Dirty Harry misses mark with generational snub

Clint Eastwood may be considered a straight shooter, but I’m not sure he hit the mark by calling down a generation.

Clint Eastwood may be considered a straight shooter, but I’m not sure he hit the mark by calling down a generation.

In a recent Esquire interview, the Hollywood tough-guy-come-director, former politician and self-proclaimed libertarian noted how we’ve allowed ourselves to become shackled by the political correctness of a “pussy generation,” restricted in what we say and do for fear of being labelled a racist by a generation of people who don’t want to work.

Interestingly, Eastwood made this comment while commenting on Donald Trump, suggesting a big deal has been made of his racist comments and that we should just get over it.

“We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff,” said Eastwood. “When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.”

I suppose from Eastwood’s $375-million net worth vantage point, times were better when you could call a spade a spade and not have to give a damn about who you offended.

I can’t say I am convinced by Eastwood’s nostalgia-tinted view of the world, let alone his generalization of a generation.

While generalizations are a nice, neat way to package and identify something, they can also be selective, over-simplifying and lazy. And yes, they can also be offensive.

Another generational generalization that’s gained popularity is the term “generation snowflake.” I believe this is an ironic reference to the Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club, and the cult film of the same name.

In it, the antagonist – anti-consumerism anarchist Tyler Durden, tells his followers they’re not special, “you’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying matter as everything else.”

Generation Snowflake refers to young people – post secondary students and younger, who have been coddled and are described as thin-skinned, self-absorbed crybabies who are intolerant of any world views that don’t mesh with their own. They also suffer from a strong sense of entitlement.

Speaking of Donald Trump…

Once again we have a generalization that misses the mark, in that it attempts to categorize young people with a definition that can easily be pan-generational. Trump isn’t the only evidence of this.

Check out social media comment boards, where you’ll find plenty of thin-skinned, intolerant commentators of all ages and political stripes putting down one another from the comfort and safety of their computer chairs with seemingly little or no concern for consequence or accountability.

Eastwood at least says what he has to say in public. But being a straight-shooting Hollywood or TV celebrity doesn’t give you a free pass to dismiss the complexity and diversity of people’s modern lives and experiences, let alone to be an apologist for intolerance.

 

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