Volume IV, Issue 1 -- February, 2003
Gabe Hudson doesn't write the President
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I. Gabe Hudson gets published
II. Critical Reaction
III. "When you have a letter from the President you know you have a letter from the President"
IV. After the Satires
V. "My claims (...) were meant as satire"
VI. "Things that I don't have any control over"
VII. Truth, Lies, and Expectations
VIII. "Censoring the citizens he serves"
IX. Write a Letter to the President
X. Why ?
XI. What harm ?
Appendix - Gabe Hudson doesn't write us
V. "My claims (...) were meant as satire"In his statement admitting his claims were false Hudson maintains; "My claims that I received a letter from the President were meant as satire, and were intended to be perceived as such." It's one explanation (the others being that it was a pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement or a desperate publicity stunt), and at least worth considering.
What exactly was Hudson satirizing ? As far as we can tell, Hudson hasn't said. Perhaps it was all in the reactions -- in getting all these interviewers and periodicals to believe such an outlandish tale. Hudson suggests as much in part of the rest of his statement:(I)n making these claims, I used the very same technique that I learned from watching the President, which is to dispense unverified information through the media. That so many people could perceive my absurd joke as a fact is testament to how far the President has carried his campaign of censoring the citizens he serves.It's a valiant spin-attempt, but doesn't sound very convincing. For one, it's disingenuous: it seems highly unlikely that Hudson wasn't familiar with the dissemination of "unverified information through the media" before he saw President Bush do it. (In addition: it should be obvious to any newspaper reader that much of what they read includes (technically) unverified information; presumably what Hudson means is unverified falsehoods passed off as information (an old and too common trick that is admittedly popular among politicians).)
Even less convincing is Hudson's squirming attempt to place the onus elsewhere. Suddenly his lie is an "absurd joke", i.e. something he presumably meant to be considered literally unbelievable -- and something, incidentally, that isn't meant to be taken seriously (it's just a joke). And citizens were fooled because of ... "how far the President has carried his campaign of censoring the citizens he serves" ? What does this even mean ? That citizens are foolish because they'll believe what is printed in the newspaper ? And that they've suddenly become foolish, in this particular way, because of President Bush's censoring-campaigns ?
President Bush's lack of forthrightness with the American public, the general clandestineness of his administration, and Bush's many "embroideries of the truth" (as Anthony Lewis puts it in the 13 February 2003 issue of The New York Review of Books) when he does share information (or dis-information) with the citizenry do make him an obvious target for both criticism and satire. It is unclear, however, how Hudson's lie effectively exposes and/or ridicules these particular malfeasances of the President and his underlings.
(The only other spin on satire that might explain what Hudson was up to is that the joke was completely at Bush's expense. There are a number of people who appear to believe that President Bush is an illiterate buffoon, and so the very idea of his reading a book (and/or commenting on it) is an unbelievable absurdity; to his credit, Hudson doesn't claim that this is what he meant.)
Ultimately, Hudson's claim that his fabrications were satire clearly fails. Most stunning is Hudson's unwillingness to take these events and try to salvage satire from them. If there are particular government policies Hudson means to attack, or a governmental attitude towards the American population he wishes to expose, or even if he just means to show how gullible newspaper-readers have become, then surely it would have been incumbent on him to exploit the satire even (or perhaps: particularly) once it had been exploded. Two avenues were open to him: to deny the White House denials and amuse himself and his readers with the reactions that would have then ensued, or to acknowledge his fabrication (as he did) and then use the storm around these events to try to make whatever his point(s) were. Instead, he did nothing more than release a statement through his publisher and then try to ignore (one might even say: cover up) most of what had happened, a silence resounding much like a sulk. Hardly what one expects from a previously merry prankster.
