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SUBSCRIPT: Are crazy white guys worried they can't take over the world? The Clint Eastwood moment at the RNC and the Hollywood connection to reactionary propaganda from Ramsees to Eastwood

Back when I was teaching full time, I taught, among other things, classes in journalism (really — "reporting", which sounds much less pretentious) and we regularly got copies of the Chicago Tribune (free to kids in the inner city back then) to study and learn from. Any daily newspaper, no matter how "bad," has enough in it every day so that once kids get a basic orientation they can have fun with it. (When we had the Sun-Times, which was free less often, there were always some girls who carried around little booklets of "Love Is..."). One interpretation of Clint Eastwood at the RNC.

The art of teaching kids the art of narrative storytelling, news version, isn't all WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE... and sometimes WHY. It also has variants (and had them even before the Internet). At some point, the kids noticed that there were always what today would be called the "Jerry Springer" stories about strange people who should have known better. That evolved into a weekly feature (part of the lesson plan, although only known by its acronym, WWF) I called "Weird White Folks." The students had to clip a news article (and it didn't have to be just from the Tribune) that fit the bill. Since we had already covered the biases in the way "news" was covered from the Inner City (back in those days, there was a fetish about "Crack Babies," if you recall; there were lots of other strange ways of reassuring the dominant people that THEM were messed up...).

Last month was the 12th anniversary of the vote by the Chicago Board of Education, on the motion of Paul G. Vallas, to fire me for copyright infringement. So I haven't taught lately (although every September I still have those classroom dreams; after 29 years in the classroom, September is in your DNA) and learned I had been blacklisted by Vallas and his ruling class buddies not only in Chicago but across the public schools of the region. Sad, but true.

This week, however, I wished I had a class just to do one of the weirdest of all white folks stories: Dirty Harry at the RNC.

It was strange enough to have a guy who had to have gotten sticky sheets reading certain parts of Atlas Shrugged now as the Dick Cheney of the new era, but then we got Clint Eastwood.

Mother Jones did all of us the favor of transcribing the entire script that Eastwood invented for the show, so without further ado, here is this week's WEIRDEST OF ALL WHITE FOLKS — Clint Eastwood at the RNC.

VIDEO: Clint Eastwood's Bizarre "Empty Chair Obama" Speech at the GOP Convention (With Full Transcript). —By Andy Kroll| Thu Aug. 30, 2012 8:00 PM PDT. Mother Jones. [Editor's Note: We subscribe to Mother Jones, so we hope this reprint with thanks is OK with them].

On Thursday night, Clint Eastwood, the Academy Award-winning actor, director, and screenwriter, delivered one of the most bizarre political convention speeches in American history.

Speaking without prepared remarks, Eastwood carried on an imaginary conversation with an invisible President Obama seated in a chair next to him on the convention stage. I can't even begin to try to summarize Eastwood's rambling address to a bewildered audience and press corps. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, looked less than pleased with Eastwood's speech. And the Hollywood star's invisible Obama skit quickly spawned its own Twitter feed—@InvisibleObama—and a satirical 2012 presidential bid. As well as #eastwooding.

Asked by Politico to respond to Eastwood's speech, Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt replied: "Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dalí."

Here's the full transcript of Eastwood's remarks:

While much of the criticism of Clint Eastwood's reactionary ouvre has been devoted to his Dirty Harry movies and some of the early vigilante westerns, Eastwood went out of his way to promote slavery and the Confederate side of the Civil War, for example in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (above) where the slave side is portrayed as the good guys and the guys in blue uniforms who helped free the slaves are (as above) the bad guys. Although Eastwood's racist versions of U.S. history don't rank in the top tier of what has come out of Hollywood (with competition like "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone with the Wind", Eastwood is facing some stiff stuff), Eastwood is in a long white supremacist tradition, even when his "good guys" are doing their diversity thing.EASTWOOD: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Save a little for Mitt.

(APPLAUSE) I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what’s a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think. That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot-dogging it.

(APPLAUSE)

So—but they are there, believe me, they are there. I just think, in fact, some of them around town, I saw Jon Voigt, a lot of people around…

(APPLAUSE)

Jon's here, an academy award winner. A terrific guy. These people are all like-minded, like all of us.

