If I’m known for anything online, it’s probably the snark that I often attempt to pawn off as wit. This election season has certainly made “snark” the low-hanging fruit on the tree, and I have picked from that tree quite - no pun intended - liberally. I’ve had a smart-assed response for nearly everything.
Not so when it came to Clint Eastwood’s endorsement of Mitt Romney.
I was disappointed but frankly not surprised. After all, we’re talking about a man who built a career on being a tough-as-nails cowboy and an urban vigilante. In the 80s, “Do you feel lucky … punk?” was as iconic a phrase as “Be excellent to each other.”
The “Halftime in America” Super Bowl ad had been truly inspiring - so inspiring, in fact, that people actually did perceive it as Clint’s quiet endorsement of Obama. That fact alone speaks volumes, as the themes presented in the ad mirrored so much of Obama’s 2008 campaign as well as his presidency.
When Clint’s nomination was made public, I shared my immediate reaction: “Disappointed, Clint. Sad to hear the Good chose the Bad and the Ugly.”
Fast forward to last night.
I’m still shaking my head in sad disbelief. Surely someone had to have had the good sense to request a dry run of his appearance before greenlighting it. I couldn’t bear to sit through all of it; it was truly heartbreaking to watch a man with such screen presence being reduced to rambling to an empty chair.
Why this bothers me so much is because “entertainment” has been reduced to showing us the embarrassing lives of embarrassing people. Bravo, TLC (formerly The Learning Channel), A&E (formerly Arts & Entertainment), SyFy (formerly The Sci-Fi Channel) and others have surrendered to the seemingly insatiable public appetite for “reality television”. Let’s not forget that “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” - a program dedicated to gawkishly displaying the ill-mannered lives of a poor Georgia family and their toddler-beauty-pageant daughter - had more viewers on Wednesday night than the coverage of the Republican National Convention on ALL NETWORKS COMBINED.
It bothers me because the topic of discussion across America today is how a national political convention managed to turn an American Film Icon into a senile, uncombed man who talks to inanimate objects before a global audience. In the process, the performance managed to further cement the concept of the GOP as “The party of bitter old men who are angry at an illusion of the president which only exists in their bitter minds.”
Whether he thought so or not, Clint Eastwood deserved so much more than that.
I really wish I could erase it from my mind.
I wasn’t angry with Clint for his endorsement when he made it, and I’m not angry now.
I’m pissed at the Romney campaign for turning the man into a clown.