In Defense of Clint Eastwood


So this week, I was all prepared to write about “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” I looked up skin-crawling pictures, statistical research, Nielsen ratings, the whole shebang. I even watched videos, people. Videos.

But I pushed it back a week. Not because I am afraid, oh no. Justin Chisham fears nothing. I chose this week’s topic to avoid getting too far behind on the meme-front. Clint Eastwood may (rightfully) be out of the news cycle by next week, whereas Honey Boo Boo has a certain… timeless quality about her.



So let me preface my argument simply. People need to stop making fun of Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech. Let’s focus on something more fruitful, like making fun of Clint Eastwood’s movie career. You know, something more deserving of widespread derision.

What’s that, he’s a great icon for good movies? Well, I’m sure you’ve seen Unforgiven and Letters from Iwo Jima and Million Dollar Baby. Do me a favor. Go watch Play Misty for Me. Or Gran Torino. Or Paint Your Wagon. Or Hereafter. Or J. Edgar. Or Pink Cadillac. Mr. Eastwood has been good, but he more frequently resides on the bad and ugly sides of the Eastwood spectrum. Bad acting and ugly directing, if you need specifics.

"Talking through the side of my mouth is great, right Mr. Clint Director?" "Right, Mr. Clint Actor! But I need more shadows on one side of your face..."

“Talking through the side of my mouth is great, right Mr. Clint Director?”
“Right, Mr. Clint Actor! But I need more shadows on one side of your face…”

However, the RNC speech brought out something new for Mr. Eastwood. Namely, a new widespread memery. But is he really deserving of the meme crafted for him? I’ll just tell you now, he totally is not.

I don’t plan to defend him the typical way. Too many have claimed we should go easy on the guy, because dang that geezer is old (my words, and frequently theirs). But this guy is known to be very fit for 82. If he really is too old, the RNC should be ashamed for giving him a prime spot. They took a risk and it backfired, but they knew what they were doing. Maybe.



I’ve also seen people write that naysayers don’t have a sense of humor. You know, that Clint knew what he was doing and a lot of people were laughing with him… not at him. To that, I must assert that I rejoice in the rich humor.

Allow me to directly quote the man.

“I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just — you know — I know — people were wondering — you don’t — handle that okay.”

See? Hi-larious.

I know he was going for funny, but he got the flavor wrong. He wanted “truth-speaking curmudgeon tells it like it is” humor, but we got “uh-oh grandpa’s been drinking while watching Sean Hannity” humor. Less a conservative Betty White and more a withered, white Herman Cain.

Gotta love this guy.

Gotta love this guy.

But here’s my point. The speech was still funny. He didn’t say anything particularly damaging to either campaign, the closest moment being when the transparent president apparently swore. This type of speech shouldn’t have been placed where it was, but that was a misguided RNC decision. If Clint had been at any other time, absolutely no one would care.

For example, look at the Pam Bondi and Sam Olens speech. Yep, a dual speech, because those always go well. Or what about Rob Portman, Mr. Unflavored Gelatin? Or the bluthering turtle that is Mitch McConnell? Those speeches were much worse than Mr. Eastwood’s, because they should have higher standards. Clint Eastwood was in Paint Your Wagon, for goodness sake.

The Eastwood meme should be approaching the end right about now. Clint artificially enhanced the timeline by talking to his local paper, but it is going out. Not because we pity the guy, but because it simply wasn’t that important. Clint’s recent foray into politics was a one-note joke, unlike a certain master of political mind explosions.


I ask that we get back to what is actually funny. Namely, Paint Your Wagon.


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