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VI. "Things that I don't have any control over"It is unclear to what extent Hudson's actions (specifically his confession and then his silence) were dictated by his corporate sponsors, including publisher Knopf. Certainly, it's amusing to compare Hudson's claims of a bad-boy past (in his interview with Robert Birnbaum) -- "All my life I have gotten in trouble for being subversive and not acting in accordance with the status quo" -- with how he has meekly toed the line after this abortive stab at shaking things up. (Published by the likes of Bertelsmann (Knopf) and Condé Nast (The New Yorker) Hudson has quickly become the very epitome of the literary mainstream -- with a bit of a McSweeney's-edge but no real bite.)
That Hudson had been co-opted by the (publishing) powers that be is, however, something he already admits to in the Birnbaum interviewGH: These are all questions that are related to things that I don't have any control over.The public face of Hudson's literary persona is apparently defined by Knopf's publicity department -- no doubt a humbling experience. (It also suggests at least one more, fanciful theory: perhaps all this was a Knopf publicity stunt, with Hudson as the hapless puppet .....)
RB: Well, maybe you do and maybe you don't.
GH: Truly, I don't. They [publicity department] make the calls as to what magazines I'm to be associated with and what my credentials are.
Common in the presentation of "Dear Mr. President"-author-Hudson has been an emphasis on his military credentials. In The New Yorker fiction issue the contributor note there offers only two pieces of information about the author: he "was a rifleman in the Marine reserves" and "he won the 1999 John Hawkes Prize in Fiction". On the Knopf publicity page for the book version the description about the author begins: "Gabe Hudson was a rifleman in the Marine reserves."
It's apparently considered relevant -- indeed, a selling point -- presumably because the letter-writer of Hudson's story is "Lance Corporal James Laverne, of the United States Marine Corps Reserve" (It's a bizarre idea but a very popular one: even fiction writers are expected to write about what they know, as if that somehow makes invention more authentic and somehow better.) Hudson's military experience is also constantly referred to in the articles and interviews. (Well, his military affiliation is; there's essentially no talk of any actual experience.)
Possibly the various publishers and journalists did independently verify Hudson's claims of military service, but it doesn't sound like it (vague descriptions like Canfield's "The author was in the Marine Reserves in the early '90s" are the norm). In fact, the Marine Reserve claim is noteworthy for its similarities to Hudson's later claims of having received a letter from President Bush -- sounding similarly plausible but remaining vague in its details. Asked point-blank about it Hudson can sound ... fairly convincing, but he avoids pinning himself down with specifics. So his response to Robert Birnbaum:RB: In what year did you enter the military?Quite possibly Hudson actually was in the Marine Reserves, but it's interesting to note how much for granted this particular claim is taken. Proof could fairly readily be obtained (we looked into it -- the process is fairly straightforward, though considerably more complicated than we had expected) -- we just doubt anyone did.
GH: I'm fairly confident it was at the end of '92.
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VII. Truth, Lies, and ExpectationsWhy should anyone have looked into Hudson's claims ?
There's an expectation of a certain truthfulness on the part of even of an author selling his newest book. Biographical claims (in Hudson's case, for example, claims such as that he is from Texas, that he was a Marine Reserve, and that he attended Brown University's MFA programme) are, for the most part taken for granted: journalists (and readers) are very likely to take an author's word for it. As Kevin Canfield noted in his e-mail to us: "So often journalists are forced to take sources at their word". To confirm even the few claims that Hudson makes in any of these interviews would impose a considerable burden on a journalist (what documentation suffices to convince that Hudson is a Texan -- and where do you obtain it ?). And then much of it doesn't seem all that important anyway: who cares if Hudson is a Texan ?
(An interesting case to compare this one to is the so-called Yasusada affair, in which the poems of a Japanese atomic bomb survivor, Araki Yasusada, were published to considerable acclaim. It turned out Yasusada was a fraud -- an invention of another poet -- and that no one had bothered to check any of the biographical claims about Yasusada. (In the strange world that is the modern appreciation of fiction and poetry authorial authenticity is one of the few things the reading public (and critics) apparently feel very strongly about: the fact that Yasusada wasn't real apparently somehow made the poetry inauthentic and thus apparently less worthy. Much as perhaps Hudson's Marine Reserve story would no longer impress as much if it turned out he actually hadn't been in the Marine Reserves.) For additional information see this Lingua Franca article, and both Can I get a Witness ? and Three Footnotes to the Yasusada affair by Eliot Weinberger.
