Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention


Considering the reaction, you have to think that Clint Eastwood hit a liberal nerve last night.

When Democratic polls and fellow travelers jump up to denounce Eastwood’s comic relief, you sense that they are trying to neutralize a blow that just hit them in the solar plexus.

Of course, they also want the public to identify the Republican party with Clint Eastwood, an octogenarian actor, not with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Roger Ebert said that Eastwood was “sad and pathetic.” I question whether Roger Ebert is the best person to use such terms.

Howard Kurtz said it was weird and Joe Scarborough declared that it sidetracked the convention.

Michael Moore worried about the damage that Eastwood was doing to his reputation:

The people of the future will know nothing about Dirty Harry or Josey Wales or a Million Dollar Baby. They WILL know about the night a crazy old man hijacked a national party's most important gathering so he could tell the President to literally go do something to himself (i.e. fuck  himself).

One appreciates Moore's concern for reputation, but apparently he was so overwhelmed by empathy that he completely misunderstood Eastwood’s bawdy-house humor.

The "crazy old man" was not telling POTUS to do it to himself. He was relaying what imaginary POTUS was telling Mitt Romney (and Clint Eastwood) to do to themselves.

I hope the distinction is not too difficult to understand.

Eastwood was offering some comic relief, some satire, some mockery, some raunch… all of which apparently threatens the humorless party.

Yet, people who are hanging on every empty word of George Clooney and Rosie O’Donnell are not well placed to criticize any Hollywood celebrity.

Considering how much air time these Hollywood airheads routinely receive on news programs and at political conventions, one might even imagine that Clint Eastwood was doing a put down of their pretension to offer thoughtful opinion or cogent analysis.

Eastwood was pitch perfect in pointing out, as only he could have, that the Democratic party, the party that is supposed to contain all of the great minds, has, as its second-in-command a running joke called Joe Biden.

Calling Joe Biden the intellect of the Democratic party is funny.

Representing President Obama by an empty chair is salient, high concept, and very much to the point.

It offers an image that conceptualizes the Republican critique of the Obama administration. It says that President Obama has failed to lead and has failed to discharge the duties of his office because he is more interested in being out and around campaigning than sitting at his desk in the oval office being the president.

Obama and his campaign staff were sufficiently torqued by the trope to have felt a need to tweet back a picture of the president at a cabinet meeting.

When you have to point out that the chair is occupied, that means that it isn’t.

When the President of the United States, on the advice of some of the most savvy media operatives in the world, feels a need to tweet an instant response to a Hollywood actor who is doing a stand-up comedy routine, you can score one for Dirty Harry.

If you missed Eastwood, here's a clip:


15 comments:

Sam L. said...

I feel soooo baaaaaad for the Dems.

Frank P said...

Eastwood could well have hit the right button. It was a bravura performance that captured the essence of Obama's failure and highlighted the possibilities of a fresh start with Romney. It was funny, too. That's what really pissed off the Left.
I hope it's picked up by Fox at least and exploited to the full. The MSM will try to rubbish it, but Clint has a big following, so that may rebound on them.

Mark said...

Watched this again. Clint's speech may be the most resonant moment from this campaign. Some commentary is fooled by the sound and image of an old man wheezing a little as he speaks extempore. But the authentic voice of this expert, weathered man and artist resonates with those allergic to life's routine bullshit.

Sam L. said...

And check Instapundit for The Won's chair pic and the blowback on that.

Stephen Carter said...

Wow! I watched this a second time, and it resonates, it takes off, it slams home on so many levels. When you first watch it you're a touch impatient for it to move faster. But in fact what he's saying to the empty suit in the empty chair of an empty Administration absolutely captures the meaning and moment of an utterly failed Presidency. And we admire an accomplished distinguished actor who's old enough he has no need to fear leftist Hollywood retaliation against him personally in his career, so he can speak from the heart and the gut. The speaking-to-the-empty-chair was a brilliant bit of high-concept satire. And it was all ad-lib! Amazing to pull together so much in a hugely comedic tour-de-force like this. It really packs a punch on a second viewing. This will be remembered when all else is forgotten, when the Obozo is the footnote of an endnote in history. Bravo, Clint!

Dennis said...

One would think that those who pride themselves with their "nuanced" understanding of all things would have picked up on the symbolism and subtleness of a masterful performance by Eastwood. The empty chair with its own teleprompter was especially damning. Add to that that the response from the empty chair always being one of STFU or go #$%^& yourself denoted the response of one who cannot tolerate any disagreement, may actually understand how far out of his element he is, and has a very thin skin.
One could go on with the various rapier slices that was captained in Eastwood's performance, but one expects it would be wasted upon those who really don't have a clue. Suffice it to say it did the job it was supposed to do and caused the Obama people to put out a photograph that has endless possibility to mock.

Granny Jan said...

The empty chair deserved its own blog:
http://emptychairoftheus.blogspot.com/

Dennis said...

I read a commenter on neo-neocon's blog that presented an idea that I had not thought about. With the Left going absolutely "bonkers" about Eastwood's performance they have created an interest in many people to see just what all the gnashing of teeth is all about. The Left has, in essence, created an audience for it that would not have existed without their fulminations. It was over 2 million hits and this does not count the number of times it was linked.
If I did not now better I would think the RNC "snookered" the Democrats. If anyone was playing close attention the RNC did the same thing to "Code Pink." If one lives by Alinsky one might die by Alinsky?

Sam L. said...

Clint's movie again:

The Punk felt lucky. Dirty Harry DID have a bullet.

Last words: "O bummer."

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