A Visit from the Goon Squad

Bennie Salazar Character Analysis

Another main character in the novel, Bennie is a record executive. His mentor, Lou Kline, introduces him to the music industry as a teenager, and he becomes very successful. His success, however, leaves him disconnected from the people he loves, including his son Christopher. When it comes to music, Bennie is a purist and hates producing music he doesn’t believe in. Ultimately, his devotion to music that he considers pure ruins his credibility in the music industry, as he refuses to stand behind the overproduced and soulless pop groups that companies want him to produce. Though Bennie is intelligent and charismatic, he struggles internally with his Hispanic identity and often feels like an outsider. Like Sasha, he also worries about aging, and suffers from sexual impotence that stems from the shame around his failures. By the end of the novel, however, Benny reclaims his status in the music industry and finds self-acceptance.

Bennie Salazar Quotes in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The A Visit from the Goon Squad quotes below are all either spoken by Bennie Salazar or refer to Bennie Salazar. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time and Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of A Visit from the Goon Squad published in 2011.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Bennie's assistant, Sasha, brought him coffee: cream and two sugars. He shimmied a tiny red enameled box from his pocket, popped the tricky latch, pinched a few gold flakes between his trembling fingers, and released them into his cup. He'd begun this regimen two months ago, after reading in a book on Aztec medicine that gold and coffee together were believed to ensure sexual potency. Bennie's goal was more basic than potency: sex drive, his own having mysteriously expired.

Related Characters: Bennie Salazar (speaker), Sasha Blake
Related Symbols: The Body and Appearance
Page Number: 21-22
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A Visit from the Goon Squad quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

Then the sisters began to sing. Oh, the raw, almost threadbare sound of their voices mixed with the clash of instruments—these sensations met with a faculty deeper in Bennie than judgment or even pleasure; they communed directly with his body…And here was his first erection in months…He seized the cowbell and stick and began whacking at it with zealous blows. He felt the music in his mouth, his ears, his ribs—or was that his own pulse? He was on fire!

Related Characters: Bennie Salazar (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Body and Appearance
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

"It's incredible," Sasha said, "how there's just nothing there."
Astounded, Bennie turned to her…Sasha was looking downtown, and he followed her eyes to the empty space where the Twin Towers had been.
"There should be something, you know?" she said, not looking at Bennie. "Like an echo. Or an outline."

Related Characters: Sasha Blake (speaker), Bennie Salazar (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 6 Quotes

I looked down at the city. Its extravagance felt wasteful, like gushing oil or some other precious thing Bennie was hoarding for himself, using it up so no one else could get any. I thought: If I had a view like this to look down on every day, I would have the energy and inspiration to conquer the world. The trouble is, when you most need such a view, no one gives it to you.

Related Characters: Scotty Hausman (speaker), Bennie Salazar
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 7 Quotes

Stephanie and Bennie had lived in Crandale a year before they were invited to a party. It wasn't a place that warmed easily to strangers…It wore on Stephanie more than she'd expected, dropping off Chris for kindergarten, waving or smiling at some blond mother releasing blond progeny from her SUV or Hummer, and getting back a pinched, quizzical smile whose translation seemed to be: Who are you again? How could they not know, after months of daily mutual sightings? They were snobs or idiots or both, Stephanie told herself, yet she was inexplicably crushed by their coldness.

Related Characters: Stephanie (speaker), Bennie Salazar
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

The topic was the presence of Al Qaeda in the New York area. Operatives were present, Bill confided, especially in the outer boroughs, possibly in communication with one another (Stephanie noticed Clay's pale eyebrows suddenly lift, and his head gave a single odd jerk, as if he had water in one ear), but the question was: how strong a link did they have to the mother ship—here Bill laughed—because any kook with a grudge could call himself Al Qaeda, but if he lacked money, training, backup (Clay gave another quick head shake, then flicked his eyes at Bennie, to his right), it made no sense to allocate resources…

Related Characters: Stephanie (speaker), Bennie Salazar
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Goon Squad LitChart as a printable PDF.
A visit from the goon squad.pdf.medium

