The vote is umagnimous: Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair stole the show from Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention. Eastwood’s seeming senility has taken to mass media headlines, pushing negative feedback about Romney and his ultra-dull media performance to the wayside. We are now ‘eastwooding’ as a Twitter trend, headed into our ditzy future with ensuing protests to “Repeal Obamachair!”
Daily Kos has the proper headline for the day: “Romney Speech Bombs – Loses 14 Million Viewers.” According to the Kos,
Ratings show only 25.28 million viewers watched last night’s acceptance speech, a sharp decline from the 38.93 viewers who watched McCain’s 2008 acceptance speech.
So what better way to get the American public distracted from those kind of distressing numbers, from realizing that there is more personality to a totem pole in the Oval Office than someone who desires buying the position of Commander-In-Chief?
Enter Hollywood, with one of its most iconic moneymakers.
I have not watched the convention, nor have I seen Eastwood’s performance. But it doesn’t take a political scientist to realize it stole the show as hundreds of headlines in the media now proclaim that Romney was upstaged by a chair. Is that at all damaging to his clan’s ambitions?
No, actually, it is funny, and so off-the-wall that we cannot resist talking about it. Yes, it overshadowed Romney’s acceptance speech. Wasn’t that the point? And Eastwood conveniently went well over the time limit, ensuring even less time for Romney to be subjected to any stagefright and potentially critical fallout? While nobody except Eastwood it seems knows exactly what happened, the performance was remarkably absurd yet politically captivating.
After all, we are the ‘bewildered herd’ and we love an opportunity to be bewildered as part of our political process. It is our role, it is our function in the system. That is why we hire elites to keep things under control. And taking his natural skills at the mastery of storytelling, Eastwood was simply ‘hired’ to bewilder. How could we resist?
Only thing is, we also like a little bit of personality in our elites. Boredom during a broadcast of fearful revelation is not what the audience wants. Ever. We hate being bored. Just ask any teenager. The worst thing in life is boredom, tedium. And the worst type of person to put on the media stage is someone who bores. Exit Hollywood. Enter Bain the Banal.
Perhaps Mitt Romney is an exciting personality: when he talks about his Mormonism, his family, his wealth, no doubt he can entertain an aspiring audience of preppies for hours on end. Problem is, ordinary Americans don’t want to hear any of that; it’s exactly the thing abhored about the man: privileged with no restraints, owning it all, yet no depth of character. And never really owning responsibility. He’s the Herman Munster we dread heading our national household, the Shrek of our public speaking nightmares.
The man is simply generationally stupid when it comes to social media; not to say we all are, just a certain level of blockhead out there, the one that can only think in one instance and has to pay others to think for him outside the safety deposit box. And they can spend on a moment’s notice: over $100,000 last night, and for what? A hashtag. No big deal. Think of it as you or I deciding to step out of our $$$ comfort zone to supersize something in our meal order. According to Salon,
The Romney campaign spent at least $120,000 to promote Romney/Ryan as a Twitter trending topic Thursday night. The Romney campaign is officially the first campaign to buy space on Twitter. The Wall Street Journal reported that it purchased the hashtag, ‘#RomneyRyan2012,’ as a nationally promoted trending topic on Thursday night.
But no one is talking about Romney’s acceptance speech….
It’s no secret
(the secret’s in his tax returns): Mitt Romney has an image problem. What’s even scarier, with all the wealth of a nation in his possession, his hired guns are not helping him shake it. Nice suits, family man, well-to-do, churchgoer, attractive, seems like he has all the right homespun ingredients to simulate the perfect middle-aged white American male President.
Yet only the fearful in this diverse country are looking to vote for a boring American dream right now. Everyone else expects life here to be lived to its fullest, especially by the one who leads us forward in this new century. And all sensible Americans may shudder at the idea of people they know running around in outfits like those expressed in the Romney family tree.
But wait, the religious reality is: beneath some of those neo-mormon uniforms lies the requisite lifetime magic underwear (brace yourself). Really, now, yikes…! No envy there….
If bringing in Eastwood to bizarrely entertain away the populace from the dullard who wants their Oval Office was not a clever political ploy by the Romney campaign, then either Providence or luck was on their side. Let’s defer Providence in this case as too ironic in a sea of competing ironies. But luck in a multi-million dollar extravaganza where every cent should be spent under keen watchful eyes in consequential favor of the rich candidate. Lucky Mitt…! Lucky America…!
Lucky Clint Eastwood! One of the most calculating method actors to ever hit the silver screen or stage, a universal charismatic who knows the inestimable value of the spellbinding soliloquy, the requisite humor that dazzles a discerning audience, the valuable time it takes to convincingly improvise, the incredible depth of each subtle nuance, the media punch of every deliberate word one could deftly hurl at an invisible foe now — no, forever — reposed in an empty chair.