Eastwooding is probably an unintended consequence of Clint Eastwood’s speech.

The Republican National Convention came and went with all sorts of pomp and circumstance. Whatever your belief system and political leanings may be, you cannot deny that the real show-stopper during the convention was Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” routine. In his speech at the RNC, Eastwood “laid out what he sees as the good, the bad and the ugly state of American political affairs…all while addressing an ‘invisible’ President Barack Obama sitting in an empty chair.” [1]

Eastwood’s stunt provoked the best and the worst from everyone: with some saying he roasted politics as usual, others saying he had lost his marbles, some stooping to new public lows by bringing Alzheimer’s into the equation as if it were a joke. But I think most people just enjoyed the “empty chair” phenomenon, whether taking it as an intelligent metaphor or a joke gone awry. In fact, “Eastwooding” is now part of our public language. After Eastwood’s speech, Twitter erupted with pictures of people pointing at empty chairs with the hashtag “#eastwooding.” [2]

It’s like planking [3], but different.

Eastwooding is probably an unintended consequence of Eastwood’s speech. He likely did not envision that the internet would explode with pictures of people pointing at invisible things because of his speech. But sometimes things happen that we don’t expect. And often times those things happen on motorcyles.

Like when “a California man was killed Tuesday afternoon in Springfield when he crashed his motorcycle while performing a trick for family members…Police said [Jeremy Kenneth] Gale was performing a ‘wheelie’ in the presence of family members — including a 9-year-old nephew — when he lost control of his 2006 Yamaha motorcycle and slammed into a utility pole.” [4]

Most can agree that rats infesting a government health building is unquestionably ironic.

Gale was not alone this week with an unintended motorcycle complication. “A Eugene police officer had his emergency lights activated when his patrol car collided with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the intersection of River Road and River Avenue on Thursday afternoon, police said…At the time of the wreck, Klews was seeking to help two other officers.” [5]

Some might argue that an officer crashing into a civilian while responding to a call strikes of irony. Some might say otherwise. But surely most can agree that rats infesting a government health building is unquestionably ironic. “Rats have infested the Barbara Roberts Human Services Building in Salem, home base for Oregon’s health and social service agencies…It’s not one or two rats sneaking in, but a breeding population inside the building…Some state workers admit to feeling unnerved.” [6]

State workers were not the only ones feeling unnerved this week. Parents worldwide likely felt unnverved when “An 11-year-old Benton County girl was injured when she was struck by a car that a 9-year-old girl was driving…the 9-year-old girl’s mother was in the passenger seat and had allowed the girl to drive down their driveway in rural Alsea. The girl panicked and lurched forward toward two 11-year-old girls standing nearby.” [7]

Letting a 9-year-old drive a car is not a smart idea. Letting a 9-year-old drive a car while other children are around is even less smart. But the award for real stupidity goes to a man who not just once, but repeatedly, exposed himself in public to other people in the exact same area. “A man was reported to be touching himself inappropriately and exposing himself near the UO law school at 15th Avenue and Agate Street…One of the witnesses reported to UODPS that the same man had approached her about a week earlier. A man with a similar description was reported to have done the same thing to a woman near 18th Avenue and University Street on August 18.” [8]

Not everyone is as excited about football as the Associated Press or the Oregon Ducks’ cheerleaders.

Perhaps he is just eager to share his goods with the world. Equally eager to share their goods with the world is the Associated Press. But the AP was a bit too eager last week, when, “According to the Associated Press, the UCLA Bruins triumphed over the Oregon Ducks 21-20 behind three touchdown passes thrown by world-renowned college quarterback, Bob Jones…The only problem? It never actually happened…the AP composed what is suspected to have been a test plug for the upcoming college football season and accidentally ran it as an actual news release.” [9]

Not everyone, though, is as excited about football as the Associated Press. Camilla Mortensen, writer at the Eugene Weekly, decided to take several swipes at the student newspaper Daily Emerald, or as she calls them, “the not-so- Daily Emerald .” Mortensen notes that “the Daily Emerald is pretty excited about football,” and “Hey if football is what it takes to get people to read the news, we’re all for saving print media.” [10]

Saving print media, of course, means using more paper. And using more paper is at the heart of movements around the country — and now in Eugene — to ban single-use plastic bags at supermarkets. “On September 17th, the Eugene City Council will meet to determine whether residents of Eugene are ready to ban the plastic bag…Though alternative bagging options are becoming increasingly popular, a large majority of consumers still prefer the convenience of plastic.” [11]

Consumers, you see, are typically lazy and prefer the most convenient route. For example, why go all the way to a bank to conduct a robbery when you can just rob your dad at home? “The Columbia County sheriff’s office says a Springfield man took nearly $33,000 from his father after the man was hauled off to jail for allegedly assaulting his son. After his arrest on August 14, Dennis A. Newman of Scappoose told detectives he had a large amount of cash at his house. They took him back to get it, but by then the money and his 22-year-old son were gone.” [12]

Maybe they went Eastwooding. Or planking. Or the new thing I just came up with:

East-planking.

Think about it.