Bennie Salazar Character Timeline in A Visit from the Goon Squad

The timeline below shows where the character Bennie Salazar appears in A Visit from the Goon Squad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Found Objects
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...at the television in the bar while Sasha tells him stories about her old boss, Bennie Salazar. Sasha goes to the bathroom and returns with the stolen wallet. After stealing it,... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Gold Cure
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Bennie Salazar, owner of Sow’s Ear Records, experiences shameful memories as he meets with executives of... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
The word “sisters” brings back a memory to Bennie from twenty years prior. After a night of partying, Bennie hid behind a fence as... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Shaken by the memory, Bennie does not want to listen to the Stop/Go mix with his colleagues. Instead, he decides... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
On his way to pick up his son Christopher, Bennie listens to classic punk rock music and laments the current state of the music industry.... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Bennie picks up his nine-year-old son, Christopher, and notices that his own mood changes as soon... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Sasha waits for Bennie at the house of the Stop/Go sisters. As Sasha says hello to Christopher, Bennie again... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...sisters, Chandra and Louisa, look fantastic, and have a bunch of new material to show Bennie. Chandra’s daughter, Olivia, is also there, and Bennie notes Christopher’s reaction to her, like a... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
As they play, however, Bennie remembers a time he was inadvertently copied on an email between two colleagues in which... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Bennie drives home with Sasha and Christopher. He feels the magic of the afternoon continue to... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
When they reach the home where Christopher lives with his mother, Bennie is unable to pull up the driveway. Christopher tells Bennie to take some of his... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...just nothing there any longer. She says there should be something—an echo, or an outline. Bennie remembers looking at his mentor, Lou Kline, and thinking, “You’re finished.” Nostalgia, Bennie thinks, is... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
At a stoplight, Bennie remembers the list he has been writing on the parking ticket. He pulls it out,... (full context)
Chapter 3: Ask Me If I Care
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
...told through the voice of a young woman named Rhea. Late at night, Rhea, Scotty, Bennie, and Jocelyn go to Alice’s house. Alice tells the group about a private school where... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...place. She enjoys punk rock music, and spends her time hanging out with Scotty and Bennie, who are in a punk rock band called the Flaming Dildos. At school, Rhea, Scotty,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Bennie is new to the school, and wears his hair in a Mohawk. Bennie is able... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
...a song called “what the fuck” about a failed relationship. While everyone sings, Rhea watches Bennie, admiring his Mohawk, but he turns his attention to Alice. (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Bennie and Scotty later drive around from club to club with the recording of their music,... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Later, Bennie tells Jocelyn and Rhea that the Flaming Dildos got a gig at the Mab. They... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...dog collars and safety pins on, and when they return the band is setting up. Bennie shakes Lou’s hand, and tells him it’s an honor to meet him. (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...she feels betrayed by this. Inside, everyone is shook up from the show. Lou brings Bennie up to his recording studio, and Rhea tags along. She notices how Bennie continues to... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
...playing a gold guitar and Alice is behind him with her arms around his neck. Bennie is still in the recording studio, playing music over the house’s sound system. As Rhea... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...tells her parents that she is with Lou. Scotty and Alice have begun dating, and Bennie no longer hangs out with Scotty. Rhea notes that it is like Bennie and Scotty... (full context)
Chapter 5: You (Plural)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...is in a hospital bed with tubes up his nose. He has had two strokes. Bennie has contacted all of the old friends though the internet and asked them to visit... (full context)
Chapter 6: X’s and O’s
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...of his ex-wife. Scotty reads an issue of SPIN magazine, and sees an article about Bennie Salazar. The two have fallen out of touch. After this a week passes, during which... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Five days later, a letter arrives in Scotty’s dented mailbox. It is from Bennie, and it says he still thinks of the days when they played in a band... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...puts on khaki pants and a jacket that he obsessively dry-cleans, and goes to visit Bennie. Scotty notes that the woman who works at the dry cleaners gets frustrated with him... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
The décor in Bennie’s office impresses Scotty. He puts his fish on the reception desk, and asks the receptionist... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
...puts the fish, which is wrapped in newspaper, on it. He tells her that if Bennie doesn’t hurry up the fish will begin to stink. Eventually, Bennie comes out. Scotty observes... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Scotty finds Bennie’s office awesome. The entire city seems laid out beyond his office window. He notes that... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Scotty is offended that Bennie thinks he came for a handout. Scotty says he wants to know what happened between... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Scotty goes to the window and closes his eyes. He can sense Bennie’s fear. Bennie asks Scotty if he is still playing music, and if he is married.... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...conquer the world, but the people who need this view don’t have it. He wishes Bennie health and happiness, and smiles widely, revealing his broken teeth. Bennie looks shocked, and this... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...says her boyfriend is an awesome musician. Scotty says he believes them. He gives them Bennie’s card, telling them Bennie is his friend and they should call. They thank him and... (full context)
