Friday, August 31, 2012

What went wrong? Clint Eastwood's "Twilight Zone" speach


Despite his brilliance in the film industry, the 82 year old actor, director, producer, writer planted his feet and uttered dialog as if he were in an Existential play. The well-orchestrated RNC weathered the weather and offered some good rhetoric until Dirty Harry took the stage. It was a total embarrassment for the RNC, but I liked it.

Here is the video followed by the script.


video

EASTWOOD: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Save a little for Mitt.

(APPLAUSE) I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what’s a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think. That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot-dogging it.

(APPLAUSE)

So—but they are there, believe me, they are there. I just think, in fact, some of them around town, I saw Jon Voight, a lot of people around…

(APPLAUSE)

Jon's here, an academy award winner. A terrific guy. These people are all like-minded, like all of us.

So I—so I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. And he's—I was going to ask him a couple of questions. But—you know about—I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles.

They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying.

(LAUGHTER)

I was even crying. And then finally—and I haven't cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven't done enough, obviously—this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. Whenever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.

(APPLAUSE)

So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them?

I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just—you know—I know—people were wondering—you don't—handle that okay. Well, I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo. And I thought, well closing Gitmo—why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse—what do you mean shut up?

(LAUGHTER)

Okay, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.

(APPLAUSE)

I've got to to hand it to you. I have to give credit where credit is due. You did finally overrule that finally. And that's—now we are moving onward. I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that's okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was okay. You know, I mean—you thought that was something worth doing. We didn't check with the Russians to see how they did it—they did there for 10 years.

(APPLAUSE)

But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe—I think you've mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, "Why are you giving the date out now? Why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning?"

(APPLAUSE)

And I thought—I thought, yeah—I am not going to shut up, it is my turn.

(LAUGHTER)

So anyway, we're going to have—we're going to have to have a little chat about that. And then, I just wondered, all these promises—I wondered about when the—what do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. I can't tell him to do that to himself.

(APPLAUSE)

You're crazy, you're absolutely crazy. You're getting as bad as Biden.

(APPLAUSE)

Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.

(LAUGHTER)

Kind of a grin with a body behind it.

(LAUGHTER)

But I just think that there is so much to be done, and I think that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are two guys that can come along. See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to the president, anyway.

(APPLAUSE)

I think attorneys are so busy—you know they’re always taught to argue everything, and always weight everything—weigh both sides…They are always devil’s advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time—what do you think—for maybe a businessman. How about that?

(APPLAUSE)

A stellar businessman. Quote, unquote, "a stellar businessman."

And I think it's that time. And I think if you just step aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over. You can maybe still use a plane.

(APPLAUSE)

Though maybe a smaller one. Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that.

(APPLAUSE)

You are an—an ecological man. Why would you want to drive that around? Okay, well anyway. All right, I'm sorry. I can't do that to myself either.

(APPLAUSE)

I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we—we own this country.

(APPLAUSE)

We—we own it. It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.

(APPLAUSE)

And—so—they are just going to come around and beg for votes every few years. It is the same old deal. But I just think it is important that you realize that you're the best in the world. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you're libertarian or whatever, you are the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.

(APPLAUSE)

Okay, just remember that. And I'm speaking out for everybody out there. It doesn't hurt, we don't have to be…

(AUDIENCE MEMBER): (inaudible)

(LAUGHTER)

I do not say that word anymore. Well, maybe one last time.

(LAUGHTER)

We don't have to be…what I'm saying, we do not have to be mental masochists and vote for somebody that we don't really even want in office just because they seem to be nice guys or maybe not so nice guys, if you look at some of the recent ads going out there, I don't know.

(APPLAUSE)

But okay. You want to make my day?

(APPLAUSE)

All right. I started, you finish it. Go ahead.

AUDIENCE: Make my day!

EASTWOOD: Thank you. Thank you very much.


"In Defense of Clint Eastwood"

by

David Denby

August 31st, 2012

The New Yorker

For the record, I didn’t think Clint Eastwood’s chair dialogue was “sad and pathetic” as Roger Ebert put it, or the weird mutterings of a senescent citizen, as Rachel Maddow and other liberal commentators thought, or quite as incoherent as Amy Davidson said. John Cassidy admitted that the speech was “refreshing,” which was closer to my response. It’s amusing that so many commentators complain about the wooden or pre-fabricated nature of convention speeches and then carry on as if some unspeakable disaster had taken place when someone tries something off-beat and a little strange. Rachel Maddow, whom I generally admire, teases Republican squareness with shrugs and grins in every broadcast. But last night, with a larger than usual national audience watching, she relied on some presumed proper standard of behavior to judge Eastwood, using that assumption as an opportunistic sarcastic tool. Last night, Maddow came off as the square.

I deplore most of Clint’s politics, yet this speech was not a disaster but an act of cunning, like many of his public appearances. He eschewed rhetoric and “rousing” pro-Romney remarks. I could have done without his reprisal of “Make my day,” but, in general, he was folksy, Will Rogersish, eccentric, maybe, but less doddering than mock-doddering. Look at it again: there’s a kind of logic to what he said. As always, his focus was on his idea of integrity—a man should do what he promises to do. That led him into a tangle on Obama’s not closing Gitmo, but he started out by saying that it was a broken promise. That matters to him much more than ideology. He’s always been more of a libertarian than an orthodox Republican, and is actually quite liberal in his social views. His remark that we should have consulted the Russians before going into Afghanistan was startling and very far from stupid. His assertion that Obama should bring the troops home tomorrow morning was even more startling. How many people at the convention reject our military efforts in Afghanistan and want to end them tomorrow? Eccentric, maybe, but not a disaster, and it will be remembered fondly as the one humanly interesting moment of the convention.

No comments: