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RNC woes August 31, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, US Politics.

Well, that was weird at the RNC (of which more anon). The Clint Eastwood ‘thing’ with an empty chair representing Barack Obama was very odd indeed. And unnecessary – Eastwood is not reknowned for being a comic. It was also undignified and while I’m not one to stand on dignity it just felt wrong. Eastwood who actually in general comes across as more decent than he seemed then seemed to take a strange approach, and the tone was incorrect – not least the references to Obama telling Eastwood to eff himself, or whatever.

But funnily enough the most irritating thing was the realisation that it was pretty much a riff on US comedian Bob Newhart’s approach of one sided conversations or ‘solo straightman’. Thing is that while Eastwood is witty enough in general he’s not witty enough in particular to do the job as Newhart would have done.

And ooops! Newhart noted this himself:

“I heard that Clint Eastwood was channelling me at the RNC,” tweeted comic actor Bob Newhart, known for his one-sided conversations. “My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit.”

Speaking of Newhart I first heard him in National School in the early 1970s when a teacher brought in a record of him (and IIRC the Ian Gillan Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack). I relistened to his stuff more recently and it was gentle stuff thoguh still pretty funny and not quite as dated as might have been expected – no question that was a different society, the references to women, family, childbirth and so on were very much of their time, but there was also a sense of boundaries being very slightly pushed back.

It’s remarkable to see how much Newhart actually did over the years, variety shows, sitcoms, films and so on. I wonder if the fact he’s not better known on this side of the Atlantic is due to his humour being very American in some fashion.


1. ejh - August 31, 2012

I think he was quite well known in his day: the driving instructor sketch for instance.


WorldbyStorm - August 31, 2012

Yes, that could be it. Perhaps it’s more that he faded out of view in Ireland and the UK very rapidly in the 1970s and 80s.

Either way fair dues to him for the dig back at Eastwood.


eamonncork - August 31, 2012

The Republican Party have just had their Twink at the Ard Fheis moment.


2. que - September 1, 2012

if he hadnt done the chair schlok it would have been a good speech for the convention. By good I mean rambling, full of hootin tootin rhetoric and misrepresentations but boy they’d have loved him.

I felt like I was watching a best man give a nervous speech.


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