Chapter 7: A to B
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Bennie and Stephanie have moved with their son Christopher to a wealthy community called Crandale. At... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Bennie’s family joins the Crandale Country Club. In the locker room, a woman named Kathy says... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Three weeks later, Stephanie and Bennie are invited to a party after a neighbor discovers that Bennie signed his favorite band,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
At the neighbor’s cocktail party, Stephanie talks with Kathy, who introduces Stephanie and Bennie to her husband, Clay. Clay wears seersucker shorts and a pink oxford shirt, which Stephanie... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
As time passes, Bennie begins to sense that people in the community do not trust him. During the family’s... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Bennie begins giving Stephanie a hard time about playing tennis with Crandale women, whom he calls... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Stephanie begins scheduling her tennis games later in the day so Bennie won’t see her in her tennis outfit. This is easy to do since Stephanie has... (full context)
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
One morning, Bennie asks if Stephanie is driving to the city for work. She has begun leaving her... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...meeting with Bosco. She wonders if this is some kind of punishment for lying to Bennie. As they drive on the expressway, Jules asks if she is having an affair. Stephanie... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Jules admits it may just be Crandale that is making Stephanie and Bennie seem different. The place is packed with Republicans, and Jules can’t believe Stephanie and Bennie... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...everything is ending. She misses the wild drug and sex filled days before she and Bennie were married, when they were young, lucky, and strong. She feels disturbed by Bosco’s obsession... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...and she feels grateful for the affection. She has a burning desire to talk to Bennie about her day. She speaks to Sasha, Bennie’s assistant, whom she used to mistrust, but... (full context)
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
When Bennie arrives home, he goes straight into the shower. Stephanie decides to get into the shower... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...understand why this instance of infidelity is more painful than the others, but it is. Bennie calls from the kitchen as she staggers into a flowerbed. Stephanie kneels in the dirt... (full context)
Chapter 10: Out of Body
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...is not mad, but bored. She was invited to a party with the Conduit’s producer, Bennie Salazar, but she doesn’t want to take Rob and Drew because they are high. Rob... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pure Language
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
This story is set in the near future. Alex meets with Bennie to talk about a job promoting a concert. Their children play on the floor between... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...which revolves around social media marketing. The job he wanted was running a mixing board. Bennie’s daughter, Ava, takes a plastic pot away from Alex’s daughter, Cara-Ann. Alex gets up to... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Bennie understands that Alex wants to work with sound, but the problem with the industry is... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
When Alex’s daughter bites Bennie’s daughter’s shoulder, the women rush into the room. Alex reveals that he met Bennie through... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Bennie closes his eyes as he listens to Scotty’s album. He believes his sound is pure.... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...about that afternoon, when he’d tried—and failed—to tell Rebecca what he’d agreed to do for Bennie. His job is to find people, who are pejoratively called “parrots,” to spread the word... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
...people who score high in two criteria, score low in the third. He realizes that Bennie had recruited him, though he is not sure exactly why it worked, since Alex considers... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Alex meets with Lulu, who is Bennie’s assistant. They are working together on the social media marketing campaign for Scotty’s concert. Lulu... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Alex learns that Lulu has known Bennie since she was a child because her mother, Dolly, was a friend with Bennie’s ex-wife,... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...the library where she was studying, planning to finally tell her about his job with Bennie. They are hurrying to get to the river before sunset, which has been pushed back... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
...sex. Just then, Alex gets a text from Lulu, asking if he has heard that Bennie moved Scotty’s concert outdoors. This means that Alex will have to do more outreach so... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...had brought it up, saying it might be a chance for Alex to reconnect with Bennie. He writhes at the fact that he still hasn’t told her about the job. (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...leaves Rebecca and Cara-Ann in the crowd after receiving a text message from Lulu that Bennie needs help. Alex goes to Scotty’s trailer, and finds Bennie and an old roadie inside.... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
Bennie takes a long breath and reminds Scotty about the time he came to his office... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
...a sexy and rakish version of Scotty shine through. After they walk toward the stage, Bennie says Lulu will run the world some day. On stage, Scotty begins to play children... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
As Alex watches with Bennie, he wishes he were with Rebecca and Cara-Ann. He locates Rebecca with his handset, but... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Fame, Art, and Popular Culture Theme Icon
Ruin and Redemption Theme Icon
After the concert, Bennie is elated, and says that this kind of event only happens once in a person’s... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Connection, Disconnection, and Technology Theme Icon
They turn a corner, and Bennie says that Sasha’s apartment was right there. Alex feels a flash of recognition and a... (full context)
Time and Memory Theme Icon
Identity, Authenticity, and Meaning Theme Icon
Bennie and Alex begin walking again and Alex says he doesn’t know what has happened to... (full context)