A Cultural Outcast Asks: Who Can I Turn To, When Nobody Loves Me?

Deal W. Hudson.
November 15, 2016

I’m a regular reader of various cultural blogs and magazines, especially those devoted to books, film, and classical music. Some of them have fed my mind and soul since college days. But over the past six months, I have watched as many of them bash Donald Trump and his “deplorable” followers month after month and week after week.

What does it say about me that I am still reading most of them? These are the editors and writers who have directed much of my reading, listening, and viewing during my lifetime. What does it say about me that I valued my relationship with them for many, many years? I want to ask, “Was it all a lie?” but I know that’s melodramatic. Still, it bothers me enough to want to think about it, aloud.

Some may consider this an unimportant, perhaps trivial, concern on my part. However, these matters of books, music, film, and other visual arts have formed the deepest part of myself.  They led me into the Catholic Church, which I chronicled in my conversion memoir, into the high calling of the teacher, and, from there, to writing, publishing, and editing.

Trump bashing has abounded in the magazines, newspapers, and blogs I deeply respect, such as the venerable Times Literary SupplementLondon Review of BooksThe New YorkerNew York Review of BooksGuardian BooksLos Angeles Review of BooksSlipped Disc (classical music), complete-review.com(books), lithub.comworldliteraturetoday.org, and wordswithoutborders.com.*

I have known for quite some time that most of these publications are firmly in liberal hands, but, for the most part, I have learned from their usually intelligent discussions of books, culture, the arts, history, and politics. In other words, I could read these writers, with whom I often disagreed, with pleasure and edification. What’s different now? I realize they have no respect for me, one of their readers.

I have been described, along with other Trump supporters, as a “menace,” “dangerous,” “uneducated,” “a Nazi,” “a Fascist,” “a Racist,” a threat to world order and a facilitator of nuclear war. Come to think of it, perhaps it’s an understatement to say, they have no respect for me because the condemnation they announce is something closer to hatred and repulsion.

When these screeds began to appear, I took the time to email or tweet them, asking if and when any critical articles on Hillary Clinton would appear. There was never an answer and, of course, not a whisper about Clinton’s obvious, and now corroborated corruption.

Liberalism, as many have noted, used to stand for fairness, justice, the willingness to consider differing opinions. Over the past forty years, liberalism has morphed into a moral crusade of unapologetic self-righteousness. All who disagree are to be dismissed and branded as moral inferiors, probable rapists, and misogynists, and certainly not worthy of respect.

Many conservatives, strangely, have not yet accepted that liberal disagreement is not merely an objective matter. Liberal opinion imposes implicit moral judgment, a judgment which has now been made explicit.

One other thing has been made very clear: The editorial staffs, reviewers, and columnists of these publications are chosen and cut from the same piece of cloth. Such scoffing at President-elect Trump and the 60,583,838 Americans who voted for him can only arise from a hothouse of fellow, and “true,” believers. No diversity to be seen on those mastheads!

There’s really no immediate answer to my dilemma. I am not going to stop reading reviews of books, music, or film, because good reviewers enable me to sift through a multitude of titles to find the best way to spend my time.  My conservative, Christian antennae will remain vigilant to the warp and weave of the reviewers’ prejudices, but it will be hard, going forward, to feel that kind of congenial friendship one feels when enjoying a good writer. I will trust them less, and, sadly, enjoy them less.

My best answer to the question I posed is this: In the end, we all must manage to become our own best critics. We have to care less about what, for example, George Steiner, James Wood, or Zadie Smith think, and make our own judgments worthy of articulate and reasoned expression.

Finally, some will ask why I have not mentioned the already-established conservative alternatives to these publications. Though there are writers of great merit to be found there, with the exception of The New Criterion, none of the conservatively oriented publications treat culture with the appreciation, sophistication, and intelligence of those favorites I have named. (Conservatives, generally, care more for ideas and politics than the various art forms that comprise much of our culture. Yes, Roger Scruton is a notable exception!)

Thus, I am left lonelier but wiser, still seeking the Absolute in all things, but more aware than ever that the elite class of intellectuals disapprove of my journey and, perhaps, my destination.

—–

*Some of my favorite websites, primarily on film and music, managed to remain among the fray: dvdtalk.comdvdsavant.comdvdbeaver.commusicweb-international.comgramophone.co.uk.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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