So I—so I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. And he's—I was going to ask him a couple of questions. But—you know about—I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles.

They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying.

(LAUGHTER)

I was even crying. And then finally—and I haven't cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven't done enough, obviously—this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. Whenever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.

(APPLAUSE)

So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them?

I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just—you know—I know—people were wondering—you don't—handle that okay. Well, I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo. And I thought, well closing Gitmo—why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse—what do you mean shut up?

(LAUGHTER)

Okay, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.

(APPLAUSE)

I've got to to hand it to you. I have to give credit where credit is due. You did finally overrule that finally. And that's—now we are moving onward. I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that's okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was okay. You know, I mean—you thought that was something worth doing. We didn't check with the Russians to see how they did it—they did there for 10 years.

(APPLAUSE)

But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe—I think you've mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, "Why are you giving the date out now? Why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning?"

(APPLAUSE)

And I thought—I thought, yeah—I am not going to shut up, it is my turn.

(LAUGHTER)

So anyway, we're going to have—we're going to have to have a little chat about that. And then, I just wondered, all these promises—I wondered about when the—what do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. I can't tell him to do that to himself.

(APPLAUSE)

You're crazy, you're absolutely crazy. You're getting as bad as Biden.

(APPLAUSE)

Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.

(LAUGHTER)

Kind of a grin with a body behind it.

(LAUGHTER)

But I just think that there is so much to be done, and I think that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are two guys that can come along. See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to the president, anyway.

(APPLAUSE)

I think attorneys are so busy—you know they’re always taught to argue everything, and always weight everything—weigh both sides…They are always devil’s advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time—what do you think—for maybe a businessman. How about that?

(APPLAUSE)

A stellar businessman. Quote, unquote, "a stellar businessman."

The happy and loyal slave, who made a "choice" to remain in slavery, has been a mainstay of the plutocratic narrative agenda since the Pharaohs. Above, "Gone with the Wind", as Hollywood did it just before World War II.And I think it's that time. And I think if you just step aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over. You can maybe still use a plane.

(APPLAUSE)

Though maybe a smaller one. Not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that.

(APPLAUSE)

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You are an—an ecological man. Why would you want to drive that around? Okay, well anyway. All right, I'm sorry. I can't do that to myself either.

(APPLAUSE)

I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we—we own this country.

(APPLAUSE)

We—we own it. It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.

(APPLAUSE)

And—so—they are just going to come around and beg for votes every few years. It is the same old deal. But I just think it is important that you realize that you're the best in the world. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you're libertarian or whatever, you are the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.

(APPLAUSE)

Anti-union entertainers are not all reactionary Republican caricatures like Clint Eastwood. Some of the most serious teacher bashing and union busting propaganda of the past half century has come from "progressives" like Edward James Olmos (above left), who portrayed in a semi-fictional manner the reactionary career of Jaime Escalante (above right) in the movie "Stand and Deliver."Okay, just remember that. And I'm speaking out for everybody out there. It doesn't hurt, we don't have to be…

(AUDIENCE MEMBER): (inaudible)

(LAUGHTER)

I do not say that word anymore. Well, maybe one last time.

(LAUGHTER)

We don't have to be…what I'm saying, we do not have to be mental masochists and vote for somebody that we don't really even want in office just because they seem to be nice guys or maybe not so nice guys, if you look at some of the recent ads going out there, I don't know.

(APPLAUSE)

But okay. You want to make my day?

(APPLAUSE)

All right. I started, you finish it. Go ahead.

AUDIENCE: Make my day!

EASTWOOD: Thank you. Thank you very much.



Comments:

September 2, 2012 at 7:58 AM

By: John Kierig

Clint's Gran Torino moment

frommoment from the wonderful driftglass:

"The other night upon a chair

Clint spoke to a man who wasn't there.

How sad it is that Rowdy Yates

Has ended up as Orly Taitz."

September 2, 2012 at 9:18 AM

By: Jean R Schwab

Clint's speech

The best and most refreshing speech of the Repubican Convention was Clint's speech. I haven't laughed so much for quite awhile. It was wonderful. It was such a relief from the regular straight faced lies and half truths. Clint also was not so accurate but he was sooo funny! It was refreshing!

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