March Of The Wooden Soldiers

We now know the genesis of addled actor Clint Eastwood’s “talk to the chair” routine at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Seems the man was arest in his hotel room, preparing his speech, when some puckish alien-being forcibly piped in over the radio Neil Diamond’s 1971 his faultemu-pop hit “I Am . . . I Said.”

This is the Diamond number that contains the notorious foursome:

i am, i said
to no one there
and no one heard at all
not even the chair

This last line is one of the great clunkers in all of songwriting. People active and practiced in the craft,  to this day they cannot understand why persons and/or sound machines emitting such a travesty are not pelted with tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and other rotting substances.

I mean, yeah, the guy needed a rhyme for “there.” And, in this tune, Diamond is deeply afunk in Bummertude. Because he ain’t being listened to. About the crushing burden of having to live in Los Angeles, rather than New York. In order to earn eleventy-billion dollars in the music business.

So sure, okay, we get it, nobody’s listening to him bleat.

And, among the nobodies, can be counted a chair.

But, like, had the chair ever heard him? When he was moaning about having to earn more money than Midas, out in LA, rather than in New York? Was it normal for the chair to give ear, when he was on about such things? Was this like . . . a magic chair?

Or, since we are talking 1971 here, a drug chair? A chair that, when Mr. Diamond delved into the many fine psychoactive substances of the time, heard and talked and danced and sang and otherwise engaged in all manner of merry wonderful weirdness?

We receive no information about any of this. All we know is that the chair doesn’t hear him.

And this is not surprising. Because a chair—unless it is a drug chair, and/or a quantum physics chair—is not equipped with drug chairaural apparati. Hearing is not what a chair is supposed to be about. The thing is there but to plant your butt on.

No. Sorry to say, what we must here reluctantly conclude, is that Diamond was a lazy-ass mofo. Who just settled on some “chair,” not hearing him, because he was too slothful and/or thickheaded to come up with any other rhyme for “there.”

And it is said that the man spent four months writing that song.

And in all that time the best he could up with was “not even the chair”? The mind: it reels.

Today, while driving, it took me about four minutes to come up with about fourteen alternatives.

For instance, if Diamond had not been suffering from a city-disability, and were singing instead from or about some country place Normal, then various and sundry animals could have been mustered not to hear him. We could have had “not even the bear” or “not even the hare” or “not even the mare.” Who were not hearing the guy.

Or he could have complained “not even Aunt Clare,” which would also have allowed him to go wild with banjos in the break. Or “in all County Klare,” which would have permitted him to pour a thundering wall of bagpipes into the song.

Since Diamond at the time was riding a wave of songs in which he praised unrestrained bibulation—”Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Red, Red Wine,” etc.—he could have referenced his ongoing rednoseness by admitting “and no one heard at all/when I tripped on the stair.”

He could have been all stoic, and defiantly proclaimed: “and I did not care.” He could have gone dada, and pronounced: “so I ate a pear.” Or strayed into Isaac Hayes territory, with “so I porked the au pair.” He could have envisioned the onrushing cult of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and come out as a crossdresser, boasting “so I shaved with Nair.”

And so on.

Anywho. Clint—fast-forward to 2012—is there in his hotel room, when suddenly the extraterrestrials—who, as has previously been documented here on red, owned and controlled the GOoPer portion of the 2012 presidential campaign—bring to him over clint chairthe radio Diamond declaiming about the obdurate chair that will not hear.

And  Clint, he experiences a truly massive brainshower. He will go on stage, with a chair, and pretend it is President Obama. And, like the Diamond chair, the Obama chair, when Clint pours out upon it his complaints, it will just sit there; it will neither hear, nor respond.

This brainshower, it will be remembered, when it was spewed out across the land, was considered a laff riot by that 23% of the American population that occupies what is today the equivalent of Dogpatch.

“Way to put it to the black man, Clint!” the Dogpatchians, they squealed like a pig. “Yeehaw!”

However, those of us who have not married or otherwise had sexual congress with our sisters, and/or other blood relatives, we had quite a different reaction.

Not even the Captain Underpants people, it developed, not even they, could easily stomach the chair scene. Literally, they could not stomach it. Senior Underpants advisor Stuart Stevens, it is said, vomited. While the Neil-inspired Eastwood, he was dying there, on stage, with the chair. Stevens, he wished that, like in the Diamond song, no one would hear Clint. At all. Not even the chair.

