September 2, 2012
by Ric Albano
Actor, director, and American icon Clint Eastwood really struck a nerve Thursday night with his impromptu speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. As of today (Sunday), most of the mainstream media had coordinated their description of Eastwood’s speech using one word – bizarre.
In all honesty, I was also initially kind of taken aback by this speech at first, if for no other reason, how it paled in comparison to the other excellent speeches given at the RNC. But this was in the context of traditional speeches and it is clear that this was no typical speech. After several days of reflection, I have concluded that Eastwood’s speech was simply brilliant and may be regarded as so once we get out of the thick haze of this political election.
Eastwood was born in 1930 to a working class family and spent nearly the first three decades of his life living a working class existence. His career as a film actor, director, producer, and composer has shown him to be nothing less than original and top-notch in every way. He has also stepped into the political arena at various points in his life such as becoming the mayor of Carmel, California in the late 1980s and his support and opposition to specific policies through the years. Although some have classified Eastwood as “conservative”, he has described himself as “moderate”, “independent”, and “libertarian”.
During halftime of the Super Bowl in January, Eastwood did the voice-over on a two-minute, $8 million commercial for Chrysler with the theme “it’s halftime, America”. Some thought of this as a veiled endorsement of President Obama, but that was obviously not the case. In fact, I believe the speech on Thursday was somewhat of a sequel to that Super Bowl ad, with the common theme of pro-America, more than pro any political cause.
Another aspect of this is just the pure comedic aspect. I’d argue that what Eastwood did on Thursday was fresher and edgier than any of the canned skits you get from Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or Saturday Night Live, especially when they are compelled to treat Obama so delicately by the powers of political correctness.
The truth is, it’s still cool to speak truth to power, even during silly season, and it’s good to see this 82 year-old genius pissing so many of these intellectual lightweights off.