Clint Eastwood’s chair speech: Inspired by opera?

Jean Cocteau and Francis Poulenc wrote a one-act opera called “La voix humaine” (1958) for a solo soprano, which is a one-sided conversation. There were a few of these as the technology spread and created concern about the surreal, one-sided conversations people over heard.

In the Poulenc the women is the victim, having her last conversation with a man who is dumping her.

Eastwood’s trick is perfect for our era of perpetual campaigning: It creates the illusion of a conversation while silencing the party Eastwood doesn’t want to be heard, then, with his “No, I won’t shut up,” shifts the victim status onto Eastwood. The “one-sided conversation” is probably what many Americans think politics is these days.


View Photo Gallery: Just who was that guy who spoke to the empty chair at the Republican National Convention? Here are the basics on the life and career of Clint Eastwood, American cinematic icon and practitioner of experimental, improvisational Republican political theater.

READ MORE

Clint Eastwood goes unscripted with speech at Republican convention

What Clint Eastwood’s convention speech means for his image

Reviewing the political theater of the GOP convention

Clint Eastwood denies political message in Chrylser ad

Philip Kennicott is the Pulitzer Prize-winning Art and Architecture Critic of The Washington Post. He has been on staff at the Post since 1999, first as Classical Music Critic, then as Culture Critic.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

lifestyle

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters