The shtick that stuck

Clint Eastwood's eccentric ad-libs actually carry an important message

  • Follow Editorials

It seemed a little goofy at the time. Maybe a guy who’s used to working from a script should have done so – especially at a political convention where everything is scripted.

But more than a week after concerned
conservatives were wondering if it had been
a net-plus, actor Clint Eastwood’s quirky,
extemporaneous performance at the Republican National Convention has taken on a life of its own. Still.

His shtick – talking to an empty chair purporting to be an invisible Obama – has become iconic, an Internet sensation. It’s inspired political artwork and Photoshopped pictures of other empty chairs. They even held a National Empty Chair Day, in which people put a chair – embellished however they liked – in front of their homes.

And like almost everything today, it’s been turned into a verb: “Eastwooding.”

The beloved actor and former mayor of Carmel, Calif., acknowledges he improvised his remarks – and only thought of the chair routine in the moments before taking stage.

He also admits not being much of a speech-maker.

The thing is, though, if he’d had a prepared script and hit it out of the park, it might have been quickly forgotten. But because his appearance was so eccentric and ad lib, it’s become the sensation it is.

Critics panned his performance mercilessly. And, indeed, it stood out as halting in an otherwise tightly wound series of speeches. But again, others have drawn inspiration from it.

The only one not talking about it has been Eastwood. Until now.

“President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” he told his hometown Carmel Pine Cone. “I had three points I wanted to make. That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who’s not doing a good job.”

In addition, his plain-spoken edict that “you, we – we own this country” stands in sharp contrast to the Democratic message this past week that “Government is the only thing that we all belong to.”

Which vision do you accept? That we own the country, or that we belong to it?

We know what Clint Eastwood thinks, anyway.

Comments (6) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
carcraft 09/07/12 - 10:45 pm
For being ad libed it was

For being ad libed it was brilliant!

seenitB4 09/08/12 - 09:22 am

I will give him some slack..he is 80+ years old....many couldn't even stand on stage much less talk to a chair...:) luv you Clint!

constituent 09/08/12 - 11:57 am
Clint made my day. Clint

Clint made my day. Clint Eastwood's " Empty Chair" speech was funny ( and really weird) , but the bigger story coming out of the Republican Convention is Paul Ryan's lies. The Romney vampagin produced a video biopic to show Americans how Mitt Romney is a regulary guy - just like us. But most Americans missed it, because its primetime slot was taken up by Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair ( occupied by an invisible President Obama). Republicans, You just can't make this stuff up. The American people don't live in Harry Potter's world, this is the real world.

Riverman1 09/08/12 - 04:01 pm
Yeah, Clint was pretty good.

Yeah, Clint was pretty good. If he had delivered a straight-up speech about how bad Obama is, the press would have decimated him, saying he was being mean. He does it with humor and creativity and people are still talking about it and smiling. I guess that's why he's an actor-director.

allhans 09/08/12 - 04:38 pm
constituent..The Biden-Ryan

constituent..The Biden-Ryan debate will be held soon and you will then see that Ryan was telling the truth all along. No one can out lie Biden.. Give Paul Ryan 10 minutes and he will turn the tables on his detractors.
What some called lies were opinions, just opinions. And we aLL HAVE THOSE.

itsanotherday1 09/08/12 - 09:55 pm
What makes this more notable

What makes this more notable is the sharpness of Clint's criticism. Historically his political commentary has been a lot more centrist than right.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs