Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GQ Icon: Clint Eastwood (via Rod Dreher)

It appears that the blame for Invictus cannot be mostly put on Morgan Freeman's shoulders:

Why Invictus? Why now?
I'm not an objective party. But the world needs this kind of story nowadays. It's just&everybody's so screwed up. Nobody knows where they're heading. It seems like our country's in kind of a morbid mood, because of the recession or whatever. I think our politicians could learn a lot from Mandela.

What do you think they could learn?
About racial relationships and such. It just seems like we're making a lot of mistakes on this whole calling everybody racist. Everybody's calling everybody morons and nuts. We're becoming more juvenile as a nation. The guys who won World War II and that whole generation have disappeared, and now we have a bunch of teenage twits. People 50 years old acting like that. In Gran Torino, I play a guy who's racially offensive. But he learned. It shows that you're never too old to learn and embrace people that you don't understand to begin with. It seems like nobody else got that message, I guess.

Mr. Eastwood accepts the American mythology surrounding World War II and the "Greatest Generation." Is that such a bad thing? If it blinds us to the truth about the war and American society in the 20th century. Without a grasp of what the more components of culture are, we are liable to think that peace and concord can be had solely through strength of effort alone.

Is there anything you'd sacrifice yourself for?
[long pause] I'm sure there is. But mine's more basic. It would be family. It comes down to the basic reason for the male being here, other than propagating, which is to defend and protect the family. [pause] But it would probably stay at that level. How far out the friendship chain it would go, I don't know. [laughs]

As for religion?

Do you still meditate?
Twice a day.

How does that work for you?
It works great. Because it just gives you a chance to gather your thoughts. I'm religious about it when I'm working.

So how...
I visualize whole sequences in the morning, before I go. I believe in whatever self-help you can give yourself, whether you believe in Buddha or whatever. I used to be much more of an agnostic. I'm not really a person of an organized religion. But I'm now much more tolerant of people who are religious, because I can see why they got there. I can sympathize.

So meditation with me was just a self-reliant thing. I've been doing it almost forty years. But I don't go out and sell it. A lot of other people find meaning some other way, screaming in the street or whatever it is that gets it for you. Or checking out the girls. [laughs] No, I'm past that. I'm living in my state of monogamy quite happily. I never thought I'd get there, but I did. It feels good. I like myself better than I did.

He returns to the topic of what it means to be a man:

One of your sons is in this new movie. How do you counsel your sons about manhood, being a man?
It's really difficult. You just try to give them local morals. You know, you let the woman go through the door first. Why? Because you're stronger, you're younger. It's your duty as a man. That's what you're here for, to take care of things. And nowadays I don't think men are taught that. It wasn't a macho thing; nobody felt they had to kick over the table and act tough to prove they were men. I'm fond of telling this story—I remember meeting Rocky Marciano. We shook hands. It was a real light handshake, like he was a concert pianist. I walked away and thought, Yeah, Rocky Marciano doesn't have to grab you. He knows he could kill you. He's a real guy.

So be strong and protect yourself, emotionally and physically. But don't—you don't have to take any crap from the world, but at the same time, you don't have to go looking for crap, either. Don't let the feminist revolution turn you into an anti. Women really do want your help, and that's why we're on the same planet, the same level.

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