Ad Lib is Not Clint’s Bag
In 1972, my family was watching the Academy Awards on television. It was no surprise that Marlon Brando won the Best Actor for The Godfather, but it was a surprise when Apache-attired Sacheen Littlefeather stepped forward to decline the award in protest of Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. Born Marie Cruz, she was a mix of Apache, Yaqui, Pueblo and Euro, and was both an actress and a serious activist who had participated in the 1969 Alcatraz occupation. The audience booed her loudly.
But there was another strange moment, when Clint Eastwood appeared on stage looking unsettled and woodenly reading cue cards to deliver an intro based on one of Moses’ sermons from The Ten Commandments. Eastwood and the Bible? It made no sense. There was laughter, to which Eastwood replied, “Hey, this isn’t my bag, man.” Fortunately for Clint, Charlton Heston, who had been delayed by a flat tire, rushed to the podium to deliver the Mosaic introduction, which, of course, had been written for him. Eastwood had been brought out of the audience to stand in for Heston. Which still didn’t make sense.
Even Moses himself couldn’t have saved Clint last week, and we are now doomed to several decades of empty chair jokes. Clint’s skit has also spawned Invisible Obama on twitter, who tweeted, “Who was more invisible at the convention? Me, Sarah Palin or George W Bush?”
I always liked Eastwood. I always liked Heston in all his parts, too. I also like Eastwood as a director, particularly for Bird and Unforgiven. And I’ll still like him. But his weird, rambling diatribe hasn’t convinced me of anything but that he is angry and not thinking very clearly.