiracy theories. We'll be back next time with a new episode. You can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all other Spotify originals from podcast for free on Spotify.
Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story, and the official story isn't always the truth.
Conspiracy Theories is a Spotify original from past. Executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Anthony Vasek with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Freddie Beckley. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Mackenzie More with writing assistants by Obiageli and Megu and Ali Whicker, fact checking by Hailee Milligan and research by Bradley Klein. Conspiracy theory stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy.