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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Esquire interviews libertarian Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood does not often sit down for interviews with anyone. But the latest interview with Esquire magazine reads like a series of aphorisms, and there's plenty of good ones. Take this one for example:

My father had a couple of kids at the beginning of the Depression. There was not much employment. Not much welfare. People barely got by. People were tougher then.

The sentiment doesn't differ much from that in the rest of the piece. Eastwood is convinced that people nowadays are softer, less self-reliant, and a bunch of pansies, to be blunt. For example:

We live in more of a pussy generation now, where everybody's become used to saying, "Well, how do we handle it psychologically?" In those days, you just punched the bully back and duked it out. Even if the guy was older and could push you around, at least you were respected for fighting back, and you'd be left alone from then on.[...]

I don't know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life.

But apart from the wussified psychology of the contemporary American, there are also the lawyers, and the modern-day obsession with safety:

I remember going to a huge waterfall on a glacier in Iceland. People were there on a rock-platform overlook to see it. They had their kids. There was a place that wasn't sealed off, but it had a cable that stopped anybody from going past a certain point. I said to myself, You know, in the States they'd have that hurricane-fenced off, because they're afraid somebody's gonna fall and some lawyer's going to appear. There, the mentality was like it was in America in the old days: If you fall, you're stupid.

You can't stop everything from happening. But we've gotten to a point where we're certainly trying. If a car doesn't have four hundred air bags in it, then it's no good.

Even so, there's still a world-wide yearning for the cowboys of the frontier days, as evidenced by the love affair everyone has for westerns:

People love westerns worldwide. There's something fantasylike about an individual fighting the elements. Or even bad guys and the elements. It's a simpler time. There's no organized laws and stuff.

In 1986, Eastwood ran for mayor of Carmel, California. He won. Here's his take on becoming mayor:

Winning the election is a good-news, bad-news kind of thing. Okay, now you're the mayor. The bad news is, now you're the mayor.

It's making sure that the words "public servant" are not forgotten. That's why I did it. 'Cause I thought, I don't need this. The fact that I didn't need it made me think I could do more. It's the people who need it that I'm suspect of.

I really like the picture that emerges of Clint Eastwood, and the style of the interview is an interesting format to pursue. Instead of the standard question-and-answer format, the interviewer culled lines that could stand on their own, and ran with them as a collection of thoughtful and interesting takes on random things by Eastwood. And Eastwood, it turns out, has learned a lot that's worth sharing.

Read the interview here.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on December 23, 2008 | Permalink


I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Well, that's mighty white of you.

You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-12-23 11:44:48 AM

While I was not around during the depression, I have been around long enough to witness the destruction of our society. Take for example how the concept of rights has been distorted. It used to be that rights were balanced with duties. Now we have individuals and groups claiming rights (and obtaining them thanks to the HRCs) without taking into consideration what duties this right imposes on others. Added to this is the total loss of personal freedom coupled with personal responsibility and accountability.

Looking around I often have the impression of witnessing the last days of Rome. The similarities are astounding.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-12-23 12:47:52 PM

Looking around I often have the impression of witnessing the last days of Rome. The similarities are astounding.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-12-23 12:47:52 PM

I'd like to buy you a cup of coffee some day.
Eastwood has what we all used to have...morals.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-23 4:45:28 PM


He's one hell of a guy. He's spent a lifetime reminding us what we once were, and what we could be.

People are pussies. Since I won't depend on government assurances, I'm a lot more careful about things then most people I meet. Most people just drift along until they run into trouble, then cry to others to save them. I lived through Katrina, through the help of family friends, but I never once thought or said that the federal government "failed me." I chose to live in a big fucking bowl below sea-level in a hurricane-prone area. When I first got there, the cabbie told me that one day the city would drown. I took my chances, but I knew the risk was mine. Those that did help me did so out of the goodness of their hearts, and they hold my lifelong debt and gratitude.

::end rant::


Posted by: Mike Vine | 2008-12-24 11:35:50 AM

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