Clint Eastwood gave an unscheduled speech to the audience of the Republican National Convention last Thursday, shortly before Mitt Romney took the stage.
The crowd wildly applauded the aged "movie tradesman" for several long moments when he approached the podium. He was accompanied by a rendition of the theme song to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Some even began to chant.
"Save some for Mitt," he had to say.
However, it soon became obvious-painfully obvious-that this speech was unscripted.
The 82-year-old actor and director, who has described himself in the past as "not a very political person", began pretending to hold a question-and-answer session with President Obama seated in the empty chair next to him. It was an embarrasing thing to watch: Eastwood, fumbling to have a make-believe conversation about political promises with the empty space around a chair.
My father loved Westerns, so I knew The Man with No Name from an early age. Not just for me but for lots of people, Clint Eastwood came to be symbolic of a certain type of person for the roles he has portrayed: rugged and imperfect maybe, but just and honorable in a way.
Eastwood's speech was disappointing. He made some glaringly wrong statements about the rate of unemployment in our nation, and then pinned the blame for the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan on President Obama.
At times when he couldn't think of anything else to say, he pretended that the imaginary president sitting next to him was making crude remarks about Romney and himself.
What's really sad is that Eastwood's own apathy for politics showed through his rambling, nearly incoherent address. Why would he appear at the Republican National Convention to publicly endorse the GOP's presidential nominee if he thinks that politicians are all just "begging for votes"?
Unsurprisingly, almost the entire internet began making fun of Eastwood shortly after his twelve-minute-long speech was over. A Twitter account with the handle "Invisible Obama" was started and gained 67,000 followers over four days.
I guess I should be impressed. Not only has the man been acting and directing movies in Hollywood for the last 57 years, he's also spawned a meme. (For those of you who are curious, it's called "Eastwooding", and it involves taking a picture of yourself next to an empty chair.) I have to hand it to the guy, though. I hope that when I'm 82 years old, I'm brave enough to get up in front of a room full of people and hold an imaginary conversation with someone who isn't present. Normally, they lock you up for that kind of stuff.
President Obama decided to let this crazy old sleeping dog lie-in an excerpt from an interview that will be released this upcoming week, he said that he was still a fan of Eastwood's movies. I don't think he'll be at the midnight premier of Trouble with the Curve, though.