Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Noir Profile

Pensacola News Journal columnist Reginald Dorgan seems to have been reading a few Raymond Chandler novels lately. Get this opening from his profile in today's PNJ of local candidate for Congress Joe Roberts:
"At high noon on an overcast and humid last day of summer, the lunch crowd packed Jerry's Drive-in as tight as jeans on Jennifer Lopez. Elbowing my way through the maze of tables and bodies, I squeezed into a chair at the bar.

Amid the cacophony of chatter and laughter, and the rattle of plates and forks, I heard his voice before I saw his body."
As Chandler himself might have written, and probably did, the hard-boiled style fits this subject like a stall fits a horse. Joe Roberts is no mystery. What you see with him is what you get.

Still, Dorgan's effort is entertaining.
"I recognized the slow baritone Southern drawl of the man who wants to shake up conservative Northwest Florida by unseating U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican incumbent in the District 1 seat.

Candidate Joe Roberts worked the tables -- up close and personal. If he'd had an apron, you'd think he was taking orders and serving customers.

In a way, I suppose that's what he was doing: getting advice on how best to serve the people."
The rest of the column settles down with more run-of-the-mine metaphors, similes, and even a fact or two. The only mystery remaining is how can Reginald Dorgan possibly top this when he profiles incumbent Jeff Miller?

Maybe he should riff off Christopher Buckley, author of the hilarious Little Green Men, a scarily prescient comic novel about a Congress led by a president who thinks, "A country convinced that little green men were hovering over the rooftops was inclined to vote yea for big weapons and space programs."

Buckley is a conservative Republican distressed over the decidedly un-conservative reign of today's crop of Republicans in Washington. This month he's suggesting to his party, "Let's Quit While We're Behind."

Joe Roberts would say that's good advice.

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