Opinion: Empty Chair Day 2012 and #Eastwooding
Say what you will about Clint Eastwood’s Republican National Convention speech delivered last Thursday night. Though it was rated as an alleged flop by most analysts and arm-chair pundits, it could be the first alleged-disastrous presentation ever that has given birth to a new verb and a new holiday-of-sorts within days.
Before Eastwood got off the stage from his 12-minute speech in which he had a conversation with an invisible President Barack Obama in an empty chair before millions of television viewers as well as his live audience at the RNC, a new word was added to the American vocabulary. The action verb “Eastwooding” came alive. Naturally, “Eastwooding” is defined as having a stern, heart-to-heart conversation with an empty chair. As a Twitter social network term, “#Eastwooding” with the preceding hashtag went wild.
Beyond that, over the holiday weekend, it was suggested that Americans participate in “Empty Chair Day” on Monday – which, of course, is also Labor Day. Actually, it’s not a bad idea. Instead of getting rowdy at a demonstration or protest regarding the lack of jobs throughout the country, people can voice their discontent with the nation’s current unemployment rate on this Labor Day by simply placing an empty chair in their front yard. Perhaps one could get creative and put a huge sign saying “8.3%” next to it as that is the nation’s current unemployment rate according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Call me a trendsetter, if you like, as I had three empty chairs in mine before I even knew Clint Eastwood was going to be the mystery speaker last Thursday – and they’re still there. I’d like to think I inspired Eastwood’s idea for the now-infamous speech, but I probably didn’t. If I didn’t already have chairs there, I would probably put one out just so I could tell the “invisible” grandkids about it someday.
As far as those who aren’t playing along nicely with the Clint Eastwood fun, they really ought to just stop. While it may seem like a big deal now, the story will likely die as fast as – if not faster than – Vice President Joe Biden’s “chains” comment of a couple of weeks ago when he was accused of being racist for getting vocally-guttural with an attempted “African-American-accent” and telling a racially-mixed crowd that Romney’s plans will “put y’all back in chains”. For sure, it will die faster than Obama’s nearly-month-old “you didn’t build that” comment which is still sizzling on the grill.
If President Obama, the butt of the “Eastwooding” can forgive and laugh it off, so can everyone else. Obama – or someone with access to his Twitter account – posted a photo of President Obama sitting in the president’s chair with the message that “This seat’s taken”. Beyond that, the president said that he is still a big Eastwood fan and admires him for his acting and especially his movie direction.
Regardless of what you think of President Obama’s politics, you’ve got to admit that that’s an awesome response to someone who just tried to bury you “invisibly” alive.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.