It was the astute AvoWoman who first pointed out to me that this speech was not the first time that Eastwood had publicly addressed wood products.

Oh no. For way back in 1969, Eastwood wandered around on screen, “singing,” in the film Paint Your Wagon, “I Talk To The Trees.”

And even back then, the wood gave ol’ Clint the deaf ear.

And it was not only the trees. But every other blessed natural element, as well.

I talk to the trees
But they don’t listen to me
I talk to the stars
But they never hear me
The breeze hasn’t time
To stop and hear what I say
I talk to them all in vain

Be warned. Beyond the furthur, I shall embed Mr. Eastwood. “Singing.” Not only that, I shall also embed, from the same film, Lee Marvin, also “singing.” And this last, some say, is the aural equivalent of the Holocaust.

Only a person who belonged in a Home could have concluded it was a good idea to present to the people a three-hour musical in which Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood sang. For while there are some things of which these men were capable—Marvin, for instance, could act, and could also consume in one night more liquor than is stocked in your average BevMo!; while Eastwood can walk through an entire film doing little more than staring straight ahead, in a manner which makes drying paint seem like a wild Roman orgy . . . and then, when it comes to the “cut,” go home to rob, abuse, and ultimately shower millions in hush money on Sondra Locke—”singing” is not one of them.

Below is Eastwood. Talking to the trees. YouTube reports that 208,917 people have viewed this clip. All of these people have since been relocated to a jail, morgue, or asylum.
And now, Lee Marvin. “Wand’rin Star.” A really peculiar song. A little orchestra kind of lopes sappily along. And then a wino starts gurgling.
Marvin knew he couldn’t sing worth a damn. He once described “Wand’rin Star” as “the first 33⅓ recorded at 45.”
He also, belatedly, realized he had no business in Paint Your Wagon.
Sam Peckinpah offered to Marvin—a friend—the lead in The Wild Bunch. In fact, the project, in “go,” originally was centered around, intended for, Marvin.
But Marvin’s agent, fretting that the actor was coming off a couple of intense, violent films—The Dirty Dozen and Point Blank—advised the actor that he should eschew the Bunch, and instead lighten it up some: go Paint Your Wagon. So this, Marvin did.
Once Wagon shooting began, Marvin knew he was in the crapper. So he determined to make it all go away. With liquor. It is said that during the filming of Paint Your Wagon Marvin personally drank paint his wagonmore alcohol than was consumed by the entire cast and crew of The Night Of The Iguana—which was one of the most thoroughly booze-soaked productions in all film history.
It is also said that after Marvin viewed, with Peckinpah, a preview cut of The Wild Bunch, he placed a short and pointed phone call to his agent. After which the fellow disappeared into the federal witness-protection program. It is believed that he later emerged, under another identity, to represent several of the Smurfs.
The power of naming, as has been observed here several times before, it can be a fateful thing.
And so there was probably no hope that Clint Eastwood could ever escape a life in which he would be doomed to skip through the woods, talking to trees, and then, some decades on, go on national television to blither to a wooden chair in a manner more mind-addled than ever knee-crawlingly approached by, say, Lee Marvin, even when Marvin was nine sheets to the wind.
For it’s all there in his name. Clint Eastwood.
There, in his name, the man is literally made of wood. So of course he would be ineluctably drawn to wood products. Trees. Chairs. Etc.
And which also explains why, until the relatively recent, peculiar—and, to me, inexplicable—critical embrace of the fellow, it was generally acknowledged that Eastwood represented the quintessence of the “wooden” actor. A petrified statue. Rather than an actor who could convincingly portray what it is like to be an actual, recognizable, believable, human being.
Now, I believe, Eastwood is in a position to positively petrify the woodenness of his career. Now that he has replaced the shiveringly uber-nebbish Steven Spielberg as director of American Sniper.
There was, verily, great gloom and glumness, in this soul, when Spielberg initially, eagerly, leapt aboard American Sniper. The filmic project designed to canonize Gomer Kyle. One of the premier serial killers of our time.
Gomer Kyle, the stone-cold racist psychopath who ran amok in Iraq, killing, for pleasure, and for money, at least 160 human beings. In a land where he had no business being. Killing them cowardly, craven, concealed—a rat-bastard backshooter. Until, back in the states, Gomer was back-shot himself, by a semper fi, at the “all-gun zone” of a Texas—natch—shooting range.

