Esquire has a great interview with Clint and Scott Eastwood. Clint Eastwood’s 86. His candor is of a style totally alien to, say, the sort my grandfather had, but it’s nonetheless refreshing. I loved Gran Torino, for instance, because it spoke to a culture and a type of love and compassion and neighborliness that is totally foreign right now:

That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now. We’re really in a pussy generation. Everybody’s walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist. And then when I did Gran Torino, even my associate said, “This is a really good script, but it’s politically incorrect.” And I said, “Good. Let me read it tonight.” The next morning, I came in and I threw it on his desk and I said, “We’re starting this immediately.” …

When I harken back to my dad, I remember we left Redding and drove down here so he could get a job as a gas jockey at a Standard Station on the corner of PCH and Sunset Boulevard. But you travel five hundred miles, bring your family, rip up everything, and do that because that’s the only job that existed. So I think, What would happen if he’d have said, “Oh, I can’t do that?” Well, we’d have been begging for sandwiches at somebody’s backdoor. Which is, I remember, one of the most affecting things that ever happened in my life. I was a little kid, five years old, and a guy comes to the back of our house and says to my mother, “There’s a bunch of wood in the back. Could I chop that up for you, ma’am?” And my mother says, “We don’t have money.” And he says, “I don’t want any money. Just a sandwich.”

[Clint goes silent; his eyes well up.] …

It haunts me when I think of all the assholes out there who are complaining. I saw people who really had it bad. There was no welfare to catch, to fill the bill there. The guy just wanted a sandwich. Hopefully later on he got a job somewhere. He was a guy trying to exist, and that’s the way people were then.