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Catriel Lev
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Sep 2, 2012

Clint Eastwood’s Speech at the Republican National Convention, Summer, 2012

After hearing so much about it, I just viewed the video of Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

Since most left-wingers had expressed harsh criticism of Eastwood’s speech and most right-wingers had expressed strong support for the speech, I had strongly suspected that opinions expressed about the speech were more influenced by one’s political persuasion than by the quality of the speech! Being a “middle of the bird” man, myself, I have decided to present my opinion about the speech in the hope that it is a more balanced and objective opinion than those which I mentioned above.

Indeed, in my opinion, it was definitely NOT Clint Eastwood’s greatest speech ever! Eastwood is an 82 year old actor-director whose true “glory days” were 30 to 50 years ago, and he speaks slowly and sometimes appears to lose track of what he wants to say next. I am also definitely NOT a fan of foul language (like the “f-word” which was hinted at a few times in Eastwood’s speech), especially when it does not add anything, as, in my opinion, it did not add anything to the satiric speech that Eastwood was giving; but, of course, an actor in modern times using foul language is hardly unusual, and Eastwood didn’t even actually state the words, he just hinted (very strongly) at them. So, on the whole, the speech definitely did not “make my day”.

On the other hand, for an 82 year old, he presented a remarkably coherent satire of Barack Obama and his policies. Even when he stumbled, as he did several times, Clint Eastwood got back on track reasonably well and continued in a comprehensible manner! His speech definitely did not appear to me to be a “disgrace”, spoken by a sad and pathetic old-timer who has “lost it”, as those who oppose his political views seemed to think.

I  am certain that someone else could have put together a better satire, but that is true about almost every satire, or speech (or anything else in the world): someone else with a little more intelligence, a bit cleverer humor, or a little more pizzazz, could have done it better!

Regarding the complaints about Clint Eastwood’s use of an empty chair to represent Barack Obama, I found them kind of amusing. The empty chair, like Doonesbury comic strip’s use of an empty cowboy hat to represent George W. Bush, was simply a satiric method of emphasizing how little actual content there is to the “satiree” (i.e., the person being satirized)! You can agree or disagree with that assessment of the “satiree”, but it is certainly not an illegitimate or crazy manner of making that point. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the person who prepared Eastwood’s “right-wing” speech got the idea from the Doonesbury “left-wing” comic strip.

So, all in all, I found Clint Eastwood’s speech to be a reasonable effort satirizing Barack Obama, and indicating his support for Mitt Romney, even though it was not really to my taste.

And, once again, with regard to the extreme criticism (and some of the extreme praise) of Eastwood’s speech, it seems we have an example of commentators’ political views affecting their assessment of the quality of someone’s performance.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, and the partisan coverage was even worse on other parts of the convention, where each side accuses the other of lying and worse. On Eastwood's speech there were plenty of right wingers like Michael Barone who thought it was an incoherent, ineffective buzz-kill between Rubio & Romney. But the speech went viral and for many viewers who avoid politics it's their only exposure to the right's point of view. Which may be the scariest thing about the performance.