Holden refers to pretty much everyone as ???a phony.
??? In-fact there are forty-six mentions of the word phony throughout novel. It is true. Holden??™s life is filled with phonies; however a universal truth reveals itself in the novel. At first readers think they have entered a fictional world where everyone is phony; however, upon further reading readers begin to realize that Holden??™s world is not much different than our own. The world is influenced by popular culture and it causes phoniness to become an everyday phenomenon. Popular culture effects people. When people see other people doing something represented as ???cool??? they think it is cool aswell.
A good example of phoniness in popular culture is MTV??™s The Real World. The show claims to represent real life, but if one thinks about the behind the scenes motives of the show, it gets complicated. For instance, the producers of the program need to create enjoyable television to receive high ratings or else the show gets cut from the budget. They must pick interesting people to live in the house.
They look for the craziest people in America; people that will clash with each other and cause drama and suspense. Not only are the people that they pick crazy, they push their craziness to their limits because they want to be memorable. For example, in the last season of The Real World, House member Ryan discovered that a fish had died in their household fish tank and made the decision to cook and eat the dead fish. It is likely that Ryan would not have done this in his normal personal life, he simply wanted to do something that would be memorable after the season ends.
Another example of phoniness in popular culture would be the show Jersey Shore. The show is centered around seven to eight early twenty-somethings. Their big claim to fame is their ability to never stop drinking, relentlessly workout, and religiously spray-tanned.
If the ???characters??™ stopped working out and decided to embrace sobriety, they would no longer fit into the mold created by the producers of the Jersey Shore. People that do not fit in the mold would not last long and would be promptly kicked from the show. On Jersey Shore success is hinged upon being phony. This all boils down to a really simple truth. Popular culture influences real life. To a certain degree, it can be said that popular culture skews real life for its viewers. There is no doubt that popular culture influences the community. It fact popular culture is the community.
Popular culture influences more things than is often noticed. It influences what people consider attractive, it is what stops women from gaining weight, it is what keeps men building muscles to no end. Looking over the entire population there is little doubt that teenagers are the most effected by popular culture. The reasons behind it are very clear.
Teens are trying to find a place in society; they need to find where they belong in the world. They lack control in their lives, they are living under the control of their parents and on top of that, they have a skewed vision of what is real and what is fictional. What rings true in Holden??™s world and in real life is that it is nearly impossible to be not phony at least some of the time. Holden does not like many people because he sees they phony, but in reality everyone is phony at least some of the time; therefore, it is hard for Holden to like anyone. An entire novel in itself could be written on different TV shows and how they connect with what Holden is experiencing in his life. There is little doubt about that.
However, that would only serve to drag out the point to highlight the fact that the world is full of phonies. Throughout the entire novel Holden complains about all the phonies, but the fact is that he is phony himself. His mindset is flawed in the fact that he believes everyone can be true to themselves and others all the time. We are very influenced by popular culture, and people have to bent their image to gain success. In many respects being phony is completely necessary to achieve success.
Overall the entire concept of being phony is hard to think about as can you really be phony if everyone else is also phony Maybe the reason Holden is such a failure is because of his refusal to accept that success is hinged on phoniness. Works CitedSalinger, Jerome David. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951.
Real World. MTV. MTV, New York City, 6 Mar.
2009. Television.Jersey Shore. MTV. MTV, New York City, Fall 2010. Television.