Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood Goes Down Swinging

The Clint Eastwood movie Million Dollar Baby is a classic. Here's why. On the surface, it's an action film about a woman hoping to triumph in the arena of boxing. That holds attention. There's something naturally gripping about a brutal one-on-one gladiatorial confrontation in the ring, even if you don't like this sport. Yet, the movie is really about the ultimate battle we all fight against our inner demons.

Hilary Swank isn't actually punching her opponent. She is flailing desperately against her ambitionless trailer-trash family mocking her: "Who are you to aspire to something more?" Clint Eastwood isn't really coaching her to win the prize. He's coaching her to knockout the accusing voice of his conscience for failing to nurture and protect his own daughter. One of the greatest burdens a decent man can ever bear. Plus, he suspects he may have betrayed and blinded his best friend Morgan Freeman.

Once you know this film isn't about a stupid boxing match but the human struggle to get up off the mat when knocked down, the cheers and hype seem appropriate to the true event. However, life doesn't always have Hollywood endings and real champions must fight in the real world. Last night, the flesh-and-blood Clint Eastwood endorsed Mitt Romney for president. The actor seemed old, rambling and a bit kooky. Newsflash: that often happens near the end of the human struggle. Nobody gets out of this fight alive, but a few go out with honor. Look more closely at last night's subplot.

Coming from the narcissistic capital of the universe (Hollywood), Eastwood dared risk image and popularity to mosey his spurred cowboy boots into the Not-OK Corral (a Republican convention). I would personally be embarrassed to hang out in that crowd of tie-wearing, bad-dancing geeks. I prefer comfy casual clothes over business attire. However, listen close to what washed-up coach Clint may be whispering to underinspiring underdog Mitt Romney.

"Mitt, you take those soft, rich pansy-ass hands and sock Barack in his loud, rich pansy-ass mouth. You take him down. Not because he's a bad guy - he's more warm and sociable than you. But he's your opponent in the dirty arena of politics and (more importantly) his epic financial incompetence makes him the current enemy of the country you love in your easy-listening-music-filled, nondrinking, nonaggressive heart. Don't hold back. He's a good husband and father, but you can't think about that right now. You gotta listen to the Godfather that when you hit a man, you gotta hit him so he doesn't get back up."

Clint may just be another actor who can't speak without a script, but he didn't hesitate to tarnish his reputation last night for his country. Mr. Eastwood worked with a monkey in Every Which Way But Loose, so why should he be too proud to work with uncool Mr. Romney. Coach Clint is in the corner for his billion-dollar-networth baby. I don't like seeing Dirty Harry embarrass himself, and I don't like admitting in public I'm voting for Mitt. (Especially since I'm half black like Obama - from the waist down to be precise.) However, I understand basic economics, so I have no choice. Now Mitt, pull those nerdy, tacky, pastel-blue-and-khaki, corporate-logo-covered shorts up to your nipples and knock that smooth, smug, smart, smiling fiscally-immoral S.O.B. out cold.

Gentlemen (or politicians) go to your corners and come out swinging in the heavyweight boxing (and mud-wrestling) championship of the world.


  1. In response to this post, several readers have emailed me suggesting that Clint Eastwood's woke-up-on-a-park-bench hair and stream-of-consciousness musings were actually part of the shtick, that Clint preferred to poke silly fun at President Obama, so as to avoid a harsh attack on him, while still signaling to the American people that it's okay to admit the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, even if he's young, hip, and black.

    If Clint was using a spoonful of ham to make the medicine of national crisis go down, good for him. However, if he was liquored up and delusional as he appeared, then it's all the more amazing how he clearly grasped that a nation can't borrow and spend money with reckless abandon - something neither George Bush nor Barack Obama have understood in their most dignified and lucid moments.

  2. He has, of course, introduced his own name into the dictionary as a verb by that speech.

    Clint Eastwood Eastwooded on stage!