Clint Eastwood, the iconic, American actor who was robbed last Sunday, came out against political correctness. In an interview with the Daily Express he said, “People have lost their sense of humour. In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth or you will be insulted as a racist.”
Clint Eastwood is one of the last real men in Hollywood. I can’t see any of his lesser heirs to the cinematic throne willing to make such a bold statement. (Aside from the misspelling –I don’t think an American like Clint would have ever pronounced it “humour.”) Clint is pointing out something important “free speech” advocates are unwilling to broach: Political Correctness is Dangerous.
There was a time when political correctness was nothing more than a rule protecting certain students from insults on college campuses. Since a majority of tenured professors were the guys who got beat up a lot in eighth grade, it was important for them to create a learning environment where the dorkiest kid on campus could walk to class without hearing the football players snicker at him from behind the bushes.
Since it was just college, nobody really cared too much about the censorship, but now something really scary is going on. The President of the United States belongs to a protected demographic and political correctness has made jokes about him verboten.
Out here in the clubs I see a lot of comics who WANT to make fun of the President, but the audience is uptight about it. When a comic does an Obama joke, you’d think they had just heard a line about a missing child eaten by dogs. I’ve personally had people walk out after a relatively harmless Obama line (“Of course he was offended by the New Yorker Cartoon, you know how those Muslims react to cartoons!”).
The lack of late night Obama humor certainly reflects the fear of violating political correctness more than political bias ( a charge which some critics have accused me of). I think it’s dangerous when you can’t make fun of your leader. The job of the satirist is to remind leaders they are indeed human; and if anyone has ever needed mnemonic therapy, it’s the Marxist god-child currently residing at 1600. After the trashing our last president took, it seems only fair.
Even before Big Hollywood, I was critical of comics afraid to do Obama jokes because I believe the distinction between hack gags and edge material is defined by a willingness to go after the New President. It’s imperative comics on both sides of the aisle recognize the brave few willing to be tarred as “racist” for maintaining the integrity of the art form (for example: there’s some great Obama material, over at Newsbusted).
Meanwhile, like Shane riding off into the sunset, Clint has decided to retire from acting without a performance award. All he has is the satisfaction of knowing he made movie theaters a much better place. He gave us all those great films (and “Every Which Way But Loose,” as well). Meanwhile, like little Joey running after Shane, we are all begging him to “come back.”
In fact, I think we could find a really nice White House for him to spend his retirement in.