There have, of course, been numerous similar cases to the Yasusada-affair, but it's of particular interest here because of one of those who fell for it: Grand Street published several of the "fake" poems. The person in charge at the time ? Deborah Treisman. (In the Lingua Franca article Emily Nussbaum reports: ":Deborah Treisman (...) laughed when she found out Yasusada's bio was bogus, though she also feels the deceptions was 'on some level irresponsible.' ") Note that that's not how she reacted to Hudson's (admittedly somewhat different) fabrications.)
The Bush-claim -- that Hudson received a letter from the President -- might be considered one where the various interviewers and journalists should have demanded proof. But Hudson plausibly explained that he wanted to handle the letter and its contents carefully. The New York Observer reported: "Mr. Hudson is taking bids from magazines to publish President Bush’s letter", and the author told Kevin Canfield: "There's something of a bidding war in the works, but I think we're really close to making a decision" -- again very clever techniques of making the story sound authentic. (One imagines, of course, that any magazine bidding on the letter would have asked to see it and determined its authenticity; the very existence of such a "bidding war" lends the story credibility -- except, of course, that there was no such bidding war.)
As described earlier, Hudson actually offered a great deal of information about the letter, from how it arrived to the letterhead to a few choice quotes. He also told Canfield: "I've been instructed not to talk about it" -- a puzzling directive, but given the Presidential involvement something that also sounds vaguely plausible.
Ironically, even Kevin Canfield's attempts to verify the story probably helped make it more believable: the 30 October Hartford Courant piece offers a bit of journalist-speak: "A White House spokesman could not be reached for comment". Canfield sought out confirmation -- but he could not obtain it. And while these words might just mean that no one picked up the phone, readers are surely equally likely to read into it some evasiveness on the part of the White House -- a refusal to comment on something that did actually transpire.
In acknowledging that he made it all up Hudson called his prank an "absurd joke", as if the fault lay with those who could believe such a ridiculous story. It does, on the face of it, sound extremely unlikely -- that a President who isn't known to be much of a reader should take the time to read Hudson's book, and then write to the author. But how absurd is it ?
The idea that Hudson (or his publishers) sent a copy of the book to both Presidents Bush (George and Junior) is not only plausible, it surely should go without saying. This is the most basic step from PR 101, and in fact it's shocking that it wasn't done (indeed, it is perhaps the most shocking thing about this whole affair).
Receiving a reply from the President, on the other hand, seems quite unlikely. A form letter thanking the sender, perhaps. (Note that in an early (13 October) Contra Costa Times article Hudson didn't yet claim the President himself had authored the reply, saying: "It wasn't clear who wrote the letter, although I'd like to think it's from the president".)
Still, it is easy to imagine a number of reasons why the President might choose to respond to this particular book: the title, for one (Dear Mr. President stands in a unique relationship with that particular reader), as well as the subject matter. In a time where President Bush seems fixated on exacting revenge for the humiliations his father suffered while in office a book obviously attacking the 41st President might also be enough to elicit some sort of response -- a son once again looking out for his father. And, as Hudson explained: "Also, I’m from Austin, Texas, and the president touched on the fact I was a fellow Texan" -- another reason for the President to go out of his way.
President Bush is often mocked as culturally ignorant, with no great facility for the English language (much less any others), and he is not known to read much. All indications are, however, that he is not an illiterate, and among the other reasons Hudson's story likely was so readily embraced is because there are many who yearn to believe that the United States might actually be led by a man who engages with literature, and is willing to take authors seriously. President Bush seems an unlikely candidate to be such a man but Hudson's book sounds like it might have been one that could draw Bush out. (In both Camille Dodero's "How do we know you’re telling truth ?" and Deborah Treisman's "Are you telling the truth about this ?" one can almost hear the desperate wish for confirmation, a small affirmation that literature does mean something after all.)
