I must admit I was shocked and a little saddened this week to see one of my favorite actors and directors, Clint Eastwood, having a dialogue with an empty chair on the stage of the RNC. While I knew Eastwood was conservative and a bit political (He served as a mayor, and Bush Sr. actually considered him as a running mate, but ultimately chose Dan Quayle.), Eastwood’s support for Romney seemed to go over the line a bit; a rambling little journey into crazyville that made me wonder if the 82 year old icon actually thought the President was sitting next to him. I want to remember Clint as the strong, silent, clever, gun-toting type, not an angry old man seeing visions and hurling insults at the leader of our country. Could Grand Torino have been auto-biographical?
Of course, there is the possibility that Clint was always a raving right winger, but we were just having so much fun watching him that we ignored the obvious. A couple weeks ago I re-watched one of his best Dirty Harry flicks, The Enforcer, with my nephews. During the course of the film Clint must have blown away twenty people, many of them minorities that came right out of a racist “black guy” casting. The majority were dressed like Huggy Bear or wore weird headbands, and said “sucka” a lot with strange ghetto accents. These days if a police officer kills one individual there is a huge investigation and public outcry; imagine if in a week a single detective shot down a dozen minorities. Of course, it is the movies, and politically-correct films are usually not that much fun.
And this doesn’t mean I will stop seeing Clint’s movies. I just figure whether you are jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch like Tom Cruise, ranting about tiger blood like Charlie Sheen, driving naked and drunk like Randy Travis, hiding from imaginary assasins like Randy Quaid, or having conversations with furniture like Clint, nutso might be the price many pay to be famous. Heck, I just received the new Mel Gibson film, “Get The Gringo” from Netflix, which I plan to watch this weekend, so I am obviously not hyper-concerned with a star’s politics or paranoia. If I only watched films featuring sane people my movie choices would probably be limited to Tom Hanks movies. And I guess it is a individual’s right – even if they are famous – to associate with any cause they deem appropriate.
Of course, things grow more complicated when big companies decide to associate with political causes, and I don’t understand why a major brand would choose to piss off a large percentage of the population. I have never eaten at a Chick-fil-a, but in my case it has more to do with their food than their corporate position against equal rights. Still, there is the possibility that someday I will in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between several fast food vendors as my only dining options (perhaps in some kind of end-of-the-world scenario and I am trapped at the Dallas airport), and if that day comes I will probably choose Burger King over the company that hates gays.