Gomer, he knew that everyone he backshot, for money, they all deserved it. In fact, to him, those he killed weren’t even human. Instead, he explicitly and steve has fun with sharkpublicly regarded those he killed as “savages.” Gomer even had a crusader cross tattooed on his body, so that those he killed, and those they left behind, would know they had died in Christian jihad. “I wanted everyone to know I was a Christian,” Kyle wrote in American Sniper, the book from which the film shall spring. “I had it put in in red, for blood. I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting. I always will.”

“Everyone I shot was evil,” Gomer decreed, there in his tome. “I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”

That Spielberg would helm this Thanatos-subsumed blood-pornography: this, to me, was not good news.

Because Spielberg has always embodied, pre-envisioned, guided, and/or closely followed, the American zeitgeist. Whatever America is, so too is Spielberg. That he would seemingly unreservedly latch on to American Sniper, this said to me that the entire nation was prepared to giddily wallow in the blood and the gore of this latter-day Vlad The Impaler: Gomer Kyle.

And Spielberg has always been a guy who wants everyone to—as Sally Field once so baldly put it—Like Me. Never has he even once dipped the tip of his toes into any little freshet that might be said to Transgress.

So, I figured, he figured, a Saving Private Ryan-type paean, to the greater glory of Gomer Kyle, this would go down well, with everybody.

Maybe Kyle could be, like, a big shark. Like in Jaws. Except, uh, he’d be, you know, the good guy.

So, I was greatly relieved, when, obviously, somebody actually in touch with Reality, got to Spielberg. And explained to him that Gomer Kyle was not exactly Oskar Schindler.

And so Spielberg tossed the hot bloody Gomer potato to Clint Eastwood. Who, with his hands of dried and gnarled and near-petrified wood, was more than happy to handle it.

For American Sniper is right up Clint’s street.

Killing. Justifying it. Glorying in it. Even laughing about it.

Before we go on with the Wood of the East, the essential image of why I can have no respect for Spielberg.

In 1999, the Oscar people decided to give Elia Kazan a Lifetime Achievement Award. Kazan was 90, due soon to shuffle off this mortal coil. That’s generally when they bestow such things. And the man had made some films worth watching—mainly, A Streetcar Named Desire (Vivien Leigh), and East Of Eden (James Dean). But he was also a rat bastard. During the nation’s anti-“communist” hysteria of the 1950s, Kazan named names. People in the film community went to prison, because of his filthy diarrhetic mouth. Others lost their livelihood. And, in the course of things, sometimes, their lives.

Before we proceed, let’s give the man his due. With 15 seconds from Streetcar. Because Kazan was the man behind the camera, when, over the course of that film, was delivered the finest performance in the history of celluloid.

Though if Kazan had been a true human being, as well as a director, he never would have allowed Vivien Leigh to play that role. Because, approaching Blanche, Leigh was, as a human being, on the edge of madness. And, as an actress, embodying the role, she, as a human being, went mad. And never, till her death, did she, at any time, really, ever, emerge.

When, at the Oscar ceremony, Kazan was presented with his award—Leigh, meanwhile, for instance, as well as most of Kazan’s named-name victims, long dead—most people stood and applauded.

Because most people, anywhere, at any time, don’t really think. Understand. Review history. Reflect.

However, the real people—Nick Nolte, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Ian McKellan, etc.—sat in their seats, and didn’t move.

What did Steven Spielberg do? Sat in his seat. But also applauded.

Little Stevie: as ever. Trying to be everything. To everybody. And thus, here he comesin the end, at root, being nothing. To nobody.

There is one film of Spielberg’s, to which I unreservedly cleave. And that is his first. Duel. The story of a motorist who, for no apparent reason, is pursued upon lonely highways by a diesel truck driver, determined to drive him off the road.

I feel like this is a metaphor for the man’s entire career. I—and indeed the entire filmic public—am the motorist. And Spielberg is the truck driver.

But Stevie is safe now. Out from under the obligation to filmically compose the ode to Vlad The Impaler. That task now in the sure and gnarled and petrifying hands of Mr. Eastwood.

And here’s how, I humbly suggest, Clint can cement, his legacy of wood. As well as secure his bizarre reputation as a maker of “art” films.

He can go ahead and gush his usual “make my day,” “do you feel lucky?” buckets of blood. But he can also portray Gomer Kyle, as a chair.

He can follow the lead of Todd Haynes, who, in I’m Not There, the director’s right-on-target, so-direct, non-real biopic of Bob Dylan, portrayed the mercurial minstrel through six different actors and actresses. I propose Eastwood do gomer kylethe same. Except employ six different chairs.

