Clint Eastwood's Psychodramatic Destruction Of The Republican National Convention

The iconic moment of the Republican National Convention—Clint Eastwood psychodramatizes with an empty chair. While some people speculated Clint must have been drunk or senile, reading his comments suggests another idea—that Eastwood was critiquing politicians for being, and citizens for electing, empty chairs (fill-in-your-wish nothings). Unfortunately, from a Republican perspective, that criticism applies to Mitt Romney even more than Barack Obama.
This is so great in so many ways.

First off, so many people are confused about the empty chair.

Well, let's see, it's Clint Eastwood, a guy internationally renowned as what? Oh right—an actor and a film director.

Could it be, the empty chair was part of the scene he was directing?

Seems that way—since the use of what is known as "the empty chair technique", a tool of psychodrama, is part of both psychological therapy, and is used by acting teachers and directors to encourage development on the part of actors of their feelings towards an unseen antagonist.

Clearly, whatever Eastwood had in mind in his address to the RNC (or the empty chair), there were a number of audiences processing it, and not everybody got it, or got it in the same way.

The audience at the hall mostly liked it. Hell, Clint Eastwood could have been reading the phonebook with his iconic gravel-tone, and the yahoos at the RNC would have cheered him.

Hey, it's Dirty Harry. Well, no—not really. In fact, Eastwood balked at one point, when an audience member, expecting him to satisfy them like a trained monkey or something, demanded he repeat "Go ahead. Make my day". Eastwood wasn't playing Dirty Harry. He was playing weary, moody, Uncle Clint. Still, Eastwood's a trained entertainer. But he's also a director. He co-opted the audience and forced them to finish the line for him.

Another audience were the media geeks trying to make political sense of what Eastwood was doing. Talk about apes pawing the monolith. Hopeless. The whole point of what Eastwood was doing is that it made no political sense. His politics is based on that premise—that politics is a bunch of bullshit, mostly practiced by assholes, and believed in by saps.

As Eastwood said at one point:

"See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to be president, anyway because...Yeah. I think attorneys are so busy. You know they're always taught to argue everything, and always weigh everything and weigh both sides and they're always, you know, they're always devil's advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff."

First off, as you can see here, 26 of 44 presidents of the USA have been lawyers. Not such a bad thing when you recall they are dealing with and executing LAWS! of the land.

Secondly, "all that stuff" Eastwood mentioned was allegedly another reason why Barack Obama, law professor, was a bad choice for president. But, here's the problem: Mitt Romney graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, the same school attended by Barack Obama. And Romney's ability and willingness to "bifurcate" or "triangulate" or flipflop (lawyerly arguing any and all sides) is well known.

Lastly, the most important audience for Clint's performance last night was the highly-tuned-in and hyper-reactive global net. Not surprisingly, as people realized Clint Eastwood was speaking to an empty chair!—Twitter exploded (yep that's 40,000 followers for a chair overnight) with people trying to figure it out or just making fun of it.

Mitt Romney?

Oh jeez! Right. The candidate. Yeah, whatever. NOBODY remembered Romney even existed—he might as well have been an empty chair.

Eastwood closed the performance with this icing on the cake:

"What I'm saying, we don't 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"

Once again, Eastwood offered us guidance that is confusing at best, since it could easily be applied, by Republicans, in justification for not voting for Mitt Romney. In fact, in the primaries, that was precisely the reason so many Republicans didn't vote for Mitt Romney—they didn't want him to be president of the United States.

In the end, while making the most memorable thing in the Republican National Convention an empty chair was undoubtedly a great idea to an iconoclastic movie director, the problem is that too many people could easily mistake that metaphor for—Mitt Romney. What Romney's campaign wants us to think this morning is that this is just an unintended collateral impact of Uncle Clint actually saying Romney's the right guy. But, to accept that interpretation means that Clint Eastwood cannot even competently direct himself in a simple 10-minute performance before a wildly sympathetic audience.

Alternatively, maybe Eastwood knew exactly what he was doing, and did it with his usual level of professionalism. Mitt Romney? He was just the producer, and he got the production from Eastwood he deserved.

"The Empty Chair" is the title of the movie of the 2012 Campaign for the Republicans—because it definitely represents the candidate the Republicans never got—the one they really wanted.