(In fact, President Bush has occasionally engaged with literature and authors, though he appears to have limited himself to non-fiction -- and to have been badly advised in the selection of books and authors he has bothered with (see our piece on George's History Lesson).)
Hudson's "absurd joke" worked, in large part, because it was carefully built up and at almost no point seemed particularly absurd. The initial claims were jokey (at Bold Type) or vague (in the Contra Costa Times). Then Hudson mentioned it on his website, then in an interview with Deborah Treisman at McSweeney's, and only from there did the press really pick up on it. Each successive mention reinforced the next; certainly, journalists should have demanded proof (or obtained White House confirmation) but it also already seemed like there was a body of evidence supporting Hudson's claim.
Even those familiar with Hudson's other "pranks" took this story differently, in large part because it was presented differently. Previously, Hudson has gone so far as far to apparently fake his own death (scroll down to letters of 22 September 2000 and 1 October 2000, both by "Kendall Hudson"). His website also offers a patently unbelievable warnings, as well as the obviously comic (well, at least obviously not meant to be taken seriously) Gabe Hudson's School of Obligatory Survival. Subtlety does not appear to be something Hudson is capable of, and the Bush-claim stands in stark contrast to most of the outlandish Hudson-humour a visitor to his site (or a reader of McSweeney's) encounters.
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VIII. "Censoring the citizens he serves"Hudson's own explanation -- "That so many people could perceive my absurd joke as a fact is testament to how far the President has carried his campaign of censoring the citizens he serves" -- can be taken only as deliberately obfuscatory.
Perhaps Hudson is trying to focus on the content of Bush's alleged reply, in particular the claim that the book is "unpatriotic": perhaps he is trying to say that people fell for this absurd joke because they had come to expect such censorious reactions from the current administration. But the censorious conduct the American public has come to expect from the President and his underlings is that of completely silencing opposition (witness the many alleged terrorist detainees denied legal representation and other basic rights) and the refusal to provide any information (about everything from lobbyists' influence in the White House to alleged Iraqi arms-violations to completely mundane matters).
Far from censoring Hudson, Bush is at best censuring him (perhaps Hudson doesn't know the difference between the two words) -- allowing for at least the semblance of a dialogue. That the public believed the absurd joke suggests it still believes in a President willing to engage with the common man, and willing to consider even literary opinion to be something of importance. These are, in fact, not characteristics of the current President, but widespread belief that he could act in this way suggests that whatever the reason why people fell for Hudson's claim, it was decidedly not because of the President's censoring-campaign (whatever that is) -- or even his secretive administration's policy of not asking and certainly not telling.
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IX. Write a Letter to the PresidentHudson appears to have made the claim to have received a reply from the President in part to publicize (or rationalize) part of the publicity campaign for his book. In imitation of the title story from his collection he invites readers to Write a Letter to the President, a "contest" that continues to run (the booby prize ? why, a copy of Hudson's book, of course).
Trying to advance civic involvement in government seems laudable enough, and all citizens should be encouraged to write (or otherwise communicate with) the President or their other representatives if they have concerns that they believe should be heard. One might, however, question the form and forum Hudson provides. For one, it is not clear that the letters actually get forwarded or sent to the President. Copies are, however, sent to Hudson, and many are also published on the McSweeney's-site -- suggesting if not a Big Brother involvement, at least a little brother one (including also a different form of censorship, as Hudson selects what letters he deems worthy of being printed).
Dialogue with the commander in chief doesn't seem the main purpose of the opportunity Hudson provides Internet users with here. Indeed, he doesn't even bother to tell them how they can get in touch with the President directly if they aren't interested in "entering" his contest and/or having their messages read by him; only on the Your submission has been successfully sent to the President-page is there a mention that: "Any followup correspondence can be addressed to: President George W. Bush email@example.com" -- information that could much more usefully have been provided earlier.
