NOLA Notes: James Gill On Ray Nagin

I’ve spend a lot of time over the last 4 years mocking my local daily paper, the New Orleans Times-Picayune. I met one of their best reporters a few years ago and told him about my blog. He said: “We at the Times-Pravda are well aware of your work.” I called them that because of the Picayune’s tendency to let its editorial views leak into the news hole. They’ve always had sacred cows among the Gret Stet’s pols: the current one, approrpriately enough is Governor PBJ, boy exorcist and former Hindu. Mayor Nagin used to be on the paper’s de facto “let alone list” but not any more.

That brings me to the Picayune’s resident cynic, columnist James Gill. Gill has been at the Picayune since the beginning of time; not really it just seems like it. Gill is a British transplant to New Orleans and the transplant took. He writes elegant snarky prose in a sort of high-Tory Disraeli/Muggeridge style. I don’t always agree with his eclectic views but he writes like a dream and good prose is worth savoring.

James Gill understands NOLA’s ruling class, both white and black. That brings me to his latest column about our very own village idiot, Mayor C Ray Nagin. Nagin has spent most of his second term with his foot lodged in his mouth while being investigated by the feds and watching his popularity reach nearly Bushian depths. I’ve been calling the Mayor a dumbass for years but the MSM has only recently joined the scrum. Gill’s Sunday column was entitledIs Mayor Ray Nagin As Dumb As He Seems? Here are the first few grafs, it’s a masterpiece of sarcasm worthy of Gore Vidal or Doug Piranhna:

If Mayor Ray Nagin were as dumb as he seems, he couldn’t possibly have progressed beyond third grade.

This must all be a stunt. As he prepares to exit City Hall, he is having a great laugh at our expense.

While he, his wife and assorted flunkies see the world on our dollar, he neglects no opportunity to unburden himself of some fatuous observation and make all his constituents writhe in embarrassment.

They deserve it to some extent, because they re-elected him after he repeatedly made a bozo of himself in the aftermath of Katrina. He came in for a lot of public criticism at the time and it must have bruised him, for he now appears determined to exact a terrible revenge. He has resolved to see how New Orleans likes having a doofus for a mayor.

Me, I don’t like it but we’re only stuck with C Ray until May, 2010. Besides, we can always think about the unde-fucking-defeated New Orleans Saints until then. We have our priorities straight here in Debrisville and the Saints come first…

Update: Looking at the post, I realized that I didn’t endorse the content of Gill’s column. His description of Nagin’s running commentary on *everything* is spot on. The Mayor never shuts up and puts his foot in his mouth on almost a daily basis. He is a gaffe machine: if I wanted to I could jump down his throat at least twice a week for saying something really stupid.

6 thoughts on “NOLA Notes: James Gill On Ray Nagin

  1. I almost expect to hear a rim-shot after each paragraph.
    Not that I admire Nagin, that much. But its pretty easy to see this is just invective without regard for truth.

  2. MapleStreet, there’s a whole lot of basis for such invective, believe me. I’ve been calling this man the Walking Id since shortly after that fateful MLK Day nearly four years ago, when he kept on demonstrating that he was fully capable of saying the sorts of things that I had only heard come out of the mouth of my son, who was emerging from toddlerhood at the time. He has also been quite busy hurting the recovery of New Orleans with his incompetence whilst accusing others – mostly wrongly – of doing the same.
    The only reason why we all in New Orleans don’t dump on Nagin more than we do is that it gets very old after two mayoral terms. Gill simply came to this much later than all the rest of the NOLA bloggers, for the reasons Adrastos cited. I’m just so glad the man cannot run for another term. Dallas can have him…please, Dallas, take him off our hands.

  3. Oh and speaking of… any First Draft readers who want to learn more about the complications of race, politics, and Carnival in New Orleans would do well to begin with Gill’s book, Lords of Misrule which has made its way back into print in recent years.

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