The panel included:
- Noted literary scholar and the author of "Crossing the Car": Reinterpreting Tennyson from a Post-Modernist Perspective on Automotive Mechanics, Professor D. Alastair MacBombast.
- Literary agent and acquisitions editor for the Mad Libs division of Price/Stern/Sloan, RALPH's publishing house of choice, Millard "Call-Me-Mill" Schickelberg.
- Popular Morse-code evangelist and frequent letter-writer to the Freeperville Times-Herald editorial pages, the Reverend Abraham T. Warbuckle. (Press can download an image of the panel here.)
"One is immediately struck by the bold use of language," the professor noted. "Eschewing the more traditional narrative elements of symbolism, metaphor, characterization and plot development, he instead plunges the reader directly into a literary landscape composed almost entirely of hyperbole, dramatic irony, and invective. It is a masterstroke worthy of Joyce himself."
He went on to praise the writer's integration of popular culture references with his story arc. "It appeals greatly to modern sensibilities when, for example, the author interjects the plot line of a 1989 "Garfield" strip into the narrative at a high point. By doing so he creates what I like to call a "semiotic break" between the linear story and its subtext - much as would an Oxi-Clean commercial in the middle of a Masterpiece Theatre presentation - and impresses upon the audience the disjunctive tension between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy."
Schickelberg commented, "I don't have a clue what that professor guy is talking about, but I know what sells, and RALPH'S demented fusion of lesbian pornography with political myopia and religious extremism is just what the public is looking for. I'm telling ya, he'll be bigger than Cussler, bigger than Clancy - maybe even bigger than Coulter. We're already negotiating a sequel under the working title The Afternoon After The Morning After, if it won't distract too much from his campaign."
"I approach this work from a faith-based perspective," added Rev. Warbuckle, whose commentary was delayed while a Morse-code expert could be sourced to translate the dots and dashes. "Which is to say that I have absolute faith that RALPH will do more, in this novel, to demonstrate the RELIGIOUS BANKRUPTCY OF THE TREACHEROUS DEMLIB CONSPIRACY TO TURN YOUR CHILDREN INTO SATANISTS, RECRUIT YOUR WOMEN FOR ALIEN REPRODUCTIVE EXPERIMENTS, INSTALL SOLAR PANELS ON YOUR ROOFS AND YOUR FLOORS, REQUIRE DORITOS TO BE SERVED AT EVERY MEAL, AND MAROON THE ENTIRE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ON AN ICE FLOE OFF THE COAST OF GREENLAND than any writer has yet accomplished."
Warbuckle added that, in his youth, RALPH was a member of Warbuckle's congregation at the Church of the Holy Misunderestimation - an experience which clearly left a substantial impression on our candidate.
RALPH himself could not be reached for comment, as he appears to be having difficulty finding his way out of the Columbus, Ohio Wal*Mart superstore at which he spoke yesterday. The vulture Rush is presently circling over the shoe department - to which RALPH led his enthusiastic crowd of three voters and one dachshund following his speech, all of them crying (or barking) "Flip-flops! Flip-flops!" - attempting to locate the candidate and guide him safely to the parking lot to board the CAPS-LOCK EXPRESS for his next destination.
Running mate Blat's presumed 1973 Ford LTD was last sighted on I-81 near Dandridge, Tennessee, and speculation is high that he may be headed toward Graceland, fueled in part by a 7-Eleven clerk's report that an individual resembling Blat purchased a loaf of Wonder® bread, three jars of Skippy® chunky peanut butter, a bunch of bananas, and a valu-pak of Depends® in the early morning hours today.