American tough guy Clint Eastwood was at his best earlier this year, delivering a steely call for a national renaissance in the Super Bowl spot, “Halftime In America.”
At the RNC last night, less so.
As you, regardless of your political affiliation, now know, Eastwood appeared as a surprise speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday (perhaps disappointing fans expecting a Reagan hologram). Most of his speech consisted of an…unusual one-way dialogue with an empty chair. The chair, representing President Obama, said nothing as Eastwood interrogated it (“So I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here,” he explained, and proceeded to ask things like: “Mr. President, how do you handle promises you’ve made?” and even responded to the chair’s imagined retorts, at one point asking it, “What do you mean, shut up?”)
It was by far the most bizarre and enduring moment of the convention. Eastwood’s performance overshadowed the appearances of the GOP’s young stars, Marco Rubio and VP candidate Paul Ryan (who was perhaps grateful that Eastwood’s bat-poop nutty stunt overshadowed his own speech, which was garnering its own buzz for its fast and loose approach to facts).
Eastwood’s routine resulted in a cavalcade of Tweets, a faux Obama Twitter feed, InvisibleObama, which has 40,000 followers, a real Tweet from Obama (“This seat is taken”) and an instant meme, Eastwooding.
We’re not sure if Eastwooding will have the legs of, say Horsemaning, or Owling, but at least it’s an accessible meme. To Eastwood, one simply photographs a empty chair being subjected to a stern dressing down.
The Romney campaign responded to the uproar, reminding everyone that Eastwood was “ad libbing” and insisting that the audience “enjoyed it.”
See some instances of Eastwooding in the slide show above and some Tweeted reactions to Eastwood’s speech below.
From Seth Meyers: “When Clint woke up this morning he saw that Obama was gone from the chair…Or was he still there!?!?!”
Piers Morgan: “Still reeling from that #Clint performance – sooooooooo weird.”
Roger Ebert: “Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn’t need to do this to himself. It’s unworthy of him.”
Adam Levine: Clint Eastwood has gone fuckin nutterbutters yo.
Roseanne Barr: “Clint eastwood is CRAY.”