And the lead chair. As is only right and meet. For Gomer Kyle. Should be a potty chair.

All and all of Woodman’s life and career, they lead up to this day. From his name: Eastwood. To his wooden acting. To his talk to the trees. To his chair-dance at the 2012 RNC. Man. Of. Wood.

But, unlike Pinocchio, he never grew into a real live boy. As evidenced by his attachment to American Sniper. Woodclint is still but an ur-human. Wallowing in, sucking, swallowing, buckets of blood.

Eastwood has promised us that his American Sniper will contain several “shocking” revelations. Such as the heretofore unacknowledged Reality that on the day that Gomer Kyle was killed—backshot, as he had backshot so many others (though those that Gomer backshot were brown people, and therefore didn’t count)—marky-markos and cementslit were on the scene, and, weepingly, tried to revive the fallen slaughter-man, by fellating him.

Eastwood vows that this scene shall be delivered with “taste and restraint.”

As also, with “taste and restraint,” shall be delivered the new sitcom, Gomer Kyle, USMC, which shall be broadcast on NBC, commencing in the spring of 2014.

Described as a “warm and friendly, family-oriented show,” Gomer Kyle has already received a commitment from the network for 160 episodes. Meaning one episode, each, devoted to every one of the 160 human beings Gomer Kyle killed, for money, and for pleasure, over in Iraq.

Signed-up sponsors include Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan Chase, and the late, and lately laid, rotting, to rest, Gomer, his former employer, the US Navy: a “global force for good.”

The show will redeploy, in slightly altered form, many of the crawlcharacters, situations, and classic lines, of the original Gomer Pyle, USMC.

For instance, when Gomer Kyle, he squares within his sniper sights, his next intended victim, he shall whisper, grinning: “surprise, surprise, surprise.”

And then, when Gomer Kyle, he succeeds in back-shot murdering a human being, he shall exult: “SHAZAM!”

And then shall sound the laugh track.

Responding to those nitpickers who point out that the late lamented back-shot back-shooter Gomer Kyle was a Navy Seal, rather than a semper fi in the United States Marine Corps, NBC spokesperson E Pluribus Unum laughed: “The American people are too fucking stupid to know the difference. For, if they were really aware, of what was really going on, then, to atone for the fact that they even birthed, much less deployed, much less continue to fellate, a Gomer Kyle, they would crawl, en masse, on their knees, across cut glass, to Canterbury.”

So let it be written. So let it be done.


5 Responses to “March Of The Wooden Soldiers”

  1. 1 nancy a November 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Well, Holly Holy!, Neil has a lot to answer for : )

    Since Clint and Lee have already dragged us to an unprecedented musical nadir here, i think there is no further harm in reporting this:

    Mr. Woodchip has also announced that he has tapped The Last White Man Outta Lava Lamp to provide the soundtrack.

    A Sneak Preview…

    Addendum: It has also been revealed that out of the many children Nugent has littered across Amerikkka, there is one who is actually named Rocco Winchester.. Tag this as TMI :/

  2. 2 nancy a November 22, 2013 at 11:31 am

    i should add — cameo appearance by Meatloaf..

    remember this campaign trail gem?? : )

    • 3 bluenred November 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      I think that a post that includes “songs” from the Clint Woodman, Lee Marvin, Ted Nugent, 600 Pounds Of Meat, plus a cameo appearance by Captain Underpants, will probably break the intertubes. ; 0

  3. 4 nancy a November 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    You know, on second thought, all of this so-called “singing” might need to be tagged TMI :/

    It occurs to me that there is a Science Man Study Waiting to Be Writ about the many pathologies of white musicians that emerged from Detroit – Nugent, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Grand Funk, Kid Rock, Eminem…

    I am sure there are more. But enough of that trouble : )

    Since the title of this piece is inspired by sweet sweet jane, let’s just listen to more Lou Reed.

    Clear our heads… Antidote …

    All right, it’s all right………………

    • 5 bluenred November 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Okay. Now that Lou is here, maybe the site won’t burst into flame, from all that Clint/Lee/Nugent/Meat Loaf heaving/singing.

      That list you provide indicates to me that a Federal Law should prohibit white musicians coming outta Detroit.

      And the title of this piece was actually inspired by a truly peculiar Laurel and Hardy film from the 1930s. It permanently bent my mind.

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When I Worked

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