Friday, August 31, 2012

"I know what you're thinking..."

Sadly, Mr. Eastwood, I don't think you do.

I've just seen Clint Eastwood's address to the GOP. Now, setting aside for the moment that, politically speaking, this isn't my crowd, I have to say that I was saddened and embarrassed by the performance. I like Clint Eastwood. I think he's been an epic actor and he's demonstrated himself to be, in my opinion, a top-notch director as well. I understood he was politically conservative; that's fine. More to the point, it's his country, and his president. not mine. So I can't sit here and fault him for holding the views he does.

But it was genuinely hard to watch. What I saw was an elderly man trotted out on stage, essentially as a name with a suit on, talking to an empty chair. I know it's meant to be funny. It wasn't. Watching an old man ramble through a one-sided conversation with an imaginary man, putting words in his mouth like a scene out of Cast Away, where at least Tom Hanks was playing opposite a face painted on a volleyball, had a disquieting air of something much darker, and not at all humourous. I'm not just saying this because it's the Republicans. I would have found this episode distasteful even if, say, Ed Asner had been babbling at an empty chair supposedly seating Dubya. I wouldn't want to see that. I'm kind of sorry I saw this.

And frankly, it was far beneath Clint Eastwood's dignity to put into the mouth of a sitting President of the United States the words "he can go fuck himself". What did that have to do with the issues? What did that do but make this man look like he's lost his sense of propriety, and make the Republican Party look mean, juvenile, and grasping at straws? I don't doubt there were a lot of people who got a big kick out of it. But as far as I'm concerned, it, and they, just did a big disservice to the GOP and political discourse in the United States in general.

1 comment:

Bridgewater said...

As for the level of political discourse in the United States, it has always been prickly at best, but with the election of Barack Obama, the opposition has been particularly vicious. For a Republican member of Congress to shout, "You lie!" during a speech by the President; when they all remain silent in the face of insinuations by a radio "entertainer" that Obama is a secret Muslim and actually not American but Kenyan and therefore an illegitimate president; when they demand to see his college record, implying that he had unfairly taken some white kid's rightful spot at Harvard and couldn't do college work himself; well, then, political discourse can't sink any lower.

I agree with your opinion of Clint Eastwood's performance--disturbing and dismaying to watch, and detrimental to his personal reputation--but the GOP has dished up far worse for public consumption, and this time they got their own just desserts.