Eastwooding: Debating Empty Chairs Is Really Nothing New

“Eastwooding,” it would seem, has been around for a very long time. According to WKNO, the art of debating an empty chair dates back to the 1920s, when Democratic vice-presidential nominee Burton K. Wheeler decided to address his invisible political adversary during a town hall meeting in 1924.

President Calvin Coolidge was nowhere to be found during the meeting, though this didn’t stop Wheeler from addressing the president as if he were in the room. Safire’s Political Dictionary, using a quote from Wheeler’s autobiography, essentially proves that the art of “Eastwooding” is really nothing new:

“People in the auditorium began to crane their necks to see if Coolidge really was somewhere on the premises. I pulled a vacant chair and addressed it as though it had an occupant. ‘President Coolidge,’ I began, ‘tell us where you stand on Prohibition.’ I went on with rhetorical questions in this vein, pausing after each for a short period. Then I wound up: ‘There, my friends, is the usual silence that emanates from the White House.’ The crowd roared in appreciation.”

According to the Smithsonian’s Smart News, Senate hopeful John Foster Dulles often carried a prop chair with him to political events and meetings. During these events, Dulles would often debate the chair place of his opponent. This particular example took place way back in 1949, long before Clint Eastwood decided to employ similar tactics during his criticism of President Barack Obama.

Regardless of its storied history, debating empty chairs wasn’t considered cool until Eastwood decided to travel down that questionable road last week. Since making its debut at the Republican National Convention, “Eastwooding” has become something of an internet phenomenon; people from all walks of life are uploading pictures and videos of themselves engaging empty chairs in conversation. The Examiner reports that the trend is currently on-track to dethrone both “Tebowing” and “planking” as popular ways to murder your free time.

What do you think of the “Eastwooding” trend?