Grrr! Hulk want to smash! Instead, Hulk blog! Christianity Today blogger extraordinaire Ted Olsen goads Revealer editor Hulk: “Aside from aBeliefnet article over the weekend, the National Catholic Reporter‘s article about Bush adviser and Crisis editor Deal Hudson has completely fallen off the radar. (Weblog thinks reporters are ignoring it just to see if The Revealer editor Jeff Sharlet merely starts walking the streets of New York in a sandwich board, or if he turns apoplectically into The Hulk, pummeling reporters who haven’t followed up on the story.)”
Hulk thought Christianity Today friend! Olsen make fun just cuz puny Deal-man look like Hulk! But Hulk prettier! Hulk smash puny Deal-man!
Hulk also point out that puny Deal-man’s “apology” in his email newsletter (Hulk longtime subscriber!) is, um, missing something. After soft pedaling his sexual abuse of an intoxicated, underage, emotionally damaged student in his National Review pre-emptive apology (“Like many people, I have done things in my life that I regret”), Hudson followed up the predictable s–tstorm that followed The National Catholic Reporter‘s subsequent expose with this mea culpa: “Ten years ago, I committed a serious sin with an undergraduate student of mine while teaching at Fordham University. For this I am truly and deeply sorry. I have confessed this and asked for forgiveness, my family has worked through it, and time has passed. But I know this is news to you, and so I offer my sincerest apologies. I recognize that I have let countless people down and have brought scandal to myself, my family, and my Faith. For this, I beg your forgiveness.”
Ok! Hulk forgive! But Hulk not the one plied with cheap tequila, coerced into oral sex, and intimidated into silence.
Hudson has apologized to his family, his priest, and his readers. That’s everybody, right? Oh, wait — Hudson’s victim. Perhaps Hudson feels that his White House and media crusade against, among other things, feminism, was repentence enough. After all, if his victim had stayed in her place, why, she wouldn’t have ended up drunk almost to unconsciousness and bent over Hudson’s lap in his car. (Excuse the vulgarity — Hulk just reports. That’s a detail straight from the NCR piece. The mainstream press’s squeamishness about such details in this case is part of the ongoing story.)
Hudson’s defenders — and, no doubt, more than a few of the secular editors, off the page — have fallen on a perverted kind of patriotism (the last resort of… ) as a defense, the idea being that if public figures have to worry about all their past sins haunting them, no one of “quality” will go into public service. Amy Welborn, Hulk’s favorite Catholic blogger, writes The Revealer with a succinct response to that: “So if being honest about your life means you lose some power, access and credibility among a certain audience — oh well, I say. It’s not all about you, after all.”
But to the mainstream press, it is, in a sense. It’s all about the public figure, his personality, hischaracter. That’s the story that sells. Think of America’s newsrooms as asylums for thousands of would-be novelists, and you’ll start to understand the media’s fixation on archetype-as-personality. (I.e., is John Kerry a “war hero”? Or a waffler? Choose.) Hudson doesn’t fit in that box. His political power is too subtle, his personality is too ambiguous, his religion is too intellectual. He’s no Jerry Falwell (and, to be fair, the chaste Falwell is no Deal Hudson). In short, he doesn’t conform to any of the pre-existing characters in the media stable, so he ends up getting written out of the secular record of a political story in which he’s a major player.
Puny Deal-man! He escape mainstream press. But not Kathryn Joyce‘s superb analysis of why the press gave Hudson a free pass. Much better reading than this essay by Hulk. Grrr!