What Hudson offers with his contest is ... well, a contest (win his book !), for one -- which is probably enough for many people -- as well as a sort of forum. One imagines, however, that people who participate here aren't primarily concerned with conveying their thoughts to President Bush, but rather hope to either get Hudson's attention or are merely glad to have a place to share their thoughts with the general reading public.
Hudson's original story -- like many epistolary fictions -- similarly begs the question. Addressing the fictional letter therein to the President (George Sr., in that case) is meant to lend some weight to the story, but author-Hudson appeared not to be at all interested in engaging in any sort of dialogue with the President. He preferred couching his concerns in a fictional piece. Fair enough -- he is a writer of fiction, after all. Still, it is striking that even in real life he would do no more than pretend to actually communicate with the President (and then go so far as to pretend he got a reply -- something he did not do in his story). And then he challenges visitors to his site to write to the President -- when he isn't even willing to do so himself.
(Note: the "Write a Letter to the President"-contest itself seems a very odd publicity stunt to us, seeing how it simply offers people the opportunity to do something that they could do just as easily do themselves (just send your e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org). We're not very witty or inspired folk, but to us the obvious idea for a contest of this sort would have been -- after Hudson's satire imploded -- to invite readers to "Write a Letter from the President", suggesting how Bush might have responded to Hudson had he actually written back. That might actually have been fairly fun and entertaining.)
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X. Why ?There are a variety of possible explanations for Hudson's actions:
It was satire: As discussed earlier, Hudson's claims that it was meant as satire are unconvincing. Certainly, it does not convince as any political satire. At best, one might imagine that it exposes how easily the media (and the reading public) allows itself to be manipulated
It was a pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement: As he no doubt expected, people were impressed when they heard that that Hudson got a reply from the President. He got press coverage, he got lots of attention. He got validation: it must be an important book if the President bothers with it. And he presumably impressed the people he wanted to impress -- it's not everyone that gets told by the President that their book is unpatriotic. Of course, the problem with self-aggrandizement is that, if it's baseless, one winds up looking more the fool than before one tried it (though rarely with such spectacular success as Hudson has achieved with his antics).
Hudson is delusional: The fiction writer builds up a fictional world -- and in Hudson's case perhaps he lives in that fantasy-world. Perhaps there is no reality for Hudson; invention is everything. Perhaps for Hudson writing a story in which a character writes to the President, or telling a journalist he had written to the President was, to him, the same thing as actually having written to the President (as he appears not to have ever considered actually doing it). (Here, after all, is a man who was apparently even willing to spread the word that he was dead (when, presumably, he wasn't) .... just for a laugh, or out of curiosity, or perhaps to tell us something profound about life and death.)
Tellingly, also, Hudson has retreated from his "satire" (except for the continued letter-writing contest and the misleading description of it in the Treisman-interview visitors to his site are still sent to). Rather than exploit what happened in satirical fashion (for which there certainly was opportunity -- even if only with something like a "write a letter from the President" contest) he has apparently tried to distance itself from it. It looks like he refuses again to engage with reality, retreating completely from it: now that his lie has been exposed (it's "reality" (that it was a falsehood) known to all) it's of no interest to him.
However, given the very real world (or at least a mirror-version thereof) he has chosen to address -- using real historical figures and actual events -- the clash of fact with (his) fiction hardly leads to anything that can, in any way, be considered positive.
It was a publicity stunt: It's all about publicity, and Hudson certainly milked his letter-from-the-President story for a good dose of it. Possibly there is no such thing as bad publicity, though one wonders how this affected sales of his book, as well as the general reading public's opinion of the author. It certainly doesn't seem to have caused much harm, not in the short term, anyway, and so at least as this (a publicity stunt) it can be seen as a success.
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XI. What harm ?What's the harm of a prank like this ?
