Gore Vidal many decades before he grew old said in a television interview that the old grow angry when they accept that their youth is indeed lost, never to return. That was rich coming from Gore, who was angry most of his life, living as he did long before more tolerant times changed public sentiment towards his sexual orientation. Gore had a reason to be angry, but by all reports he was not the prototypical angry white male when he lived out his last years with more grace than Clint Eastwood and Jack Welch are displaying in their last decades. Now the times are giving us angry white men like Paul Ryan. His business suit last night during the vice presidential debate seemed a tight fit, perhaps made so by its efforts to contain youthful, muscular ire.
Eastwood, of course, is now remembered for his vulgar empty-chair routine at the Republican National Convention in Tampa that embarrassed himself and Ann Romney and her kids on national television. The Romneys all showed up excitedly to see the bonanza of a Hollywood star endorse Mitt for president. What they got instead were the rantings of an old, angry man taking license with the here and now. Only a couple months later, Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric, also took fictitious liberty with reality, accusing the Bureau of Labor Statistics of cooking the numbers so that the employment rate fell just in time to benefit President Obama’s campaign for re-election.