Everyone is talking about how Clint Eastwood bombed at the Republican National Convention Thursday night. Uncomfortable Republicans should be relieved: at least he took attention off all the lying for a few minutes. What’s not to talk about: an angry, 82-year-old white man yells at a chair. And according to Nielson 33 million people watched him do it.
There were various ways to describe Eastewood’s speech. The Washington Post says he “shot from the hip” and got “blowback.” Columnist Dan Balz called it a “miss of magnum force.” It even spawned a fake Simpson’s meme. People are “Eastwooding” and it’s Saturday morning so go ahead, take some time to check it out.
Amy Argetsinger and Philip Rucker, writing for the Washington Post, point out that Republicans might have expected was Dirty Harry, but what they got was Walt Kowalski, “the grizzled old cuss of Eastwood’s 3008 “‘Gran Torino’: raw, unpolished, a little angry and suddenly much older than you realized.”
Is Clint Eastwood just another angry old white man?
It’s not like the GOP needs any more angry white guys, old or otherwise. Even Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recognized that reality, and Graham is a guy about as immune to reality as a modern-day Republican can be. Yet truer words were never spoken, and I don’t say that just because I’ve said the same thing as Graham many times on these pages:
“The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
You can interpret this two ways, that is going all Davy Crockett by calling for more angry white guys on the wall, or as an appeal for a broader tent. Either is kinda funny coming from a Republican in 2012.
So what does an angry old white guy yelling at a chair actually say about the Republican Party of 2012? Well think about it. It could have been Kirk Cameron, who represents the other side of the demographic and there are only two demographics at play here: angry old white men and angry Evangelicals, who are also mostly angry old white men. Cameron represents the deluded future of the GOP; Eastwood the deluded past.
Ann Romney called Eastwood’s performance “unique” and I understand how she meant that, but in a larger context, there was nothing unique about it. Eastwood captured perfectly, as if engaging in satire a la Stephen Colbert, what the Republican Party is about. Ann Romney said, “I didn’t know it was coming” but what’s not to know? Old white guy + big bank account.
The math is easy. Of course, Ann Romney doesn’t have to do her own math.
That smooth liar Paul Ryan said Eastwood was just “being Clint Eastwood” but he was being more than that: he was being the embodiment of the Republican Platform, which for all its craziness – and it’s the most extreme political platform since the Nazi Party’s – is all about anger.
The entire Republican National Convention was nothing more than a thinly disguised hate-fest directed at Barack Obama, the invisible guy sitting in Eastwood’s chair.
We could shrug it all off by saying maybe Clint is just a little old and senile but whatever some old people will tell you, being old is not an excuse to anger and hate.
Peter Montgomery, in an article cross-posted at Right Wing Watch and AlterNet, took a look at the six extremist lunatics behind the 2012 Republican Platform, including Tony Perkins and David Barton. If you need justification to act like a lunatic you’ve come to the right place. What Eastwood did on stage Thursday night is no more bizarre than the platform itself.
You might say Eastwood’s diatribe was perfectly in keeping with the Republican Party’s acrimonious divorce from reality.
The thing to keep in mind is that Mitt Romney is the guy who invited Eastwood to speak. Mitt Romney was back stage, laughing, and that Clint Eastwood was praised for “hitting key talking points.”
It may have seemed bizarre to the home audience not caught up in hate-fever, but Eastwood was in his own way selling the brand, pushing the train further down the tracks, not derailing it. I mean look, Eastwood isn’t the only old white guy from Hollywood saying stupid things about Obama: Jon Voight beat him to the punch, saying “The President is of the Marxist, socialist root: from his dad, his mother encouraged his following through on his dad’s Marxism and his dad’s view of America which was of an imperialist state.”
We also shouldn’t forget a shout out to Charlton Heston, who in a 1997 speech was so angry and hateful that he managed to get himself praised not only by David Duke but by the white racists over at Stormfront.
Angry old white guys unite!
And leave it to a Republican, writing at WND, to actually defend Putin’s Russia in the “pussy Riot” imbroglio. I was shocked to learn anyone in the Free World actually thought the Russian punkers did anything wrong.
I hadn’t reckoned on the GOP, and I should have.
After all, what other Party besides Putin’s could have come up with Rusty Humphries, who told an audience leading up to the convention, that “sometimes you have to treat these liberals like dogs; grab them by their collar [and yell] ‘bad Democrat, no!'”
So we could say that whatever stir it caused, Clint Eastwood fit in perfect well with the convention line-up, that he did not disrupt the course plotted out, and that by yelling at an empty chair he not only advanced the Republican Party’s talking points but embodied American conservatism in general as the party of deranged, angry old white men who are sometimes a little socially awkward.
These guys need our help, and we can give it to them on Election Day if by then any of us are still allowed to vote. Never forget folks, the angry white man’s motto: “Old age and treachery will win out over youth and exuberance every time.” Remember fellow punks, if we can vote, we can make Dirty Harry’s day, and how often do you get to say that?
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.