The harm of Hudson's stupid doings seems minimal. Presumably, he suffers most, having lost absolutely any and all credibility. Any statements of fact he makes will, in future, certainly be questioned. And it's hard to imagine he could ever regain the trust of the public and (especially) of journalists.
Credibility, however, isn't all that important to fiction writers; as long as what they write appeals to an audience authors can be inveterate liars; indeed, perhaps it's better if they are. Hudson still has his contract with Knopf for a second book (no morals clauses in those contracts) and may well go on to be a successful writer -- though he's unlikely to be signed up to pen many non-fiction pieces. (If there is another war in the Middle East he might have been -- on the basis of what he claims his background is, as well as his book-success -- someone that a magazine might have asked to write about events; that seems unimaginable now.)
The fact that the correspondent involved in Hudson's prank is the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, and that these are times when accusing someone or something of being "unpatriotic" is a serious charge sets the event apart from most literary hoaxes. Hudson's actions were uncivil: he didn't have the courtesy to even offer the President the opportunity to ignore the book (since Hudson didn't even bother sending him a copy), he showed no respect for the office of the presidency, he felt no obligations of any sort to his readers or to the journalists he spoke to. President Bush may well be considered a ridiculous figure and a deplorable leader, but Hudson's thoughtless actions only discredit the author. In a time when presidential leadership must be called into question, Hudson instead plays right into the President's hands. (It can, of course, not be discounted that this was Hudson's intention -- secretly supporting the President by pretending to oppose him.)
One unfortunate consequence of Hudson's doings is that it contributes to the further marginalization of writers. When a writer like Hudson uses the platform he is given by the media to make fools of them and the reading public it likely does not resonate positively. Who one earth would want to have anything to do with writers -- or believe them -- if this is how they act when there are serious matters at issue ? Hudson is perhaps an extreme example of an author with no respect for his audience, but the contempt he shows is particularly invidious: he doesn't acknowledge his disdain for his audience (as some authors freely do) but pretends to speak to it.
Hudson addresses significant and timely issues, but by trying to ground them in fact (claiming he received a letter from the President, for example) rather than his fiction he probably makes writers in general look less credible, as readers might think this is an approach common among fiction-writers. (Admittedly, taking fiction-writers seriously only as writers of fiction and ignoring their statements on factual issues may not be such a bad thing.) The fact/fiction-muddle could have been effectively exploited, but Hudson did not do that. Adept at invention, he was ultimately incapable of applying it effectively to this real-life situation, settling instead for some cheap publicity and for a laugh at the expense of a few gullible journalists and readers.
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ConclusionWas it all worth it ?
The free publicity is priceless, and maybe Hudson did sell enough additional copies of his book to justify toying with the public (and the President) like this. He doesn't seem to have been much taken to task for his doings; maybe it's all already been largely forgotten, and Hudson forgiven. It remains to be seen how (or whether) it will have any consequences in the future; presumably there will be few.
There are probably readers put off by these antics, but quite possibly there are also some who are intrigued by an author who does something like this -- interpreting it as the work of a creative mind. (Such people should remember that, after a good build-up, he did it very, very badly, which surely doesn't speak for his creative mind.)
Hudson writes fiction, and perhaps the fiction is all that counts. It would be nice to focus on the book -- but Hudson doesn't allow it. For whatever reason, he chose to build a story around the book (rather than allow the book to speak for itself), and -- as he must have expected -- the story became far bigger than the book. (Perhaps one can call Hudson's claims a sort of work of fiction, but, as has been noted, because of the interplay of fact and fiction and Hudson's particularly poor execution, it certainly is a failure even as such.)
Even after this story has died down the focus is still far removed from the book: even now, his website offers the reactions of critics and a letter-writing contest -- but nothing from the book beside the cover. The text is presented as the least significant thing about it. How sad is that ?
