By DAVID BEILSTEIN
TYPICALLY I’M COMBATIVE towards celebrity endorsements arising from the political left or right. Looking like a thumb in the eye during a boxing match, I’ve always reacted against them. This fever of sorts affects me more so when it comes from the political right—the ideological side I’m strongly sympathetic to—because it often unleashes itself from those whose show business careers have skidded to a halt and the feeling enraptures them to step aboard the ‘contrarian’ ship of populist ‘conservatism’ to ride a different revenue stream.
I understand everyone needs to make a buck and put food on the table. I’ve been hungry before, so I get it. And I’m not suggesting that the need to have a career negates the wisdom of an endorsement. Still, it’s always sat wrong between liver and spleen for me.
I see Clint Eastwood’s upcoming guest speech at the Republican National Convention, differently. Call me sentimental, but the 82-year-old actor turned virtuoso director is a legend of large talent going on four decades. Eastwood is an unprecedented motion picture craftsmen. Being a film student and a film buff Clint Eastwood is a guide to quality filmmaking, standing beside such legends as Martin Scorsese, Stephen Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and the newer artists coming up. Young or old, Eastwood is one of the top filmmakers of our day and past days. He is one of our great motion picture directors and actors. That’s rarified air, ladies and gentlemen.
Consequently, Eastwood’s decision to take flight and land on stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday night whilst presently engrossed in a successful Hollywood career makes an impact. A solid one built sturdy on integrity. This is an endorsement of principals giving forth an inner light that illumines brighter than most.
Honestly, I would not confirm Eastwood as a Goldwater or Buckley conservative. I would not label Eastwood an elder statesmen possessing the classical liberal muscularity of the Cato Institute or the libertarian joust of Reason Magazine. But he is a man committed to the realisation things in America have become chronically anaemic and need a new team of surgeons. Eastwood, no doubt, sees the uraemia in the blood stream of the country. The man who used to utter whispered lines of retribution and justice knows when the cards have turned bad.
Given my prior antipathy of celebrity moonlighting under political incandescence, I will be looking forward to hear what Eastwood says. I expect it to be lighthearted. I gather his appearance was intended for calm and good feeling. There is, however, some grim lustre under the pale moon of our national malaise the man of so many cinematic images of silent bravado and grit—of destruction of bad men victimising innocence—is as displeased as many Americans with President Obama’s stewardship over the National enterprise.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” The ironic-ism here unfurls wide and far because the man who created wealth and fame for himself playing men of legendary independence is now briskly pivoting away from the insipidness of central planning gone fetid.
There’s this, too. What national political convention would you assume Inspector Harry Callahan to attend?