Talking Dirt with Dirty Harry
I read your Esquire interview in which you lamented the fact that we’ve all become thin-skinned, politically correct, over-apologizing pussies. In general, I agree. But there are some particulars you left out, and some conclusions you got wrong, so I felt the need to respond. If nothing else, I wouldn’t want you to feel like you were just talking to a chair. So let’s talk.
Clint: [Trump’s] onto something, because secretly everybody’s getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.
Dave: I feel you. There’s no doubt that one of the things Trump is tapping into is the feeling that one has to be politically correct all the time — and that even the slightest slip-up results in a coerced apology or a forced resignation or worse. No one can make a joke anymore. I once received an 800 word hate-essay from a reader because I had been disrespectful by using the word ladies instead of women. The exact phrase was “All you ladies in the house, say yeah.” As a guy who publishes daily, and lives on social media, I get ripped left and right for supposedly offending people. What’s the big deal? My parents are Holocaust survivors, and I have to suffer the idiocy of those viral Hitler memes posted and enjoyed by millions. But you don’t see me complaining to those shortsighted, childish, ignorant, insensitive, jerk-off assholes (although, that did feel good.) I’m like you. I can take a little dig here and there. In a way, I was inspired by you. For years they called you Dirty Harry, and you didn’t whine or demand an apology for the suggestion that you were, shall we say, less than clean. No. You took it. (Although, you occasionally blew someone’s head clean off.)
Clint: All these people that say, “Oh, you can’t do that, and you can’t do this, and you can’t say that.” I guess it’s just the times.
Dave: So let’s talk about the times. While some people are overly sensitive or take political correctness to an extreme, the vast majority of those standing up against racism and demanding a less hateful and belittling form of discourse are doing the right thing and are (thankfully) having the right impact. Let’s look at the last decade. Love is more free. You’re no longer legally restricted from loving who you want. Race is no longer ignored. When an unarmed black person is shot, we’re allowed to talk about it. We have a black president and we’re about to have our first woman in the Oval Office. And we have corporate leaders who are willing to stand up on the side of progressive values in places like North Carolina and Indiana. It turns out, turning up the dial on these issues has actually made a big, and really good, difference. While political correctness is bad, if you stand up to overt racism, prejudice, misogyny, or xenophobic nationalism, you’re not a pussy. You’re an American.
Clint: I haven’t endorsed anybody. I haven’t talked to Trump. I haven’t talked to anybody. You know, he’s a racist now because he’s talked about this judge. And yeah, it’s a dumb thing to say. I mean, to predicate your opinion on the fact that the guy was born to Mexican parents or something. He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides. But everybody — the press and everybody’s going, “Oh, well, that’s racist,” and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.
Dave: I open 75 browser tabs at a time, so no one is more on-board with your assessment of the hoodooization of the news business. That’s the good. But the incident you referenced above goes beyond the pale (rider) of what we can accept. A presidential candidate who questions a judge because of his national heritage? That’s not a just another dumb thing. No one on the other side has said anything remotely that offensive and un-American. Making that insinuation is totally disqualifying when it comes to the gig Trump’s applying for. That’s the bad. And he’s crossed the same line a hundred times since. That’s the ugly. (If you don’t believe me, just ask “my African American over there”).
But forget what he says. Let’s focus on what his followers say. Just watch these video clips of some (not all, but most definitely some) of his rally attendees. Telling immigrants to go home. Calling Hillary Clinton a bitch (or worse). Yelling the N word whenever Obama’s name is mentioned. This isn’t just Carmel Valley political incorrectness that all these pussies can’t take. These are furious people consumed by hate; clinging to the last vestiges of what was worst about America. Josey Wales would be afraid to hang out with this crowd. Seriously, calling the president of the United States the N-word? If that ain’t actual hoodoo, what is?
Clint: That’s Obama. He doesn’t go to work. He doesn’t go down to Congress and make a deal. What the hell’s he doing sitting in the White House? If I were in that job, I’d get down there and make a deal.
Dave: I don’t want to wave a constitution in anyone’s face (it’s been done already), but Trump’s speeches are not a script you want to read from, and it’s actually not that easy. You actually can’t just Monte Hall your way across the Mall and make a deal. It’s not as simple as kicking a crying baby out of the room. Don’t take my word for it when it comes to how hard it is to get something done in DC. Ask Merrick Garland.
Clint: I’d have to go for Trump … you know, ’cause she’s declared that she’s gonna follow in Obama’s footsteps.
Dave: The great thing about Obama’s footsteps is that they don’t lead towards questions like, “If we have nukes, why can’t we use them?” If you’re seriously gonna vote for Trump, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” (I’m not gonna say punk. You’re still Clint Eastwood after all. Just please tell me Burt Reynolds isn’t voting for Jill Stein.)