Tag Archives: clint eastwood

The ‘Unforgiven’ Eastwood Electrifies Americans, Offends Media

A while back, I wrote a post about Clint Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” advertisement, which ran during the Super Bowl. I thought it was brilliant, catching the exact sentiment of America.

Last night, I watched the same icon in his appearance at the Republican National Convention. It was unscripted. He did not use the TelePrompTer as every other speaker did.

He was allotted five minutes, yet took a full twelve to conduct a faux interview with President Obama. The President was represented by an empty chair, which seemed to electrify the audience in Tampa.

Unfortunately, he also electrified a vitriolic media corps. Today his appearance is being attacked by some in the media (who often show a clear bias in favor of President Obama and more liberal causes).

It doesn’t surprise me that he’s being attacked by these outlets. His offense, in their eyes, is that he appeared at the Republican National Convention at all. Had he made the same appearance at the Democrat’s convention next week, and done the same “interview” of an absent Governor Romney, he would have been hailed as a bold genius.

But the wisdom of Clint Eastwood is this: In his “Halftime in America” advertisement he captured the essence of America, one of hopeful pride, deep strength and resilience. Last night, he did the same in an unscripted, unedited moment. He noted that the fact 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed is a national disgrace, one that makes him cry. And that none of us, not even the President, has done enough to help our fellow Americans.

One specific passage in his remarks will resonate deeply with the millions of Americans who watched him last night (allow me to paraphrase):

As Americans, we own this country. It belongs to each and every one of us.

Politicians, and those we elect, are our employees. Not the other way around.

When they don’t do a good job, or don’t do their job at all, we need to let them go and hire a replacement.

Those in elected office (regardless of party) and those in the biased media know the simple power of those truisms. That sentiment is exactly what America feels right now.

In “The Unforgiven,” a retired gunslinger named William Munny comes out of retirement for one last job. Last night, Clint Eastwood did one last job. The biased media knows he was effective, and that’s why today they’re trying to undercut him with such harsh criticism. I’m sure it couldn’t matter less to Clint Eastwood. And it couldn’t matter less to the tens of millions of people whose thoughts he succinctly put into words.

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America’s Second Half

“This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do, the world’s gonna hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it’s halftime, America. And our second half is about to begin.”

Clint Eastwood, “Halftime in America”

Those words, uttered by an American icon, cut through the hoopla of the Super Bowl last Sunday. More importantly, they cut right through the political chatter of an election year. The impact of this one advertisement cannot be understated.

An estimated audience of 110 million watched Sunday’s Super Bowl. An additional 4 million viewers have watched the two minute advertisement since Sunday. Immediately, the message was praised from the Left and panned from the Right. The Obama Administration claimed it was vindication for the auto bailout program, which started under President Bush and concluded under President Obama’s watch. The right challenged the ad, focusing on the fact that it was “not even shot in Detroit” and had too heavy of a political message.

Both are missing the point.

I watched the ad on Sunday as it came on in spectacular high definition. Within seconds, I recognized the voice, and the unmistakable gait of Clint Eastwood. I was mesmerized by the visuals, the lack of polluting screen graphics, the use of black and white, color and soft focus, and the solemnity of the subjects. But what really captured me was the message.

I hung on every word. When Eastwood appeared on screen at the close, I knew it would be powerful. He didn’t disappoint.

What Eastwood did in two minutes was to reset years of divisive political discourse in this country. He didn’t endorse the bailout of the auto industry. In fact, he’s on record as having opposed it. He didn’t lay blame for America’s problems with any one political party; he rose above it.

He cut right through the blather, and hit the very emotional nerve of what makes America so unique: we are, in our core, an optimistic people. We face challenges, large and small, with determination and grit. When we’re kicked down in the dirt, we get back up. We pull together, get the job done and then move on. We face our challenges and achieve our goals because we have the optimism to know it’s possible. And we know it’s possible, because we’ve done it for the last 236 years.

Clint Eastwood may not ever earn an award for his two minute commercial during the Super Bowl, but in my humble opinion, he should. He is a man who has a unique grasp of what makes America so unique. He had the courage to step up and say it in his own words, and to deliver them as only he could.

I’m not concerned that Clint Eastwood will be rattled by the debate raging around his commercial. In fact, I’d predict, he’d tell critics to “go ahead, make my day.”

In Sunday’s two minutes, and the two days since, he has spoken directly to hundreds of millions of Americans. More importantly, he has spoken directly to the unique emotion that moves us as Americans.

I’d say he’s made our day.

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