The Right Stuff does not know enough about the little town of Hampton, in north central Florida, to comment authoritatively, except to say reports of its thoroughgoing corruption and dysfunction make Port Richey sound, by comparison, like a model of ethics and competency.
Instead, TRS has chosen to weigh in – even as the Legislature mulls Hampton’s dissolution – because the name of its ex-mayor (jailed for attempting to sell OxyContin to an undercover cop not long after his election) caught our eye: Barry Lyndon Moore.
Right out of the box, we have to ask ourselves: What were his parents thinking, naming their baby boy for a character the late film critic Roger Ebert described as “narcissistic,” “self-pitying,” lacking “morals, character or judgment, unrepentant, unredeemed”?
The invention of 19th Century novelist William Makepeace Thackeray brought to the big screen in 1975 by Stanley Kubrick, Irishman Barry Lyndon is an cunning, self-absorbed rogue and adventurer who spends his life desperately clinging to the upper crust by wit, charm, flattery, larceny and dumb luck, but who oddly comes to ultimate comes to ruin as a result of a single noble act.
TRS does not know whether Barry Lyndon Moore has been guilty of any noble acts, but as he sits in a cell unable to raise $4,500 bail while his town approaches its probable demise, it is hard to imagine Hampton’s last elected chief executive having been named more perfectly.