I watched Clint Eastwood’s epic performance at the Republican National Convention live.
At first I’m thinking, “Oh My God. Clint’s lost it.” I believe I’m not alone in that first impression.
It seems a lot of people on the left and in the news media (is there a difference?) still believe that must be true. Nothing else makes sense to them.
A Hollywood Icon Erupts
“His obviously unscripted performance was a distraction.”
“His poorly performed, choppy, and wandering set of cheap shots about the President was uncalled for.”
“Clint isn’t a comedian. His use of one of comedy’s oldest bits was poorly done and a waste of time in at a nationally broadcasted political event."
" The Republican Party and Mitt Rommey have to be really upset. People will be talking about how Clint lost it on live TV instead of their candidate”
My favorite uttered by an “important” DNC official,
“He actually used four letter words to refer the President of the United States on National TV.
It was a disgraceful and unacceptable performance.”
What Performance Did They See?
These reactive responses of course were Clint’s paramount point of focus for the entire artful performance in the first place. Life is all about OUR expectations. Clint’s art is all about crafted performance being used to employ OUR expectations to change our thinking.
Clint was simply doing his job. He told us up front he was there at the RNC as a “movie trademan”.
As a “Hollywood Icon” he well knows it’s always all about audience expectations.
He understands personally and professionally exactly what that means.
As such, he was there to introduce the man he believed should be the next president and to show us why.
The Background Graphic is No Accident
Clint is the man who became famous as an actor for playing the “Man With No Name.” He knows and understands his roots. Those roots obviously ripple out throughout out all this actor’s and director’s work.
This spring I posted a series of interesting posts about the real iconic western figure behind movies, and that spirit of independent rugged individualism that that hero has come to symbolize in modern American culture. Really interesting stuff.
To be the “Man With No Name” is an honor reserved only for those who from nothing become real heroes and grow to living legends who deliver because nothing else is acceptable to them. The “best” and the “greatest” of these are anonymous by choice.
They remain with us as internal myths that we forever both embrace and come to face daily.
They change our way of thinking.
The Choice of Fame Confuses
Clint simply acted this out for us all. Rather than Hamlet’s skull, he employed a chair. The purposes are “most clear”.
The choice of “Fame” is confusing and moving to us all.
This is understandable.
We are often seduced by Fame and those who pursue it.
We KNOW deep down that our choice makes us accountable.
That fact alone is overwhelming enough for most of us.
We’d rather not choose or choose together in hope that will make our choice safe.
If we are silly and foolish, we both expect and want something else:
The illusion or delusion that we can choose without personal consequence.
We then tend to often choose vain glory over substance and pay the price.
This makes us mad at the object of our desire and
willing to often blame others for our circumstance or
We recognize and acknowledge that WE chose poorly and
the next time choose more wisely.
We Know the Laws of Human Gravity
Nah. Clint’s performance wasn’t a TV sound bite, but there were some in there that may remain with us for a generation. Time will tell. To do this in a one-man, one-act play in 12 minutes (minutes of applause) for the low-brow, the high-brow, the right, the middle and the left and do it in an entertaining way is particularly artful.
It was somewhat unsettling.
It was meant to be.
The reality that those who prefer Fame over Character and Substance cannot quite understand the point shouldn’t surprise anyone. They’re thinking,
How Could he Change Our Story?
I’ll still bet that many of them still mouthed the final line…