Even with a screwed-up computer, you didn’t think I could pass up commenting on the Rethuglican National Convention, did you, kids? How hilarious was it that Clint Eastwood’s chair was less wooden that Mittsie?
From the Chicago Tribune:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Months of careful planning for the Republican National Convention were hijacked by actor Clint Eastwood as traditional and social media erupted in a frenzy of scratched heads and parodies that experts said largely overshadowed presidential contender Mitt Romney’s moment in the spotlight.
Eastwood’s rambling, unscripted address at Thursday’s convention to an absent President Barack Obama in an empty chair inspired an instant satirical Twitter account, @InvisibleObama, that quickly went viral, demonstrating the power of social media to upset tightly scripted image control.
Some 30.3 million Americans watched Thursday’s prime time addresses on cable and broadcast television, according to final Nielsen data.
But by Friday, it was “Dirty Harry” star Eastwood’s performance that was capturing the popular attention. The Twitter hashtag #eastwooding – mostly pictures of empty chairs – was also one of the top-trending topics on the microblogging site on Friday.
Paul Levinson, professor of media and communication studies at Fordham University and author of the book “New New Media,” thought Eastwood’s performance was “the biggest story by far from the convention, including Romney’s speech.”
Marty Kaplan, professor of politics and pop culture at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, said Republican planners were likely regretting they had invited Eastwood to speak.
“They’re having to spend a huge portion of the time that ought to be a celebration of (Romney’s) convention, and instead they’re doing damage control. It’s a distraction and I can’t imagine they’re happy about that,” Kaplan told Reuters.
In a world of political advertising, image control and political spin, the power of social media as exemplified by the Eastwood parodies was “a very healthy thing for democracy,” Levinson said.
“You can’t program social media. You can put up YouTube videos and set up Twitter accounts and Facebook pages but there is always something unpredictable that goes viral and that carries the day as to what the public takes away,” he said.
Kaplan described Eastwood’s appearance as “the juiciest thing” to come out of the convention. “When you use pop culture and Hollywood and those kind of figures, you’re licking the razor, you’re taking a risk, and politics, to some degree, is about controlling risk,” he said.