Hudson's fabrications, his website that ignores the actual text itself: all this is perhaps an effective way of book-selling. Hudson got a lot of free publicity and his book was brought to the attention of a larger audience; maybe that's all he wanted out of it. But it doesn't seem like a good or fair (to the reading public) way of doing things. (Possibly, of course, there is no one interested in actual books -- actual texts -- any longer and all that counts is to own the object that was part of a prank, or to have visited the website of an author whose name was in the news: perhaps that is what the reading-experience has become in our time. In that case, Hudson is on the right track, and to be commended for how he has gone about things.)
Hudson's fiction pretends to be, in some sense, political and having to do with real and very relevant issues; it's clear that this is not the case. There is (possibly) art here, but clearly little truth. Amazingly, many people are indifferent to all this: Hudson's appeals to write to the President are still heard (there are apparently people still willing to fill out his contest-form), despite the fact that he was unwilling to do so himself. Perhaps it is all in the presentation: gloss over the facts, and after a little while nobody remembers or cares about truths any more.
One would wish that there were a greater outcry against serious matters being treated so frivolously; curiously there isn't. (Satire is something different, and should almost always be welcomed, but Hudson's worthless and pointless prank didn't amount to anything remotely resembling it.) That isn't Hudson's fault, but perhaps explains why people like him are willing (and able) to pull such pranks. But in times when sensible political dialogue is much-needed, such off-point divertisements serve only to strengthen the position of a regime which so eagerly ignores it's critics. (Because of his actions Hudson-as-critic or political commentator doesn't deserve to be taken seriously; other critics, however do.)
Readers perhaps learn a small lesson from all this: don't believe everything you read. Scepticism is a good thing -- whether it is regarding the statements of politicians or authors. But if it has to extend to every smallest bit of information, if there are no sources that one can consider truly reliable it can be exhausting and ultimately overwhelming. Hudson's misleading and false statements were ultimately relatively harmless -- easily disproved once someone bothered to look into them -- but such lying only heightens public distrust in a manner that does not seem in any way constructive. If Hudson had managed to get people to more closely question the President's statements and claims, that would have been an impressive (and useful) accomplishment, but he seems to have accomplished very near the opposite, coming off as yet another Presidential critic whose criticism is completely and utterly unfounded.
What's wrong, one wonders, with telling the truth ? Hudson obviously doesn't have much interest in or use for it, but he offers no good explanation why one shouldn't bother with it. Given the serious issues facing the American nation (and most of Hudson's readers) one might have thought greater attention to truth (about the situation in Iraq (and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and North Korea, etc.), big business ties to the current administration, the consequences of Bush's proposed tax cuts, etc. etc. etc., ad nauseam) would be considered particularly important. But perhaps it is more important to indulge in mere tomfoolery, and damn the consequences.
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return to page 1
see also Appendix - Gabe Hudson doesn't write us
- Dear Mr. President
- Alfred A. Knopf publicity page
- To purchase the book:
- The Austin Chronicle
- Boston Phoenix
- Brown Alumni Magazine
- The Capital Times
- Cincinnati CityBeat
- Contra Costa Times
- The Decatur Daily
- Houston Chronicle
- The Onion
- The Reader
- San Francisco Chronicle
- See also VLS - Our 25 Favorite Books of 2002 (scroll down for review)
- Related links
- Interview with Robert Birnbaum, at identity theory
- Interview with Brian Niemietz at Bold Type
- Interview in Boston's Weekly Dig
- Parts one and two of an interview with Deborah Treisman at McSweeney's
- They Might Be Authors by Joe Hagan and Rebecca Traister in The New York Observer
- President To Author: Your Book Is Unpatriotic by Kevin Canfield in the Hartford Courant
- Letter from the President by Camille Dodero in the Boston Phoenix
- Article in The Hartford Advocate
- Article in Editor & Publisher
- Article in Publishers Lunch
- Metafilter thread (started 30 October 2002)
- Metafilter thread (started 8 November 2002)
- Gabe Hudson site
- Dear Mr. President, by Gabe Hudson
- Write a Letter to the President - contest
- Gabe Hudson's School of Obligatory Survival
- Write a letter to ...
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