Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood Talks to Obama's Empty Chair

Watching Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Committee convention last night I just knew it would turn into a meme and a Twitter frenzy. And it did.

Clint Eastwood performing an old comedic routine of talking to an empty chair made international news immediately. Some called it funny, while others thought it was disrespectful to the sitting President of the United States. Most people thought the shtick made Eastwood look a bit crazy.

This morning I tweeted the following joke: "Flipping through channels last night & watched few mins of Gran Torino. Confused. Don't remember scene where Clint Eastwood talks to chair." That tweet immediately got this funny response from Twitter user ‏@skii_bum1985: "@RabbiJason I learned something important the other night: Don't invite Clint Eastwood to a Seder, he might yell at the empty chair."

That would turn out to be the first of many connections made between the imaginary seat of Barack Obama to the empty seat of Elijah. My colleague and friend Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz submitted a wonderful post to the blog that compares Obama's empty seat with Elijah's at every bris. She writes:

Elijah's Chair was the original empty chair. It shows up at a Bris (circumcision) in particular, but there are other community occasions when the idea of an empty chair - an extra seat that indicates openness to receiving an unexpected visitor or guest - is commonly referred to as 'Elijah's chair'. On Passover, we also have the tradition of 'Elijah's Cup'. The story behind this tradition is that there were certain questions that the Sages of the Talmud were unsure how to answer, specifically with regard to how they designed the Passover Seder ritual, but on other occasions as well. Elijah, who is held in Jewish tradition to return to announce the arrival of the Messiah, would be able to resolve our unanswered questions when he did so.

Of course a meme has been started based on Clint Eastwood's performance last night. I thought this one was pretty funny:

I created my own contributions to the meme using Photoshop. Here is Clint Eastwood at Barack Obama's bar mitzvah as he hoists him up in the chair during the Hora dance:

 And here's the imagined conversation if President Obama were actually sitting in the chair:

As Rabbi Gurevitz notes, the idea of an "Elijah chair" for Obama isn't such a stretch. Tablet, an online journal, related a few months ago that some of Obama's donors use the term "Elijah's Chair" to refer to the empty chair left at the tables of certain major donors just in case the President comes by to sit and shmooze.

Well, at least Clint Eastwood brought some fun to what are usually pretty dull conventions.


Rachel Kapen said...

In Israel, when a game ends without a winner, it is called: TEIKU, TAV YOD KOF VAV which stands for Tishbi (Elijah) yetaretz kushiot u'ma'anot- Elijah will explain or resolve hard questions and arguments.

Anonymous said...

“Rabbis for Romney”

With the announcement that there is now a “Rabbis for Obama” list and organization, it is safe to assume there will soon be as making it seem as though all Jews support this Presidentcan

I appeal to all rabbis, of all denominations, whether working in the pulpit, as I do, or not, to band with me to form “Rabbis for Romney.” It is imperative that all Americans understand that there are passionate Jewish spiritual leaders who care very much about the wrongs done to the Jewish state under this administration.

Many of us also know that vouchers and school-choice programs are the only way to make sure all children—including our own—receive a proper, appropriate education. We will never get anywhere with this idea as long as Obama is in office.

If you’d like to join me in this effort, please contact me at 732-572-2766 or by email at

Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg

Edison, NJ

Anonymous said...

I support Clint Eastwood for he was right on the money and his speech was very funny.
The Kenyan born Muslim is of the antichrist and anyone who has been given spiritual sight by the Holy Spirit can easily see evil in Obama and his wife.
Only people who have been blessed with spirtual sight of recognizing evil will know what I'm talking about - the other people will have no clue and will criticize me.